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BarManBean 09-20-2012 09:49 AM

Best "starter package" for detailing
Just won a small award at work that comes with $100. Thinking about blowing it on some detailing supplies with a buddy who will go in on the tools / supplies. Anything decent out there to get started for around $200 or a bit more?

I'm definitely thinking about the Porter Cable 7424 or similar plush whatever pads / polishes I would need to work on my car that I'm not sure has ever really been detailed. Light swirls all over the car, etc.

That Guy 2-1 09-20-2012 10:02 AM

Have you checked griots garage for good starter kits?

OCDetails 09-20-2012 12:42 PM

Get your PC7424 on That will take care of about a hundred and twenty of it. Most of the rest of it you can get locally, but you will want to order a couple pads online. They pretty much cost the same everywhere, but is where I shop for most of my stuff, so I'll refer you to them. Get a red pad and a black pad and that should take care of your polishing and waxing needs. Maybe pick up a couple microfiber towels while you are at it. I'd say you could go through maybe $50 bucks on Autogeek stuff.

As far as waxes and polishes go, thankfully there are some good options locally. Meguiar's Ultimate Compound and the Ultimate Liquid Wax are both products I'd recommend. Those will run you about $30 bucks for the pair at any AutoZone. A bar of clay will cost you maybe ten or twelve bucks. CD2 Engine Detailer is $5 at AutoZone. Eagle One Wheel & Tire Cleaner is about $5 bucks. Same with the Eagle One Wet tire shine. You might want to get yourself a couple tire swipes for applying the shine, so that will be another couple bucks. Don't forget the Invisible Glass for your windows and maybe Meguiar's Quick Interior Detailer for a quick wipe down solution on your interior. Those both run between $5 and $7 a bottle.

If you have leather then you will want to get your leather product online. I haven't found a good one off the shelf. Pinnacle and Wolfgang both have awesome leather care products on Autogeek. I'd recommend either of those. They are kind of spendy, but man are they worth it. If there was an 'over the counter' solution for leather care then I would be all over it, but so far I haven't used anything I would recommend.

That should just about do it. Maybe a $5 can of Tuff Stuff if you have some carpet spots to clean and a $5 bottle of engine degreaser if there is cleanup to be done under the hood, but those are the products I'd suggest if you are looking to put together a decent detailing collection. Other than the pads, towels, and maybe the leather care products, everything else can be found at AutoZone. CD2 Engine Detailer is likely ONLY found there, but everything else could probably be found at WalMart or any other store with a car care aisle.

BarManBean 09-20-2012 12:48 PM

Thanks. I was thinking about going with Meguiar's 105 / 205, and then what? Do I then do the ultimate compound / ultimate liquid wax? I'm gonna focus on exterior detail stuff now, interior will probably happen over the winter.

BTW, do you have any experience with using a nanoskin autoscrub in lieu of clay?

OCDetails 09-20-2012 01:12 PM

It just depends on what kind of condition your paint is in. In my experience the Ultimate Compound is a very good mid level polish which will handle everything short of extreme damage or wetsanding repair. There isn't always a reason to use more than one product when correcting the paint. I've done several cars with nothing but Ultimate Compound and then a sealant, so it just depends.

I haven't ever used that autoscrub product. Until you mentioned it, I hadn't ever heard of it. However, after looking it up I can tell you that I won't ever be trying it. I am 100% against using a machine for the clay bar step and I avoid products that are designed for that or recommend a machine in any way. The process is pretty dang simple as it is, but I believe strongly it having your hands on the paint so you can ensure you are doing it right.

The biggest problem I have with machines is that I feel they just move too fast. I worry that they are just knocking the tops off the contamination that is embeded in your paint and not really removing it. Now if I were just removing overspray then perhaps I would look into something like this, but for the annual clay job that my vehicles get I want to know that I'm pulling contamination out of the paint and rolling it back into the clay so it isn't doing any further damage. I don't like the idea of all the contamination on your car to be right on the surface of your clay.

Anyway, I didn't mean for that to become a rant against a product I've never used. I just don't think clay bars are broken and the process I use works great for me, so I don't see a reason to change it up. I'll keep an eye on that one though and see what others have to say about it on some of the dedicated detailing forums out there. It wouldn't be the first time I've disregarded a product at first but finally came around to it later after all the reviews were in.

BarManBean 09-20-2012 01:29 PM

Yeah, I only ask because the detailersdomain folks seem to rave about it. Not sure if you have an opinion on them, but some of their work seems pretty awesome.

Do you recommend getting a 5" backing plate and 6" pads to prevent scratching in case i move the polisher too close to a mirror or something, or is that a dumb idea?

Seems like this kit from coastal tool would have everything I need minus the waxes to get started:

OCDetails 09-21-2012 09:57 AM

Yup, that kit will do the trick. Lake Country makes most of the pads out there, so those are likely the same pads you would get anywhere else.

Getting the 5" backing plate is a good idea only because it will fit the smaller pads if you are working on headlights and areas like that. You really don't have to worry much about scratching if you get the 6" pad though. Your pads will actually last longer if the backing plate is full size. I have a smaller backing plate when I'm working on headlights, otherwise I use a 6" pad and backing plate. In fact, that backing plate on coastal tool is the same one I use. It is flexible and really much better than the other ones I have. I only wish the FLEX 3401 had some sort of thing like that, but it wouldn't be very practical with the design of that machine. My PC7424 and my FLEX PE14-2-150 both use the flexible backing plate like that though.

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