Recently, Halfords sent a box of car maintenance products to PetrolBlog. With this in mind, we thought it was time to reprise one of PB’s earliest posts, first published way back in May 2010. Time flies when you’re producing endless waffle.
Sit back and enjoy (or rather, endure) some of the words that helped to launch PetrolBlog. At the end, you can read what we thought about the Halfords products.
Back in my college days, I had a weekend job at my local supermarket. I’d spend many an hour on a checkout, scanning groceries and taking customers’ money. Invariably, this would involve the customer handing over a note of some kind and more often than not, this would be a £10 or £20 note.
We were encouraged to hold the said note up to the light to check the authenticity because, at the time, there were an awful lot of forgeries in the system. On some occasions, the transaction would pass with little more than a polite exchange of pleasantries before moving on to the next queuing customer.
But on many occasions, I had to endure the constant outburst of hilarity that greeted the simple action of holding a £10 note in the air. “That one should be ok, I made it this morning.”
If I had a tenner for the amount of times I heard that amazingly witty comment during my two years at Sainsbury’s, I’d have at least £20,000. And that’s no exaggeration. I just hope they’d be real.
For the customer, this joke must have felt well timed, brilliant and the height of originality. The way they turned to their wife or girlfriend in glee, (the ‘joke’ was normally delivered by a man), suggested they felt quiet smug about their new found status as a comedy genius.
I didn’t have the heart to tell them that the elderly chap in front of them and in all probability, the man behind them, would come up with the same comment. Looking back, I only wish I took a hard line on the customer and called security over.
But why this reference to my student job?
Well, at the weekend I was reminded of the horrors associated with the comedy comments that seem to go hand-in-hand with someone washing their car.
Living, as I do, in a rural area, I’m often left to wash my car in peace. And this is nice. But at the weekend, as I scrubbed the alloys on the uberAudi, I heard the faint sound of hooves.
Some 200 yards up the lane came a lady on horseback. I prepared myself to say good morning and make some throwaway comment about the weather. But instead, as the lady on horseback drew closer, I was greeted with the comment: “You’ve missed a bit.” Really? Is that the best you can offer?
But that’s nothing compared to the “You can do mine when you’ve finished.”
Again, when I lived in a more urban place, I would receive this comment every time I washed my car. Often by the same person. I don’t really get this comment. Why would I want to wash their car after I’ve finished?
If I knocked on their door when they were ironing, or washing up, or mowing the lawn and said the same thing, would it be funny? No. Besides, with the greatest of respect, I don’t want to waste my Turtle Wax shampoo on your 1993 Ford Escort 1.8LX. In beige.
Then there’s the superbly observed and consistently brilliant comment: “You’ll rub the paint away if you keep cleaning it.” Really? Will I? I don’t appear to be applying paint remover with a Brillo pad. Will you rub the grass away if you keep mowing the lawn? Will your house windows fall out if you keep cleaning them? Not sure they will.
Finally, who can forget the meteorologically accurate and wonderfully timed comment: “It will rain now you’ve washed it.” Why will it rain? Does it rain after you’ve loaded the dishwasher? And come on, we live in Great Britain, it will rain within the next 13 minutes, regardless of whether I wash the car.
Maybe I should be grateful for the comments. Perhaps it’s nice that the sight of a bucket and sponge brings out the Morecambe and Wise in people. But for now, I’ll prepare myself for the next wash and keep practising my look of amusement and delight at hearing the joke.
Once upon a time, I had hours to spend washing and waxing car. It wasn’t uncommon to spend an entire day washing and polishing, before spending the evening chilling and maxing in the car I spent the whole day waxing. With apologies to Will Smith.
These days, things are different. I’m lucky to get an hour a week to spend on the fleet, so more often than not the cars remain unwashed. A two-in-one bodywork cleaner might be the solution, then?
Maybe, maybe not. I tend to find that two-in-one products represent a compromise. A two-in-one hair and body wash – not great. A two-in-one shampoo and conditioner – not trusting that. A two-in-one car shampoo – surely not?
Truth is, while the purists and perfectionists might turn their nose up at such a product, the results are very good. You need a lot – four caps, to be precise – but it cleans remarkably well. I’d like to tell you it smells nice, too, but that would be weird.
The promise to provide a ‘streak free’ finish is a bit hit and miss. On the Citroën Xsara VTS it did exactly what it promised on the bottle, but on the larger Audi A4 I was left with streaks before I had a chance to rinse it off. On the plus side, there was some nice beading, even after a single wash.
By far the most impressive product I’ve tested is the Dash & Glass. It’s another two-in-one product, promising to clean dashboard plastics and the glass. Too many of these products leave a nasty high-gloss finish, but this isn’t one of them.
I gave it a particularly nasty challenge: removing six months of grime from the inside of the family workhorse, aka the Isuzu D-Max. The photos speak for themselves, this product works well. Once again, it smells nice, too, although this might have something to do with the cocoa butter and Aloe Vera.
Sounds like something you might apply to your face for younger looking skin. Kids, don’t try this at home.
The one complaint: you might need to reapply the product once it has dried. It’s great at removing dust and dirt, but more stubborn stains will require two or three applications. And by stubborn stains I mean mud and foot scuffs from the lower sections of the cabin.
But genuinely, this is a product I’ll be adding to my shopping list. It leaves behind a nice, matt finish that actually feels clean. No nasty used car dealer/dressed-up to sell look. Nice one, Turtle Wax.
I can’t remember the last time I used a car wax in a tub. This takes me back to my childhood and the tin of Simoniz that was omnipresent in dad’s garage. It looks, feels and smells like an old-school product.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t had a chance to wax an entire car yet, but this strikes me as a product you need to devote some time to. Take a small patch of bodywork, apply some wax and remove before it dries. I applied it to the seriously faded red paint on the Citroën ZX 16v and it performed OK.
But then I tried a different patch using T-Cut, followed by a layer of the Turtle Wax hard shell shine and the result was far superior. All of which means I need to find some quality time to T-Cut and wax the ZX. You’ll be able to follow the progress in the Running Reports section.
I also applied a layer of wax to the set of refurbished Speedline alloys I recently bought for the Corrado. I figured the wax would protect the rims from the ravages of winter. Again, you can follow progress here.
Halfords also sent the delightfully retro-sounding Luxe Leather (yet to be tested), along with some under-the-bonnet products. I’ve read mixed reports about engine oil treatments, so would welcome some advice before using them in one of my cars.
— Gavin Big-Surname (@MajorGav) September 27, 2016
There’s also some diesel emissions cleaner (not needed in the D-Max as it was recently serviced), along with some Wynn’s radiator stop leak. Does Halfords know something about my cars that I don’t?!