Over the Counter & Retail Products
You can detail your vehicle without spending large amounts of money on high end products. With the right products found locally you can detail all of your personal vehicles. Part 1 briefly goes over the safe brands to choose, Part 2 goes over specific popular products that perform.
Most locally available car care brands do not have highest of quality due to the volume and lack of consumer awareness. These are the common safe brands that have a decent reputation (in order of my preference):
#1 Meguiar’s Car Care
NXT and Gold Class are more targeted toward a consumer crowd and have decent performance. Detailer & Mirror Glaze are your best bet for professional products.
Carquest can order you the Mirror Glaze/Detailers Line including these amazing products:
Mirror Glaze #105 Ultra Cut Compound, #205 Ultra Finishing Polish – Best Correction Combo
Detailer: Super Degreaser, Wheel Brightener, Hyper Dressing, Hyper Wash
Buffing Pads: Yellow, Red, Black Foam pads are simple yet effective combo
#2 Duragloss – A less popular brand that yields great results at a great price. Some have even commented that Zaino resembles most of the results you get. The popular products:
#951 Aquawax, #901 Car Wash Concentrate, #105 Total Performance Polish
#3 Mother’s Car Care: FX & Reflections Line are generally solid. California Gold is older and less commonly found or known to perform.
Wheel Mist, All Wheel & Tire Cleaner, FX Tire Shine
If you can find Autoglym, Surf City, Stoner, or Griots Garage, all are very reputable and dependable products to use.
Stoner Tarminator, More Time Less Shine, Invisible Glass, Speed Bead
Surf City Grime Destroyer, Dash Away, Beyond Black
In general I do not recommend Turtle Wax, Blue Magic, Eagle One, or Zymol since those brands misuse detailing terms and have subpar quality.
All stores have such varied inventories and general brand names. It’s quite a big toss up of what you can find. In general here is what you can look for:
Carquest: Duragloss, 3M, Meguiars, Collinite – Would be my #1 Choice.
Usual big chains like Advanced Auto Parts, Autozone, Pepboys, and others. Meguiars, Mothers, Eagle One, Etc. sell more mediocre and average products. Part 2 of this guide will focus on which products are popular and work for boutique detailers.
Don’t forget about big chains like Lowe’s & Home Depot for equipment like buckets, grout sponges, and spray bottles. You can find the cheap yet effective ZEP Line of cleaners.