Does price matter when selecting shampoo for your car

12 June 2018 / Lindleys Autocentres

When it comes to shampooing your car, most motorists will pick up whatever car shampoo comes to hand the easiest at their local supermarket.

As car experts, we come into contact with a wide range of shampoo brands and products that claim to be the best car shampoo in the market. So the question is, what's the difference in performance between supermarket shampoos and specialized car cleaning shampoos? Our thoughts on the matter follow.

The Good

There’s no doubt that supermarket brands beat specialized car shampoos when it comes to price. Taking a quick glance at the shelves while shopping, you're likely to see products with claims of benefits equal to leading brands, at a fraction of the price. In some cases, this can be true and you needn't break the bank to clean your car. However you should always take care to check the chemicals used, as we’ll later discuss, some can be harmful to your car.

Purchasing from a specialist motor store is usually your safest bet. If you’re concerned with protecting your car they will be well informed to offer you advice based on your car's requirements.

The Bad

When we think of good shampoo we tend to think of a soap that produces lots of suds. Unfortunately car cleaning usually requires the reverse. Lots of soap suds increases the risk swirling marks on your car as the shampoo is failing to provided enough lubrication.

Your shampoo of choice should allow your washing mitt to glide with ease across the surface of your car. If your simply looking for a quick showroom shine, lubrication is perhaps the key factor to look for when selecting a car shampoo. With that being said, avoiding any shampoos that sud at all is unnecessary as they can help with dirt removal. Most cheap supermarket brands, however, are guilty of providing too little lubrication.

A slightly more serious concern with cheaper brands is the use of Traffic Film Remover (TFRs) and purpose cleaners (APCs) which can be harmful to your cars paint as they are generally too strong to be used for body work.

Bigger, cheaper products often make us feel like we’re getting more for our money. However, this isn't always the case, as you need to take dilution ratio into consideration. Put simply, dilution ratio (cost per wash) how the bottle value translates to the number of washes you get out of it. A £5 bottle for example may only give you 4 washes. On the other hand, an expensive £30 bottle with a higher dilution ratio may give you up to 30, making it a better deal. We advise our customers always check the dilution ratio of the products before you make a purchase.

The Ugly

Surprisingly, specialized shampoos are not always the best option if you’re looking for a quick fix, as the concentrated chemicals require you to take a lot of care when using them. This means that if used incorrectly they can be more damaging than cheap products. Always check the label to avoid corrosive chemicals. As an extra precaution, try not to clean in extreme heat or direct sunlight, as this can strengthen the chemicals in the products you're using.


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