DIY Car Paint Detailing – 2020 Buyer’s Guide

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BEST CHOICE
GREAT PICK
GOOD VALUE
Armor Shield IX
Adam's UV Ceramic Paint Coating Kit
Bead Maker Paint Protectant
AvalonKing Armor Shield IX DIY Kit
Adam's UV Ceramic Paint Coating Kit - 9H Ceramic Coating 5+ Years Of Protection | Stronger Than Car Wax | Apply After Car Wash, Clay Bar, Car Polisher | Car Detailing Kit Boat RV Motorcycle
P&S Detailing Products C250Q - Bead Maker Paint Protectant (1 Quart) with Sprayer
BEST CHOICE
Armor Shield IX
AvalonKing Armor Shield IX DIY Kit
GREAT PICK
Adam's UV Ceramic Paint Coating Kit
Adam's UV Ceramic Paint Coating Kit - 9H Ceramic Coating 5+ Years Of Protection | Stronger Than Car Wax | Apply After Car Wash, Clay Bar, Car Polisher | Car Detailing Kit Boat RV Motorcycle
GOOD VALUE
Bead Maker Paint Protectant
P&S Detailing Products C250Q - Bead Maker Paint Protectant (1 Quart) with Sprayer

Car detailing aids in keeping the car in pristine condition, protecting its interior and exterior, extending its life, and maintaining the high value of the vehicle. But one of the most talked-about aesthetic concerns is related to car paint and options to keep it looking as good as new for as long as possible. 

Fortunately, the market is flooded with quality DIY car detailing products that will help you maintain the paint and car surface clean, spotless, and scratch-free. 

But once you begin your search for the best possible product, you soon realize that this wast choice only complicates the decision-making process. 

To aid you, we’ve compiled a list of the top DIY car paint detailing products for you to make a more informed decision. From car waxes and polishes, to paint cleaners, sealants, and paint protection – formulas for basic car detailing solutions have been perfected to the point where you can, on your own, effectively maintain your vehicle. 

Car Paint Detailing Steps

Most broadly speaking, car detailing is completed to maintain the entire vehicle – interior and exterior. But as the focus of this article is on the paint detailing, we are going to single out the four steps involved in the process focused solely on preserving the paintwork.  

Decontamination

The first step in the car paint detailing process is prewashing, intended to clean the contaminants from the surface of the paint. A chemical product is used to remove industrial fallout and rail dust, while a specialized remover is used for tar spots. 

To provide adequate protection for the car exterior, a professional will, among other things, utilize a clay bar. It is used in combination with a lubrication spray to remove the contaminants that are usually stuck in porous surfaces. 

Finally, the surface needs to be wiped down with an IPA or isopropyl alcohol solution. 

Polishing

After cleaning the car surface with the clay bar, the professional car paint detailer will determine whether it is necessary to polish or correct the paint. This step is usually performed when there are scratches in the clear coat, as polishing is intended to reduce potential imperfections and leave a glassy finish on the paint. For polishing, IPA or prep spray panel is used to remove the waxy residual and oils after the paint correction process. Furthermore, remember that the most optimal results are achieved with a buffer, as then the pressure is distributed more evenly. 

The process should be done only once or twice a year when the need for it arises. 

Glazing

To enhance the polishing effect, you can use a car glaze and mask any minor leftover defects like swirl marks. Glazing is not a crucial step in the car detailing process but it can certainly make it look like the car has been tended to by a professional. 

1. Waxing/Sealing

Car wax or a car sealant is used to preserve the hard work you completed so far. It will ensure that the car paint is additionally protected from environmental impacts. Furthermore, wax cover eases the maintenance until the next detailing. 

The choice of products boils down to:

2. Natural Carnauba Wax

Car wax is applied using a special applicator cloth and after it is dry, the surface is buffed off with an orbital polisher or a cloth. It will create an additional layer of protection from superficial paint damage. With the right choice of car wax, you will reduce the number of visits to the car wash, reduce repair expenses, and increase the car’s value. Although it is not a lasting protection solution and needs to be reapplied after about 6 months, it produces stellar results, making the vehicle paint look more vibrant. 

3. Paint Sealants

A synthetic paint sealant is a liquid paint protection solution that can serve its purpose for up to 3 years – a characteristic that makes it a preferred choice for some vehicle owners. The only downside is that it will not produce the same glow as the natural wax. A sealant is also quite popular for boat or RV maintenance since it can effectively protect from elements vehicles are commonly exposed to (plus, the frequent wax application is not as practical when you need to cover larger-scale surfaces). 

4. Ceramic Coating

Ceramic coating is a slightly more expensive option when compared to the first two and it takes a bit longer to apply. However, many people wonder whether the finishing result is worth the investment. If you ask us – the answer is yes. Ceramic coating represents exceptional paint protection from almost anything – UV rays, grime, scratches, heat, swirl marks, and exposure to chemicals. 

Top 8 DIY Car Paint Detailing Products

Our Ranking System

To successfully compile a list of top car paint detailing products that are currently available in the market, we’ve considered several aspects we deem most important: product quality, consumer feedback, price, and online presence. Bear in mind that the recommendations we provide are based on our years of professional experience in vehicle detailing and maintenance. We’ve had the opportunity to test and evaluate each of these products and give you insider advice on what works and what doesn’t. 

1. Product quality

We take a closer look at the product formula since it largely affects the quality of the product itself. We examine individual ingredients, their ratio, chemical stability, and efficiency, all in an effort to estimate the ultimate result the product will deliver. 

2. Presentation

First impressions matter and, in some cases, we are not wrong when we assume that the better-presented product is of a higher quality than the “unattractive one”. Why? Because to be truly the best DIY car detailing solution, it has to be the whole package.

3. Customer feedback

If you cannot help but feel skeptical about the promises made by manufacturers, turn to customer reviews – they are certainly the most honest feedback you can get. We factored in all testimonials and comments users left about specific products and have hand-picked the ones that received none or minimal criticism. 

4. Overall value

We determine the overall value of the product by considering the three above-listed factors and the price of the product to be able to tell you if it is worth the investment. 

Armor Shield IX 

1. Armor Shield IX – by AvalonKing

For years, Avalon King’s Armor Shield IX has been maintaining the top position, overshadowing all other ceramic paint coating solutions. This year, we included it on the list of the top 8 DIY car paint detailing products due to its exceptional quality, unprecedented results, and competitive pricing. 

Armor Shield IX comes with a list of benefits like you’ve never seen before. After a successful application, it keeps your vehicle protected from damaging factors like acid rain, UV rays, and weather erosion, maintaining the original color for as long as possible. 

It also eases the process of cleaning the surface from tree gum, bird droppings, and even graffiti. Thanks to Armor Shield IX, your car will require less frequent car paint detailing.  

What makes the product so efficient is nano technology that makes this coating hydrophobic, that is, resistant to water, sun rays, chemicals, extreme heat, and other negative influences. What is more, when compared to a regular wax, Armor Shield IX delivers unmatched results in terms of scratch and corrosion resistance, as well as gloss and durability.   

Ranking #1

1. Product quality

Avalon King has invested years into perfecting the ceramic coating formula that comes with a strong SiO2 percentage (84% of 99.9% pure SiO2) which places it among the best dynamic coatings on the market. 

2. Presentation

The kit comes in a luxurious package - mate black box which includes the sponge, suedes, nitrile gloves, and microfiber buffing towel - along with a prestigious silver 30ml bottle of Armor Shield IX ceramic coating. But it is not just about its appearance - the box is made from top-grade material to ensure that the product arrives undamaged. 

3. Customer feedback

Thousands have voted and Armor Shield IX maintains its near-perfect rating - 4.84! In fact, more than 95% of users state that they are so satisfied with this product that they would recommend it to their friends. They indicate that the coating makes the car color pop and gives it a shine which leaves the impression that it has just left the salon. 

4. Overall value

Armor Shield IX starter kit for regular cars is priced at €71.99, while SUV and Truck owners can get 2 kits for €143. Finally, if you decide to order three at once, you get one for free! Considering the benefits that come with it, we’d say that the pricing is more than reasonable!

Here are the FACTS:

  1. Armor Shield IX comes with a 2-year guarantee, which is additional proof of Avalon King’s confidence in their product.
  2. There are more than 2,000 positive user reviews on their website which enlist this ceramic paint coating’s benefits, including its longevity, effectiveness, ease of use, and so much more!
  3. Avalon King has an excellent referral program - by recommending their ceramic coating kit to a friend, you can receive a €13 Gift Card for a store of your choice, while your friend gets $25 off on their first Armor Shield IX purchase. 
 

Adam’s UV Ceramic Paint Coating Kit

2. Adam's UV Ceramic Paint Coating Kit

Adam’s UV Ceramic Paint Coating is a clear ceramic coat known for the exceptional level of hardness - 9H. The hardness of normal clear coats varies between 2H and 4H, while the Ceramic Pro has 9H and is one of the hardest solutions on the market today. This increase in hardness helps prevent minor scratches, preserving the original factory paint for longer. 

Another quality that sets it apart from other car paint detailing products is its unique UV tracing technology that gives the car a stunning glow. With Adam’s UV ceramic paint coating kit, you’ll get that high gloss finish, but be sure to use an appropriate car paint cleaner first to remove all the contaminants from the surface. 

This product also serves as an excellent car paint protection solution, due to its hydrophobic properties. Expect long-term protection against swirl marks, scratches, and other imperfections. 

Ranking #2

1. Product quality

This product represents one of the most advanced and best car paint protection solutions for your car. Even in the harshest weather conditions, you can expect it to deliver no less than 5 years of protection.

2. Presentation

Adam’s UV Ceramic Paint Coating comes packed with absolutely everything you need for DIY car detailing to apply that finishing touch - a 50ml UV paint coating bottle, 4oz ceramic boost and surface prep, surface prep and removal towels, micro silk applicators, and a pair of gloves. 

3. Customer feedback

This ceramic paint coating has received 4.6 out of 5 stars, as customers report significant improvement in terms of repelling the most common contaminants. They appreciate the fact that their vehicles require minimal maintenance after the application. 

4. Overall value

You can get a complete ceramic paint kit for $82.00, as well as a specialized UV complete kit starting from $105.00 which comes with everything you need for two regular car paint detailing jobs.  

Bead Maker Paint Protectant

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3. Bead Maker Paint Protectant

Bead Maker Paint Protectant is an easy-to-apply DIY car detailing product that can be used safely on a variety of materials - rubber, plastic, glass, metal, and more. It is widely praised for its hydrophobic properties which ensure the dirt and water are efficiently repealed from the car surface. Owing to its smart formula which combines UV filters and stabilizers, it helps protect your car paint from sun rays. It can be applied on both wet and dry surfaces, leaving the same results - stunning and lasting shine. 

Ranking #3

1. Product quality

Bead Maker is among the best in its class. The brilliant finish is achieved because the product uses binding polymer monomer technology. What truly makes it stand out is the surface migrating molecule that attaches to the vehicle surface which cross-links and polymerizes, in that way building a protective hydrophobic layer.

2. Presentation

Bead Maker Paint Protectant comes in a sleek package and is available in a pint or gallon. 

3. Customer feedback

More than 3,500 customers have left positive feedback about the product, citing that it is extremely easy to apply and provides high gloss even during a DIY application. 

4. Overall value

This particular product can be purchased independently or in combination with towels or a sprayer. In any case, the price is more than reasonable considering the ultimate result. 

Chemical Guys Clay Bar and Luber Kit

4. Chemical Guys Clay Bar and Luber Synthetic Lubricant Kit

Clay bar from Chemical Guys is known for its light, soft, non-abrasive texture. It has excellent elastic properties, which make it easy to mold and use for contaminated, hard-to-reach corners on the car surface. In combination with a synthetic lubricant, you will effectively remove light-to-medium oxidation from the car surface, leaving it shiny and smooth. When used with a lubricant, you reduce the chances of scratching or marring the car paint. 

Ranking #4

1. Product quality

Chemical Guys ultra-fine clay bar is a scratch-free blend that can collect even the smallest particles that bond with the clear coat of paint. If used with Chemical Guys synthetic lubricant, you can be sure that the clay bar will work more efficiently and remain intact (as a result, protecting your car from potential damage). 

2. Presentation

The clay bar comes safely packed in plastic, along with a 16 oz synthetic lubricant, both of which feature detailed instructions for car paint detailing. 

3. Customer feedback

Chemical Guys Clay Bar and Luber kit has received a 4.7 out of a 5-star rating, which is quite impressive considering the competition it has on the market. Customers claim that its application helped them give their car a fresh new look, without breaking a sweat. 

4. Overall value

You can get the kit for less than $20.00, and depending on how contaminated the vehicle surface is, you can expect it to serve you for several DIY car detailing jobs. 

Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash

5. Meguiars Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo & Conditioner

Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash si smartly formulated to create a rich foam and help clean the surface without damaging the wax protection. This car wash soap does a decent job as a surface lubricant, which makes it highly effective against bird poo, dirt, and other contaminants. And because it acts as a lubricant, it minimizes the chances of scratching the car paint. This particular car wash soap can be used both in a bucket and a foam cannon. 

Ranking #5

1. Product quality

Gold Class Car Wash is formulated to be used on all paint types and clear coats. It foams away dirt in just one easy step, making the car color look brighter and the surface much clearer. 

2. Presentation

The 2-kilogram bottle does justice to its name - the gold color which radiates from the sleek, compact bottle gives the product a luxurious look. 

3. Customer feedback

Meguiar’s Gold Class Car Wash is recommended by pro detailers and car enthusiasts who use it for DIY car detailing. People indicate that it makes the car squeaky clean and that it smells nice, which makes the entire experience even more enjoyable.  

4. Overall value

This particular car wash soap is widely available and comes at a reasonable price. For $22.64, you get a car wash product that creates an efficient foam that will strip away the most common contaminants and leave the surface as clean as if it was professionally tended. 

Meguiar’s Scratch-X 2.0

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6. Meguiar's Scratch-X

Another excellent product from Meguiar’s - Scratch X remover which helps you reduce the visibility or completely remove scratches and swirl marks from the car paint. The formula is perfected to the point where it can be safely used on the car without having to worry about damaging the clear coat. In addition to being the go-to product for scratches that appear in the gel coat, Meguiar’s Scratch-X 2.0 can also be used for headlight lenses to remove the haze. 

Ranking #6

1. Product quality

Meguiar's Scratch-X can effectively remove fine scratches and blemishes. Its fast-acting formula aids in restoring brilliant high gloss, leaving the shiny finish that matches the original. 

2. Presentation

The product arrives in an 8-ounce compact bottle, which can be stored in the glove compartment and used whenever the need for it arises. It includes detailed instructions for use, making it popular among those who prefer to do car paint detailing on their own.

3. Customer feedback

Customers who have tried using Meguiar's Scratch-X on their own report that it is actually quite effective for the removal of most scratches and paint transferred from other cars. 

4. Overall value

The product comes at a low price - for less than $15.00, you can get an instant DIY scratch remover that can be used on any car color.  

Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant & Paint Protectant

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7. Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant & Paint Protectant

Chemical Guys car paint sealant is an effective formula designed to offer excellent protection from some of the harshest elements. It represents a great alternative to other, more expensive hydrophobic coatings, but note that it is necessary to completely clean the surface from scratches and blemishes before its application. The product is highly versatile, which means it can be used on any of your vehicles to protect it from UV rays, discoloration, water spots, and various contaminants for up to 12 months. 

Ranking #7

1. Product quality

This car paint sealant and paint protectant successfully bonds with the car exterior, creating a wet-like finish. But it is not just about the visual appeal - the glossy shield acts as an excellent barrier between the car paint and potential damages. 

2. Presentation

The formula comes packed in a practical, compact bottle and can be applied by hand or machine to any vehicle. 

3. Customer feedback

Out of 2,100 people who voted on Amazon, more than 80% gave Chemical Guys JetSeal Paint Sealant and Protectant a 5-star review. Though most feel like there are better products on the market, they are still satisfied with the hydrophobic protection this easy-to-apply protectant offers after paint correction.

4. Overall value

The 16-ounce bottle is less than $40 on Amazon, which makes it adequate for car owners who are looking for an affordable, short-term solution. 

Nu Finish Car Polish

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8. Nu-Finish Liquid Car Polish

Nu Finish Car Polish is widely praised for its unique formula which contains no wax and can be applied in all temperatures and sun conditions. It is smartly-designed to protect the paint and clear-coat finish, giving a salon-like look to the car, making the paint brighter and shinier. Furthermore, it provides excellent protection without rubbing or buffing. But that’s not all - Nu Finish is appropriate for a range of surfaces and materials, including copper, stainless steel, and granite countertops, which is why so many people use it as a standard domestic cleaning and maintenance product. 

Ranking #8

1. Product quality

The quality of this car polish is reflected in the fact that only one application per year will suffice. In fact, the manufacturer states that you can expect it to safeguard your car even after about 50 automatic washes, as it is made up of a series of zinc cross-linking polymer emulsions.  

2. Presentation

The package includes a 16-oz bottle of Nu Finish Liquid Car Polish that is extremely easy to apply - just use a damp cloth to treat the vehicle, leave it to dry, and finally wipe the surface with a clean cloth.

3. Customer feedback

Customers appreciate the fact that this car polish is versatile and simple-to-use, even by those who are doing car paint detailing on their own for the first time. 

4. Overall value

Nu Finish car polish is suitable for all motor vehicles, RVs, fiberglass boats, and even chrome surfaces, which means that you get a versatile product for only $7.57 on Amazon. 

Bottom Line

For successful DIY car detailing, it is essential to equip yourself with an array of products that will facilitate you during every step. From a car paint cleaner, sealant, and paint protection solution, to a ceramic paint coating – equip yourself with practical and easy-to-apply products and maximize the resale value of your vehicle. And don’t think you have to dig too deep into your pockets: test some of the best car paint detailing products from our list and see why feel they offer the best value on the market. 

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