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View Full Version : Going nuts trying decide on a detailing product

07-16-2002, 12:31 PM
Coming up on time for my new 330's first detailing, which I will do myself by hand, and I'm having a very difficult time deciding on a brand of detailing products.

When I owned my Honda, basic Meguiar's off-the-shelf products were fine. Now that I've stepped up in vehicles, I'd like to step up in waxes, too.

I've run extensive searches, visited sites, and read about Zaino (sounds like a lot of work), Zymol ($$$), Klasse, Griot's, etc., 'till it's coming out my ears — and I still feel no closer to a satisfying decision.

I would like to settle on one line of products and master them. Any advice on a top-quality detailing system (for both the exterior and interior of my car) that isn't going to cost a fortune or take unreasonable amount of time to apply alone?

07-16-2002, 12:53 PM
zaino is not alot of work - easy to appy...zymol - now that stuff is a pain to apply....i've never used Klasse or Griots so can't say about those...but the only thing I plan on using on my new MINI is zaino.

07-16-2002, 01:00 PM
I feel your pain, believe me! :-)

A couple of questions first:

1) What are your detailing goals?
a) Looks
b) Protection/Durability
c) Hide scratches/swirls
d) Combination of all of the above
e) Other

2) How often are you willing to re-detail your car?
a) Monthly
b) Every 6-8 weeks
c) Every 3 months
d) Every 6 months
e) As little as possible

3) What's your budget?
a) Less than $20
b) $25 - $40
c) $45 - $60
d) $65 - $100
e) Whatever it takes

4) How would you rate your knowledge/detailing skills?
a) Pretty new to it
b) Done it enough to know what I'm doing
c) Could do it in my sleep
d) The neighbors are asking me to do their cars
e) Other (describe)

5) Do you have (or have access to) a Random Orbital Buffer?
a) Yes
b) No

Once we know these things, it should be much easier to figure out a way for you to get that new car looking great.


The Truth Shall Set You Free: <a href = "" target = "_blank">Guru Reports</a>

07-16-2002, 01:14 PM
1) Detailing goals: all of the above.

2) I plan on detailing my car every 3-6 months.

3) Unlimited budget, but not extravagant or frivolous.

4) Knowledge: done enough to know what I'm doing.

5) Yes, I have a random orbital buffer, but I plan to detail my BMW only by hand (it's just too easy to swirl with those, I say).

07-16-2002, 01:38 PM
I've heard others say the same thing. I've always used the fancier zymol waxes (not the Wal Mart zymol) and microfiber towels and find it to be very easy. And it doesn't leave marks on black plastic. I would say it "rocks" but it is $65, so I have to leave it as "it's a good product".

Mark B

07-16-2002, 01:47 PM
i never used those walmart zymols...cough...i mean turtle wax....yea if you are going to use zymol - order it direct.<br>
Casey Swenson
Dark Silver/White S, Premium and Cold Weather Packages, DSC, Xenon, Fogs, Driving lamps, Rogue Stripes

07-16-2002, 02:35 PM
I could be wrong, and I have not used zaino, but I have found that natural waxes (I use zymol carbon wax and HD cleanse)are more difficult to apply and remove than synthetics ( I use klasse AIO and SG). This might not be completely true, as many on this forum say that P21s carnuba (natural) has very easy removal and application ( I havent used it.
Just an observation.

07-16-2002, 05:28 PM

Nick T.
07-16-2002, 06:27 PM
My choice is to use Zaino products for the exterior .... and I'm a charter member of the ARZOA* with a jet black car!

Reasons for choosing Zaino over Zymöl: Zaino is easier to apply ... you can do it in direct sunlight. Polymer gives a harder surface than carnauba ... bugs just slide off with a little spray. Zaino gives as good a gloss as carnauba. With multiple coats Zaino gives better depth of color than carnauba.

I recommend starting with a wax removing wash, then a claybar cleaning, followed by another wash with regular car wash. Next apply at least two coats of Z5 with ZFX ... spray with Z6 after each coat.

After this is done you can go into "improvement mode" ... whenever you have the inclination and a few extra minutes, clean an area such as the hood or trunk, or a fender or door using Z6 and apply another coat or two of Z5.

After a few coats of Z5 have filled the swirls you can switch to Z2.

* ARZOA = [Oops!] Retentive Z3 Owners Association

07-16-2002, 08:56 PM
Great. Here's what I'd suggest:

1) Wash the car with a strong detergent to remove any existing waxes/glazes/etc. You could use Dawn dish soap, or a specialty wash like "ABC" from <a href = "" target = "_blank">Auto International</a>. The ABC wash consists of a mild Acid wash followed by a neutralizing Basic wash followed by a Cleansing wash...hence the "ABC".

ABC wash is supposed to eliminate the need for claying, but I've always followed up with clay nonetheless.

2) Clay the car with ClayMagic's Blue clay bar. When claying, use lot's of lubricant (Quick Detailer or a mix of 1oz car wash solution w/15oz water in a spray bottle), and always clay in a back-and-forth motion, never circular motions.

3) I'd use a random orbital (like the Porter Cable 7424) buffer for the prep work, following with applying the wax by hand. The PC will not induce swirls as long as the car is clean. A rotary buffer, on the other hand, can induce swirls if you're not familiar with it...

4) I'd suggest the following products:

a) Swirl removing/hiding: Meguiar's Dual Action Cleaner Polish applied with random orbital buffer and a yellow pad.

b) Glaze/polish: P21S Paint Cleansing Lotion applied with random orbital buffer and a white pad.

c) Protectant: Zaino Z5 with ZFX. Use Z6 as the quick detailer and Z7 as the wash. Z16 tire/trim protectant lasts a long time as well, and offers a nice mix between ghetto shine and matte finish.

I chose Zaino as the protectant based on your reply that you'd like to detail every 3-6 months. Zaino will easily last for 3-6 months under almost any condition. No other carnauba prodcut will last that long, despite it's claims. Figuring that you can get about 3 coats of Z5/ZFX from a 2oz. mix, you should be able to use your Z5/ZFX for about 18 months before you need to replentish your supply.

I'd skip the Z2, but that's just my personal preference. Using ZFX is a "must" because it eliminates the need for waiting for the product to cure. Simply wipe it on, let it haze and wipe it off.

Hope this helps...


The Truth Shall Set You Free: <a href = "" target = "_blank">Guru Reports</a>

07-17-2002, 03:41 AM
I posted above some comments on what I have done over a lot of years with alot of cars including black ones. Zymol makes great smelling stuff and uses superior carnuba waxes that shine beautifully but it does not last very long. And as I said earlier, some waxes actually dull the shine quite a bit. I would suggest you get familiar with a random orbital buffer, they make sizes from 5" to prob 13-14" diamater, the smaller ones are easier to manuver around the curves of a BMW in my experience.. Just remember to ALWAYS keep the buffer moving and never allow it to run on one spot for more than a very few seconds. You dont want to heat the paint, especially if what you are using has any abrasive in its mixture. Ive had great success with a product called Carbuf extreme polish, look them up at It doesnt ever hurt the paint, to the extent that you will always want to claybar the car first, before using it, it wont remove alot of crap off the paint but it will make it shine beautifully. The buffer can be purchased from anywhere, autoparts stores, Sears, etc. or you can go high dollar and get one from Griot, etc.. I just picked up an inexpensive one and it has made my black '01 325i and my titanium silver '02 M Coupe look way better than they came from the factory. I dont work for any car related company if you are wondering, Im actually an electrical engineer. Good luck !! DanF

07-17-2002, 03:44 AM
I have never made swirl marks with a random orbital buffer, since it doesnt operate in a circular motion. A regular orbital buffer like used in body shops will make swirl marks if not used correctly and they are way dangerous in terms of heat build up and potential removal of your clear coat.. DanF

07-23-2002, 02:37 PM
Just curious, why the specific choices — particularly the mixing and matching? Why not, say, Zaino's complete line of products, or another brand's?

Also, I have leather interior. Advice?

06-21-2004, 05:19 PM
I live in arizona. I am trying to decide about polish/wax. I am thinking about the combo of Klasse AIO followed by P21 carnuba. Is carnuba a bad idea given the heat in AZ? WIf so, what would you recommend instead?

06-21-2004, 05:48 PM
info for 30 bucks

06-21-2004, 11:18 PM
it just won't last very long. I would stick with a synthetic and add a layer of carnauba for special occasions. You won't have much durability using only a carnauba. (

06-22-2004, 08:51 AM
Very easy to use and has great results. Was picked as the top wax at the medium price range I believe.

06-22-2004, 01:54 PM
I had read the Guru Reports and been reading this forum for a while. Fortunately I called Nick at Detailer's Paradise and told him what I wanted to accomplish and how and he made excellent suggestions which have worked out wonderfully.

09-02-2004, 12:43 PM
I use to see alot of your posts on this board and you always gave great advice! It is great to see you on this board again and I hope you will once again become a regular contributor!

09-04-2004, 05:26 AM
Are you saying that you would only use Z5 and not use the Z2? Currently I put another coat of Z2 on every other week or so and I am happy with the look. Getting ready for winter and such. I have used a coat of Z5 every third application and honestly I cannot tell much difference.

PS My car usually looks great all of the time and it is my daily driver.

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