Basic Car Care Supplies
- Dual Action Orbital Polisher and Pads – Which brands and model will depend on your budget and needs. I own the Porter Cable which has been very reliable and easy to use over the years. I am however interested in the Flex brand to see if it could actually address scratches better without having to get a second rotary buffer. (i) Check local stores to find an adequate tool box to organize your polishing kit.
- Foam Hand Applicator Pads
- Quality Micro Fiber Towels
- Wash Bucket
- Wheel Brushes – Daytona Speed Master recommended.
- Drying Towel – A specific super absorbing drying towel to cut down on drying time.
- Car Wash Specific Soap – I have used several, and in my opinion most are fine. The main purpose is to use an auto specific soap that cleans and nourishes, but doesn’t prematurely strip the protective wax and sealants off like dish washing soap can.
- Tire Gel and Foam Applicator Pad – I find gel to be less messy and easier to apply than spray and liquids. Plus no over-spray issues on your wheels and surrounding bodywork.
- Exterior Paint Products: This will vary per vehicle, how well you maintain your car regularly, and the environment it’s exposed to. (a) Clay Bar Kit – I have cut this down to once a year, since our vehicles are washed regularly, garaged, and not exposed to continuous harsh environments. This was a process I used to do monthly, but realized I’m just wasting time and material. Intervals will vary per vehicle and environment. (b) Polish – How often will depend on many variables that can contribute to swirl marks and other paint defects. (c) Wax, Sealant, or Both – Wolfgang Deep Gloss Paint Sealant 3.0 is at the top of my list, then topped off with a coat or two of carnuba wax if I have the time.
- Interior – There are several great products and needs will vary on the materials (vinyl, leather, plastic). The one general cleaner that stands out from my personal use is Blackfire Interior Cleaner. It really is a great all-purpose cleaner that leaves no residue.
- Rain X Window Treatment – Always a favorite of mine to help bead and remove rain from the windows.
- Rubbing Compound – To address stains or scratches.
- Simple Green Cleaner – A fairly economical, mild biodegradable cleaner, that does a great job on a variety of things, which need light to medium cleaning. (i) Over the years I have tried several cleaners to clean my motors regularly. Simple Green has come to be my favorite choice, as it’s mild enough, yet does a great job of cleaning. Caution: In 20+ years of cleaning my motors on a regular basis, I have never had any issues with spraying, wiping, and low pressure rinsing, but I take no responsibility if you do.
- Stoner Tarminator Bug and Tar Remover – This is an amazing product. Spray on, and the tar just melts away. Additional removal with the Safe Scrub Bug & Tar Pad is no more difficult than washing your vehicle with soap and water.
Car Washing Tips
- Wash vehicle from the top down. The dirtiest part of a vehicle will be the bottom, and you don’t want that dirt on the rag straight away. Use multiple cleaning rags for excessively dirt vehicles.
- Wash in a side-to-side motion. Circular washing is what can create swirl marks.
- At the end of drying, open the doors and trunk, and wipe down all the jambs. This removes excess dirt and grime from building up and deters possible body deterioration.
I find Palm Beach Motoring Co., who also own and operate a variety of other companies you see listed on their main site, has all the products and helpful cleaning information I require. Their detailing how-to and tips -tricks, along with a car care forum can be great resources.
Good luck and happy cleaning!