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Good starter kit for polishing/waxing car?

TridenT

Lifer
Sep 4, 2006
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Looking to get a dual action polisher. Going to be giving a couple cars a good overhaul. Only going to be trying to repair simple stuff as going down to the paint might be a bit tough to deal with. (Getting a good clear back on and all)

What would be a good series of items to get to start polishing and waxing the exterior of a car? I've got a few cars in mind... from decent paint to pretty rough. If I decide to do more of this stuff and find reason, I might give the first polisher away as a gift and get a better one later.

I was thinking the Porter-Cable 7424XP, a 5" hook pad, chemical guys 5.5 8-piece hex pad set ( http://www.chemicalguys.com/Hex_Logic_5_5_Buffing_Pad_Kit_p/buf_hexkits_8p.htm ), and maybe this set of compound+polish ( http://www.chemicalguys.com/V_Line_Polish_Compound_Kit_16_oz_p/gap_vkit_16.htm ).

I'd get it all on amazon or similar for slightly cheaper. It'd probably round out to about $200-250.

Thoughts?

I don't want to do this by hand. I've done that and it's way too much work with varied results.
 

Yuriman

Diamond Member
Jun 25, 2004
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Funny, I was just reading reviews on those very products myself earlier today.
 

razel

Platinum Member
May 14, 2002
2,337
89
101
Do you have a drill? I so I recommend the Meguiar's Power Dual Action drill attachment. $50 for the kit. You will need extra pads which are $10 for 2. That's that only negative point about it. The pads are smaller, but you gain more precision and more pressure in a smaller area helping speed your polish. You can also use cordless, but you will not have enough battery power/speed for the entire car. In fact, I actually recommend buying a cheap corded $30 Black and Decker drill from Target.

I used to have the Porter Cable with Lake County pads. It was about $200 for the kits with various pads. It was overkill for a weekend shadetree detailer. I can imagine it saving ALOT of time for those making money mobile detailing. I then went with the $20 Turtle Wax Walmart polisher. No bad either, but it isn't strong/fast enough to polish out to perfection, but it's still useful AFTER you are done polishing your car to perfection. It's good enough to maintain perfection.

However, I feel the Meg's Power DA is right in between those two and actually can be used as light as the Turtle Wax if you slow down the speed on your drill. However in my experience, it's only the 1st time you want to polish to perfection that you will use up/eat up pads.
 
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TridenT

Lifer
Sep 4, 2006
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Seems not a lot of people here have opinions...

I understand the power drill attachment but I want a separate tool. I also don't have a *good* power drill for such a thing.
 

foghorn67

Lifer
Jan 3, 2006
11,883
50
91
Seems not a lot of people here have opinions...

I understand the power drill attachment but I want a separate tool. I also don't have a *good* power drill for such a thing.
He said to buy a cheap corded drill for $30 bucks. But you just want to troll/brag on how you want to spend more.
 

thedarkwolf

Diamond Member
Oct 13, 1999
8,963
90
91
You can't really go wrong with the cable porter setup. I bought one and some pad/goop combo off the chemical guys a couple years ago to do my red well faded to pink miata and brought it back to nice shinny red. If you are going that far into it though don't forget to get a clay bar too.

The money was worth it to me just for the value/looks it added to my car but I've very rarely used any of it since. It is just over kill for a normal cleaning.
 

freeskier93

Senior member
Apr 17, 2015
487
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Consider the ergonomics too. Even if you aren't going to be using it all the time, if you are going to be using it for long periods of time the porter cable will be worth it. When you've got polisher in hand for hours at a time even something simple like having to hold the trigger on the drill is going to get old quick.

As far as products to use, back when I detailed cars I used Prima.

http://stores.shopprimacarcare.com/
 

razel

Platinum Member
May 14, 2002
2,337
89
101
He said to buy a cheap corded drill for $30 bucks. But you just want to troll/brag on how you want to spend more.
:) I agree foghorn. There's so much muscle flexing, show off in nearly every car forum I have come across, but we can still turn this thread into something useful. It's a waste to use a nice drill with the Meg's attachment, you want a cheap throw away. It has a plantary gearset that just converts the spin whether rough or smooth to a dual action rotary-ish thingee boo.

In summary, if I had to do it all over again, I would not have bought the Porter Cable. I wouldn't even worry about ergonomics. I'm pretty sure you guys are young so don't you want strong arms? Neither the Portal Cable or a cheap drill will wear you out. For sure if you detail cars 8 hours a day, then absolutely, but in my experience, it's forgetting to flex my knees often enough that hurts. They stiffen when you polish.

Those kits are useful, but for about half the money and HONESTLY same results and more accuracy with the Meg's smaller pads, I haven't come across a better product for the enthusiast detailer. By the way both the Portal Cable and Meg's drill attachment can get your car to perfection. It's after that. When you want to maintain it. The Portal Cable, would be OVERKILL. There's only so much clearcoat on your car. Both the Megs with a slower speed drill and Turtle Wax is gentle enough to scuff off edges of hairline swirls from washing.
 

ra1nman

Senior member
Dec 9, 2007
333
4
81
Years ago I picked up a Maguires G100 which was essentially a re-branded Porter Cable with a lifetime warranty. Over the years I find myself breaking out less and less each year....now just once a year for winter maintenance. If the adapter was an option I think I would have gone that route. 6" pads do give great coverage but have a hard time getting proper coverage and small awkward panels.
 

TridenT

Lifer
Sep 4, 2006
16,810
45
91
I bought the Porter Cable. It was only $88 after tax. So, whatever. I am planning on giving it away eventually anyway.
 

z1ggy

Diamond Member
May 17, 2008
9,945
56
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If you want quick and easy just use a DA tool, combined with chemical guys product.

If you search this forum, I did a detailed step by step process on how to detail a car. It may not be as in depth or as "professional" as somebody who does it for a living, but for somebody just looking to shine up their car nicely, it works well.

If you can't find the thread or are lazy, here is a TLDR of at least the products you'll need. Google/youtube the rest

clay bar
foaming car wash
high grit polish
fine grit polish
sealant
wax
various applicator pads
window cleaner
tire shine
brake dust cleaner (for wheels)
Foam cannon
2 buckets
many micro fiber shammies and towels
Leather cleaner (if applicable)
Painters tape (don't want polish getting on rubber/plastic)
 

QueBert

Lifer
Jan 6, 2002
21,835
272
126
Probably a good thread to ask this: What's a good/the best paste wax?
No real reason to wax a car, at least for me I'd go with a good glaze or sealant. Carnuba wax use to have a gloss quality that you couldn't get with a man made product. But both I mentioned have come a long way. And you'll get protection that lasts way longer. If you're set on a wax these are my 3 favorites

Meguiar's Ultimate Paste Wax
Dodo Juice Orange Crush
Chemical Guys Pete's 53.

For a wax Meg's will give you longer protection and a pretty good level of gloss over a straight Carnuba. And it's one of the cheaper wax's. If money's not an issue Polish Angel has some super super super good wax, but they're WTF expensive. Polish Angel's spray waxs are imho better than a lot of paste waxes. I have Viking Spritz and it's freaking amazing.
 
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foghorn67

Lifer
Jan 3, 2006
11,883
50
91
Clay bar, Meguiars Ultimate Polish, Meguiars Gold Class Carnauba Wax.
Probably the best as far ease of use, time and quality combination I've ever mixed up. I've spent a lot of time doing silly things. More for the Zen than anything else.
Modern sealants or all in one polish/wax excel in ease of application only because it doesn't care about sunlight.
Carnauba blends are great. Easy enough to put on, and last a long time.
I pretty much ignore sealants that brag about 6 months, it's not usually the case.
 

FeuerFrei

Diamond Member
Mar 30, 2005
9,152
927
126
I have Meguiar's Ultimate Polish. Never tried glazes. Any point in using a glaze, instead of or after polish? Less abrasive?

Can't really comment on polish kits.
 

razel

Platinum Member
May 14, 2002
2,337
89
101
A true glaze contains no abrasives and fills in scratches. Unfortunately I have not come across any I want to have an experience with. I two closest are Meg's #7 and Mother's Ultimate Step 2. Meg's #7 is a 'polish' for non-cleat coat paints and for clear coated paints, reconditions. It doesn't have any abrasives or fills in scratches. You apply and wipe off while wet. Your paint/clear coat will soak up oils where it needs it. If you have a car that lives in the sun, I highly recommend it. We usually don't that paint can dry or has pores, but it does and sunlight chemically breaks down anything. Mother's Ultimate Step 2 is a light abrasive that fills in scratches. It too I recommend for cars that live in the sun where the owner wants to make the car look less hazy. Both require a wax/sealant afterwards.

Remember there is only so much clear coat on your car. You do not want to use your Porter Cable full speed every year. Perhaps just once to get it to perfection then use less aggression to maintain it.

As for wax/sealant, it's always debatable, but what is true is not all paint/clear coat is the same so there is no one perfect wax/sealant for every car. The good news. As long as your wax/seal your car with something from the major detail manufacturers you are better off than nothing at all. Regardless for my friends and family members who just don't want their clear coat to peel I usually at least at minimum clay mitt/bar the car, then use Armor All Extreme Shield Wax (which averages 1+ year longevitiy in at least 4 cars). But the key is when they wash I have them use a wash/wax soap followed by wax-as-u-dry when they dry. It maintains wax on the car between base coat of wax. However, other waxes I also have enjoyed using are Meg's Cleaner Wax, NuFinish, Meg's Tech Wax 2.0, Meg's #21. If I had to do it over again, the Armor All Extreme Shield is awesome. No need to dry, just slather on, spread/wipe off. It is not a beauty wax. Beauty comes from the polish anyways. It's a protective wax and the best with bugs on the front of your car and bird bombs.
 
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FeuerFrei

Diamond Member
Mar 30, 2005
9,152
927
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^ That's helpful. Think I'll try glazing. My car's always outdoors, and I'm nervous about over-polishing. Also would like to conceal watermarks etched in the paint.

Speaking of which, I recently discovered a product that removes etched watermarks from glass. I tried it on my windows. Surprisingly effective. $8.53 for 8 oz on Amazon.
 

foghorn67

Lifer
Jan 3, 2006
11,883
50
91
I have Meguiar's Ultimate Polish. Never tried glazes. Any point in using a glaze, instead of or after polish? Less abrasive?

Can't really comment on polish kits.
Honestly. I only polish my car when I first get it, and maybe again years down the line.
Pretty much clay bar, carnauba wax (blend), and one of those "nano" or polymer spray and wipe waxes for post car wash.
 

TridenT

Lifer
Sep 4, 2006
16,810
45
91
Honestly. I only polish my car when I first get it, and maybe again years down the line.
Pretty much clay bar, carnauba wax (blend), and one of those "nano" or polymer spray and wipe waxes for post car wash.
Yeah, from what I understand using compound (aggressive) is for repair work (first time you get a car that hasn't been taken care of) or when you incur damage from washing incorrectly or whatever. Polishing is for even lighter stuff but still kind of in the realm of repair work. Sealant, glaze, and wax are all maintenance that just wear off over time and need to be reapplied routinely.

Polishing and compound are for restoration of the paint and clear coat. They don't usually go in the maintenance schedule.
 

TridenT

Lifer
Sep 4, 2006
16,810
45
91
Alrighty folks, here's the deets of what I'm starting with. It's a lot of stuff!

I decided to abandon most of the Chemical Guys stuff because from what I read, almost all of their $$ is spent in marketing. Makes sense. But, I got what I could for a decent price because other brands seemed to be comparable in pricing. I'll see how the foam pads do because I'm not sure if they'll work as well as microfiber cutting pads and so forth. Who knows.

Here's what I've bought so far (approx prices after tax):

Porter Cable 7424xp - $88
Chemical Guys 5" Velcro Backing Plate - $18
5" Felt Polishing Pads - $14
Mothers Clay Bar System - $17
Cerium Oxide 1LB - $24
Tekton 11" Scraper - $7
Duragloss 755 Automotive Glass Water Spot Remover - $9
Chemical Guys Body & Wheel Brush - $8 (Probably gonna get different brushes in addition but not a bad start)
CG Grit Guard - $5
Chemical Guys Jet Seal - $28
Chemical Guys Microfiber Applicators - $5.40
Chemical Guys Hex Logic Buffing Kit - $28
Home Depot Buckets w/ one gamma seal - $20
30+ cheap microfiber cloths - $15
Stoners Invisible Glass Spray - $5?
Spray Bottle - $3
Meguiar's Ultimate Results Car Care Bundle - $76
Various brushes (actually useful to me) - $21
Total - ~$391

So, there you go. Bought a lot of stuff. Spent about $391 on stuff that will entirely take care of my car and a few others for a long fucking time (outside of needing to buy more clay). I haven't gotten to use most of it yet because it's been fucking cold, I get home once the sun is down, my weekends are hella busy, and I've bought most of that very recently and waiting for it in the mail currently. Once I get most of it, I'll go head to a car wash and really wash down a couple cars to strip everything off of them and then I'll clay[+compound][+polish]+seal+wax. I have a third car coming in soon that I'll be doing this to too.
 
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snoopy7548

Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2005
6,849
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Trident, your new car is going to be really shiny. Post before and after pics of your first detailing job.

I like to use this stuff made by Mothers every 3-4 months or about every third washing. It makes my nine year old car look brand new, plus it smells pretty good. I use the 5" Meguiars foam applicator pads, and buff it out with some microfiber cloths. Really tones up the arms.

For the windows, I like to use Windex and newspapers; you can't beat it. Extremely clear and absolutely no streaks. The best part is I have roughly two years' worth of newspapers stowed away in my garage from some free subscriptions, so I'm pretty much set for life.
 

TridenT

Lifer
Sep 4, 2006
16,810
45
91
Okay, I've since used many of the products. Meh results.

Everything takes a long time. I mean, even with the Porter Cable 7424xp DA, it takes a long time to see any results. Ultimate Compound does somewhat quickly take out very light scratches but you're likely going to have to spend 5 minutes polishing on a 2ftx2ft area to get anything worthy of writing home about. That said, it leaves something behind which doesn't even really need polish? Because of that the difference between the compound and polish seemed hard to notice. I really only did compound, polish, sealant, and wax on the front of the Jeep and there's not really much difference from before. I spent a few hours just on the front too. The Jeep has *a lot* of various kinds of scratches, chips, and so forth. Any kind of damage you can imagine, it has. The Ultimate Compound with the Chemical Guys pads just isn't aggressive enough for my tastes. I mean, I could go over the same area four or five times and it didn't seem like anything happened. Even for what I'd consider relatively scratches. I tried to apply light to medium pressure evenly. Maybe my technique is off, who knows. Maybe I need to spend more time on each section, I can't really say. But overall, I was really unimpressed. Next year I'll have more time (I'm going on vacation here soon) to test a few different techniques including wetsanding to get a better idea of how to go about it.

The Ultimate "Black" for plastic or whatever, it doesn't do much of anything as far as I can tell. I applied 2 to 3 coats like it suggested and wiped off the excess. Not much of a difference on the black fenders. Maybe it's not meant for that but it sure did seem like it was...

The Duragloss? Not worth it. Yes, it works for *very* minor stuff like water spots and maybe some super fine spiderweb type scratches but did it really get all the metallic looking flecks out of my Jeep's windshield? Nah. As soon as the sun is going down, it'll probably look like an explosion of pixie dust happened on the windshield. It looks better, just not that much better. Again, I spent probably 20-30 minutes just going over that small stupid windshield with a DA and glass polishing pads. Very little difference before and after but there is *some* difference. Not a dramatic difference like you'd hope. I haven't tried the Cerium Oxide yet but I will. If you know anything about YJ windshields btw, you know it's a PITA. (windshield wipers FTL)

I haven't seen the Jeep in enough sunlight yet to really get a conclusive decision but under a high powered flashlight, there's really little difference before and after. Yes, I got some minor stuff out with a lot of work but really not that much. I can't tell in current light whether or not the Jet Seal + Wax is really doing much of anything. It really looks the same under a flash light when you go from non-sealed-and-waxed to sealed and waxed. But, whatever.

If I was to do this over: I'd go with M205 and M105. I'd also get the Meguiars microfiber cutting pads.

I can't speak for the CG pads very well but from when I have been using them, it looked as if they were constantly falling apart and just spreading tons of tiny bits of foam dust all over the paint. Not awesome? I couldn't tell if it was the pad or the clearcoat but I'm pretty sure it was the pad. Not sure if the Meguiars microfiber cutting pads do that but I hope not. Pretty annoying.

Other products: Meguiars glass cleaner, meh. It's okay. Works fine.

Porter Cable is pretty loud and can vibrate a lot.

The razor scraper: don't use it unless you absolutely have to. It will scratch your glass inevitably.

Home Depot buckets + gamma seals: works well.

Meguiars washing mitt: falling apart after first use and trying to shake out the dirt from it. Seriously. Falling apart. What?! TOO delicate!

CG Wheel Brush: it's okay. It's pretty soft, which is nice.

Mothers clay bar system: works well. Left the paint suuuuper smooth. I feel like it doesn't come with enough detailer stuff tho. That bottle is nearly empty and I went over the entire Jeep. (wheels and all) I've got at least 1.3 bars left. Surprisingly, the Jeep didn't have that much. I mean, yes, the paint sounds way better and feels way better but the clay was not pitch black afterwards like some horror shows I see. I guess I did a decent job at washing the car.
 

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