For detailers and car enthusiasts that truly enjoy cleaning up their vehicles, car detailing products are like toys. For us here at RallyWays it has been like Christmas morning.
I recently put in an order to start collecting car detailing products I’ve been wanting to try out. Like many other car snobs, simply going to the local O’reilly or Auto Zone isn’t enough. Fine, they sell good product amongst the boring cheapo stuff. But, guys that truly enjoy car detailing want to get a hold of the boutique, elite and high-quality stuff. Knowledge about these products is usually shared online or by word-of-mouth by an elite few masters of clean cars.
There are many great products out there as well as plenty of overlap between brands. Choosing stuff can be a daunting task, not to mention, a time-suck. However, unless you want the absolute best choice for your particular application or exact shade of British Racing Green, choosing and ending up with great product is actually a pretty safe proposition. So, I’m going to tell you what products I chose, why I chose them and what I will be using them for. Reading this feature will definitely help you in choosing your next batch of auto detailing products.
There are 3 ultimate outcomes I want.
- Swirl remover and polish for my 2011 MX-5, polymer sealer and a final coat of wax.
- Sealer and final coat of wax for the RallyWays 2013 Toyota Tacoma.
- Whatever is left I will collect for future detailing projects.
Here are some of my thoughts.
- Both cars will be clayed before doing any polishing, sealing or waxing.
- The MX-5 needs quite of bit of paint correction as the paint has a lot of swirls.
- I want a quick detailer that I can use between washes but will also work as a clay bar lubricant and engine bay detailer.
- I also want some interior detailing products that will work for any car.
- I have my mind set on using a polymer sealer before waxing – for added protection when the wax begins to wear off.
The MX-5’s needs
My 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata is a car that I bought brand new in early 2012. It was a leftover, meaning it had sat at the dealership for a whole year before I bought it. The talented and creative dealership workers washed my car many times over during the course of that year putting many swirl marks into my paint. Artistic fellows those guys. This means the first thing needed after claying the car will be a paint correction polish to remove all those swirl marks turning the paint into a perfect true red mirror.
The Taco’s needs
The Tacoma is white. White paint hides swirls much better than red. Unlike the MX-5, the truck did not spend a year being washed by careless donkeys with wire brushes. The paint is fine on that one. At the same time, unlike the MX-5, I don’t detail the truck every week like I do the Miata, so it needs a little more protection from the elements and a more durable coat of wax. While looks are always important, protection and durability are more important than gloss depth on this one.
Let’s go ahead and start before I lose you
Below is a list of all the products I ordered with links to where to buy them. I have included a description with my thoughts on why I bought that particular product and how I intend to use it. In future articles I will break some of these down in further detail.
Menzerna Super Finish Polish SF4000 Compound – I have a friend who has a beautiful Ferrari 328 GTS. This particular car is red and has the most amazing paint finish you could ever see on a show car. The car placed 2nd in the Ferrari class in the 2013 La Jolla Concours d’Elegance losing only to a $12,000,000 classic 250 Ferrari California Spyder. When my friend took the time to recommend these Menzerna polishes of course I listened. There is no better recommendation in my opinion. The car is there, in front of me. Tt has the exact results anyone could aspire to along with the recommendation of the exact products used to achieve those results. Why the heck would I choose anything else? The instructions were to polish the swirl marks out of the paint using the 4000 grit Menzerna with a white polishing pad and then gem the paint for final luster using Menzerna 4500 grit and a grey pad, all with a Porter-Cable 7424XP. Simple enough.
Wolfgang Deep Gloss Paint Sealant 3.0 – This one was also a no-brainer. While it took forever to choose waxes and other products, the Wolfgang paint sealer was one I added to the shopping cart early on. I was sure I wanted a polymer paint sealer because of the durability factor – specially on the truck. The first one I was interested in was Klasse. However, after reading the reviews and the multiple 5-start ratings by many detailers, Wolfgang 3.0 was the one to go for. Plus, unlike some paint sealants that are ultra slick and won’t pick up wax on top, 3.0 plays well with a wax topcoat over it. Exactly what I was looking for.
Collinite Liquid Insulator Wax #845 – This one I ordered mostly for the truck. The idea is to layer it on top of the Wolfgang Sealant after it has cured. This one has an interesting story behind it though. I had been researching detailing products for a couple of months (and saving you time and a headache in the process) before I ran into Collinite. The Collinite 845 didn’t land in my wish list until the very day I was placing the order. Originally, I was dead set on Finish Kare 1000p Hi-Temp Wax. Again, for the durability and the awesome reviews. I still want to try it out one of these days. However, after reading about Collinite 845, I found out it’s one of the most amazing, yet inexpensive waxes available, period. Specially for white cars. Not to mention it’s extremely durable, looks great and is easy to work with.
Rejex Paint Sealant – Rejex is a somewhat newer product that has been gaining lots of popularity. I have friends that swear by it. It’s awesome for just about everything on the outside of the car. It’s a great sealant and protectant for the paint, but because it’s non-abrasive it’s also excellent on hard shiny plastics, headlights and glass windows. Rejex is very popular on wheels as it helps keep them clean longer and prevents pesky brake dust from sticking to them. So basically, you can pretty much dip the car in the stuff, except for the trim of course. However, after lots of reading of every single thread I could find about Rejex, it seems the products I chose for the actual paint protection tend to last a little bit longer than Rejex. Marginally maybe, but also offering more depth and gloss. So, I ordered Rejex almost exclusively for use on the wheels on all my cars. I will also use it on the windows, head lamps, tail lamps and metal bumpers as well. Eventually, I’ll give it a try on paint and compare results.
Chemical Guys Synthetic Quick Detailer – I’ve been using Meguiars Quik Detailer for a while, mostly for claying but also for the occasional dusting. But, I’ve been meaning to order something more substantial. Ordering a full gallon of the stuff would not only last me longer, but save me some money in the long run. Searching around, I found a number of good quick detailers but many contained carnauba. I wanted something a little more versatile and simple as I prefer doing the protecting separately. Not only that, but I wanted something I could use under the engine bay to detail the engine compartment without fear of burning the residue with engine heat. I figured ordering a quick detailer without carnauba would be best so I ordered Chemical Guys Synthetic Quick Detailer. So far it’s been working great and I’ve fully detailed a couple of cars using it. I’ve used it on nearly clean cars mostly, but the other day I detailed the RallyWays NA Miata that had been through a bit of a rain. Worked wonderfully. Also used it as a clay bar lubricant on the Tacoma. Brilliant.
Meguiar’s Ultimate Quik Wax – Let me start by saying, don’t buy the Meguiars Quik Wax that comes in the red bottle. It’s crap. The ULTIMATE Quik Wax in the black bottle – that’s the one to buy. In contrast, the red bottle Meguiar’s Quik Detailer is OK, the problem is with the Quik Wax. I really don’t know what they were thinking when they made that one. Anyway, the black bottle Meguiar’s Ultimate Quik Wax is awesome. My favorite thing about it is how easy it is to apply and how good it smells. It’s like spraying candy all over your car. I love using it after dusting the car with quick detailer. Since I’m afraid to rub the paint for fear of scratching it, I often end up with streaks after using a quick detailer. Using Meguiar’s Ultimate Quik Wax as a last step after quick detailing removes those streaks and leaves the car slick. Did I mention it smells awesome too?
On to the interiors
303 Aerospace Protectant – This one is one of those miraculous products that all car guys seems to love. Reviews on it are always fantastic. I started detailing cars back when good ol’ white and milky Armor All was the number one product. People used to put that stuff on everything – Dashboards, interior plastic panels, vinyl, outside rubber, outside trim plastics, tires, etc. Well, nowadays there is better stuff. Stuff that’s not milky white, actually protects from UV rays, smells decent and doesn’t leave everything sticky and gooey like a beach body covered in coconut oil. 303 protectant is the way to go.
303 Fabric and Vinyl Cleaner – I needed something to clean interiors. Tuff Stuff is just old news now. If the 303 Aerospace protectant is so good, then might as well try the cleaner, right? I will likely never be quite sure if it’s the best thing since sliced bread as my cars are never dirty enough inside.
303 Fabric Guard – Back in the day I used to buy the bottles of 3M Scotchguard aerosol fabric protectant. Then people discovered the ozone layer had a hole in it and people were dying of skin cancer. So, away with aerosol and this is the replacement. It works, but admittedly, burning a whole in the ozone layer is so much easier. Meaning, applying the 3M Scotchguard aerosol was so much easier and less messy. Nonetheless, the 303 stuff went on the carpets and floor mats. It took forever to dry too. My guess is the aerosol stuff is mixed to dry quicker because it comes in a sealed can. Since the 303 stuff comes in a regular plastic spray bottle, if it’s mixed to dry quickly you will likely receive a bottle of dry gel instead of a liquid by the time it reaches you. You must give the car a good day in the sun for the carpets to dry if you use this.
Corrosion X – Toyota Tacoma’s have a reputation of exposed metal hardware that rusts in the undercarriage. I also happen to do boating , sailing and occasionally run high-speed nitro RC boats – all situations where a corrosion inhibitor can become rather handy. Corrosion X is a big deal when it comes to corrosion inhibitors. I don’t use this that often, so a small 6oz. bottle will do the trick for a while. The idea is to get under the truck and spray a bit of this on the vulnerable objects. Same thing goes on the boat and whatever else I can come up with that might benefit from not having rust. Maybe I’ll spray in on my knees between surf sessions.
Last but not least is a pretty hefty collection of microfiber towels. You simply can never have too many of these. I love experimenting with different size, thicknesses and pile types. It’s hard to go wrong with these. Pick a few different types and experiment. You will soon find which work better for you and when to use each type.
That’s it for now. All that should last me for a while. I will continue to experiment with detailing products as it’s one of the many things I truly enjoy about cars. Doing a proper detailing job while playing great music on your headphones is a great stress reliever. It also let’s you step back and feel proud of a job well done. The icing on the cake is the protection and longevity added to the good looks of your pride and joy – or if you are like me, prides and joys. Expect more detailed car detailing product reviews in the near future. Make sure you don’t miss any by subscribing to RallyWays.