Reviews

LAST UPDATED: May 11, 2020

Best Car Wash Kits for Your Ride 

Keep your ride looking new with these cleaning solutions

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The Review Team

  • Product Network

    20 Products

  • Clock

    16 Hours

  • Reviews

    18 Reviews

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PUBLISHED ON May 11, 2020

For many folks, their car is the second largest investment they’ll ever make. It’s important to maintain your car and keep it running its best. It’s also important to keep it looking its best. Preserving your car’s good looks is rewarding in more ways than one. We’ve assembled several kits that will keep your car looking new, inside and out, for years to come.

  • Best Overall
    Turtle Wax Ultimate Car Care Kit
    Summary
    Summary

    This kit comes with soap, scratch remover, spray wax, glass and surface cleaner, spray protectant, an air freshener, tire shine, foam applicator, and microfiber towels.

    Pros
    Pros

    This versatile kit has loads of items to clean your vehicle inside and out. It also has an air freshener to make it smell good and detailing towels to get the job done.

    Cons
    Cons

    The tire shine spray isn't the most effective, and the items may leak during shipping.

  • Best Overall
    Turtle Wax Ultimate Car Care Kit
  • Best Value
    Armor All Premier Car Care Kit
    Summary
    Summary

    This eight-piece kit has shine wash and wax, glass cleaner, a wash pad, protectant, multi-purpose cleaner, wheel and tire cleaner, tire shine, and an air freshener pump spray.

    Pros
    Pros

    This kit focuses on cleaning both the interior and exterior of your vehicle, including the wheels and tires, without spending a lot of money.

    Cons
    Cons

    The contents may leak during shipping, and it may be missing the wash pad or other items that it's supposed to include.

  • Best Value
    Armor All Premier Car Care Kit
  • Honorable Mention
    Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit
    Summary
    Summary

    This kit has car wash, carnauba plus liquid wax, tire gel, clay bars, Quik Detailer, ScratchX 2.0, Quik Interior Detailer, and PlastX clear plastic cleaner and polish.

    Pros
    Pros

    This kit is definitely complete as it provides everything you need to thoroughly clean the interior and exterior of your car. It also has a wash mitt, applicator, and detailing towels to get the job done.

    Cons
    Cons

    The products have a tendency to leak, and the wax may not be as effective as expected. The kit is also pricey.

  • Honorable Mention
    Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit

    For many folks, their car is the second largest investment they’ll ever make. It’s important to maintain your car and keep it running its best. It’s also important to keep it looking its best. Preserving your car’s good looks is rewarding in more ways than one. We’ve assembled several kits that will keep your car looking new, inside and out, for years to come.

    Best Car Wash Kits Reviews & Recommendations

    Best Overall Car Wash Kit

    Being on a budget doesn’t have to mean skipping out on the good stuff – just check out this Turtle Wax Ultimate Car Care Kit. You get car wash soap, a scratch remover, and spray wax to take care of the outside, while a two-in-one glass and surface cleaner, a spray protectant, and an air freshener keep things looking and smelling good inside. The kit also includes a tire shine for the perfect finishing touch and is rounded off by a pair of microfiber detailing towels and a foam applicator. Once again, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great day outside making your car look new again.

    Best Value Car Wash Kit

    We’ll start with the Armor All Premier Car Care Kit. This eight-piece kit includes everything you need to clean your car inside and out – except, of course, for a hose and a bucket. This kit takes a three-pronged approach to vehicle detailing, with a focus on the interior, exterior, and wheels and tires. This comprehensive kit proves that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your car looking its best. Included in the kit are all of the basics – car wash solution, a microfiber wash sponge, interior cleaner, and glass cleaner. Also included in this kit is a wheel cleaner, tire shine, interior protectant, and an air freshener. If you’re looking to spend a day in the driveway cleaning your car look no further than the Armor All Premier Care Kit.

    Best Mid-Priced Car Wash Kit

    If you’re looking to spend a little more, we recommend the Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit. When they say “complete,” they aren’t messing around. In addition to the basic car wash soap, wash mitt, and interior cleaner, you get everything you need to give your exterior a thorough makeover. This kit includes paint cleaning clay, along with a quick detailer spray to lube the clay and keep the car clean between washes. After a clay bar treatment, you can use the Scratch-X 2.0 polish to take care of scuffs and follow it up with Gold Class wax after the job is done. They even include the applicator! You’ll also find tire gel, plastic polish, and microfiber detailing towels in the box to round out this kit.

    Best Premium Car Wash Kit

    If money is no object, the Chemical Guys 16-Piece Arsenal Builder Wash Kit is one heck of a way to treat your car to the best cleaning of its life. The kit comes shipped in a wash bucket that includes a grit guard to keep you from spreading dirt around while you wash. Naturally, you get car wash soap, a wash mitt, and even a few detailing towels to get you started. You also get a special absorbent drying towel and a foam cannon like the pros use! After a thorough wash, you can use the liquid wax to leave a beautiful shine, and the quick detailer is great for between-wash touch-ups. You’ll also find a wheel cleaner and a high-quality tire dressing inside the bucket. Also included are a cleaning brush and a foam applicator.

    Best Car Wash Kit for Tires

    If you’re just looking to add to your detailing arsenal, this Eagle One 4-Piece Car Care Kit for Wheels & Tires could be just what you need. Clean paint is important, but having a good shine on your tires is the perfect complement to a deep, glossy wax job. While shiny tires may be a great finishing touch, they’re far from an afterthought when it comes to detailing. Tires become very dirty over time, resulting in inconsistent, splotchy applications of tire dressing. This kit includes a foaming tire cleaner to get your tires clean before applying the included tire dressing. Also included are reusable foam applicator pads to make things easy – and fun.

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    Best Car Wash Kits Reviews & Recommendations

    Best Overall Car Wash Kit

    Being on a budget doesn’t have to mean skipping out on the good stuff – just check out this Turtle Wax Ultimate Car Care Kit. You get car wash soap, a scratch remover, and spray wax to take care of the outside, while a two-in-one glass and surface cleaner, a spray protectant, and an air freshener keep things looking and smelling good inside. The kit also includes a tire shine for the perfect finishing touch and is rounded off by a pair of microfiber detailing towels and a foam applicator. Once again, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great day outside making your car look new again.

    Best Value Car Wash Kit

    We’ll start with the Armor All Premier Car Care Kit. This eight-piece kit includes everything you need to clean your car inside and out – except, of course, for a hose and a bucket. This kit takes a three-pronged approach to vehicle detailing, with a focus on the interior, exterior, and wheels and tires. This comprehensive kit proves that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep your car looking its best. Included in the kit are all of the basics – car wash solution, a microfiber wash sponge, interior cleaner, and glass cleaner. Also included in this kit is a wheel cleaner, tire shine, interior protectant, and an air freshener. If you’re looking to spend a day in the driveway cleaning your car look no further than the Armor All Premier Care Kit.

    Best Mid-Priced Car Wash Kit

    If you’re looking to spend a little more, we recommend the Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit. When they say “complete,” they aren’t messing around. In addition to the basic car wash soap, wash mitt, and interior cleaner, you get everything you need to give your exterior a thorough makeover. This kit includes paint cleaning clay, along with a quick detailer spray to lube the clay and keep the car clean between washes. After a clay bar treatment, you can use the Scratch-X 2.0 polish to take care of scuffs and follow it up with Gold Class wax after the job is done. They even include the applicator! You’ll also find tire gel, plastic polish, and microfiber detailing towels in the box to round out this kit.

    Best Premium Car Wash Kit

    If money is no object, the Chemical Guys 16-Piece Arsenal Builder Wash Kit is one heck of a way to treat your car to the best cleaning of its life. The kit comes shipped in a wash bucket that includes a grit guard to keep you from spreading dirt around while you wash. Naturally, you get car wash soap, a wash mitt, and even a few detailing towels to get you started. You also get a special absorbent drying towel and a foam cannon like the pros use! After a thorough wash, you can use the liquid wax to leave a beautiful shine, and the quick detailer is great for between-wash touch-ups. You’ll also find a wheel cleaner and a high-quality tire dressing inside the bucket. Also included are a cleaning brush and a foam applicator.

    Best Car Wash Kit for Tires

    If you’re just looking to add to your detailing arsenal, this Eagle One 4-Piece Car Care Kit for Wheels & Tires could be just what you need. Clean paint is important, but having a good shine on your tires is the perfect complement to a deep, glossy wax job. While shiny tires may be a great finishing touch, they’re far from an afterthought when it comes to detailing. Tires become very dirty over time, resulting in inconsistent, splotchy applications of tire dressing. This kit includes a foaming tire cleaner to get your tires clean before applying the included tire dressing. Also included are reusable foam applicator pads to make things easy – and fun.

    Best Car Wash Kits Buying Guide & FAQs

    Most people don't like driving around in a dirty-looking car or truck. Fortunately, it's not too hard to use some water and soap to clean off the grime. But if you want some extra shine, you'll need a good quality car wash kit to do the trick (as well as a little elbow grease).

    In our buying guide below, we get into the details about the different types of car wash kits and what makes one stand out over another. There are several features you need to consider before making a purchase to ensure that the kit provides everything you need to get the look you want to achieve.

    We also have some tips you should follow so that you don't waste your money on a package that falls short of your expectations. Finally, we answer some commonly-asked questions about car wash kits so you receive all the information you need to make a good investment.

    Benefits of a Car Wash Kit

    Keeping your vehicle clean is important for more than just aesthetic reasons. Over time, it will be exposed to things such as tree sap, dead bugs, and bird droppings. These can corrode the finish and can dry, so they become challenging to remove without destroying the paint.

    A dirty car can also adversely affect its performance. If it's covered in grime, it can cause wind resistance, which can affect your fuel economy. It's also important to keep the windows clean because if you can't see out of them clearly, it can cause safety issues.

    Dirt, road salt, and tar can also build up on your vehicle's undercarriage and bodywork and may eventually damage it. If you keep your car clean, you can help avoid these problems and prevent your vehicle from losing more value than it should.

    • Dirt and debris can corrode the paint and damage the undercarriage and bodywork. 
    • Grime can cause wind resistance and affect fuel economy. 
    • A clean car is visually more appealing.
    • Clean windows make driving safer.
    • Clean cars have more value.

    Different Kinds of Car Wash Kits

    There are basically two types of car wash kits: basic and advanced. A basic kit will have a variety of cleaning products for both the interior and exterior of your vehicle. It may also include a microfiber towel or two. An advanced kit will have cleaning products as well as a variety of tools that you otherwise may need to purchase separately.

    Basic Cleaning Kits

    Car wash kits contain various combinations of products. They typically all have some type of car wash soap or shampoo to clean the finish. Many feature a liquid wax to bring out the shine and color in the paint and to protect the finish. Other common items are tire foam and wheel cleaner.

    Basic car wash kits also often feature glass cleaners and/or multi-purpose cleaners as well as products geared specifically towards sprucing up the interior of your vehicle. They may even feature air fresheners or odor eliminators so it smells fresh.

    Advanced Cleaning Kits

    The more you pay for a kit, the more products it contains. Premium car wash kits usually have more tools and hardware than their less-expensive counterparts. They may include items such as a foam gun, some of which can attach directly to a garden hose and don't require other tools or machines for operation.

    Bigger kits also have buckets, sponges, towels, brushes, and other applicators. Many include clay bar kits, which you can use to remove contaminants from the finish. Pollutants such as brake dust can settle on the paint and can be difficult to remove unless you use a clay bar.

    What to Consider When Buying a Car Wash Kit

    Car wash kits come with a variety of different products, some of which are essential and some of which you may not need (if you don't have leather seats, you don't need a leather cleaner, for example). Don't settle for a kit that has extraneous items. Be selective, and choose one that falls within your budget and provides all the essentials for your particular vehicle.

    Shampoo

    This is the most important element in a car wash kit. You can't wax or polish your vehicle until you clean it first. Some shampoos are better than others. Try to find a brand that foams easily when you add water. It's also critical that it keeps the car's finish in good condition.

    Another thing to look for when choosing a car shampoo is that it doesn't leave any streaks. This will make your detailing job a lot easier. Also, it should produce a nice shine. Another plus is if it has a nice scent. If you don't like the smell, it will make your job a little unpleasant.

    Individual Cleaners

    Next, check which type of cleaners are included in the kit. Some kits provide polishes that are designed to specifically clean plastic. Others have glass cleaner for the windows or a multi-purpose cleaner that works on a variety of surface areas. There are also kits that have dirt and dust-fighting protectants and tire cleaners.

    Most kits have liquid wax, which prevents debris from clinging to your car's surface and gives it a nice shine. They may also contain detailing spray, which is another way to get that sought-after glossy look. You need to figure out which cleaners you require, so you can find one that has them all (or at least most of them).

    Microfiber Towels and Mitts

    You can have all the shampoo, cleansers, and waxes you need, but they won't do you any good if you don't have a way to apply them to your vehicle's interior and exterior surfaces. Look for kits that have absorbent microfiber towels or mitts. The aim is to pick up the dust or dirt the first time you wipe the cloth across the surface area. Also, make sure the cloth is soft so that it doesn't damage your paint.

    When it comes to drying your vehicle, the best towels are made of microfiber or chamois. If you don't use the right cloth, you will leave streaks or spots behind, or worse, you can scratch the paint. If you use a bath towel, for example, it can leave lint behind which can scratch the finish. 

    Price

    Car wash kits can range in price from less than $30 to as much as $200. Most good-quality comprehensive kits start around $50. They usually include a few tools alongside the products. If you spend a little more, the kit will have better-quality tools and more durable mitts. The most expensive kits will feature items such as clay bars and foam guns.  

    Consider how much it would cost to purchase the items separately versus buying them bundled together in a kit. It's usually more cost effective to buy a kit, but one possible drawback is that it may feature items you don't need.

    Tips for Using a Car Wash Kit

    Before you purchase a car wash kit, determine what you already have in your garage. If you are stocked up on microfiber towels and wash mitts, you don't need a kit that has these items. You may be happy with a kit that has just the basics for an exterior makeover, or you may prefer a kit that has everything you need to clean it inside and out.

    Kits that feature more items are typically more expensive. If you have money to spare, you may want a package that features everything from cleaner for the seats and molding to a clay bar that removes surface contaminants from the paint finish.

    If your kit doesn’t come with a bucket, make sure you have one with a 5-gallon capacity. It’s easier to use if it has a handle and wheels. Some even have grit guard inserts to collect the grime that falls off the mitt. 

    • Do an inventory to see what you already have on hand.
    • Consider whether you need just a basic kit or one with a large variety of products.
    • Make sure you have a good-quality bucket to make the job easier.

    Best Car Wash Kits FAQs

    By now, you know a lot about car wash kits and what distinguishes one from another. However, you may still have questions about how to use them and whether they're really worth the money. We address these issues and more in our frequently asked questions below.

    Q. How do I use a car wash kit?

    Each of the products in a car wash kit has a specific purpose. Follow the directions, and your car will be much cleaner and shinier as a result.

    Q. How do I choose the best car wash kit?

    Choose a kit based on the products it provides. There are some great beginner kits if you just want to do a basic car makeover, or there are kits with more advanced cleaning products for a more thorough wash, wax, and shine.

    Q. Should I get a car wash kit?

    Absolutely. Since the items are bundled, you are likely to save some money. Plus, they provide most, if not all, of the essentials you need to make your car shine. 

    Our Top Pick

    We recommend the Turtle Wax Ultimate Car Care Kit. It's a comprehensive kit that also keeps your budget in check. It includes car wash soap, scratch remover, and wax to clean the exterior. It also has glass and surface cleaner and a spray protectant that's great for everything from the dashboard and door panels to the tires and trim. 

    Final Thoughts

    While the Turtle Wax Ultimate Car Care Kit is an excellent all-around car wash kit, consider the Armor All Premier Car Care Kit if you want to save a little money. 

    It comes with eight items that are sure to satisfy most car lovers.