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Sonax Brilliant Shine Detailer: Real World Test And Review

Quick Detailers’ are a hotly debated topic in detailing, as there are conflicting views as to what their purpose really is.

Some quick detailers are intended to be cleaners which allow light dust to be removed from the surface of paint with a microfibre towel. Others serve to ‘top up’ existing wax layers and boost the gloss, while others can be used as standalone protection products. 

Sonax Brilliant Shine Detailer (BSD) can fit into all three of the above categories. It contains good lubrication allowing dust to be removed from paint while minimising the risk of swirl marks being inflicted.

It can be used on top of other waxes to enhance gloss and can also be used as a standalone protection product, which performs better than many other spray protection products on the market, with fantastic hydrophobicity and durability. 

Prepmycar Rating: 8.3 / 10

SONAX 287400 Xtreme Brilliant Shine Detailer, 750 ml

Sonax Brilliant Shine Detailer

  • 8.0 Ease of application
  • 7.0  Cleaning ability
  • 8.5 Aesthetics
  • 8.0 Durability
  • 9.0 Hydrophobicity
  • 8.5 Value for money
  • 8.2 OVERALL TEST SCORE

Pros

  • Easy to apply
  • Considered a waterless wash
  • It can mask very light hazing marks to leave a brilliant shine and also improves the look of heavily swirled paint
  • Good water beading and sheeting

Cons

  • Nothing really!

Testing process

I wanted to test BSDs ability to remove light soiling, which the manufacturer claims it can do.

My own car had a few light splatters of dirt on the side panels, I also knew the paint was in fairly good condition, making it a good test surface.

I gave several good sprays onto the surface of the paint in order to provide as much lubrication as possible. I not only want to test cleaning ability, but also how safely it can clean, i.e., are swirl marks inflicted into the paint?

With the door sufficiently covered I took a quality microfibre cloth and wiped from left to right. As I moved across the panel, I tried to use minimal pressure to avoid inflicting unnecessary scratches. I also flipped the cloth after each pass, so I was using a clean side every time. 

I also wanted to test the protective ability of this product. To do this I applied BSD to clean paint that had been stripped of any remaining wax. As the surface is clean, I did not need to use as much product as I did when cleaning the dirty panel. Two or three sprays were enough to carry the whole door, I then used a microfibre cloth to spread the product and buff to a high shine finish. 

I re-evaluated the water performance of the panel that had been protected with Sonax BSD every time I washed my car, giving regular updates on the performance of the product. 

Test Results

Ease of application (8.0/10)

BSD is by no means a difficult product to apply. It works well in cool shaded areas, but I have used it on warm days, and it does still apply easily provided it is not allowed to dry. A common complain with BSD is that the product can be quite ‘sticky’, in that it can leave streaks behind. I must admit I haven’t noticed this and would suggest that using too much product could be the problem here, which is why I recommend between two and three sprays per panel. 

Cleaning ability (7.0/10)

As mentioned, I tested BSD as a sort of ‘waterless wash’. Quick detailers are often used at car shows to clean any dust that may have been picked up since the last wash, but what risk is there to damaging the paint? I made every effort to ensure that the wash was as safe as possible. BSD cleaned the panel well; I shone a detailing light onto the panel and did not notice any marks right away. However, I then washed the surface of the paint with Meguiar’s Wash Plus to remove BSD. With the paint clean I did notice some hazing on the paint which were not there before, emphasising that a full safe wash is the best way to wash a car. 

Aesthetics (8.5/10)

The important thing to remember here is that the gloss of paint is primarily determined by the lack of defects on the surface. Paint correction is what produces gloss; however, waxes and detailers can improve the appearance of the surface by leaving a flatter surface for light to reflect off. As I mentioned in the previous section, BSD can mask very light hazing marks to leave a brilliant shine, and also improves the look of heavily swirled paint. Sonax BSD is a product I frequently use on my own vehicle; I really like the finish it produces. 

Durability (8.0/10)

Sonax BSD has a reputation for being one of the most durable spray detailers, and my own experiences have confirmed this. I applied BSD to a section of my car and strong water behaviour was still observed three months after application. Regular updates on the performance of BSD from this test will be provided below:

1 weeks after application, 1st wash: Bilt Hamber Auto-foam was used as a pre-wash at 4% PIR before using Bilt Hamber Auto-wash with a wash mitt. I did not notice any change in the hydrophobicity, the water sheeted and beaded as if it had just been applied. 

2 weeks after application, 2nd wash. I used Gyeon Bathe to wash the car, with the water still beading well and looking great.

4 weeks after application, 3rd wash. I used Carpro Reset to wash the car, with the panel with BSD applied still being very easy to clean. Water was still beading well after this wash. 

Hydrophobicity (9.0/10)

The ability of a product to sheet water is a key indicator to the quality of the product. If a surface repels water, it is said to be hydrophobic. The practical application of this is two-fold. Firstly, tight, uniform water beads on the surface of paint are a satisfying sight and draws the eye. More importantly however, a hydrophobic surface will not attract dirt as easily. 

The water beading and sheeting from BSD is as good as any product I have used. The beads are neat and uniform, and water sheets off the paint rapidly when sprayed at a low contact angle. 

Value for money (8.5/10)

Sonax BSD is usually sold in 750 ml bottles, sold with a trigger head. Prices vary depending on the retailer, but £10 ($11.15 USD) would be the average price online. Each spray from the trigger pumps roughly 1.2 ml of product. Based on three sprays per panel roughly 22 sprays would be needed to cover a mid-sized hatchback. Assuming this used 26 ml of product and based on a £10 ($11.15 USD) bottle, it would cost just 35 p ($0.39 USD) to coat a car, which is fantastic value. 

Special features

Sonax BSD can also be used as a spray rinse sealant by spraying one or two sprays onto a wet panel and rinsing. This will produce good results quickly, but coverage may not be as good as when it is applied in the normal manner. Sonax BSD is also very good at dissolving bird droppings. I’m not entirely sure of the science behind it, but when sprayed on the dropping and left to dwell for a minute or two the contamination can simply be rinsed away. 

On my own car, I first apply Poor Boy’s Black Hole, which is one of my favourite glazes. I then apply BSD on top of the glaze, which improves the shine of the paint and still gives excellent hydrophobic qualities. BSD also smells excellent, which is always a bonus. 

More about Sonax

Sonax are a German detailing manufacturer and have existed since 1903. They became pioneers in car cleaning in the 1960s, as more people could afford their own cars and were keen to keep them clean. Today Sonax place heavy emphasis on research and development and have a wide selection of detailing products. 

Final thoughts

Sonax BSD is a product I think every detailer and enthusiast should try. I was very impressed when I first tried the product and will definitely be purchasing more when I run out. 

I do think this product’s best use is as a stand-alone product, or as a top up for existing waxes. Using it as a waterless wash will increase the chances of causing scratches, so should be avoided. 

FAQ

How long does Sonax Brilliant Shine Detailer last?

The durability or BSD will depend on a number of factors, such as paint preparation, wash products used and time of year. Users can usually expect 2-3 months durability.

Can Sonax Brilliant Shien Detailer be used as a waterless wash?

BSD can be used to remove dust, water spots and fingerprints from paint, but is not suitable to use as a waterless wash, there is an increased chance of scratches being inflicted when washing without water.

Can Sonax Brilliant Shine Detailer be diluted?

BSD is sold ready to use, so should not need diluted. Some people find that the product is a bit too thick for their liking. In this case, adding some de-ionised water to BSD can make the product more workable.

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SONAX 287400 Xtreme Brilliant Shine Detailer, 750 ml
5,643 Reviews
SONAX 287400 Xtreme Brilliant Shine Detailer, 750 ml
  • Quick paintwork care any time
  • Gently and thoroughly cleans slightly soiled surfaces without scratching
  • Improves the paint finish, and produces a smooth surface and a brilliant deep shine
Jonathan

Jonathan

Jonathan has been a car fanatic since his dad got him hooked on the Ferrari F40. Whilst he has dreams of owning one someday, he's poured his life into being the best he can be when it comes to detailing. Whilst car detailing is just a hobby, the countless hours and money invested makes him a unique addition to the detailing industry, offering unbiased opinions and methods that often go against the trends.

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