I do a lot of car reviews here at I4U and I have mentioned before that I am a serious car guy. I have a Mustang that I have spent a bunch of money on that my son and I take to car shows during the show season. Being a bit of a perfectionist with my car, I like to keep it spotless and clean. I had noticed over the last few car shows of the season that all the washing the car and using detail spray to keep the thing shiny had resulted in water spots that I could not get out of the paint and lots of swirls.
Each time I washed the car or got close to the paint the spots and swirls were all I could see. When it came time for the holidays and figuring out what I wanted, I generally choose car parts or gadgets. I am flush on gadgets this year so I started to look for cool car stuff. I generally wash my car and clean the inside each week to keep it looking good and I spend way more money at Walmart buying over the counter products to shine it up than I care to admit.
At a recent car show I started to listen to what some of the guys that had awesome shine and paint were using and poked around online and on forums looking to learn a bit about how other car guys and gals keep their rides shiny and clean. What I ran across during my search was a company called Adam's polishes. I watched hours of video on the Adam's site, with one of its users going by Junkman2000 on YouTube and perused their forums a lot before I decided to try their products out. Adam's Polishes was nice enough to send me at a detailing kit that any car guy or gal would love to get this holiday season called the Adam's Porter Cable Total Paint Restoration Kit. I suggest calling it the OMG! Shiny! Kit.
This kit has everything you need to get a flat out awesome shine on any car you might be driving. The kit includes three different polishes, a machine wax, a Porter Cable 7424XP (PC) buffer, all-purpose cleaner, detail spray, and a clay bar. The kit also includes the pads you need for the PC to get all the swirls, scratches, and water spots off your ride. Adams even throws in a couple absolutely epic micro fiber towels. The company officially calls them Adam's Double Soft Microfiber towels, but that name hardly does these things justice. I suggest calling them the Epically Awesome Microfiber Towels; they are that good. These things are thicker than five or six of the cheap microfiber towels I picked up at Walmart that I thought were good. The towels are used for wiping off detail spray, polish, and wax from your ride and are so soft you can't scratch your paint with them unless you are using them to cushion the handle of a scraper to go at your ride.
Before I jump into this review, it's important to note a few things. One is that the polishes are strictly for paint correction and you have three types including the green Severe Swirl and Haze Remover, orange Swirl and Haze remover, white Fine Machine Polish, and a gray Machine SuperWax. I point that out because I didn't realize before learning how to use this stuff that polish wasn't simply another name for wax. You need polish to get your shine and the wax helps you protect that shine and make the shine deeper. The other thing is you have no chance of hurting your paint through what people call burning or marring when you use the PC, unless you beat your car with the buffer. In other words, don’t fear the buffer.
After looking for a long time the thing that really bothered me about some of the other polish kits and really had me stumped was how and when to use what polish. With polishes, you have to start with the LEAST powerful product that is needed to do the job. The problem with other polishes for me from companies that are very well known, popular, and reputable is that the products I saw gave zero indication of what you use them for, what pad you use them on, and in what order you need to use the products. After you use a product, you have to follow it up with a less powerful product to remove the damage that the first product caused. That sounds confusing, but it's really not.
Think of if it as if you are sanding down a piece of wood. It starts out rough and you have to use coarse sandpaper to knock down the big rough edges. That coarse sandpaper leaves scratches of its own in the wood that you have to go back with a fine grain paper to remove. It’s the same idea with polishes. Adam's has made the whole process dead simple, and this comes from a guy who loves cars but has never laid a hand on a car buffer before. The green is the most powerful polish they offer and it goes on the green pad. The orange is the next step down and it goes on the orange pad, the white is the follow-up to the orange and it goes on the white pad. The finishing touch with wax is the gray product, and as you might guess, you use it on a gray pad. That is as simple as it gets, you never have to worry, and you never have to forget what pad goes with what product or anything. Why every other company on the planet that makes polishes doesn’t do this sort of simple color system is beyond me. It gets no easier than this from a usage perspective for a beginner and it instills lots of confidence for the new user.
The first step to this entire process of getting my paint fixed up and shiny was to wash the car. Trust me on this; you are washing your car wrong. All those swirls you are trying to fix get in your paint when you wash your car. How to properly wash your car to prevent scratches is beyond the scope of this review, but head over to YouTube and look up Junkman2000 videos and he will walk you through the entire process. The dude is a polishing savant. He's like the Steve Jobs of polishing. Watch what he does and follow suit.
After I washed my car, I went to the clay bar. This is a step you might want to skip if you are feeling lazy, but it is one of the more important steps. I don't care if you bought your car two days ago or three years ago, if you never clayed the thing it needs it. The claying process is as easy as keeping the surface wet with the detail spray, and then rubbing vigorously with the clay bar and folding the clay over on itself each time it looks dirty. Once you are finished claying the surface will be smooth as glass and ready for polishing. I also clayed the glass while I was doing this step just to get the glass ready for cleaning later. I also need to note at this point that you don’t want to work out in the direct sunlight; the clay will stick to your car if you get the panels too hot and the stuff is hard to get off and can actually scratch. In my case, I also had to tape off the vinyl stripes that are on my car.
I still managed to get some polish in the groove along the edge of the stripes and other places and it was hard to get off, so tape off well with blue painters tape. I have some green tape that is gentler than the blue, but it would not stick to my stripes at all. I also want to mention that the detail spray smells fantastic; it's sort of a bubblegum scent rather than the chemical smell we usually get with detail sprays. My daughter actually asked me for a piece of my gum and it took me a bit to realize she smelled the detail spray and thought I was chewing gum and wasn't sharing.
After the clay bar step was done, I moved to the polish. I picked a spot on the hood of the car 2' x 2' and started with the orange Swirl and Haze Remover (SHR). Since my car is only a few months old and while the swirls and spots bother me, they are rather mild I wanted to see if I could skip the stronger green polish. After two passes with SHR and one with the fine Machine Polish (FMP) I was satisfied that 99% of the scratches and swirls were gone. I might have been able to get them out faster if I went straight to the Severe Swirl and Haze Remover, but that would have also meant adding a step since it would need to be followed with the SHR and then FMP.
An important point here is to do all the polish steps in one spot so you can get an idea what it takes to perfect one spot before you move on. Once you figure out what it takes, do one-step on the whole car and then come back and do the next step on the whole car. Work indoors in your garage if possible, but you need lots of light and checking your work in the sun is a great help. You also want to work on 2' x 2' sections across the whole car; it makes your work much easier. Go easy on the polish as well you don’t need much.
I didn’t mention the cost of this kit before it's $359.95. that may seem like a ton of money when you can get products down at Walmart that claim to fix the same issues for a fraction of the price. I can tell you from years of using the products like Turtle Wax Ice and others from Walmart, there is simply no comparison between the Adam's line and what you can buy in Walmart. The best way I can describe it is that the stuff at Walmart is like an AC/DC cover band, they sound ok and you are entertained but it’s only a tiny fraction of how awesome it is to see the real band. I thought that Turtle Wax stuff worked well, but I was so very wrong. You absolutely get what you pay for when it comes to car care.
In all it took me about 14 hours to detail my entire car from wash and dry until I put on the super Machine Wax at the end. I also used only a tiny bit of the product. It takes about four pea sized drops to get your pad primed well and after that, you can use three pea sized drops per two-foot space on your ride. Once your pad gets full of product you can even get by a lot of the time with nothing more than a shot of detail spray on the pad to reactivate the solids in the polish. I mention this also so you can understand that while the polish Adam's polishes offers are not cheap, you will honestly never need another bottle unless you plan to detail hundreds of cars. I probably used the SHR from a full bottle down to the top of the label and used less of the other products. I will never need to buy more polish just for taking care of my car and my wife's.
- Dead simple to use
- Has everything you need
- Works fantasticaly
- Not cheap (but it works great)
In the end, the car looks better than it did the day I picked it up from the dealer. The paint is very glossy, there is no haze, 99% of the swirls and scratches are gone and my shine will last about six months since my car spends all but a few hours per day in a garage. It's hard to see the massive change from the images with this review, the color of the car means the original damage just doesn’t pick up well in photos. The difference looking at the car in person is huge.
When you look at the quality of the products Adam's offers, how long the products last, and how easy they are to use the $359 you spend here is enough to detail your car for years to come. A good detail at a local shop will cost you a third the price of this kit or more and I guarantee you the products my local detail shop uses are nowhere near the quality Adam's offers. The local shop wanted $230 to detail my mom's car, and they don't even clay bar. If you are a serious car fan that loves to keep your ride pristine and want the sort of paint that other people lust after, the Adam's Porter Cable Total Paint Restoration Kit is the best $359 you can spend on your car.
Hit this link to get your Adam's Porter Cable Total Paint Restoration Kit and get your shine on.