Everything you need to detail your car’s exterior like a pro (without breaking the bank) – SFGATE | Car Plazas

Do you remember the day you picked up your car from the dealer for the first time? How shiny was it? Chances are if you haven’t detailed it since then it just doesn’t have the same shine. And if you’ve ever thought about detailing your car, even for the exterior, it can get downright expensive.

So instead of paying for an expensive, professional exterior detail, just do it yourself! Everything you need is here. To make it even better, all your subsequent details will be even cheaper since you have everything at your fingertips!

Vehicle care kit (brushes, applicators, etc.)

EVBOYS 16 Piece Auto Detailing Kit, $32.99

EVBOYS 16 Piece Car Detailing Kit


For any type of exterior detailing project, no matter how deep you delve into the process, you need a selection of brushes and applicators. Sure, you can buy these all separately, but you’ll save money by simply buying a car detailing kit that includes a bunch of different tools.

This 16-piece detailing kit from EVBOYS includes everything you need to start detailing your car today. It includes 5 different sized soft tip brushes, steel wire brushes, mini feather dusters, power scrubber attachments and more.

car wash soap

Chemical Guys Mr. Pink Foaming Car Wash Soap, $14.99

Mr. Pink Foaming Car Wash Soap, 64 oz., Candy Scented


If you were to ask anyone on the street what they need to clean the exterior of their car, I’d bet the most common answer would be soap. And that’s exactly right! Before you can do anything else to detail the exterior, you need to make sure the car is clean and ready to drive.

But you don’t want to just grab some dish soap from under the sink and throw it in a bucket. Instead, get quality car wash soap that is specifically designed for this purpose. You’re all set with Mr. Pink Foaming Car Wash Soap from Chemical Guys. But there’s an even better way than putting it in a bucket and filling it up with a garden hose.

foam blaster

Chemical Guys Torq Foam Blaster 6, $44.65

Torq Foam Blaster 6 Foam Wash Gun


This goes hand in hand with the soap above as a Foam Blaster is without a doubt the best way to apply foamy car wash. Staying with the same brand, the Chemical Guys Torq Foam Blaster 6 is the ideal tool to get your car covered in soap in no time.

This foaming car wash soap gun lets you harness the cleaning properties of foam soap without damaging the underlying paintwork. The vast majority of the scratches and swirls seen in automotive finishes are due to improper cleaning (usually moving the abrasive dirt around with a brush or sponge).

Simply spray the foam all over, let it sit, then rinse off. As simple as that!

Tone Bar Kit

Mother’s California Gold Clay Bar System, $20.32

Mother California Gold Clay Bar System


One of the best secrets when detailing your car’s exterior is using a clay bar kit, like this one from Mothers. And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like – rubbing a clay block on the outside of your car. With the right type of clay and the spray to go with it, a clay stick is the perfect tool for removing embedded debris from your car’s paintwork.

A clay bar kit alone can give your car that showroom shine and leave the paintwork silky smooth without the need for a coat of wax. Remember you want to make sure the exterior is clean first as you don’t want to be rubbing abrasive dirt around and possibly scratching your paintwork!

Plastic/Vinyl/Rubber Conditioner

Carfidant Trim & Plastic Restorer, $16.99

Carfidant Trim & Plastic Restorer


While we tend to focus on the metal body panels more than anything when detailing our cars, there’s actually quite a bit of plastic, rubber, and vinyl as well. This usually takes the form of black trim around the doors, windows, wheel arches and more.

Over time this trim will naturally begin to fade and deteriorate in the sun, but luckily it’s easy to restore with the right solution. Just apply this restorer, wipe down the trim pieces and you’re done. You’ll look brand new again while being able to resist fading and deteriorating a little more for now.

Car wax and wax applicator pad

Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax – 16 ounces, $17.86

Meguiar's G210516 Ultimate Liquid Wax, 16 oz


Mothers Yellow Microfiber Applicator Pads (6-pack), $7.99

Mothers Yellow Microfiber Ultra Soft Applicator and Cleaning Pads


If you think back to the day you picked your car up from the lot like I suggested at the beginning of this article, I’m willing to bet that the shine of your car is what sticks with you. I remember seeing my new car for the first time while standing outside with the salesman. bliss. It hasn’t looked that shiny since then!


Well, with a coat of wax you can make your car look like that again. Waxing your car is the best way to make it look like it just rolled off the showroom floor. There are all kinds of wax out there, but Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax is among the easiest to use. Just grab a packet of wax applicators, follow the directions, and you’ll be back in that state of bliss.

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