In-Depth Review: Chemical Guys BUF Porter Cable 7424XP Detailing Kit
A close look at this all-in-one detailing kit.
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It can be difficult to know what you really need to get a good polish onto your vehicle if you don't have the right equipment and cleaning supplies. The car detailing arsenal of many professionals varies since different tools and products offer different results. Some choose power tools like random orbital buffers/random orbital polishers with variable speed control, while others get by with a simple, heavy-duty foam pad that can tackle major swirl marks for a swirl-free finish. Since things can get complicated for first-timers just figuring out what works and what doesn't for their needs, a good car detailing kit can go a long way as a first step into the confusing-yet-rewarding world of DIY car care.
The Chemical Guys BUF Porter Cable 7424XP car detailing kit has a lot of promise to first-time DIY car care enthusiasts or even semi-professionals. Coming with a car polisher, car buffer pads, microfiber towels, and cleaner/conditioner spray bottles, there is almost everything you need in one box for a decent car detail. With so much included, however, it's easy to expect that the kit is too good to be true. While there are some limitations, the kit actually does a good job of providing decent results and a good finish look after everything is said and done.
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The BUF Porter Cable 7424XP is definitely designed around versatility. The kit itself comes with almost anything you could need when detailing the average car. If this is your first kit, you will also be pleasantly surprised at just how thorough Chemical Guys has been in selecting the different accessories that come with the included polisher.
The polisher itself is where the main action comes from in the kit. It is a dual-action machine polisher that has an adjustable motor with the speed range between 2,500 to 6,800 orbits per minute. The motor and spindle accept any 5.5-inch pad, including pad options that do not come with the kit itself. The design of the polisher is similar to other options on the market. It has several points on the surface you can grab onto, but it lacks the dedicated T- or D-handle other options tend to offer. Beyond the polisher, the kit comes with a variety of pads and accessories.
Chemical Guys explain that the assortment of pads is designed to match the typical progression of the car detailing process. You can use each pad at a different stage for the best results.
A couple of spray bottles of conditioner/cleaner and some microfiber towels round out the kit’s offerings. Together, you should theoretically have all you need to detail the car before slapping on a layer of wax.
Despite the small size of the included machine polisher, using it for long periods of time is actually quite comfortable. There is plenty of surface area to grab onto, making it easier to find a good grip to avoid hand fatigue as you work your way around the vehicle. That being said, there are a couple of drawbacks to the design. The aforementioned lack of a handle, for example, can make it a little awkward to maneuver and control the polisher in tight spots. The speed knob is also close to one of the supporting hands and is easy to bump when manipulating the polisher, increasing the speed accidentally.
As the motor runs, there's very little heat generated from it or the backing plate. Vibrations are also minimal. At higher motor speeds, there is more noticeable heat and vibrations, but it is nothing difficult or uncomfortable to deal with while using the polisher. One major drawback to note is the level of noise the motor puts out. Especially at high speeds, the noise is almost loud enough to require hearing protection if you don't want to leave a ringing sensation in your ears afterward.
Unlike most other polishing kits, the included pads and other accessories are very impressive. Longevity wise, the included polishing pads will last through the detailing of at least two or more cars. The bottles of conditioner and cleaner have a decent amount of cleaning solution, but they are likely to run out sooner than the pads themselves. They are also prone to washing out the color of the pads after a while.
The overall results of any machine polisher or car detailing kit come down to the quality of the products and techniques used. In the case of the 7424XP machine polisher, it is more than capable of handling light or medium dirt and debris, especially when combined with a decent wash and polish. Unfortunately, the included spray bottles don't offer the same results as more dedicated wash, polish, and wax products.
It's not that the sprays are terrible, it's just the polishing effects are barely noticeable at best. For example, the cleaning solutions do little to remove light scratches, swirls, and other visual blemishes from the surface of the paint. They do, however, act as a good lubricant for the buffing pad to cut down on the friction it encounters on the surface.
Ultimately, better results will be had with an actual polish and/or wax after a good wash. Whatever cleaning solution you use, the pads themselves are perfect for normal application. Following the directions included in the kit, it's easy to get a decent shine and a good protective coat of wax, switching between the different pads quickly. At higher motor speeds, the pads can remove most noticeable marks and swirls, although smaller micro-swirls present a challenge.
Finally, there isn't much to be said for the other included accessories in the kit. The microfiber towels are good for removing excess polish or wax, washing the car beforehand, or keeping your hands clean throughout the whole process. Eventually, the longevity of the pads and towels will run out, meaning you will be replacing them at some point in the future.
The Chemical Guys 7424XP Detailing Kit is one of the few polishing kits that actually delivers on most of its promises. While there are a few limitations at higher motor speeds and with the included cleaning solutions, the machine polisher itself and the pads all can provide great results with the right compounds. Most of all, the value of this kit makes it a good entry-level option to consider as a first-time purchase.
Final verdict: The Chemical Guys 7424XP Detailing Kit offers a lot of value and good results as long as you look elsewhere for the polishing compound.