It takes time, effort and elbow grease to keep your car looking better than new, but it also takes some essential products. Sure, a good car vacuum, some air fresheners and other products will keep the inside of your car looking and smelling great, but you're going to need something fantastic to clean the outside of your car.
You probably already have some car wax, but this is where car glaze comes into play. What's car glaze? It can make your car's paintwork shine brighter than ever. It's a finishing that's applied to your vehicle while detailing, something that you can do all on your own to get a professional look. Glazes are designed to fill in micro scratches and small cavities that can make your car look dull.
Below are our top car glaze picks for every budget and car based on firsthand experience with each product.
Read more: Best Car Detailing Products for 2022
The best car glaze in our book is 3M's Hand Glaze. We could stop writing about it right there, but you want to know more, surely. 3M's product is by far the easiest glaze we've ever applied and buffed out, making it very easy to work with. Apply it with a soft hand applicator, wipe off with a microfiber towel and add a thin second coat to really get a mega-clear-coat result from this stuff.
A close second place to 3M's product is Chemical Guys Wet Mirror Finish. This car surface glaze earns its name by producing insanely glossy paintwork after letting the product cure for a bit. It works with both hand and machine applicators (like a polisher), and bonus: It smells really awesome, too. This car glaze coating won't disappoint you with the results on your car's exterior.
If you're looking to save a few bucks and still get excellent gloss results from a glaze, Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Show Car Glaze is just the ticket. It certainly doesn't underperform our top picks by much, with wonderful depth and shine in a vehicle's paint after use. It's safe for hand and machine application, so pick your favorite way to apply and go to town with this coating.
Coming in as an even less expensive option is Mothers California Gold Micro-Polishing Glaze. We didn't find the paint shine results matching our other top picks, but its price is also half what they go for. Still, this glaze helped produce a mighty fine shine before a coat of paint protection wax. And if you want a deep luster on a budget, Mothers is not a poor gloss surface choice.
Really, any glaze coating will do for a black car or dark-colored car, but Chemical Guys' Black Light is supposed to really bring out the best in these paint colors. Like its Wet Mirror Finish, Black Light applies super easily, and does look especially great on black cars once it's all wiped off. If you have a white car or light-colored car, there's a White Light version, too.
You probably haven't heard of Dodo Juice before, but the company makes a neat product in its Lime Prime prewax glaze. The idea behind this product is sort of like a cleaner and cleanser. The formula strips away old car wax and car paint sealant in the process, too. That way, when you apply a new coat, the wax bonds to the paint better. All of that's a bonus because Lime Prime also brings out a brilliant glaze in the process.
Comparison of the best car glaze for 2022
|Best car glaze overall||3M||Hand Glaze||$24|
|Best car glaze overall runner-up||Chemical Guys||Wet Mirror Finish||$33|
|Best cheap car glaze||Meguiar's||Mirror Glaze Show Car Glaze||$16|
|Best cheap car glaze runner-up||Mothers||California Gold Micro-Polishing Glaze||$11|
|Best car glaze for pre-wax prep||Dodo Juice||Lime Prime||$18|
|Best car glaze for black cars||Chemical Guys||Black Light||$24|
What is car glaze and how do I use it?
- Use after polish, but before wax: Glaze is certainly not a necessary detailing paint step, but it can make a huge difference on your car's surface finish when you spend the time to use a glaze.
- Car glaze is a finer polish: Polish really fills in paint imperfections like swirl marks, while glaze goes a little further while adding a ton of extra depth to paintwork shine. You can skip it, but the results before a wax will be stunning, we promise.
- Check the product for how to apply: Most of the time, you can use a machine, like a dual-action polisher, or a hand applicator for paint glaze. But, check the detailer product to make sure you apply it correctly.
- Some products should cure, some can come off right away: Again, check your product to see if you should let the product sit for a few minutes before wiping it off for the best paint shine.
- Glaze is super easy to work with: We haven't encountered a glaze that's particularly stubborn. The slew of products are very easy to work with and beginner-friendly.
Glaze up and shine on with the best car glazes
Keep rocking that CNET Cars-approved shine with our best car glaze picks. You won't be disappointed with the paint job finish results.