Enthusiasts always want product suggestions to assist in their efforts to a spotless better-than-new automobile, but many times I feel people get hung up on thinking price equates to performance, and waste too much of their budget on things that make a minimal difference. Those with experience will often be the first to point out that a product with double the price doesn’t give double the performance. Many products (especially high-end waxes) have diminishing returns in which a much higher price might give a very slight advantage if any. With this Ask-A-Pro article, I’ll highlight 5 products that are “must-buys” for nearly every car enthusiast.
1. Optimum Power Clean. This versatile inside/outside cleaner is a great value (dilutes 3 parts water to 1 part cleaner) that is also very effective on a wide variety of surfaces. Coming back from a long trip and your front end is full of bugs? Pre-treat it with Optimum Power Clean. Light carpet stains? Optimum Power Clean can help to effectively break down many stains so they can be removed. Need to clean your exhaust tips but don’t have metal polish? How about that dirty and neglected license plate? Could your engine bay use a light cleaning? Optimum Power Clean can be used in all of these situations with outstanding results.
2. Einszett (1Z) Cockpit Premium. I use no other interior product more often than Cockpit Premium. The hard surface cleaner/dressing/protectant is used on nearly every car we do interior work on. With a light lemon-like smell, mild cleaning ability, and the perfect no-shine/all natural look, we’ve had many clients purchase the interior product on their own. Make sure to keep a spritz bottle with 1Z’s Cockpit Premium in your glove compartment along with an all-purpose microfiber towel to keep your center console, dash-board, and door panels free of dust and light debris, and your interior will always look perfect!
NOTE: If you have a vinyl-heavy interior (Corvette, Honda, etc), you’ll want to use a product like Meguiar’s #40 instead.
3. TUF SHINE Tire Brush. Tire care is very underrated, but any good detailer knows that something as small as tires can break an otherwise great detail job if not handled correctly. Giving your tires a thorough cleaning every other month (for daily driven cars), or every 6 months (weekend toys) is a must to keep them looking black and new. I hope that by now you’ve read this outstanding article from Utah’s top detailer, Greg Nichols, covering TUF SHINE as a brand and product line. In the event you haven’t been keeping up, Detailed Image is the exclusive online merchant of TUF SHINE products, to include a little gem I consider the best brush for cleaning tires yet. With perfect density, stiffness, and size, this brush is perfect when paired with the TUF SHINE Tire Cleaner or even Optimum Power Clean (another great use!). Don’t let your tires look aged and tired when a small amount of money and some elbow grease will have them looking better then when they were first mounted on your wheels.
4. Dodo Juice Red Mist Tropical Edition quick detailer / spray sealant. It’s no secret I’m a fan of Red Mist Tropical; I even wrote a full article on it. If you’re not using this after every wash, you’re already missing out, but right now I want to highlight an alternative use for it: the underside of your hood, the underside of the trunk, the water channels in your trunk, and your door jambs. After giving your vehicle a thorough cleaning, use Red Mist Tropical on these areas for months of protection. Without UV rays from the sun beating on these areas, you’ll notice the small amount of time you spend sealing these surfaces will last for months.
5. E-Z Detail Brush. I didn’t want to put “no brainer” products on this list originally as I feel things like Grit Guards, microfiber towels, buckets, and wax/sealant are all standard things everyone should have without question. However, I hate seeing clean cars with clean wheel faces, but the inside of the wheel is dirty and black from brake dust build-up. My fellow car lovers, PLEASE clean your wheels thoroughly, especially if you have large or beautiful wheels.
While the Porsche 911 posted above (courtesy of DJ Mayo Studios) has been professionally prepped, with the proper care, products, and tools you will be on your way to transforming your car to better-than-new condition!