The winter is drawing to a close, and if you’re one of those unlucky people who reside in an area where the snow blower sees more fill-ups than the car, odds are you’re itchin’ to get out and wash away the months of dirt, grime, salt, and road residues that have accumulated on your vehicle during the winter months. And, if you’re like me, you’re dying to try some new detailing products – you’ll use any excuse to run down to the local auto parts stores and cruise the shelves for new detailing products.
But, despite the urge to try any new product, I’m quite stubborn when it comes time to introduce a new product to my detailing arsenal. I demand high quality products that perform consistently. I insist that the products perform as advertised, and to my expectations. Such products are usually few and far between, so imagine my excitement when I learned that a very famous wax company was about to release several lines of new products. Mothers® Waxes, Polishes and Cleaners has been making premium car care products for decades, and their new Reflections® line, FX line and Power Products line definitely piqued my curiosity.
I received a large package from Mothers® earlier this month and could hardly wait for the bad weather to break. My chance came this weekend when we had a freakishly warm weekend – the temperatures were in the low seventies, the sun was out, and I was ready to tackle my messy Tahoe.
Prior to cutting loose on the Tahoe, I took a few days to study the Mothers® press releases, read the instructions for each of the new products and practice a bit on test panels that I keep in my basement. Mothers® claims that its Reflections® line was designed for the most discriminating of enthusiasts – sounds like it’s exactly what I’m looking for. The chemists at Mothers® developed Reflections® specifically for the complex high-tech finishes found on today’s cars. They utilized advanced synthetics to provide unsurpassed ease of use, deep gloss, high shine and long lasting durability.
There are five products in the Reflections® line: Reflections® Car Wax, Reflections® Top Coat, Reflections® Spray Wax, Reflections® Tire Care and Reflections® Leather Care. The waxes are designed for use by either hand or machine, feature a light cologne scent and come packaged in some of the nicest bottles I’ve ever used – their bright red color reminded me of a fire extinguisher. The new products will be available for sale at most automotive parts stores by the time you read this.
Mothers® also released a line called Power Products, the first-ever line of products specifically engineered for use with power buffers (random orbital, dual-action, and rotary). The products were designed from the start to be used with power buffers, unlike traditional products that were designed for hand use and then later approved for use with machine.
The new Power Products include: PowerPolish, PowerWax, PowerMetal and the revolutionary new PowerBall. The PowerBall is a closed-cell foam ball that attaches to a power drill and can be used to polish anything and everything from wheels to diamondplate to plastic lenses to bathtubs and kitchen sinks. There’s nothing I like more than a good multi-tasker…
And finally, Mothers® released a line of FX products, designed for the “next generation car enthusiast.” The FX products were specifically designed to provide maximum shine and protection. The all new FX line includes: FX SynWax, FX Spray Wax, FX Wheel Cleaner, and FX Tire Shine. The high-tech products are packaged in slick new bottles that remind me of high-end German car care products. Mothers® definitely didn’t skimp on the packaging for their new products.
So how do all of these slick new products, complete with advanced polymer-technology, months of R&D and top notch packaging perform? Let’s find out.
The first order of business was to tackle the wheels. After 4 months of spinning their way through a wintery mix of sand, salt, snow and slush, they were in dire need of cleaning. I sprayed a liberal amount of FX Wheel Cleaner on a wheel, agitated it lightly with an old wash mitt and rinsed it clean. Much to my delight, the wheel was nice and clean. I repeated this on the remaining three wheels and then set about cleaning the wheel wells of the Tahoe with a mild, all purpose cleaner and another old wash mitt. The Mothers® FX Wheel Cleaner worked like a charm – the spray pattern was well controlled, the spray pump delivered plenty of foamy cleaner, and the FX Wheel Cleaner safely and effectively cleaned my wheels. Score 1 for Mothers.
With the wheels and wheel wells clean, I gave the body of the Tahoe a well deserved (and needed) bath. I worked top to bottom, using plenty of water to flood the panels before washing. I rinsed my mitt often to help flush away any grit and grime. With the truck washed, I clayed the surface with my Mothers® clay bar. For those not familiar with clay, let me just say that you’ve never experienced “clean” until you’ve clayed. Clay works like an exfoliant for your paint’s “skin” – it lifts embedded debris from the surface and leaves your paint silky smooth. Clay won’t remove defects like swirls or spiderwebs, but it will safely deep clean the paint. I often liken clay to a tweezers – it lifts the debris from your paint much like a tweezers removes splinters from your finger. Just remember to use plenty of lubricant when you’re claying – I prefer to use a quality quick detailer spray because of the added lubricity that it provides.
Alright. The Tahoe was washed and clayed, and ready for the next step. I broke out my trusty Porter Cable random orbital buffer, a yellow foam cutting pad and my new bottle of Mothers® PowerPolish Stage 1. I applied a modest amount of the dark grey liquid to my buffing pad, set the buffer against my paint, worked it around manually for a few seconds, then turned on the power. I was impressed because unlike so many other products I’ve used, there was no “sling.” The product spread quickly and evenly, and I went about working it into the surface.
I chose to work on a 2′x2′ section of my hood, while focusing on a set of scuff marks that had been annoying me for most of the winter. I worked the buffer and PowerPolish at a speed setting of about 4.5 for approximately 2-3 minutes. When I buffed away the residue with a clean microfiber towel, I was immediately struck by how easy the residue wiped away. I was accustomed to having to fight with dusty, messy residues, but the Mothers® product wiped away clean and easy. My scuffs were gone, and the paint was really starting to look good – the metal flake popped and the surface was glass smooth. I used the PowerPolish on the rest of the truck and was equally impressed. I had a few deep scratches in the rear tailgate that required a stronger product, but the Mothers® PowerPolish didn’t disappoint me. I’d place its strength at just a tad stronger than a traditional swirl mark remover product – perfect for most typical paint cleaning situations.
After cleaning my paint, I’d normally break out a glaze and take another pass at the vehicle, but the Mothers® Reflections® Car Wax claims it will increase gloss and depth while providing a layer of tough protection, so I decided to skip the glaze and go straight to the Reflections® Car Wax. I was already a few hours into my project, so saving an extra step was definitely welcome. I decided to apply the wax with my Porter Cable random orbital buffer, so I reached for a foam polishing pad, applied some of the Reflections® Car Wax and went to work.
The product spread quickly and evenly, and after working a 2′x2′ section for a minute or so, I stood back and let the Reflections® Car Wax haze. A quick wipe with a microfiber towel later and my dark blue metallic paint was literally alive. I was so excited, I applied Reflections® Car Wax to the rest of the hood and anxiously buffed away the residue. The final look is hard to describe – the paint had a glow to it, almost as if the metallic particles were “floating” in the blue paint.
I decided to finish the job with the Mothers® Reflections® Top Coat product. Mothers® says that Top Coat is a true, last step protectant, meaning that it doesn’t contain any cleaners – it’s meant to serve only as a protectant. I applied it by hand, as I wanted to ensure a nice, thin, uniform layer of product. Applying the product by hand took just a few minutes, and by the time I was done applying the product, it was ready to be buffed clean.
Once again, like all of the other products, Mothers® Reflections® Top Coat almost “fell off” by itself. I’m used to microfiber towels and am familiar with how easily they remove products, but this was ridiculous – there was zero effort expended during removal. I often use slickness as a measure of a protectants quality, and I found the Reflections® Top Coat to be extremely slick – so slick, in fact, that any towel placed on the surface of my hood simply slid off. The optics were fantastic – much deeper than a traditional synthetic, but warmer. The Reflections® Top Coat seemed to add additional gloss, along with a touch more shine. The pictures don’t do the paint justice – it was literally shimmering.
With the paint detailed and looking better than new, I hit the tires with the Reflections® Tire Shine. It sprayed on evenly and was absorbed quickly. I wiped off the excess product and stood back for a good look. The look was extremely professional – a deep, matte black, with just a hint of sheen. None of that candy-like “ghetto gloss” that I see all too often at car shows. Those wanting additional gloss may be interested in the Mothers® FX Tire Shine.
I had one last detail to tend to with the wheels – I recently had some new Yokohama tires installed, and there was some marring on the rims from the old wheel weights. I had used clay with little success, so I wasn’t sure what to try next. I spoke with the guys at Mothers®, and they suggested I try the PowerBall on a drill, along with a little of their Clear Coat Wheel Polish. The PowerBall seems large, but it’s amazing to witness how much it can compress during use. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the PowerBall work its way through some extremely tight areas. The PowerBall made short work of my wheel marring, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easily it cleaned-up afterward. A good rinse with some mild soap and a lot of water, and it looked like brand new.
The outside of the Tahoe was looking better than the day it rolled off the showroom floor (some three years ago), so it was time to tackle the interior. My wife and I do a lot of volunteer work for the Great Dane Rescue, so I’ll leave the condition of the interior to your imagination. I wiped down the dash and all vinyl surfaces with a little interior cleaner, and then turned my attention to the leather seats.
I’m used to having to spend a lot of time caring for my leather seats. In the past, I’ve cleaned the leather, buffed it dry, and then massaged a conditioner into the seats. Mothers® Reflections® Leather Care is a one-step cleaner and conditioner, so I sprayed it over the seats, allowed it to penetrate for a minute or two, and then buffed the seats clean. I was extremely impressed with the scent – the interior didn’t smell like a herd of 150-pound dogs any more, but rather fresh glove leather. The one-step nature of the product was not only a time-saver but effective – stains disappeared and the natural luster of my leather came back. And unlike so many other leather products, the Mothers® Reflections® Leather Care left my seats feeling supple and soft – not slick and greasy.
I realize Mothers® is a Roadfly sponsor, and that you might think I’m heaping praise on them just for that reason, but that’s absolutely not the case. I don’t believe in giving praise to products that don’t deserve it, plain and simple. Mothers® products have always done well in our Guru Reports tests, and many folks have been using their products for many years with great success. Their new product lines: Reflections®, Power Products and FX perform as expected, without the excess hype or exaggerated claims that some other companies rely on to “sell” their products. If the Mothers® products hadn’t thoroughly impressed me, you wouldn’t be reading about them here.
So, if you’re looking for some high quality products for your car, be it a high-end European car, a hot new import car, or a run-of-the-mill domestic, look no further than Mothers®. My initial impression of the products was extremely positive, and I’ll follow-up on them in the Roadfly detailing forum in the weeks to come. When the bad weather finally breaks in your area, get yourself down to the parts store and check out the new line of Mothers® products – you won’t be disappointed. In fact, I think you’ll be extremely satisfied with the performance – I sure was.