England vs USA: Plastic Trim Cleaners
Black plastic trim may be hardwearing but fading to a grey discolouration is one of its least desirable properties. Simoniz’s ‘Back to Black’ is one of the best-known revitalisation products but it has been joined by a plethora of competitors, all vying for the car cleaners’ wallet. Yet, almost every one of them, which I have tried, has failed to offer a long-term solution.
Famed for its engine oil additives, Lucas Oil of North America is expanding its range in the UK and one of its latest products is aimed squarely at the discerning domestic valeter. Therefore, we decided to pitch its SlickMist Tire and Trim Shine against a competitor made by one of the best-known British car cleaning brands, Autoglym’s Vinyl and Rubber Care. The test car is fitted with black door rubbing strips, plastic mirror casings and unpainted black front and rear bumpers. Each product was applied to one side of the car and half the length of both bumpers.
Both solutions were supplied in a spray bottle, which could be either applied to a cloth or sprayed directly onto the surface. When used on faded door rubbing strips, the Lucas Oil product made a vast difference almost immediately. Yet, when applied to larger areas, such as a bumper, the result was patchy and a second application proved necessary to ensure an even finish.
On the other hand, when applied identically to the opposite side of the car, Autoglym’s Vinyl and Rubber Care not only provided a glossier finish but only a single application was required which gave a consistent result. Yet, the Lucas Oil product was less prone to attracting both dust and dead insects than its British competitor.
Although Lucas Oil’s SlickMist Tire & Trim Shine and Autoglym’s Vinyl and Rubber Care lasted longer than their cheapest rivals, sourced at a typical local bargain-basement store, it took barely ten days’ worth of June’s torrential rainfall to wash all traces of both cleaners completely from the trim. Both products made an instant improvement but they are both unable to offer sustained protection.
With Lucas Oil’s SlickMist Tire & Trim Shine’s RRP being set at £12.60 for 710ml, compared to Autoglym’s Vinyl and Rubber Care selling typically for £7.49 for 500ml, both products are comparably priced but, for ease of application and the quality of its finish, the North American Lucas Oil SlickMist Tire & Trim Shine loses out to the British Autoglym’s Vinyl and Rubber Care.
Although both cleaners failed to offer long term protection, the difference in sheen between the Autoglym product and that of Lucas Oil is obvious.