If there is one thing I know about car enthusiasts, their garage has a cabinet or shelf full of car care products. It is basically the male version of a super sized girly-girl’s make-up drawer stocked with half used bottles, jars or completely unopened containers of automotive hope-in-a-bottle. Some work, some don’t. For once and for all its time to know what car care products/brands are worth buying?
What is the best car soap, wax, or detailer to buy?
Do you go for the slickest ads, names which appear everywhere or whatever is on the shelf?
We asked 20 top automotive Instagrammers, real car owners and enthusiasts, not anyone paid or sponsored by certain products, to weigh in on their favorites. We are sharing the four companies who dominated the responses. Here is what works, what real people really use and recommend to other car geeks. Note to husband: any product not mentioned which we have in the car care bins in the garage, is going in the trash.
If you aren’t acquainted with Adam’s Polishes, you should be. Adam Pitale, founder, President and Chief Detailer began washing and waxing at age 9. After college he began detailing for Coca-Cola, 3400 vehicles. He began messing around with detail products to achieve the premium results he was after, selling at the Orange County Swap Meet in Southern California. Today his small batch products are available online and from select dealers. BTW, Adam’s Polishes ruled amongst the McLaren owners I polled. “I like all their products and use the detail spray the most. I hardly ever wash the car but use the detail spray after every drive” – @WarrenMcLaren
A number of people raved about SONAX products, specifically leather cleaner, car washes and wheel cleaner. Sonax is a German company who has been engineering high performance car care products for over 60 years. Known for their commitment to R&D and ability to harness the latest technology to deliver the best products possible to their global customer base. “At Sonax, they do a lot of research… their lab is also so much better equipped than average.” – @f3racer (He’s a racer and a chemist.)
For those dedicated enthusiasts interested in a supreme glossy finish and deep shine or the perfect protection for difficult matte finish exteriors, Swissvax delivers. By dedicated I mean those with the time and patience required to use Swissvax, you will be rewarded. Since 1930 they’ve never deviated from the small-batch, handmade attributes which have given them a cult following. From exterior to interior, including the engine bay, Swissvax has you covered. Just don’t forget your supercar wallet, quality and hand manufacturing comes with a price tag. “Swissvax ONLY!!! Their complete range!“ – @the.superswede
Meguiar’s car washes and rim cleaners were mentioned a few times. Their products aren’t too pricey, readily available around the globe and they do the job. “I prefer Meguiar’s products for cleaning the cars, and especially to obtain great shine.” – @rodvintageracer “I use Hyper-Wash with my foam gun to wash, Gold Class™ Carnauba Plus Paste Wax and remove with polisher, and professional series Mirror Glaze…” – @omartinez320
A few interesting things I learned along the way regarding Carnauba Wax:
- It has a very high melting point of 82-86 °C (180-187 °F)
- It is harder than concrete and nearly insoluble in water and ethanol
- It is the proprietary mix of other ingredients with carnauba wax which account for the deep wet and glossy shine, not the amount of carnauba
- Carnauba as an ingredient is not expensive
Warning for those with carbon ceramic brakes, keep the wheel cleaners away! Without much brake dust, you hardly need a wheel cleaner however, many caution not to use anything other than mild soap on the ceramic rotors. Check with your manufacturer to be sure.
Feel free to add your favorites in the comment section if you wish.