07-09-2005, 06:51 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Albany, NY
My Ride: Audi S4
Hey, emthree... thanks for the first post I'll post my recommendations and suggestions for each step of the exterior detailing process.
Originally Posted by emthree
Maybe you can do a little write up on what products are best for our car's exterior?
Other than that, welcome aboard.
Shampoo & Dry
-Car Wash Shampoo: My personal favorite is P21s Bodywork Conditioning Shampoo, it provides excellent lubrication and provides an excellent gloss, but at $9.99 / 500ml its not cheap. I think bang for the buck Poorboy's Super Slick & Suds is a good choice, again great lather and great shine. If you are following all the steps in the detailing process (clay, polish, wax, etc.) choosing the write shampoo is probably the least of your concerns. It's when you just plan on shampooing and drying where there can be some distinction in product and want a shampoo with proper conditioners that won't strip your wax.
-Drying Towel: Hands down Waffle Weave Microfiber Towels are the way to go! Very absorbant, paint safe, and 1 towel can pretty much dry a whole car. A solid investment if you don't have one already. The ones we sell are 3' x 2' and are good for up to 300 washes. Beware, the wash/dry phase of a detail is where a majority of swirls and micro-scratches occur so don't skimp on a cheap drying towel. I also find these superior in drying quality from a chamois.
-Wash Mitt: My product of choice for washing a car is a wash mitt as it will minimize swirls and scratches, compared to a traditional sponge. Our product of choice of lately is a microfiber wash mitt.
-2 buckets: Washing with the 2 bucket system can help minimize swirling and scratches. Have 1 bucket ready with your suds and the 2nd with clean water. When you wash a couple panels, rinse out your wash mitt in the clean water bucket before dipping back into the bucket with soapy suds.
Polishing & Compounds
Polishing is really what will make the car jump and give that amazing depth you'll find in the paint. This is really where you can make or break a good detail IMHO. There are two general types of polishes, abrasive polishes / compounds, that will wear the slightest amount of your clear away to help eliminate imperfections such as swirls and scratches, scuffs, etc., and there are chemical polishes, which do a great job removing oxidation and ridding minor imperfections.
-Abrasive Polishes / Compounds: One of my favorite combo's is Poorboy's World SSR 2.5 followed by SSR 1. This two step combo does a great job of ridding swirls and imperfections and really brightening up the paint. Another amazing combo I personally love using is Menzerna's two step combo, Intensive Polish followed by Final Polish II. Both brands are roughly the same price give or take a couple dollars and make excellent additions to any detailers arsenal. The reason for the two steps is because the first step (2.5 or Intensive) is rather aggressive and can leave some macromarring and hazing, so you will need to follow it up with a finer polish to clean all that up!
-Chemical Polish: Klasse All-In-One is my favorite 1 coat product out there. It removes oxidation and polishes the paint with ease, there are no abrasives in AIO so you don't have to worry about removing any of your clear coat. The best part about AIO is an acrylic layer of protection that out-lasts traditional waxes. It will give you ~4-6 months of protection with an application (pending weather conditions, storage, etc.). If I only had time to do 1 coat on my car, this would be it!
A final polish for your paint that generally has fillers that will mask imperfections in your paint. This is a great step if you are looking for optimal shine and gloss, especially if you are preparing for a show! My favorite glaze so far is by Menzerna Finishing Touch Glaze. Application is an easy on and off and the results are amazing. Another favorite of mine is ClearKote Vanilla Mouse Hand Glaze.
Traditional waxes have been overcome by acrylics / polymers that provide higher gloss and longer lasting protection. My favorite sealant hands down is Menzerna Full Mollecular Jacket. Although a tad pricey, you don't need much product at all to do your car and is the absolute easiest application and removal I have found. Durability has held up so far since my first application 3 months ago so I have been impressed so far! A close second is Klasse High Gloss Sealant Glaze. A little bit harder to remove, but a quick spritz of a quick detailing solution on a microfiber towel makes removal a lot easier.
My personal favorite topper wax is P21s Concours Carnauba Wax. For a show car finish this is the wax to top with. A great alternative for half the price is Natty's Paste Wax from Poorboy's World. Both very easy to remove and leave you with a super wet look with extraordinary depth.
Tools & Accessories
-Buffer: A Porter Cable 7424 is a great investment for the do it yourself detailer. With an optional velcro backing plate, changing pads is a breeze. Its random orbital movements creates up to 6000 oscilations per minute. Your coats will be applied more evenly and it will cut down on the time of your coats. A solid investment! A+
-Towels: Microfiber towels are a the best investment you can make for your car. They are paint safe and do an excellent job trapping in removing polishes and waxes, and also trapping in dust / debris of interiors. Definately don't skimp when it comes to buying towels for your vehicle.
I know I didn't hit everything but this is a start! I will create a similar post for wheels and interior products as well! All of these products and more can be found on our website www.detailedimage.com . Feel free to contact me for some more suggestions and questions you may have.
George @ Detailed Image
Last edited by Detailed Image; 07-09-2005 at 07:44 PM.