Exterior care

The best new products to make your car's bodywork shine.

Keeping your car clean is a constant battle - both against the elements and general road grime. But polishing and waxing bodywork is about much more than keeping the car looking like new - it will help the car last longer, too.

Here we reveal the top product picks for all the kit you'll need to keep your motor sparkling, including polishes, bumper shines, car shampoos, scratch removers and pressure washers.

What's more, our handy tips show you how to make the most of all of them.

Q. My washer delivers water in spurts, not a stream. Why? A. First check the water supply. Pressure can change if there is heavy use elsewhere in the area. Also inspect the hose for kinks and obstructions. If the problem continues, the lance may have got blocked with grit. Most washers come with a long metal pin to clear the nozzle, which should solve this. If the blockage recurs, you can fit a filter to the hose. This also allows you to use non-mains sources like a water butt.

Q. Can I slow down the rate at which my washer uses shampoo? A. Most car washes are designed to be diluted in a bucket with around nine litres of water, so you may be using it at too high a concentration. Try diluting it before filling the reservoir. But the best way is to use specialist cleaner. Many car care brands offer them, as do washer firms like Kärcher and Nilfisk, in five-litre packs that work out much cheaper. Ultimate Finish’s Snow Foam is our favourite.

Q. How can I keep side glass clear? A. Use a rain repellent. These super-durable coatings bead water so it runs off, instead of drying to leave marks and grime. Over the winter, they also make shifting ice easier. Applying is simple and they last for months. We have had good results with Halfords’ version, which comes with an applicator cloth.

Q. And how can I shift dead bugs? A. First, switch to a summer screenwash formulated to soften and remove insects. If they still remain, tackle them promptly as they are harder to remove when they are left to bake on. A specific bug cleaner can help. To make life easier when washing, look out for a wash mitt or sponge with a bug-removing mesh.

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