Let’s face it: no one really likes driving a dull-colored, marred car that has seen better days, especially when it comes to its paint job. Keeping your car looking fresh as it was when it came off the line is important to many vehicle owners, but the negative effects of the air, the sun’s UV rays, and surface nicks and scars can really add years to the look of your car.
Fortunately, there are quite a lot of options out there for restoring, improving, and protecting the luminosity of your car’s paint job. Since this requires the use of several products, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to bring and keep a beautiful shine on your vehicle:

The Tools That You’ll Need

  • A Buffer – This will allow you to work your solutions into the paint and also onto your car’s body.
  • Sealant or Paint Protectant – This will protect the paint of your car from external negative effects.
  • Quick Detailer: Quick detailers are great for the over-time upkeep of your car’s shine. You use these when you can’t perform a more detailed shine process.
  • A Color Enhancer – Color enhances bring the color back to your car and make the car itself shine in a way that you might not get with a traditional waxing.
  • A Microfiber Cloth – Your car’s best friend when it comes to maintaining and augmenting its natural shine. Towels and rags tend to leave smears and will make the shine look uneven. When it comes to your car’s shine, accept no imitators.

Guide to Bringing Your Car to Its Optimal Shine
1) Wash your car first in a shaded area. Be sure to rinse your car thoroughly, but don’t dry it.
2) Grab a buffer and use a damp pad and some buffing compound and place it on the pad.
3) Buff the surface of your vehicle as parallel to the car’s surface as possible to avoid swirls. Try to apply a fairly uniform level of constant pressure.
4) If enough heat is generated, blemishes and scratches will disappear due to the "wheeling" effect.
5) Wash your car again once you’ve applied the compound.
6) It’s time to apply the wax polisher to the newly wheeled clear coat.
7) Mount a soft foam buffing pad to your buffer and apply the wax to your car evenly. Leave a waxy haze on your car.
8) Use a microfiber cloth to add a beautiful shine to your car.
9) Spray or coat your tires with a tire-shine. If it’s a thicker solution, use an applicator.
10) Use a microfiber cloth to work the solution into your tires.

Polishing ProductsBest Design FeaturePriceRating
Chemical Guys WAC_808_16 Hybrid V7 Optical Select High Gloss Spray Sealant and Quick DetailerThis is the perfect product for quick car shining.$17.99

  1. 8/5
Chemical Guys GAP_619_16 Black Light Hybrid Radiant Finish Color EnhancerWe found that this product actually enhances the brightness of your car’s color.$24.45
  1. 7/5
Chemical Guys WAC_118_16 JetSeal Anti-Corrosion Sealant and Paint ProtectantThis is an aeronautics-grade shine protectant.$38.95
  1. 9/5
Wolfgang WG-5500 Deep Gloss Paint SealantThe product lasts for months.$29.12
  1. 6/5
Meguiar’s G12024 Hot Shine High Gloss Tire Spray – 24 oz.This is a great way to actively protect your tires from UV damage.$4.49
  1. 3/5
Chemical Guys TVD_107_16 V.R.P. Vinyl, Rubber, and Plastic Super Shine Dressing (16 oz)This product actually makes your tires have that "permanently wet" look.$10.98
  1. 7/5
Meguiar’s X3002 Microfiber Wash MittThese fit on your hand so that you don’t accidentally come in contact with harsh chemicals.$6.99
  1. 5/5
VibraWipe VWM-08 Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, 4 Colors – 8-PiecesThis is a great value; eight cloths will last a long time.$16.99
  1. 5/5
Adam’s Hex-Grip Pro Tire Dressing ApplicatorThe hex shaping is perfect for tire treads.$5.99
  1. 5/5

Quick Detailers and Color Enhancers
1) Chemical Guys WAC_808_16 Hybrid V7 Optical Select High Gloss Spray Sealant and Quick Detailer


Sometimes, you don’t have a whole lot of time to buff your car to a beautiful shine using a buffing/polishing machine. In these situations, a product like a dedicated quick detailer is perfect for the majority of vehicles. Chemical Guys’ WAC_808_16 quick detailer is an excellent product for this particular situation.
What makes this particular product so great is the fact that it uses a chemical solution that serves as a sealant and a quick detailer simultaneously. On top of this, it comes in a spray bottle that you simply spray liberally onto the surface of your car. As it sits on the vehicle, it will remove road detritus, fingerprints, and smudges on the paint job. To work it in, simply use a microfiber cloth. What we found amazing about this product is exactly how much built-up material we found on our microfiber cloth after a quick wipe-down.
2) Chemical Guys GAP_619_16 Black Light Hybrid Radiant Finish Color Enhancer


Sometimes, you have a little more time to work on your shine. Our second product, which is also from Chemical Guys, is the GAP_619_16, also known as Black Light. This particular product is designed to not only deliver beautiful shine on your car, but to also visibly enhance your car’s showroom paint job. It has an anti-static formulation that actively provides a level of shine that will make your vehicle appear wet.
To apply this particular product you can use a dedicate buffer or simply a sponge. Apply a line or two of the Black Light to the foam surface of your applicator and work in a thin layer onto the surface of your vehicle. Once you’ve applied it, it’ll look waxy and thick. At this point, all you’ll have to do is shine it up with a microfiber cloth and you’ll have a lustrous shine that’ll also beautify you car’s color.
Sealants and Paint Protectants
3) Chemical Guys WAC_118_16 JetSeal Anti-Corrosion Sealant and Paint Protectant


With this product, you’ll need to set aside a bit of time, but the degree of beautification that can derived from such a complex sealant adds great value to the overall life of your car’s shine. When using this product, it’s recommended that you use a buffer as with a "wheeled" application it will help seal and prevent corrosion at the deepest level of your car’s paint job, though you can hand-apply it as well.
This product was developed using nanotech polymers that were designed for the aeronautics industry. It works by bonding to the surface of your paintjob and creating a shield that protects against external factors that can damage your car’s shine. This includes water spots, UV rays, and road grime.
What we love about this particular formulation is the fact that it isn’t just for your car’s metal components; it works excellently on glass and wheels as well; making it a great all-around product.
4) Wolfgang WG-5500 Deep Gloss Paint Sealant


This Wolfgang product does a similar job to the Chemical Guys sealant. It helps augment and protect your car’s shine so that it’ll look beautiful after you’ve put in some detailed work. This product is designed not to damage the clear coat of your car’s paintjob, which makes it perfect for enhancing your car’s shine, worry-free. Just one application should protect your car’s surface from environmental factors like road debris, solar rays, and salty air for several months.
The application of this particular product can be done with either a hand waxing sponge or a dedicate buffer. During our testing, we discovered that when applying it to a car, a little bit of the product goes a pretty long way. Once applied, you’ll need to wait 45 minutes or so in order to let it dry. Once dried, simply wipe it down with a microfiber and your car’s paint will be nicely protected.
Tire Shiners
5) Meguiar’s G12024 Hot Shine High Gloss Tire Spray – 24 oz.


Now that your car’s surface is shined to a beautiful sheen, it simply wouldn’t do to neglect your tires, would it? This is where tire shine products like the Meguiar’s G12024 really come in handy. This particular product comes in a spray, so you won’t need a direct applicator to work it into your tires.
All you’ll have to do is spray this product directly onto a microfiber cloth and work it into the treads of your tires. You don’t necessarily want to spray it directly onto your tire’s surfaces as this can cause it to build up around the corners of your rims, but when applied to a cloth it’ll make your tires have that deep wet, black look that is pleasing to the eye.
What we thought was pretty unique about this product is the antiozonant technology the company uses in order to keep the tires looking fresher for a fairly long amount of time. We also liked the adjustable sprayer.
6) Chemical Guys TVD_107_16 V.R.P. Vinyl, Rubber, and Plastic Super Shine Dressing


The final Chemical Guys product in this guide is perfect for delivering a uniform shine to all tires. While it doesn’t use a sprayer (you’ll have to work it in using a tire shine applicator), it provides a nearly unparalleled level of shine. What also makes this product great is its ability to protect tires from the same damage that can reduce the luminosity of your paintjob. It will directly reduce the damage caused by road debris and UV exposure so that the tires won’t appear cracked and damaged over time.
Once you’ve applied the V.R.P to your tires in a generous coat with the applicator, you can simply use a microfiber cloth to remove any excess. Once this is done, your tires will continue to look beautiful and dark for weeks.
Microfiber Cloths
7) Meguiar’s X3002 Microfiber Wash Mitt


Microfiber cloths are an incredibly important aspect of the shine process that really helps bring home a clean, streak-free shine. The Meguiar’s X3002 Microfiber Wash Mitt is unique because of its mitt design; you can easily work in wax and other materials with this product without getting any of the chemicals directly on your hands.
This product also excels as a washing mitt, due to the fact that it’s very absorbent. When shining up a car’s exterior, we found that this particular product is very easy to use; on all of a vehicle’s surfaces.
8) VibraWipe VWM-08 Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, 4 Colors – 8-Pieces


When applying wax, sealing, or quickly detailing, a dedicated microfiber towel like the VibraWipe VWM-08 is nearly perfect. This particular product comes in an eight pack so that you’ll have cloths to use for months, if not years. Each of the included cloths comes in four distinct colors: yellow, blue, pink, and green. These cloths are also machine-washable, so once you are finished shining up your vehicle, you can simply toss them into the wash for the next waxing.
These cloths are also relatively large, at 14.2 inches by 14.2 inches; you’ll have a large surface in which to work on your car’s shine. At $16.99, some might consider this a bit of an investment, but the high cost shouldn’t be much of a consideration due to how long these products tend to last.
Tire Shine Applicators (Optional)
9) Adam’s Hex-Grip Pro Tire Dressing Applicator


Our final product is a polisher that will help bring your tires to a shining luster, especially if you are using a thicker tire shiner/protectant. For those types of products, simply add them to the applicator and use it to work the solution into the treads of the tire you’re working on. This particular product has a hexagonal design so that it’s easy to grip and also has surfaces that can get deep into the recessed areas of your tire.
In addition to these features, the Adam’s Hex-Grip also has an area that’s designed specifically for ease-of-grip so that the process of applying your tire shine is quick and easy. This particular product is also very cleanable. All you’ll have to do is scrub it with some soapy water and reuse when it’s dry.


Conclusion

If you’re wondering which of the products that we’ve picked for this guide means the most to your car’s overall shine, then we’d have to select the Chemical Guys WAC_118_16 JetSeal Anti-Corrosion Sealant and Paint Protectant as our best pick. You can’t beat a product that’s made for the aerospace industry. It uses advanced nanotech to bring your vehicle to a mirror-clear shine. It’s a bit on the expensive side at almost $40, but you’ll definitely see incredible results with this product, especially if you apply it regularly.
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, then out of the different products that we’ve covered in this guide, we really like another Chemical Guys product, the Chemical Guys WAC_808_16 Hybrid V7 Optical Select High Gloss Spray Sealant and Quick Detailer. This particular product is great to use when you can, and it provides a quick shine to your vehicle when you don’t have time to get out the buffer.