Hey What's Goin On?
With about a thousand different labels out on the shelves in stores and on shelves in online stores, I wanted to see what everyone is currently using as their "go to" or "first reach" for items in their detailing arsenal. I've been doing this for so long that I have accumulated quite the collection and Certainly do have my favorites...I'll list mine below. Interested to see what labels pop up, given this is a forum, knowing there are labels out that offer forum discounts, like the label that sponsors here...
Surf City Professional Extreme Suds Balanced Wash
I use this both in a Foam Gun and Cannon. The amount of suds produced in either far out performs any soap I have used, seen, or tested in the last 10 years. That said, I don't like how that company treats their team. Thus, while I love the product, I get a little angry every time I use it. Smells like Green Apples.
Adam's Polishes Waterless Wash
This also works amazing (the old formula--I hear they have a new one now) also as a pre-treatment for bug guts, in between body panels before wash. Post wash, if I am using a drying towel, I will spritz the paint down with this. It helps against spotting and also, because there isn't any wax in it like there would be with some Detail Sprays, I don't have to worry about chasing streaks behind it.
I use about 4 or 5 different DS, just because I guess
. My favorite that I have used is C.A.R. Bulletproof Series Topper.
This stuff is NOT at all cheap. However, the intensity of the gloss it brings is unmatched by anything else I have used or tested. I only use that when the Jeep has somewhere fancy to go. Most of the time, I prefer, and love, Surf City Garage Professional Polymer Detail Spray
. This stuff is really easy to use, is polymer based, so no chasing wax streaks, can be used in any weather, inside or out, and provides a really nice finish. I've used also Adam's DS, Gloss-It's DS, and Meg's. Nothing bad to say about them. I just prefer the other two.
All Purpose Cleaner (for tires, trim, and engine bay)
I used to think that I needed to have a brand label APC to take care of all the road dirt, tire gunk, etc. While I love what I've used from both Adam's and Surf City Pro, I feel that Simple Green is both cost effective and cleaning effective enough for me not to have another brand on the shelf.
I like my tires somewhat shiny, but not...so shiny that they take away from the gorgeous paint. I've been playing with C.A.R. Tire Gel recently. I like the durability of it, just a little too shiny for me. Most of the time, I am using Surf City Professional Tire Dressing
or Adam's SVRT
. Both of those products, in my opinion, for a tire dressing are damn good. There are tire coatings out there also like CARPro Perl. A lot of my detailer friends use and love that stuff. I haven't played too much with most of them. I do have one I am testing. If I like it enough, I will come back and mention it.
There are times when I do need to do some heavy cleaning in the interior portion of the Summit. Plastics, Rugged Ridge Mats, etc. all get hit with Adam's Leather and Interior Cleaner
when needed. Now, keep in mind, using a cleaner like this, it's important to dress it back up afterwards to protect it from the elements. Most of the time, I reserve the interior to light cleaning because I am not a slob.
I really, really like Optimum Leather Protectant
. I've used Adam's Leather Conditioner almost exclusively in the past. Also, Surf City Pro's Leather Cockpit Cream. Both work excellent on vinyl, AP's works great on plastics also.
Interior Maintenance (touch ups)
This seems to be a product a lot of labels have been jumping into the last 5 years. I think Meg's may have been the first to release it. I have been using Surf City Pro Interior Quick Detailer
. I've tried a bunch of other labels, and they're all really close. The one I use barely leaves anything behind. I prefer a natural finish vs glossy for interior.
The Summit doesn't have too much in the way of plastic or rubber exterior trim. Is kind of nice not having to dress every window frame after a wash now, I will say that much. For the wiper cowl and around the mirrors, rails, oh and of course, the step pad, I use Surf City Professional Exterior Trim Conditioner
or Adam's SVRT
. Whichever is closest. For the fog light pockets and plastics in the grille, I use Adam's In and Out Spray
. Nothing like it. Love it. Always have.
I am not a coating person. I own a few, but like to play with my paint too much to warrant wanting a coating on my paint. I am however, a sealant person. Acrylic Sealants are both excellent in protection and durability. I have some of the test batch of Surf City Pro Acrylic Shield Paint Sealant
I still use for my personal stuff. Adam's Paint Sealant
is nice, as is Sonnax Polynet Shield.
I had to try real hard to break the sealant of the SCG stuff. I would venture to say I get 8-10 mos of protection with past experience in this climate. I DO layer. Mainly because I like the added gloss, and I am also a shine freak. To layer, I used Adam's Brilliant Glaze over the sealant. My favorite paste wax over that. Patriot is great if I am headed to a show or meet. Otherwise Americana, because it lasts a little longer. I realize that layering washes off far more frequently than a sealant does. It's just something I do.
There are a few of these on the market now also. ONR, Rinseless Wash, Rinse-Free Wash and Wax...whatever you want to call a water saving wash product. Stuff like this is great for those on water restrictions and also great to keep a diluted bottle around for dusting in between washes. That said, I NEVER recommend using a California Duster. I know personally what damage they do, and won't be talked out of it otherwise. All I will say is, taking a dry dustmop to your finish (coated in parafin which just collects said crap and spreads back into said finish) is not the best way to maintain a show quality finish. Yes, you see the good old boys at shows from 25' away dusting their preciouseses for all they're worth, and it seems to do a good job. Get closer, within 2'. You'll see some lovely marks that people like me get paid to take out. For this, I use Surf City Pro Rinse Free Wash and Wax
. It's on par with ONR
I'd love to see what everyone else is using! I would love to answer any questions anyone has also. By no means am I a detailing legend, but I've been around the block enough to know what I am doing. I've worked for a few of the labels, worked hundreds of shows, polished hundreds of cars. I don't get paid by anyone but me now. I met a close and dear friend, Dylan, doing this when I bought my TBSS. Some of you know who he is...kind of a big deal now LOL!
I can answer things without the burden of shill as I would have had before. I am also in no way trying to come off like a Pompous Horse Turd or a detailing know it all. I just LOVE to detail, and remembered how much I do, this past weekend.
For machines, I have the Rupes MkII 15, the Flex 3401VRG, and the PC7424XP (setup for 4"). I use only Korean made Microfiber. All detailing related tools I use can be found pretty much anywhere online. Mainly from Adam's though.