Favorite Detailing Products

If you’re in Canada, make sure to head over to TOC Supplies and use code GEARHEAD for 10% off most of the products found on this page!

If you want to know which specific product I use to care for one of my vehicles, it’s all here. I’ve spent over a decade testing different products both as a hobbyist and a professional, and these are the ones that have made the cut.

Please don’t confuse this as a guide to the “best” products out there. Although these have met my needs, this stuff always comes down to personal preference. I’m just sharing the ones that I love to use myself.

Table of Contents

Washing

Here are my recommendations for things like a pressure washer, foam cannon, car soaps, wash mitt drying aid, and detail spray.

Karcher pressure washer with Obsessed Garage upgrade

Pressure Washer / Foam Cannon

Obsessed Garage Karcher K1700 Cube

The Karcher K1700 is a good unit right out of the box but upgrading it with Obsessed Garage’s solution takes it to a completely different level.

This replaces the Karcher parts with a KobraJet hose, MTM gun and foam cannon, a Mosmatic stainless steel wand, and the quick disconnects and fittings to make it all work properly. You could spend the time to piece all of this together yourself, but Obsessed Garage allows you to order the complete functioning setup at the click of a button.

This setup is very comfortable to use and has plenty of pressure. I’ve even used it to freshen up a cedar deck and clean the siding of an entire house before. Rinsing mud off a 4runner is child’s play compared to that!

Things I’d like to improve or do differently: I should have bought the longer hose option – this 25′ hose does the job but I do find myself having to strategize where I park the vehicle I’m washing.

Lithium Double Tap

Traditional Soap

Lithium Double Tap

I’ve tried quite a few car soaps over the years and I used to think they were basically all the same. When Lithium sent this bottle of Double Tap to me to test out, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Eucalyptus oil? Really?

I expected their “low residue” claims to be a bit of a stretch but I was wrong. I’m a guy that doesn’t follow the rules when it comes to only washing vehicles in the shade. I’ll do it in direct sunlight in the middle of summer. If you hustle and work smart, it can be done without the residue drying on the surface.

I was surprised to see how well Double Tap performed in this situation. I don’t have to hustle as much. The claims are true – it really does work. I love the concept of hydrating the paint rather than drying it out too.

I use this soap on all types of vehicles. Unprotected paint that’s about to be polished, waxed paint, and even ceramic coatings. It works great on all of them.

Microfiber Madness Incredipad

Wash Mitt

Microfiber Madness Incredipad

I use a few different wash pads from time to time but this Incredipad is the one I use the most. I prefer to use pads rather than mitts because I found myself never actually wearing a mitt properly. That just means I end up dragging the sleeve of it across the paint so in this case, it’s best to just eliminate it.

The Incredipad is nice and soft and I find the size fits my hand comfortably although some might consider it a little on the small side. For larger vehicles, I switch to a Simoniz Platinum chenille-style pad.

Optimum No Rinse

Rinseless Wash

Optimum No Rinse

Optimum No Rinse might just be my most used detailing product of all time. It’s sold as a concentrate (I buy it by the gallon) and you can adjust how you mix it up depending on your intended use.

Primarily, ONR is a rinseless wash. It allows you to wash your car without rinsing the residue off with a hose, hence the name. I actually use it this way very rarely. I prefer to rinse the vehicle off with a hose or pressure washer first for added safety.

I’ll wash any vehicle with Optimum No Rinse. Waxed or ceramic coated – it doesn’t matter. Keep in mind I use the original version, not the one that has wax in it.

Another big reason for my obsession with ONR is the other products it replaces. I keep a spray bottle of it handy and use it for a window cleaner, detail spray, and even an interior cleaner whenever I’m too lazy to grab a separate product. You can even use it on navigation screens without leaving a residue behind!

Lithium Glowmaxx

Waterless Wash

Lithium Glow Maxx

I’m not really a fan of waterless washes. A rinseless wash is one thing, but simply spraying a product on a dry panel and wiping it creates a certain amount of anxiety in me. I’ve tried other waterless washes though and I will say that if I’m going to use one, it’s Lithium Glowmaxx.

Some waterless wash products go too far with lubrication (or leaving wax behind, whatever) and it makes them nearly impossible to buff to a streak-free finish. Lithium got the mixture right and I find it much easier to use than others.

I tend to use this on motorcycles most often. They don’t get super dirty and it’s easier to just spray a product like this on and wipe it off rather than deal with blowing water out of every crack and crevice.

Worx WG600 leaf blower

Leaf Blower

Worx WG520

If I’ve just finished a traditional wash (rather than a rinseless one), I prefer to dry the car off with a leaf blower to minimize scratches and swirl marks. This strategy works great with Lithium Double Tap since it leaves less residue behind than other soaps.

It seems like the WG520 has been replaced with the 521 which is the same thing, just with more CFM. I’m definitely happy with this blower but if I had to do it all again, I’d probably go with a battery-operated one rather than fighting with a cord while drying off the car.

P&S Bead Maker

Drying Aid / Top Up

P&S Bead Maker

I had a bit of a hard time choosing my favorite drying aid. I’ve used a few different products and really liked most of them. I’ve chosen to put Beak Maker here because a) I’ve used it the most and b) it works pretty well as a standalone protection product too. You can either apply it on a wet car before you dry it or use it as more of a spray sealant on a dry car.

A close 2nd place would be Lithium Ignite After Wash. It’s primarily a drying aid though so it isn’t quite as well-rounded. You can’t go wrong with either of these in my opinion.

Detail Firm Detailer

Detail Spray

Detail Firm Detailer

I don’t use detail sprays very often but this is my go-to for the times when I need one. Typically, you use a quick detailer like this for touch-ups like fingerprints you notice after washing your car. It works great for that. You can also use it as a drying aid or clay lube as well.

Wheels

Here you’ll find my recommendations for things like wheel cleaner, brushes, tire shine, and degreaser.

Griot's Garage Wheel Cleaner

Wheel Cleaner

Griot’s Garage Wheel Cleaner

Whenever I’m washing wheels, I always fill up my wheel bucket with cheap soap. In cases where the wheels aren’t too dirty, this is enough to clean them (especially ceramic coated wheels). But for dirtier wheels, I like to use this wheel cleaner from Griot’s Garage. It’s much more powerful than a regular over-the-counter wheel cleaner, yet still safe on all surfaces but polished aluminum.

No, it won’t turn red or purple when it comes into contact with brake dust like other fancy cleaners. But you also won’t have to clean up what looks like a crime scene on your driveway afterward either.

It’s helpful to know that Griot’s Garage also sells a Heavy Duty version of this wheel cleaner meaning this one is fairly mild. I’ve used this on custom powder coated wheels where the coater recommended only using soapy water, with no ill effects.

Wheel brushes

Assorted Wheel Brushes

The brushes you choose really come down to personal preference. It also depends on the design of the wheels you’ll be cleaning. If your wheels have a bunch of intricate spokes, a big fat brush probably won’t do you any good.

In general, I like to have a long and skinny brush for getting into the barrel of the wheels and between the spokes, a fatter one for bigger areas of the wheel and the fender liner, a small detailing brush for the lugnuts and an old wash mitt for wiping down the rest of the wheel.

I don’t purposely go shopping for a mitt for wheels, I just downgrade my regular wash mitt once it gets too dirty and worn out to continue using on the paint.

I have 2 tire brushes from Simoniz Platinum in small and large sizes. As you could probably guess, the small one works best on low-profile tires and the large one is better for truck tires.

Simoniz Tire Cleaner

Tire Cleaner

Simoniz Platinum Tire Cleaner

This product proves that you don’t have to spend big money to get good results. I use this any time I want to apply a new coat of tire shine. The idea here is to spray it on, scrub it, and rinse it off. If the suds are brown when you rinse, do it again. Eventually, the suds will stay white, meaning there are no other contaminants being dissolved.

This tire cleaner is readily available on the shelves of any Canadian Tire and it’s cheap!

Detail Firm Trim and Tire Care

Tire Dressing

Detail Firm Trim & Tire Care

This is a thicker gel than the tire dressings you might be used to applying. It does a great job of moisturizing the rubber and protecting it from UV rays. A spray-on product might work better on off-road tires but for regular ones, this is a great way to go.

Detail Firm Degreaser

Engine Degreaser

Detail Firm Degreaser

I used to be a big fan of Meguiar’s Super Degreaser and I still am. Truth be told, sometimes I just get too lazy to mix up another bottle of concentrate and water. Detail Firm’s Degreaser is ready to use and it works quite well.

Spraying this on your engine bay and scrubbing with your wheel brushes is the easiest way to clean it up under your hood. This might not have the strength to restore oily engines that have been neglected for 30 years but then again, most detailing degreasers won’t.

For the other 95% of vehicles, this product works great and won’t dry out the rubber and plastic in your engine bay. It can also be diluted 10:1 and used for stubborn interior cleaning when a regular interior cleaner isn’t up to the task.

Stoner More Shine Less Time

Dressing For Engine Bays and Inner Fenders

Stoner More Shine Less Time

I like to use this on black plastic fender liners for 2 reasons: the aerosol can makes it quick and easy to apply, and once applied it dries to the touch. Since it doesn’t stay greasy, it won’t attract dirt and dust as much.

A lot of people overlook this step, but having clean, dark fender plastics contrasting against your shiny wheels is one of many tricks you can do to make your vehicle stand out from the rest.

I don’t bother with this on low cars with very little gap between the tire and fender. My motto is “if you can see it, it should be clean”. This also applies to whether something needs to be dressed or not.

I’ve also used Gtechniq C4 Permanent Trim Restorer on my 4runner’s black plastic fender liners. This is an off-label use, but in my mind, black plastic is black plastic whether it’s a windshield wiper cowl or fender liner.

Decontamination

Here are my recommendations for things like clay bars, clay lube, and iron/fallout remover.

Gtechniq W6

Iron and Fallout Remover

Gtechniq W6 Iron and Fallout Remover

Most of these iron removal products are the same. In this case, there’s pretty much only one way to skin a cat, so all of the products use the same chemical. And let me tell you, it smells like burning butt cheeks.

This stuff is nasty, but it’s a necessary evil if you’re concerned with removing iron and fallout from your paint. This is the stuff that turns red when it comes in contact with iron particles. Great for getting rid of those pesky orange dots on white cars.

To be honest, I don’t use these products very often – mainly just when I’ll be ceramic coating a vehicle after polishing. In that case, I want to take every step I can to remove anything from the surface of the paint.

Lithium Clay Bar

Clay Bar

Lithium Fore Clay

I don’t use traditional clay bars as often as I used to. I prefer to use the Nanoskin Autoscrub sponge listed below. I’ll still use this Lithium Fore Clay if I feel like the paint I’m working with is too sensitive for the sponge.

Most clay bars are the same material. There’s an interesting story behind it that you might be interested in reading – but I won’t get into it here. The short version is that someone patented the clay bar and everyone had to license it from them.

Nanoskin Autoscrub Sponge

Clay Bar Alternative

Nanoskin Autoscrub Sponge

In the real world, I reach for this sponge 9 times out of 10 when detailing a car. They’re quick and easy to use and they do the job nearly as well as a clay bar.

The difference is that they last longer, don’t require constant kneading to find a clean side to use, and unlike a clay bar, they aren’t considered garbage as soon as you drop them. You can simply wipe them off with a towel and keep going.

There are different variations of this type of product, like discs and mitts. Personally, I find this small sponge the most efficient to use. It’ll fit in most tight areas but can still make up ground quickly on large ones. I was skeptical of these at first, but I’m completely sold on them after a few years of usage.

I’m not too concerned with the chance of marring the paint with these because I will very rarely clay bar a car without polishing it after. Even the finest clay has a chance of marring the surface so it’s usually best to follow it up with a quick polish no matter what you use.

Lithium Luster Lube

Clay Lubricant

Lithium Luster Lube

Clay bar lubricant doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can use a product intended for this specific purpose like Luster Lube or use anything else such as soapy water, detail spray, or rinseless wash.

The reason I’ve chosen Luster Lube as my favorite is because it’s slick enough to use with a clay bar and it’s also easy to buff off after. I get annoyed by clay lubes that leave a film behind.

Paint Correction

When it comes to paint correction, the products I choose will vary depending on the car I’m working on. A pad or polish that works on one paint job might be totally ineffective on another so there’s no “go-to” setup here. It’s important to read the paint and come up with an individual solution to get the results you’re looking for.

Now with that said, these are some of the most common products that I’ll use to polish a car.

Griot's Garage G21

Long Throw Dual Action Polisher

Griot’s Garage G21

I wanted to have as much cutting power as I could get in a DA machine so I went with the long throw (21mm) Griot’s Garage Boss polisher and took it a step further by converting it down to a smaller backing plate for 5″ pads. This increases the cutting ability but also means that residue will build up quicker, requiring the pad to be blown out with compressed air more often.

In practice, I’m not so sure that the smaller 5″ pads cut that much better and I’ve noticed that this does throw the balance of the machine off a bit. I might consider swapping back to 6″ pads for all vehicles rather than just the large ones.

Griot's Garage GG6 converted to 3"

Short Throw Dual Action Polisher

Griot’s Garage GG6

This is an older model that I converted to a 3″ backing plate for use in smaller areas. The short throw also means it will do a better job of finishing down delicate paint because the movement is less turbulent. In those cases, I’ll swap to a large 6 or even 7″ pad to help control residue and be gentler.

This model isn’t sold brand new anymore but the Griot’s Garage G8 would be a good substitute.

Rupes iBrid Nano

Small Dual Action / Rotary Polisher

Rupes iBrid Nano Short Neck

This is a pretty expensive tool for such a small polisher but I do use it in tight spaces often. It can be used with either a dual action or rotary movement depending on how you set it up.

Some people complain that the iBrid Nano is underpowered and lacks heavy cutting ability. Honestly, I can understand why they say that. I’ve had times where I’m just not able to get scratches out, even with a 1″ microfiber pad.

When that happens, I find that switching to the rotary mode will give me the power I need. Of course, that also creates plenty of holograms but those are easy to take care of in the next step of polishing.

Getting into all the intricate areas of a car or bike to keep the correction tight is one of the things that separates a fantastic paint correction from a mediocre one.

Why did I choose the less popular short neck option? To me, pad flatness is very important when polishing. The leverage of the longer neck will multiply any angle you put on the machine so I’d rather keep it short. 

Scangrip Colormatch

Lighting

Scangrip Sunmatch 3

This Scangrip Sunmatch is a great handheld light for double checking your work. I wouldn’t use this as my only light source when polishing a car though. I’ll actually be making a video and/or article about building DIY paint correction lights soon so stay tuned for that.

Extech paint depth meter

Paint Depth Meter

Extech CG204

I’m the first to admit that I don’t trust paint depth gauges 100%, no matter how expensive they might be. But it’s always a good idea to know the most about a vehicle’s history before polishing it so I added this one to my arsenal. This Extech unit is inexpensive but it still gets the job done.

I feel like the proper way to use this is to look for trends in the numbers rather than caring about the number itself. If all the panels of a car are fairly consistent with their reading and 1 fender measures 3x higher, I’m going to investigate further to see if it’s been repainted.

Gtechniq Panel Wipe

Paint Prep

Gtechniq Panel Wipe

Before and during polishing, I tend to use a 50/50 mix of isopropyl alcohol and water mixed in a spray bottle. It’s super cost effective and it’s strong enough to strip any wax or polish left behind.

If I’m done the correction and about to apply a ceramic coating, I’ll use Gtechniq Panel Wipe. This stuff is no joke – in some ways I find it a bit too strong so I reserve it just for this use. It does glide easier than alcohol which helps to avoid putting fresh scratches or rub marks into the paint before coating.

Meguiar's D300

Mild Compound

Meguiar’s D300

I was curious about this compound a couple years ago, so I decided to buy a bottle. Meguiar’s markets this product as part of their DA Microfiber line which is geared more towards the hobbyist detailer. I expected it to be very user-friendly, but offer “hobbyist” level results.

That’s not the case. While it’s certainly easy to use and creates next to no dust, the results are far better than I expected. I’ve put it to the test many times to see what it’s truly capable of, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

Everything from removing leftover sanding marks in aftermarket paint jobs to correcting rock hard paint on a German car gave me great results.

Meguiar's M100

Heavy Compound

Meguiar’s M100

I used to have M105 listed here but I honestly haven’t touched it since trying M100. This is a pretty aggressive compound but it’s also easier and cleaner to work with than M105. It was originally formulated to be used with a rotary polisher although it works really well with dual action machines too.

Combining this product with a microfiber pad and the Griot’s Garage G21 polisher will slay nearly every scratch, swirl, and defect that can be removed safely. This isn’t necessarily for beginners though.

Meguiar's M205

Finishing Polish

Meguiar’s M205

If I could only use one polish or compound, this would probably be it. M205 is incredibly versatile and can be used in many situations.

For a finishing polish, it offers quite a bit of bite when you want it to. Combine it with a more aggressive pad and you’ll be surprised at what it can dig out. It’s also gentle enough that I can refine paint down to a mirror finish without needing a finer “jeweling” step.

Sometimes I add a drop of it to give my compound of choice a bit of extra lubrication. You can even dilute it down with water to make it less powerful for extremely soft paints. I love this stuff.

HD Speed

All-In-One (AIO) Polish

HD Speed

I believe this has since been rebranded as 3D Speed now. This is a great product if you want to polish and protect in one single step. It’s also quite possibly the easiest product you can use with a machine polisher. I’ve literally polished an SUV in the direct sunlight with it. Even in those extreme conditions, the excess polish wiped off effortlessly.

HD Speed is a mixture of their finishing polish and their paint sealant. The reason we refer to products like this as an all-in-one is because you can polish and protect your paint in one single step.

It’ll remove minor defects like light swirl marks and help to fill in the deeper stuff. When you wipe it off, your paint is left protected with a sealant. You can top it with carnauba or spray wax if you want, but it’s fine on its own.

HD Speed isn’t going to replace a proper paint correction. If you want to fix defects in your paint, you need to compound and polish it. If you just want to bring back some deep gloss and shine while repairing minor defects, this stuff is fantastic. It’ll certainly bring the gloss out of your paint, even if the deeper scratches remain.

Assorted polishing pads

Assorted Cutting/Polishing Pads

The pads I use during a correction vary depending on the paint itself but I’d say the most common ones I use are Meguiar’s Microfiber cutting pads and Rupes yellow foam finishing pads. I have an assortment of these and others in 1″, 3″, 5″, 6″, and 7″ sizes.

Cutting and polishing pads are really a matter of preference and there are tons of great options out there. It’s best to find some that you know how to get good results with and become an expert with them.

KXK Dynamics R.I.D Stix

Sanding Blocks

KXK Dynamics R.I.D. Stix

I love these little bite size sanding blocks. These come in really handy for sanding random isolated scratches (R.I.D.) so that you can buff them out with your polisher easier. I also use these a lot for headlight restorations because it makes it easy to get tight into the corners when sanding.

Interior

Here you’ll find my recommendations for things like interior cleaner, glass cleaner, brushes, and a vacuum.

Detail Firm Glass Cleaner

Window Cleaner

Detail Firm Glass Cleaner

Detail Firm Glass Cleaner is a simple, no-nonsense product. It’s alcohol based so it’s safe for tinted windows. It doesn’t contain any dyes or added scents. This has plenty of power to cut through fingerprints, smudges, and even the residue left behind from your cousin Billy who can’t ride in your car without licking the window.

Gtechniq G1 Clearvision Smart Glass

Glass Coating

Gtechniq G1 Clearvision Smart Glass

I’m going to put this product here with the glass cleaner even though it’s applied to the outside of the windows. Gtechniq G1 is an awesome windshield coating and in my opinion, it beats products like RainX and Aquapel easily.

It performs great but the part where it really stands out is when the coating eventually wears off. Unlike other products, it won’t cause your wipers to squeak or create streaks on the glass. It just quietly disappears.

I don’t spend the money for a specific product like this often but when I do, I think Gtechniq G1 is the clear winner. It’s expensive though so you have to really care about keeping your windows clear to justify the cost.

Detail Firm Interior Lather

Interior Cleaner

Detail Firm Interior Lather

I used to use diluted all-purpose cleaner or Meguiar’s Super Degreaser when cleaning interiors but I found that those products often left a residue behind.

Vinyl and leather surfaces shouldn’t feel slippery after cleaning (or they likely still have oil and grease built up on them) but they also shouldn’t feel sticky either. Lather does a good job of cutting through the grime and leaving behind a natural finish.

Assorted interior brushes

Assorted Brushes

I use a variety of brushes on interiors. Just like your wheel brushes, this comes down to personal preference. It’s a good idea to have a stiff one for scrubbing carpets, a soft one for leather, and some smaller ones to reach into tight spaces. I also keep a scrub pad on hand for stubborn stains or scuffs but this needs to be used with caution to avoid damaging surfaces.

Gtechniq C6 Matte Dash

Vinyl and Plastic Protection

Gtechniq C6 Matte Dash

This is a no-nonsense product that does what you need it to and nothing more. Gtechniq C6 makes your interior panels much easier to clean and less likely to stain. Once applied, it’s usually just a matter of wiping the dust off with a damp towel periodically. What it doesn’t do is add any shine or smell. In fact, you won’t even know it’s there.

Gtechniq L1 Leather Guard

Leather Protection

Gtechniq L1 Leather Guard

Gtechniq is one of the very few product manufacturers that acknowledge the fact that the surface of our seats isn’t actually leather. Even when an automaker starts off with real leather, it’s almost always covered with a plastic clear coat similar to your paint.

Gtechniq L1 doesn’t claim to nourish or soften your leather, because it’s underneath the coating. Instead, it’s designed to protect the clear coat on your seats.

Traditional leather conditioners tend to cause more harm than good. They leave the surface feeling slick and greasy, plus they attract dirt which will cause premature wear over time. L1 Leather Guard is similar to C6 Matte Dash in that you won’t really know it’s there – which is exactly what I want in a leather protection product.

Gtechniq I1 Smart Fabric

Fabric Guard

Gtechniq I1 Smart Fabric

Surprise, another Gtechniq product. Based on my experience with their products, these are the guys to go to when you want to protect a surface. Simply spray Smart Fabric on your carpets and cloth seats (preferably 3 light layers) and walk away. Spills will puddle up on top of the carpet rather than soak in which makes them much easier to clean up.

Chemical Guys Leather Scent

Interior Scent

Chemical Guys Leather Scent

I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of Chemical Guys or their way of doing business. Their interior scent products are pleasant though, although they don’t last very long. I’ll spray their Leather Scent under the floor mats and seats after washing a car to give it an added impact the next time I climb inside. It’s usually gone after driving it a few times – smells great though!

Ridgid 4HP Vacuum

Vacuum

Ridgid WD4070

I’ve had this 5hp Ridgid vacuum for years now and it still works great. I chose to upgrade to the professional hose because the black plastic one it comes with is pretty flimsy.

This unit has all the suction you need to clean a car interior while being easy to maneuver and doesn’t take up much space. There’s a reason why you see so many car detailers using this vacuum – it works great!

Simoniz steam cleaner

Steam Cleaner

Simoniz Handheld Steam Cleaner

I think it’s a good idea to have a steam cleaner in your arsenal but spending huge money on a big professional grade one is hard to justify if you’re only working on your own vehicles.

Steam cleaners like this one from Simoniz are great for heavier interior detailing where chemicals alone aren’t enough to get the job done. It’s also great for tasks like removing window tint or detailing engine bays that are too sensitive to spray with a hose.

Paint Protection

Here are my recommendations for things like wax, sealant, and ceramic coatings.

Detail Firm Defend

Spray Sealant

Detail Firm Defend

Sometimes a spray-on sealant is the way to go and I have to say, these products have come a long way in just a few years. In the past, I’ve found spray coatings and sealants weren’t worth the hassle of using them. It seemed like I was always battling streaks and smudges.

When TOC Supplies sent me this bottle to test out, I wasn’t too excited about it – I expected more of the same. Then I tried it on a CLS 63 that I polished a few weeks ago as a standalone sealant and it worked great. It was super easy to apply and left no streaks behind.

I later followed that up with a layer of Defend applied on top of the Gtechniq ceramic coating on my 4runner since the bottle claimed it would play nice with it. Again, I was half expecting to have problems with it. I’m happy to report that it worked great and provided an extra layer of protection on my ceramic coating. I love this stuff!

Detailer's Pro Series Max Wax

Carnauba Wax

Detailer’s Pro Series Max Wax (Now branded as McKee’s 37 Trademark Carnauba Paste Wax)

Wax is dead, right? Not so fast. As long as there are garage-kept, fairweather-driven cars owned by enthusiasts that love the satisfaction of a fresh buff, products like carnauba wax aren’t going anywhere.

I’ve had this same tub of wax from DP for years now. On its own, it’ll protect your paint for a few weeks (and look amazing). But I find it works best as a topper for your favorite paint sealant.

Not only will it boost the lifespan of your sealant, but it also adds a deep, warm glow that only carnauba wax can do. A coat of this wax before a car show is sure to wow the crowds. It’s also a great way to spend some time if you’re in need of some garage therapy.

Jescar Powerlock+

Paint Sealant

I have a couple of paint sealants that I jump back and forth to. These products have both proven to be great options for different reasons. You can top either of them with carnauba or spray wax if you wish, but it’s not necessary.

Jescar Powerlock+ is currently very popular, and I can see why. It’s incredibly easy to use and wipes off effortlessly. As with any paint sealant, a thin layer will go a long way. The thicker you apply it, the more it’ll fight you when trying to buff off the excess.

Wolfgang Deep Gloss 3.0 is a long time favorite in the community because it offers the protection of a sealant and the appearance of a carnauba wax. This is what I use on my MR2. I’ve gone so far as to let the product haze on the car overnight, and it still buffed off in the morning without any trouble.

I’ve also found that on a garage-kept vehicle, it lasts WAY longer than it’s supposed to. I’m talking multiple years on the MR2. Water beading is very tight, I would dare to say even similar to a ceramic coating. Only in terms of appearance though.

Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light + ExoV4

Ceramic Coating

Gtechniq Crystal Serum Light and ExoV4

CSL is Gtechniq’s “prosumer” version of their accredited-detailer-only coating, Crystal Serum Ultra. It offers 3-5 years of scratch and chemical resistance. For a coating, I’d say it’s fairly easy to apply, but you still need to know what you’re doing. If for some reason you wish to remove it, you’ll need to break out the compound. Crystal Serum is meant to be topped with at least one layer of Exo.

ExoV4 is applied as a 2nd coat on top of Crystal Serum and provides extra hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties and some more gloss. The application can be a bit tricky because the Crystal Serum tends to want to do its job by rejecting the coating being wiped on top.

I’ve had these coatings on my 4runner and Harley Davidson for years. So many years that I’ve actually reapplied it to the 4runner already because it was near the end of its lifespan. Because the Harley is garage kept and only ridden in good weather, the original application is still going strong 6+ years later.

CSL and Exo still remain as my ceramic coatings of choice due to their longevity, appearance, and ease of application.

Gtechniq C5 Wheel Armour

Wheel Coating

Gtechniq C5 Wheel Armor

I applied C5 to my matte black Method Race Wheels after about a year of using nothing more than spray wax on them. The difference in protection was huge. They bead water like freshly waxed paint, and brake dust no longer sticks to them.

Much like Crystal Serum Light, I’ve already used C5 throughout an entire lifespan and had to reapply it again. I now have a few years on the 2nd application and I still love it. I can count on 1 hand the number of times I’ve had to use a wheel cleaner on these wheels. Every other time, all they require is soap to get them clean.

Despite being driven in the winter every year and having towed a camper trailer across Canada and back, my Method wheels still look brand new. At one point during the road trip, the front wheels turned purple from 30+ days of brake dust being baked on. It all washed off when I got home (and man, was I relieved).

Gtechniq C4 Permanent Trim Restorer

Trim Restoration and Protection

Gtechniq C4 Permanent Trim Restorer

You can have the shiniest paint in the world, but if it doesn’t contrast properly with the rest of the vehicle, something is still going to seem “off”. Restoring any faded black trim is a great way to make your vehicle look new again.

Gtechniq recommends wiping your trim with a damp towel to test it out. If it looks noticeably darker, then their C4 product will work well. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to step up to a heavier restoration product like Solution Finish.

Gtechniq C4 does a much better job of restoring your black trim than the parts store products. On top of that, it offers ceramic coating type protection to the surface afterward. The trim on my 4runner was really faded when I bought it. A year and a half after application, it still looked like fresh, black plastic.

 

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