There is nothing, almost literally nothing, better than the feeling of seeing your car all gleaming and shiny like it was new. Honestly, we just allow our cars to get so grimy and manky these days, letting layers and layers of grime build up on the outside and strata upon strata of empty crisp packets and coffee cups on the inside. Irish people more-so than people from the UK have always taken a somewhat utilitarian approach to car maintenance, but I think it’s time we called a halt to that. It’s time we took a bit of pride in our cars and started keeping them in better nick week-to-week. Besides, a clean car is so much nicer to drive…
1. So, let’s start with Autoglym, a brand that you’ll recognise if you’ve ever been to a major motor show – new car or classic car, it doesn’t matter. If the metal has to be looking its best for the paying public, Autoglym is what you’ll see being used by an army of cleaners and detailers. It’s used by companies such as Jaguar and Aston Martin, but the price tags aren’t as staggering as that might make you think. Start off with the Perfect Bodywork And Wheels Six Piece Gift Set (http://www.micksgarage.com/search?keyword=3402982
), which gets you bodywork shampoo and conditioner, super resin polish (especially good for metallic paints), extra gloss protection, a bottle of ‘Clean Wheels’ formula, tyre dressing mix and an alloy wheel seal to keep the grime off in the weeks to come. If you're looking for a gift for the petrol-head in your life then the Autoglym kit range is hard to beat, it's beautifully presented and the HD wax kit is possibly the pick of the bunch - it smells so good you'll want to put it on yourself, never mind the car!
2. Now, let’s talk windscreens and glass – not only are these critical areas for keeping the car looking sharp, it’s also hugely important to keep them clean and clear for safety purposes. Especially at this time of year, when that low winter sun comes blasting through the trees and picks up every little mark and dead bug. For quick cleans, it’s a good idea to have a pack of Holts Exterior Screenies in the glovebox. They’re quick, easy to use and clean without streaks (http://www.micksgarage.com/search?keyword=4830335
). For a more intensive clean, check out the brilliant Karcher WV60 Window Vac (http://www.micksgarage.com/search?keyword=1773635
). Now this is a tool to make you feel like a real professional. It comes with a combo spray bottle and soft brush for cleaning, and then you follow up with the powerful hoover which effortlessly dries up and gives a final polish to the glass.
3. While we’re still on screens, invest in a bottle of Prestone Bug Wash, which is not only good for getting rid of all those dead bugs from your screen (hey, summer will come around again eventually), but it also stops your windscreen washers from freezing up. (http://www.micksgarage.com/search?keyword=4667453
4. How about some love for the inside of the car? A bottle of Simoniz Back To Black Trim Restorer (http://www.micksgarage.com/search?keyword=5484431
) will put some pep back in your dashboard’s step, while Autoglym (them again) have a really good Vinyl and Rubber Protector spray (http://www.micksgarage.com/search?keyword=3246619
) that’s especially good for things like gear-lever surrounds and the like.
5. For bigger, tougher jobs, there’s Simoniz Upholstery & Carpet Cleaner http://www.micksgarage.com/search?keyword=5484433
– no mucking about here; just a high quality spray cleaner with built-in brush for getting rid of the sort of dirt and marks that inevitably build up on the seats and carpets.
6. Turning back to the outside, have you tried using a clay bar? This is a proper bit of professional detail finishing, and we’ve got some handy instructional videos on how best to use them, but done right, they can give you a flawless, deep paint finish because they gently remove films of grime, tar and more. Meguiars have a good pack here: (http://www.micksgarage.com/search?keyword=1719267
7. For those who don’t have an outside tap, or who live in an apartment but still want to keep their car looking sharp, there’s the No-H2O car care kit (http://www.micksgarage.com/search?keyword=4524825
), which means you can clean your car (up to four times) without any need for any water. The kit includes a spray bottle of no-water polish and an alloy wheel cleaner as well as four high quality microfibre cloths.
8. Finally, a good chamois leather makes a perfect stocking filler for any car care aficionado. You can buy decent synthetic ones but there's no substitute for the real deal 100% natural sheepskin chamois like this one from Meguiars http://www.micksgarage.com/search?keyword=1719235