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Car clinic: How do I keep my Audi A1 looking like new?

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Q. The paintwork on my new Audi A1 is having Autoglym’s LifeShine treatment. What is the best way of building on this foundation and keeping the bodywork and alloy wheels sparkling? As part of a service, my dealer provides a complimentary valeting; if this includes a mechanical car wash should I avoid it? 

BH, Woodbridge, Suffolk

 

A. Autoglym’s LifeShine treatment is offered by some dealers from £199, or at a reduced cost — or even free — as an incentive to clinch a sale. It is endorsed by manufacturers such as Audi, Land Rover, Subaru, Volkswagen, Kia and Skoda. Supagard is a similar treatment recommended by manufacturers including Alfa Romeo and Vauxhall.

The LifeShine treatment involves covering the paintwork with a glossy water- and muck-repellent layer. The upholstery is treated with a waterproof and stain-repellent coating, all pre-delivery coatings are removed from the windscreen and wiper system to ensure a smoother operation and better clarity and a cleaning product is added to the washer reservoir. You’ll also be given a bag of products.

Autoglym suggests the paintwork should only be washed with its shampoo/ conditioner for the first couple of months and then after that you can use Aqua Wax (a great polish that can be applied to a wet car). Once you notice a build-up of grime it’s time to apply the Super Resin Polish. Only use microfibre cloths for washing and polishing (also supplied). Check with your dealer about how it plans to valet the car and if it includes a mechanical wash, decline.

To prevent the build-up of corrosive brake dust, clean your alloy wheels regularly, because the dust can mix with rainwater to create a sort of ink that is harder to remove the longer it is left. After lengthy journeys try to rinse the wheels down the same day. You’ll find an alloy wheel cleaner in the LifeShine pack, or try Bilt-Hamber Auto-Wheel (£12.95 a litre, theultimatefinish.co.uk).

Apply a protectant once the wheels are clean to help prevent baked-on brake dust getting a hold — try Armor All Shield for Wheels (£7.99 for a 300ml can, halfords.com).

 

Sunday Times Driving car clinic expert: Dave Pollard

INSPECTOR GADGET
Dave Pollard has written several Haynes manuals and has tested just about every car-related accessory


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