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Car Features, Product Reviews

Keeping your car clean on a budget

27 Mar , 2018  

Car cleaning paraphernalia isn’t cheap, just a basic setup can cost upwards of £60. That’s without the ongoing replacement of sprays, waxes and cleaners.

However, I was in Wilko a few weeks ago looking for some decent concentrated screen wash – one that would go down to minus numbers due to the cold weather.
While browsing the isles I stumbled across Wilko’s own brand car cleaning gear. From cloths to tyre shine they had all the basics covered…each item starting at a frugal £2.25. But are they any good?

 

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The Test

After a few weeks of snow, grit and salt the 207 needed a damn good clean. Let’s go.

 

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Alloys

First up, the alloys. Normally I’d be using something like Dragons Breath by Valet Pro on these. A non-acidic, PH balanced wheel cleaner that costs £9.99 for 500ml.

Wilko’s offering, £2.25 for 500ml.

 

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It’s similar to Dragons Breath in the way it sprays on and turns purple. But it’s quite thin and dries relatively quickly. You’re best off working the cleaner with an alloy wheel brush before it dries.
Showering off and the alloys were looking good as new.

It would be nice to know if the cleaner was acidic in any way, the details on the packaging are rather scant. It says not to use on chrome or un lacquered wheels, so it may be.

 

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The wheel brush is sturdy enough, but you always have to be careful with these sort of brushes. They’re built around a metal wire which can scratch your wheels if you aren’t careful.

 

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Now to wash the car, we decided to stick to our tried and tested Meguiars Gold Class. Purely because it’s soft on paint protection. It doesn’t strip back anything you’ve already put on the car.

 

Drying

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Drying the 207 was another matter, for that I used the Large Microfibre Cleaning Cloth. It’s big enough for drying with one side super fluffy, the other shorter and more grabby. It soaks up a ton of water, the whole car was dried without the need to wring it out. Perfect.

 

Glass

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Next up was the glass cleaner. I’m an Autoglym man so Fast Glass is my go to product, £9.00 for 500ml. Wilko’s offering, £2.25 for 500ml.

You nearly always get a few water marks you’ve missed upon drying, the Wilko Clean Glass removed them with ease. The rest of the windows gleamed equally well after a quick spray and wipe.

 

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The glass was cleaned with one of the five Wilko Microfibre Cloths, they come in a pack costing £3.00. Looking a little ratty in off white they clean well, but feel a bit thin.
It looks as though they’ve recently been replaced by smaller versions of the large cleaning cloth, so should now be far better quality.

 

Polish

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Mirrors always take a beating in bad weather, catching the worst of the spray the 207’s ‘ears’ looked a little dull. Again, we’d normally use Autoglym’s Super Resin Polish, £13.50 for 500ml.

The consistency of the Wilko polish is similar, again the bottle is a little lacking when it comes to details. Does it contain fillers to mask the swirls? Who knows. Rubbing some onto the mirrors it hazed up as you’d expect. Leaving it a few minutes it buffs off with ease, leaving a decent shine.

 

Wax

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There’s no point in washing your car if you don’t protect all that hard work. Autoglym’s offering comes with a microfiber cloth and costs £15.50 for 500ml. Wilko’s own brand Fast Wax version, you guessed it, £2.25 for 500ml.

Applying it to one of the microfibers you rub it across each panel. It hazes up similar to the polish but slightly lighter. Buffing it off with a clean cloth the 207 really started to shine. Testing the water protection, a quick spray with the hose left some nice beading.

 

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Tyres

And last but not least is the Wilko Tyre Shine. It comes in a 500ml spray can unlike the liquid based Instant Tyre Dressing by Auoglym, that would set you back £8 for 500ml. Wilko’s stuff, £2.25.

It sprays on producing a good shine, but soon gets absorbed by the tyres. After reapplying it a few times it gives a somewhat patchy, greasy look. It’s better than nothing, but not up to the normal standard Autoglym gives; which is far more uniform and natural looking compared to Wilko’s spray.

 

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Conclusion

Overall the Wilko products clean superbly well for the price.

 

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We’d definitely use the Clean Glass, Fast Wax, and Liquid Polish again. The glass cleaner is excellent both inside and out, but we’d use the Fast Wax as a quick detailer – to remove marks or bird poo whilst adding a bit of protection to the paint. It’s also perfect to use as a liquid wax, but we haven’t yet tested out the longevity.

All the cloths are also great, and a bargain at £5.25 for five smaller and one larger microfiber.

 

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In total the products tested came to £16.50, the equivalent Autoglym and Valet Pro items would set you back £79.99.

Granted, the finishing cloth and wheel brush are far superior in quality to the Wilko offering, but even so that’s a massive saving of £63.49.

Here’s the breakdown:

Autoglym Aqua Car Wax 500ml – £15.50  Autoglym Aqua Car Wax carwitter - Keeping your car clean on a budget - Autoglym Aqua Car Wax - carwitter Wilko Fast Wax 500ml – £2.25  Wilko Fast Wax carwitter - Keeping your car clean on a budget - Wilko Fast Wax - carwitter
Autoglym Fast Glass 500ml – £9.00  Autoglym Fast Glass carwitter - Keeping your car clean on a budget - Autoglym Fast Glass - carwitter Wilko Clean Glass 500ml – £2.25  Wilko Clean Glass carwitter - Keeping your car clean on a budget - Wilko Clean Glass - carwitter
Autoglym Instant Tyre Dressing 500ml – £8.00  Autoglym Instant Tyre Dressing carwitter - Keeping your car clean on a budget - Autoglym Instant Tyre Dressing - carwitter Wilko Tyre Shine 500ml – £2.25  Wilko Tyre Shine carwitter - Keeping your car clean on a budget - Wilko Tyre Shine - carwitter
Autoglym Hi-Tech Finishing Cloth – £9.00  Autoglym Hi Tech Finishing Cloth carwitter - Keeping your car clean on a budget - Autoglym Hi Tech Finishing Cloth - carwitter Wilko Microfibre Cloths 5pk – £3.00  Wilko Microfibre Cleaning Cloths carwitter - Keeping your car clean on a budget - Wilko Microfibre Cleaning Cloths - carwitter
Autoglym Super Resin Polish 500ml – £13.50  Autoglym Super Resin Polish carwitter - Keeping your car clean on a budget - Autoglym Super Resin Polish - carwitter Wilko Liquid Polish 500ml  Not Available
Valet Pro – Dragon’s Breath £9.99  ValetPro Dragons Breath carwitter - Keeping your car clean on a budget - ValetPro Dragons Breath - carwitter Wilko Alloy Wheel Cleaner 500ml – £2.25 Wilko Alloy Wheel Cleaner carwitter - Keeping your car clean on a budget - Wilko Alloy Wheel Cleaner - carwitter
Autoglym Hi-Tech Car Wheel Brush – £15.00 Autoglym Hi Tech Wheel Brush carwitter - Keeping your car clean on a budget - Autoglym Hi Tech Wheel Brush - carwitter Wilko Wheel Cleaning Brush – £2.50  Wilko Wheel Cleaning Brush carwitter - Keeping your car clean on a budget - Wilko Wheel Cleaning Brush - carwitter
Wilko Microfibre Cleaning Cloth Large – £2.25  Wilko Microfibre Cleaning Cloth Large carwitter - Keeping your car clean on a budget - Wilko Microfibre Cleaning Cloth Large - carwitter

 

So there you go, car cleaning doesn’t have to be expensive. You can kit yourself out for around £20, rather than four times as much.

All of Wilko’s own brand car cleaning bits can be found here.

 

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By  -  
Owner / Editor of Carwitter - French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter