7 Car Cleaning Accessories That Will Restore Your Ride

Automatic car washes can only do so much. Invest in these seven car cleaning accessories or a vehicle that looks like it just rolled off the lot.

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Simoniz orbital sander, car cleaning accessoriesPhoto: Canadian Tire

1. Simoniz orbital polisher, $80, Canadian Tire.

You've invested a lot of money in the car your drive, so it's understandable you want to keep it looking like new—even if it's been around the block a few times. Stocking your garage with the right car cleaning accessories can help restore (at least some of) your ride's former glory.

No matter what kind of car you drive, an orbital polisher is indispensable tool for polishing and waxing—two essential strategies for keeping your vehicle looking shiny and new. If this $80 model is beyond your car cleaning budget, consider a cost-conscious buffer pad kit that's designed to adapt to a conventional power drill.

Check out Five Ordinary Household Items That Can Clean Your Car!

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Car cleaning accessories: Armor All tire cleanerPhoto: Canadian Tire

2. Armor All tire foam, $9, The Home Depot.

It is easy to clean your car and forget about the tires, but no vehicle can look like it just rolled off the lot unless its rubber has that gleaming jet-black finish. Foaming tire cleaner is the best way to remove accumulated dirt and leave your tires looking their best. What's more, most cleaners also protect your tires against further buildup as well as cracking and damage brought on by exposure to the elements.

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Car cleaning accessories: Meguiar headlight restoration kitPhoto: Canadian Tire

3. Meguiar's heavy-duty headlight restoration kit, $30, Walmart.

Over time the brightness of your headlights can become diminished, but the problem may not lie with the bulbs inside. Rather, the plastic covering that protects the headlights can become scratched and corroded, diffusing the light and making driving after dark less safe. A headlight restoration kit is designed to remove these tiny cracks and bring your headlights back to their original factory condition.

Considering an upgrade? Check out these Tips for Installing Custom Headlights!

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Car cleaning accessories: Meguiar's ultimate plastic restorerPhoto: Canadian Tire

4. Meguiar's Ultimate plastic restorer (black), $15, Canadian Tire.

Black is the new chrome when it comes to car trims and bumpers. Accordingly, your car can benefit from cleaners specifically designed to keep those black plastic surfaces looking their best. Look for cleaners that also offer protection against further weathering, as these materials eventually tend to fade from black to grey after years of exposure to the elements.

Check out these Five Must-Have Car Accessories!

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Car cleaning accessories: Mother's polished aluminum wheel cleanerPhoto: Canadian Tire

5. Mothers polished aluminum wheel cleaner, $13, Canadian Tire.

Whether your wheels are aluminum, chrome or wire, there's a wheel cleaner specifically designed to maintain their luxe-looking lustre. Look for a product that not only cuts through accumulated brake dust, grit and grime, but that also protects against further wear, including pitting and rusting.

Check our More Tips for Refinishing Wheels!

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Car cleaning accessories: Car wax kitPhoto: ShutterStock

6. A car wax kit

Whether or not you apply it with an orbital polisher, waxing your car on a regular basis is the best way to keep your paint looking like new. What's more, a good quality car wax can protect your paint job from the damaging effects of UV rays, acid rain and, come winter, salt. The next time it rains, keep an eye on the behaviour of the water: if it's no longer beading up and rolling off the surface of your car, it's time for another wax job.

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Car cleaning accessories: Turtle Wax bug and tar removerPhoto: Walmart

7. Turtle Wax bug and tar remover, $10, Walmart.

Bugs, tar and tree sap can leave big unsightly bumps all over your car and can eventually corrode and damage the paint. Keep this specialty product in your car cleaning kit and use it to remove these deposits before they have a chance to mar the exterior finish.

The next step? This tutorial on How to Organize Your Car Care Products!