My Favorite Car-Care Products
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of these products in any way. The purpose of this page is to list car-care products that I have used extensively with excellent results. Chances are, I have tried many of the competing products, and found these to be my favorites. As far as I know, each of these products in beneficial to your car. Not all so-called car-care products are. If I sound like I am endorsing these products, it is because I believe they work well for those of us who are concerned about the long-term appearance and longevity of our cars, and do not mind spending extra money on products that work. Most of these products can be purchased at Car Care Specialties, where you will also find great how-tos and excellent service. Some of the products are available via BMP Design or Bavarian AutoSport. A few can be found at you local auto parts joint or even Target or your grocery store. The Zaino's stuff is only available at Zaino Brothers,
Shampoo: Zaino's, Sonax gloss or P21S (both German made). Apparently BMW shampoo is also Sonax, and it also works well. Both of these are very mild but clean well. Zymol clear also works fine.
Hose nozzle: Target-special here, a plastic nozzle with a 6 position dial and a locking trigger. Good jet for blasting off dirt, and a soaker nozzle for the final rinse (helps prevent spotting). Also won't spray you or your car when you drop it. Cheap and durable.
Wash Mit - Target again (many other places too). Detailer's Choice plush mit, the important thing here is to get one with deep fibers so it lifts grit away from car.
Drying - P21S towel or waffle-weave microfiber. This is the only chamois-like towel I have found that really dries the car, I've tried 'em all, this is by far the best. DO NOT use a real chamois, it'll remove your wax. Also useful is the California Water Blade (yes, as seen on TV). Great for removing standing water before using the P21. Doesn't scratch if car is clean, but i mainly use it on windows and other unpainted surfaces.
Pre-wax paint cleaner - 3M Imperial Hand Glaze or machine glaze (if you use a buffer) or Zymol HD Cleanse. The 3M is a micro-abrasive, so it does a better job of removing fine scratches and swirls than the zymol, which is a chemical cleaner. The Zymol is good at removing some blemishes tho. I usually have both on hand. The 3M is also a great final polish on retouched wet-sanded areas. I typically use a cleaner every other time I wax.
Wax - ZAINO'S !! Amazing synthetic stuff. Beads forever, shines great. Way out-performs carnuba. A little weird because you have to mix it up beforehand, adding a few drops of catalyst to the liquid wax. You can skip this but it can take a VERY long time to dry without it. Requires at least a couple coats, but you can coat the entire car before removing, and you can apparently even use it on a fairly warm surface without it permanently bonding to your paint.
1Grand Blitz Wax. This is pure carnuba. It lasts and lasts, and it is relatively easy to use. Zymol is also good, but more expensive, doesn't last as long in my opinion, and is also tougher to use. With Blitz wax, You can coat the whole car, as it should be left on for 15 minutes before removal. Then work your way around with a microfiber or cotton towel or flannel. Done in 30 mins. Try this with Zymol, and you better get a belt sander. The shine quality is on par with Zymol, maybe not quite as good, but the difference is insignificant in my opinion.
Tires, all exterior rubber surfaces - 1Grand ERV. This stuff has a great semi-gloss finish, and lasts and protects quite well on bumpers, spoilers, etc. Also works great on shadow-line trim on the M cars.
(flame-suit on) ARMOR ALL!! I know AA is one of the most consistently hated products by enthusists. But the new water-based "classic" version works amazingly well, and was ranked number one by Guru Reports in blind tests.
Exterior and interior vinyl and plastic - Meguiars #40. This stuff is just the best, great semi-matte finish, not greasy, lasts well. Actually preserves your plastic parts, instead of attacking them. Great for the dash, will keep it from cracking.
Interior carpets and headliner - Tuff Stuff. Yup, you can find it in many grocery stores, all auto parts stores, etc. I had an old Land Cruiser that I used to haul triathlon bikes all over the state of Florida with. They rode in the back, so the light-gray headliner had lots of tire marks on it. The carpet had tons of ancient coffee stains. Nothing worked until I tried Tuff Stuff. It completely removed these stains, no damage to the surfaces. Resolve carpet cleaner also works ok on carpets.
Interior leather - Leatherique Rejuvenator oil and Prestine Cleaner. If you have an older leather interior, just buy this stuff. Yes it is expensive, but so is a new leather job, only way more so. It will put life back into any leather that is saveable. The cleaner is fantastic stuff, gets just about anything off of leather. The products work together, so you need both. Only available at Leatherique. They make great restoration products as well, see my experience here.
Restoring exterior rubber trim - Forever Black. Worked great on my M5's sun-baked rubber bumpers. They went from gray to completely natural-looking black. Lasts a long time (several months to years depending).
Removing bird droppings - Meguiars Quick Detailer. I keep a bottle of this and a cotton towel in my trunk at all times, so I can get any brid droppings off quickly.
Degreaser, engine compartment cleaner, Wheel cleaner - Simple Green, 'nuff said.
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