|Anyone who's seen my car at various events
around the country will know that it doesn't often see a sponge. What with
track days and trekking around the grubby highways and byways of the UK I
rack up a lot of miles. Somehow cleaning it seems to create an effect so
temporary that people don't recognise the car. I've yet to be
invited to a concours exhibition either.
So when Zymol sent a pack of their latest cleaning gear for evaluation it didn't exactly fill me with excitement. Bugger, I thought, I'll have to clean my car again this year.
Upon cracking open the box, I thought perhaps I'd been sent a beautician's kit by mistake. In the box were a number of bottles with curious descriptions, a delicate little sponge and some cutesy little towels. It even came with a CD ROM for Pete's sake!
Luckily it wasn't car cleaning weather for the best part of a week (i.e. the merest hint of rain), but I couldn't put it off any longer at the weekend and I rolled the car out ready to remind myself of what colour it really is.
Like most things in life, there's a science to cleaning cars. It's not one I've been aware of. I thought scraping off the dirt and slapping on a bit of polish would generally do the trick. However, having sat down and browsed through the CD ROM, it became apparent that I am in nursery school when it comes to shiny cars.
Zymol have given it just a tad more thought than me and having been responsible for more shiny cars than I've had hot dinners I grudgingly had to admit that perhaps there was a different way to skin this cat. Armed with my new found knowledge I donned my white coat and trudged out to the car park to test the wondrous products on my muddy beast.
Now, achieving that showroom shine is a three stage process according to Zymol. There's washing, there's cleaning and then there's feeding. Sounds like another day at PH HQ, but it applies to the car too.
Washing is of course removing loose dirt and road grime from the paintwork. That's the point at which I normally give up. However, once washed it's time to 'clean' - another concept my car wasn't familiar with. This stage is about removing oxidised paint, road tar and other crud that's become too firmly attached to your paintwork for washing alone to remove. Still with me? Good because the final stage is feeding, a concept I'm more familiar with. This involves giving the paintwork some essential oils to keep it in trim and providing a high gloss protective shell that should prolong the period until the next beauty session.
So off I went. Washing my car using the Zymol 'Clear Auto Bathe' squirted into a bucket of water and with the dainty little sponge type thing provided. All good so far and seems to be more effective than Fairy Liquid and certainly less foamy.
All done and the car looks good but not spectacular. Now it's time for cleaning using the 'HD-Cleanse'. Crack open the plastic bottle and apply in straight sweeps across the body work say the instructions. Off I go and I'm in for my first shock. The stuff is dark brown and smells of chocolate! Weird. Having checked I hadn't got a milkshake out by mistake I continued as instructed. Smoothing it on in smallish areas and then buffing it. Yeah... yeah... whatever. But then I noticed the diffence. Rather than going squeeky clean, the body work suddenly went smoooooooth. Really smooth. A smooth like I've never smoothed before. Shiny and smooth, and smelling of chocolate.
So, with renewed interest I continued with the rest of the car and within about twenty minutes the car was shiny like it hasn't been for many years. And smooth. And smelling of chocolate.
Finally it was time for desert - I mean time to feed my bodywork. Pulling the tub of wax out from the dinky little draw string bag, I unscrewed it to find a large mass of banana scented wax. Proper wax, not a liquid polish - a distinction I'd never appreciated before having never got to this stage of car cleaning nirvana.
The instructions recommended warming the wax in the palms of my hands but I have to say that just got a bit messy and my neighbours started giving me funny looks at that point. So I settled for putting it on the car as instructed. More tricky to use than a liquid it did take a while to apply the coating and buff it up without applying too much pressure. However after a bit of experimentation it went on a treat and slid over the smooth bodywork rather nicely.
So now my car is very shiny, has a nice protective wax coating and the bodywork is smooth to the touch as well as tasting of chocolate and bananas. If it keeps the crap off like it says on the tin then I'll be a happy chap.
Verdict: Good stuff, which has given my bodywork a shine the likes of which haven't been seen for years. The CD ROM was actually useful and not just a gimmick. In future I won't be cleaning my car with a trowel.
Value for money? Tricky one. Time will tell whether the £89.99 for a starter kit is a good investment, but I suspect the various cheapo products purchased over the years - that now languish on my garage shelf - may have been a false economy.