LAST UPDATED: May 13, 2021

The Best Car Detailing Kits: Make Your Car Look Brand Spankin’ New

Best Choice meguiar’s complete car detailing kit Meguiar’s Complete Car Detailing Kit
Premium Pick Chemical Guys Complete Car Detailing Kit Chemical Guys Complete Car Detailing Kit
Best Value Armor All Complete Car Detailing Kit Armor All Complete Car Detailing Kit

For many of us, washing and detailing our car is a soothing and gratifying routine. There’s something so satisfying about getting your car meticulously clean and shiny, not only on the outside, but all over. It’s a great way to spend part of a sunny weekend.

Sometimes, detailing your car is more of a necessity than a hobby. If you’ve got touch caked on clay or tar that can be damaging your paint, or have spilled something sticky and super messy on your car’s interior, it’s important to remove that as soon as possible to prevent set-in stains or permanent damage. Whatever your reason for wanting a car detailing kit, Car Bibles will equip you with everything you need to know.

We’ve put together this comprehensive product review and handy buying guide so that you can easily and confidently determine what the best car detailing kit is for you. Whether it’s an eco-friendly kit that’s good for the environment or a heavy-duty hard-hitting detailer that will get out the worst dirt and stains, we have something to suit every need.

The Best Car Detailing Kit

We’re going to kick off our list with a quality kit from a quality manufacturer. Meguiar’s have been around for a long time, building up a strong – and in our opinion well deserved – reputation for making outstanding car cleaning kits.

That is just what they have done here with this awesome 12-piece kit. It is packed full of kit, making it ideal for any car detailing rookies who need everything to detail a car delivered in one convenient package. What we really like about this kit is that it is built around the Gold Class Car Wash. This product is formulated to really strip away dirt and grime build-up. This is important because you can’t really move onto the detailing stage of car cleaning until the car itself is as clean as a general wash can produce. This Gold Class wash will help to deliver a clean canvas for you to work on with the rest of the kit.

You have natural Carnauba wax for a deep shine finish and tire gels for a deep clean on your wheels. Add in a set of quality clay bars and this kit really is bursting with everything you need for a premium car detailing ability.

Key Features
  • 12 Products
  • Includes Excellent Car Wash Formula
  • Includes Clay Bars
Specification
  • Brand Meguiar’s
  • Model G55032SP
  • Weight 8.2 pounds

Next on our list is a handy and comprehensive option, the Chemical Guys 7 Piece Wash & Shine Kit. This kit includes everything you need to give your vehicle a scratch-free, thorough weekly cleaning. The kit comes cleverly stored inside a rugged bucket with a lid that you can also use as a seat or stool when you’re done using it to hold your wash water.

The wash bucket comes with a special dirt trap insert that acts like a sieve to draw dirt and debris out of the wash water so you don’t trap it back in the washing mitt and inadvertently scratch your paint with it during repeated use. This kit combines some trusted fan favorites with some new and innovative wash products to allow you to try a range of items.

The Diablo Wheel Cleaner is great for washing away road grime and brake dust from your wheels. Then follow it up with the Silk Shine Dressing to make your tires, dashboard, and more shine like new again. Even better, this kit comes with full-sized bottles of products that will last for quite a while.

While this kit doesn’t have a ton of interior cleaning products, it’s an excellent starter kit for those who may not have all the right tools to do a top-notch outer cleaning. The chenille microfiber wash mitt is durable and soft enough to be used on every surface from paint to chrome.

Key Features
  • Includes cyclone dirt trap
  • 7-piece kit
  • Great starter kit
Specification
  • Brand Chemical Guys
  • Model HOL333
  • Weight 7 pounds

For something completely different that will give your interior and exterior a solid clean without water, check out the Dry Shine Arsenal Complete Waterless Car Wash & Detailing Kit. Not only will it save water, it will save you time, allowing you to get the job done in about 1/4 of the time of a conventional auto detailing. This kit includes seven revolutionary waterless cleaning and polishing products and six Dry Shine 2 in 1 microfiber cleaning towels.

Use the waterless bug and tar remover that’s specially formulated to safely and thoroughly get rid of tar, bugs, tree sap, grease, and hard water spots. The waterless wash with yellow carnauba wax delivers a premium quality clean that you can safely use on your car’s exterior, interior, glass, or wheels for a scratch-free finish in 25 minutes or less. The quick wax will finish the exterior job by bringing out the shine and color pigments in your car’s paint. Foaming tire shine will clean and protect your tires in one easy step, just spray and walk away.

For the interior, use the leather cleaner and conditioner on seats and leather upholstery. It’s free from harsh ingredients that may damage or discolor your precious leather. Dry Shine’s Ultimate Shine works on vinyl, rubber and plastic to clean and protect the other interior parts of your car. And lastly, you get Dry Shine foaming glass cleaner that dries quickly and streak-free with no residue on your windows and mirrors.

Key Features
  • 13-piece kit
  • Uses no water at all
  • Cleans both interior and exterior thoroughly
Specification
  • Brand Dry Shine
  • Model The Arsenal
  • Weight N/A

So far we have looked at a number of products that are perfect as starter kits for those with little current stock of detailing items. Next up though we have something a little different. This is not a kit bursting with items — you are in fact only getting four pieces in this kit.

What you have here is a kit ideal for end-stage detailing. By that we mean after you have used shampoo to thoroughly clean your car, you can bring out this bad boy to add the finishing touches.

The key items here are the two clay bars. First of all, you get 200 grams of clay split across two bars. That is a lot of quality clay that will keep you going for quite a while. Considering you also get a well-formulated instant detailing spray and a well-made microfiber towel too, this kit does represent excellent value for money. If you really care about your car’s appearance and are looking for a kit that will allow you to really deep clean your bodywork and leave it spotless, this could be a good investment.

Key Features
  • 2x Clay Bars
  • Instant Detailer Spray
  • Microfiber Towel
Specification
  • Brand Mothers
  • Model 07240
  • Weight 1.9 pounds

Another steal of a deal is the Mad Duck Special Detailing Total Vehicle Car Interior and Exterior Kit. While many of the detailing kits on our list are formulated for cloth or leather interior, this one is specially formulated for cloth interiors. It contains six 22-ounce, full-size bottles of products to give you a complete car cleaning, inside and out.

The Instant Detailer gives your car’s paint and chrome a high-end, chemically-bonded shine that also protects your paint. The Alloy Wheel Treatment quickly removes road grime, oils, tar, dirt, and brake dust, leaving your tires and wheels like new. The Hot Coast Tire Shine protects your tires from premature aging and cracking. The Dash and Trim Protectant cleans and shines your trim and protects it from fading or cracking. The Stain Remover and Stain Blocker will thoroughly clean and protect your cloth interior and carpets, removing even old and tough stains.

The other thing we like is the wax. This is an artificial wax, so it may not quite produce a finish with the same luster and deep shine as a carnauba based wax. It is though formulated to be nice and long lasting, cutting down on the applications you need to give to keep your vehicle looking great. The rest of the kit is exactly what you need to get started with car detailing. You have wheel cleaner, speed shine, and even a very useful (and not often seen) Vinyl and Rubber cleaner.

While we love all the products in this detailing kit, there are no microfiber cloths or towels to apply the products, so you’ll have to purchase those separately. This will add to the overall cost, but for six full-sized bottles of detailing products, this is one of the most well-priced kits on our list.

Key Features
  • 6-piece starter kit
  • Made in the USA
  • No water needed
Specification
  • Brand Mad Duck
  • Model MDCLOTKIT
  • Weight N/A

The Chemical Guys are back with a really good quality item here. This innovative product is, as the product name describes, an eco-friendly and waterless car wash kit.

Or at least…it’s nearly waterless! Basically, you add a small amount of the cleaning product to the atomizer spray. You then water it down (distilled water is the recommended added ingredient) and then spray the car.

There are two advantages here. One is the fact the product is diluted really extends its lifespan, meaning this 16-ounce bottle makes up to 2 gallons of cleaning fluid. It also means you don’t need a hosepipe, pressure washer, or even a single bucket of water. The cleaning product works on all surfaces — paintwork, glass, and tires. So just spray everything. Give it a little while to soak in and the formula in the cleaner starts to lift dirt and grime from the surface. Wipe the car down the included microfiber towels and there you have it, one clean car with minimum fuss!

As an added bonus, Chemical Guys have included a good shot of carnauba wax in the cleaner. That means it cleans and waxes at the same time.

Innovative, effective, and time-saving — this really is a quality car cleaning product.

Key Features
  • Carnauba-based wax
  • Works on bodywork, wheels, and windows
  • Six microfiber towels
Specification
  • Brand Chemical Guys
  • Model HOL401
  • Weight 3.85 pounds

It would have been a surprise if we managed to complete a list of the best car detailing kits without including Turtle Wax somewhere — and here they are! Turtle Wax has been around for a long time, making quality car cleaning products that are also excellent value.

Turtle Wax is true to form here, with a six-piece detailing kit complete with a phenomenally low price tag. Not only is it great value money-wise, but it’s also a pretty innovative product, to boot. Turtle Wax, as the product name describes, has brought out a kit here that is designed to provide a clean that is both quick and easy for you to use. They do this via a multi-function design.

So for example, the cleaner also contains wax (artificial) so it cleans and leaves a shiny exterior at the same time. It can also be sprayed on all surfaces too — bodywork, glass, and wheels. There is also a dedicated wax (carnauba) that can be sprayed onto wet bodywork, a real time saver. An internal cleaner that can be used on multiple surfaces is also included to allow you to quickly and easily clean the car interior. 

Well designed and pretty cheap too, this is a good if somewhat basic cleaning kit.

Key Features
  • Multi-Function Products
  • 2x Quality Microfiber Tires
  • Great Value for Money
Specification
  • Brand Turtle Wax
  • Model 50821
  • Weight 5.4 pounds

Another trusted and popular name in car care, Armor All delivers a great quality product at a super affordable price point in its Armor All Complete Car Care Kit. While it might not be as comprehensive or have as many fun and gimmicky accessories like some other kits on our list, you still get a big bang for your buck. This kit comes with four full-sized products that, if purchased separately, would add up to a much higher price tag.

Included in your kit is a 16-ounce bottle of Armor All Ultra Shine Wash and Wax for your car’s paint and exterior. You also get a 20-ounce bottle of Armor All Tire Foam to give your tires a thorough shine and added layer of protection. Next comes the 30-count container of glass wipes and the 10-ounce bottle of Armor All Original Protectant spray to take care of the interior.

This is a kit of course and that means you get a few more items — three in fact. One is a big (16 oz) bottle of wash and wax. It works very well to lift away dirt and grime, whilst the built-in wax leaves a deep and lustrous finish. You also get a nice big can of tire cleaning foam, whilst the pack of glass wipes makes for a clean and smear-free finish to all glass surfaces on the vehicle.

This particular kit doesn’t contain any specialty products for extra tough bugs, tar, or stains, but it’s a great starter kit and makes a great gift for anyone who likes to do their own car detailing.

Key Features
  • Super affordable kit
  • Four products
  • Glass wipes included
Specification
  • Brand Armor All
  • Model 78452
  • Weight 4.35 pounds

With a few exceptions, most of the kits we have looked at so far have assumed that you will be doing most of the work of cleaning the car. If you have looked at the products on our list so far and thought that while it all looks good, it also looks like a lot of hard work. Well, then this kit from Chemical Guys could be of interest to you.

In this kit, you are also getting a really solid range of buffing pads. There are cutting pads, there are light polishing pads, there are finishing pads and they are all backed up by a quality backing plate with hyper-flex technology. You also get some fluid products. There is a citrus-based pad cleaner to keep your pads clean and healthy, whilst a pad conditioner is also very useful. A three-pack of microfiber towels rounds out a very well designed kit that provides incredible buffing power for a superb finish.

It also comes with one electrically powered TORQ random orbital polisher. This beast can put out between 1200-4200 OPM (Orbits Per Minute), which is more than enough power to tackle the buffing of just about any vehicle.

Key Features
  • TORQX dual action polisher
  • Full assortment of buffing pads
  • Pad cleaner and buffing conditioner fluids included
Specification
  • Brand Chemical Guys
  • Model BUF_209X
  • Weight 10.4 pounds

The TriNova Complete Car Wash Kit comes with everything you need to do a serious and all-inclusive car detailing. It’s a little on the pricey side compared to some of our other recommendations, but for the price, you get a very comprehensive kit that will last you a long time. Instead of just giving your bottles of cleaning products, TriNova has been sure to include the perfect accessories that you need to use to get the highest caliber clean and shine for your car.

You get full-size bottles of TriNova’s professionally formulated products, including the Gold Standard Car Shampoo and Conditioner, Interior Detailer, Quick Detailer, Liquid Wax, Tire Shine Spray, and Plastic Trim Restorer. These come with proper microfiber pads and towels, sponges, and a wash mitt with rubber grip applicators. The microfiber wash mitt is very well made and is both gentle but also super absorbent. The only thinking missing from this detailed detailing kit is a glass cleaner and a bucket.

This kit isn’t cheap, mainly because it’s so big! But you are also getting a huge range of quality car detailing products here, ideal to fully stock up a home garage that has little or no quality cleaning products all in one handy (and huge!) box of goodies.

Key Features
  • Comprehensive 13-piece kit
  • Includes full-size bottles
  • Quality items for a range of vehicle surfaces
Specification
  • Brand TriNova
  • Model FBA_33906
  • Weight 1.21 pounds

Best Car Detailing Kit Buying Guide & FAQ

Wondering how to tell a great car detailing kit from lesser-quality options? Our buying guide will help you choose the right kit with all of the right products and accessories that you need as a car owner. You’ll learn how to put these different tools to work to make easy work of auto detailing.

car detailing

What to Look For In Car Detailing Products

Starter or Supplementary

Car detailing kits typically come in two forms: starter kits and supplementary kits. A starter kit is ideal for car owners who don’t have a ton of cleaning or detailing supplies, while a supplementary kit is a great choice for those who already have some items in their garage. If you’re new to car detailing, you’ll want to choose a starter kit that includes absolutely everything you’ll need to save time and money.

Cleaner/Shampoo

The first — and most important — item you’ll need in the detailing process is a car cleaning solution or shampoo. The cleaning solution or shampoo needs to be sudsy and effective at gently removing dirt and grime. Look for a car detailing kit that includes a quality cleaning solution that’ll get your car clean with a basic wash.

Wax

Next, you’ll want to look for car detailing kits that include a quality car wax. After cleaning your car, you’ll apply the wax to leave a protective finish that’s also shiny and filled with luster. Carnauba wax is a great option for all vehicles, but you can also consider kits with artificial wax if you’d prefer a longer-lasting wax.

Wheel Cleaner

Your vehicle’s wheels need special attention and their own cleaning product. Many car detailing kits include wheel cleaning products and solutions. Specially formulated to be used on wheels, this is a great tool to have in your detailing arsenal, as it allows you to expertly bring your wheels — which often attract the most stubborn dirt and grime — to a clean shine.

Clay Bars

Clay bars are a handy product to have in your detailing kit if you really want to care for your car’s paint job. Using a clay bar helps maintain and even restore paint, giving it a sleek, shiny appearance like it’s brand new. Consider a kit that comes with a clay bar if you want to give your car extra exterior care.

Why You Should Use a Car Cleaning Kit?

A car detailing kit offers two important benefits for your vehicle. It provides:

Deep Clean

When you give your car a basic wash, you’re just rinsing and soaping away everyday dirt. When you detail your car, you’re getting a much deeper clean.

Instead of washing with just soap and water, a car detailing kit provides you with specialized cleaning products that can both effectively clean and work to protect your vehicle’s many different surfaces and parts. You’ll have special solutions for deep cleaning your wheels, products that make glass glisten spot-free, and cleaning products designed just for chrome and auto paint. You’ll have a wealth of different cleaning tools that can offer a more specialized, in-depth clean.

Protection

Because all of the cleaning products in a car detailing kit are specialized and designed for use on vehicle components, you’ll also get protection. In addition to cleaning, many of the supplies included in a detailing kit help you better equip your car for all of the challenges and potential dangers it faces on the road. Wax, for example, protects your paint and your clear coat. Chrome cleaner, for example, ensures your chrome won’t dull or become worn. A car detailing kit is able to keep your car in its best possible condition for a long time to come.

How to Detail Your Car With a Car Detailing Kit

Putting a car detailing kit to use depends on what, exactly, is included in the kit. Every kit does start with the same step: wash your car until it’s clean. But from there, each individual kit can vary.

Some kits are more comprehensive than others, and you can use them to perform both a pre-detailing wash as well as waxing, using a clay bar, cleaning windows, and tackling chrome trim. Yet others include fewer products and may not need as many steps.

Make sure to read the instructions on each item in your car detailing kit. Each product will likely include its own instructions and indicate when in the detailing process it should be used. You can easily follow these steps to create your own detailing routine.

Best Car Detailing Kit FAQ:

Q: What is the difference between detailing and washing?

Washing your car is like giving your vehicle a bath. You’re using soap and water to wash away dust, dirt, and debris that accumulates each time you hit the road or park your car outside, exposed to the elements. All you need to wash your car is a supply of water and a quality car wash cleaning solution or soap.

Detailing, on the other hand, is much more detail-oriented work. When you detail your car, you clean and protect every inch of your car’s exterior — and potentially the interior too. Detailing involves more in-depth cleaning, and it requires more specialized products and tools. You need a clean car in order to detail your car, so you could call a car wash the first step of the detailing process.

Q: My vehicle is new. Does it need to be detailed?

Unless you’ve done some major driving in muddy or dirty conditions, or you’ve run your new car through some fresh tar or had it get tree sap on it, you won’t need to get it detailed right away. For the first few months, washing and spot cleaning are usually sufficient to keep it looking new and pristine. That said, it’s easier and faster to detail a relatively clean car than it is to have to detail a car that’s been used as someone’s mobile dorm room, so the sooner you start detailing your new car, the easier and less expensive it will be in the long run.

Q: How often do I need to detail my car?

It’s entirely up to you how often you’d like to detail your car. Regular washing is always a good idea, and so too is regular detailing. But there’s no set schedule that you need to follow.

You can follow your own personal preferences to determine how often your car needs to be detailed. Some people perform detailing every month; others do so once or twice per year. You’ll want to keep in mind that detailing offers important protection for your vehicle and its exterior — and that means regular detailing can offer a number of benefits.

Our Top Pick

Now that you’ve seen a wide array of the best quality car detailing kits on the market, it’s easy to see why we chose the Meguiar’s Complete Car Detailing Kit as our top pick overall. It’s one of the most comprehensive starter kits available, with basic and specialty products, as well as sponges, microfiber towels, and wash mitts included at a great price point. 

If you’re a bit more budget-conscious, you should check out the Chemical Guys 7 Piece Wash & Shine Kit. It’s also got some top-quality, full-sized cleaning products, all cleverly housed in a lidded cleaning bucket for organized storage.

Sources:

  1. How Often Should You Wash Your Car? – HowStuffWorks
  2. How to Wax Your Car – YourMechanic Advice