– Air filter recharger kit: for the engines I have that still use a K&N (reusable) filter; wait, do I? Ok, maybe this is just nostalgia for me- nothing like staining the driveway red as you use the recharger kit to clean and oil the air filter for increased efficiency. Typically, this should be done every 40,000-50,000 miles or once the filter looks like the underneath of your fingernails after an axle swap.
Regular air filters should be replaced every few years or 30,000-45,000 miles, more if you've removed the air box to add a growl under the hood. If you've ever taken your car to any shop, you'd think you'd need your air filter changed daily…
– Engine degreaser like Engine Brite: a degreaser to help clean the engine bay so fresh and so clean, clean. Cover all electronics, wiring, sensors, air intake system or carburetor, distributor- anything that shouldn't get wet. Spray on the degreaser, let it soak while you drink a beer, brush the more difficult spots with your roommates toothbrush, and rinse with a fine stream of water.
– Car wash solution: I like this Optimum No Rinse stuff because it's good for areas that have water restrictions. It can be used on all vehicle surfaces (paint, glass, vinyl, fiberglass, etc) and is also water soluble and biodegradable. The best part about it is depending on what level of concentration you use, it is everything from a no rinse car wash solution to a clay bar lubricant to a quick detailer.
Connor Harrison's car detailing articles will provide much better pointers on washing cars than I can. I'm more than willing to let him go to town on one of my cars to prove how good he is at detailing them!
– Wax: A carnuba wax like Finish Kare pink auto wax applied with a microfiber towel provides a clear, reflective finish, adds shine, and protects the paint. For everyday use a cleaner wax like Megiurs which takes me back to my HIN days of attempting to polish bug carcasses, tar, and import model coochie off my car before judging.
– RainX: windshield wax, repels rain, sleet, and snow for optimal wet weather visibility. With a good coating, you won't even need windshield wipers when it's drizzling. The water will simply bead up and fly off.
– Leather cleaner: softens, conditions, and rejuvenates leather. I have Leatherique and Lexol. Parking in the garage also helps keep leather from cracking like a sun worshipper with a bottle of baby oil.
– Protectant like Vinylex or Meguirs Shine: cleans, shines, and protects vinyl, rubber, and plastic like dashboards and trim; sometimes contains a sunscreen filter to keep out damaging UV rays while protecting the surface from fading and cracking.
– Metal polish: I have way too many chrome and wheel cleaners than I care to admit, none of which I'm truly satisfied. What's the consensus amongst readers for the best alloy wheel cleaner?
– Touch up paint: My attempts at touching up paint haven't exactly been professional but hey, a car that's actually driven on the street and not just a trailer queen can admirably qualify as a Monet car (good from afar…).