Kia Carens: Squeaky Clean

  • Our long-term Carens is treated to a waterless wash
  • Latest products from Triplewax give the Kia a shiny coat
  • Decent results but don’t use on really dirty cars

Having not driven the long-term Kia Carens for a couple of weeks I decided to treat it to a weekend up in Lincolnshire. Well, when I say treat it to a weekend in Lincolnshire, what I mean is I took it home.

With the Carens sat in the dazzling sunshine on the driveway (yes, sunshine in Lincolnshire, and I’ve no idea what was going on either), a thin film of grime took the sheen off its body surfacing, so I made a monumental decision to clean it. By hand. By myself.

Contrary to popular misconceptions, not all car enthusiasts like spending hours on end polishing this and buffing that whenever they get the opportunity. Detailing? I’m normally satisfied with emptying the door pockets of parking tickets and sweet wrappers.

Mr Miyagi (he of Karate Kid fame) and his ‘wax on, wax off’ mantra is much more likely to have me lathering on hair product than making a car shine.

So, imagine my delight when those lovely guys at Triplewax sent me a three-piece suite of cleaning gear, that didn’t require me to faff with my hosepipe.

How come?  The key ingredient is the squirty bottle of Waterless Wash & Shine. Could this really be the Holy Grail of car cleaning products or would Indiana (okay, Keith) Jones’ quest continue?

The instructions were ominous – having to make sure the car was free from grittier deposits before applying the green spray. After giving it a light dusting to get the worst off, I began squeezing the trigger, one panel at a time.

On contact (I sound like I’m in one of those kills 99.9 percent of all known germs adverts) you could see the Triplewax cutting into the muck, leaving cleansed trails in its wake. Branded up microfibre cloth in hand, I began stroking away, making sure the movements were in a straight, rather than circular motion.

Okay, so the rear wings weren’t too bad – how would it cope with alloys frosted in brake dust and a front bumper which was the then final resting place of dozens of insects? Surprisingly well it turned out.

All that darkness was soon teased off from between the alloys’ spokes, while the plethora of inside-out exoskeletal beasties up front needed a firmer hand, and were eventually teased off using cloth-wrapped fingernails as makeshift scrapers.

It’s suitable for all painted surfaces, bare plastic, brightwork and glass too, leaving everything streak-free and glossy.

Inside the Carens hasn’t been too bad lately, despite the best efforts of three kids who seem able to deposit crumbs everywhere and leave footprints in places that would baffle a contortionist. A liberal spray of the Dash Cleaner onto the Kermit-green flannel and the shoe scuffs and dust particles lifted straight off.

Pleasingly it didn’t leave that nasty stickiness behind that some products do and it remained matte after it dried, so it wasn’t like driving a hall of mirrors afterwards.

The verdict? Well, our Kia Carens was certainly left decently clean although I used about half of the Waterless Wash & Shine to get it so, rather than the 10 percent the packaging suggested. I wouldn’t risk using it if the car was dirtier than the Carens was either, plus ousting dirt from little pockets like the grille insert was laborious on my index finger whereas a high pressure jet of water would have it out in seconds.

I was more impressed with the Triplewax Dash Cleaner which worked brilliantly and only required a light spray on the cloth to cover a wide expanse of interior moulding.

You pay your money and make your choice. Next time I’ll be handing a fiver over to the guys at the hand car wash again.

Total mileage: 5,466 miles 

Average mpg: 48.4mpg