I've little interest in motors, even driving bores me and cleaning is usually performed under duress, a quick reminder that I really should pay attention to the investment my hubby spent several thousand pounds on when what I really wanted was a new kitchen! On the rare(ish) occasions I bother to clean the car, I always use Diamondbrite, a comprehensive range of professional valeting products. For those whom enjoy Sunday afternoons on the driveway with their beloved transportation this review will probably have you bubbling with excitement. For those like me, who aren't too fussed if their wheels look puddle splashed for a month or so then I present you with a little light reading to ease you into the land of nod (just remember to rate when you awaken!)
---- What Is Diamondbrite ----
Diamondbrite is a two part treatment applied to the exterior of the vehicle and designed to provide a tough, durable, high gloss coating on the paintwork, a protective skin if you like consisting quite simply of a shampoo and Conserver which provides complete protection to the cars exterior. Applied by approved Diamondbrite professional valeters and available for caravans (Caravanbrite) and marine craft (Marinebrite) the treatment, made from refined rock oils has a proven track record for paint protection even being widely used by the aviation industry. Today, most cars (new and used) have had the Diamondbrite coating applied by the dealership, the cost of which is built into the forecourt price. Our Vauxhaul Zafira had the treatment prior to our purchase otherwise you may be/have been offered the treatment at the time of purchase for an additional fee.
---- Why Use Diamondbrite ----
Exposure to the elements will always have a detrimental effect on the paintwork of a vehicle regardless of the paint finish be it matt, acrylic or enamel etc. Car paintwork is susceptible to a barrage of natural and man made vandalism. Pollutants will eventually tarnish, stain and fade the paint and ultimately compromise the exterior of the car. The sun, bird droppings, tree sap, road salts, bird poop and suicidal bugs and insects amongst other toxins subject the car on a daily basis, all of which are unavoidable. It's inevitable that metal will eventually erode but it can be protected, extending the life of the paintwork and metal as well as hopefully helping to retain some of the cars re-sale value.
---- What's In The Bag ----
I'm not reviewing the approved application but the Premium Plus Aftercare Pack and it's worth pointing out here that the kit is not exclusively for those who's vehicles have undergone the approved Diamondbrite treatment although the products are designed to maintain the Diamondbrite coating. Personally, I feel if you can't afford, don't want or are not sure if your car has been treated it is still worth buying the products as you will achieve the same results at a fraction of the cost of the professional application (which incidentally costs upwards of £200, dependant on car size) so long as your willing to dedicate a few hours and some elbow grease to apply the initial application.
This pack, really just a sampler or introduction to their more competitively priced larger counterparts comprises of eight separate products that includes 250ml shampoo, 250ml Conserver, 250ml Rainscreen, 500ml alloy wheel cleaner, 500ml glass cleaner, 500ml upholstery cleaner, micro fibre cloth and a jumbo sized sponge all of which arrive in a handy waterproof boot holdall complete with three compartments one of which is the main chamber, adequate enough in size to hold litre bottles of the mentioned products. The holdall also contains various zip compartments and has two handy strips of Velcro sewn into the underside to hold it in place in the boot.
---- They All Have A Part To Play ----
Made from a combination of vegetable oils, Diamondbrite's shampoo is high foaming with a concentrated formula that looks and smells similar to washing up liquid, strong enough to cut through stubborn grime on the bodywork, chrome and glass. One cap full per bucket of water is all I generally use, although Diamondbrite recommend that dried on mud and particles be removed first to prevent the scratching of paint whilst washing.
I find the shampoo to be very effective at removing most dirt without too much effort, particularly on glass where there's generally a substantial congregation of the remnants of suicidal bugs, moth and flies who's dead bodies have a knack of welding themselves onto the glass. This first stage of the two part application is far more effective than any standard car shampoo I've used in the past and once rinsed, the car only requires drying with a cloth although if left to air dry there are few water streaks. For the first application of the Diamondbrite treatment the shampoo needs to be followed by an application of Conserver however, subsequent washes followed by a quick buff of the paintwork is sufficient to provide a glossy, waxed appearance.
The second phase of the two part application that yields the most noticeable results. Recommended use is two cap full per bucket of water, I've found halving the quantities sufficient to coat our entire car although Conserver can also be used neat to eliminate minor scratches due to it's mild abrasive nature. Non foaming, Conserver is thick with a gloopy consistency that creates an oily film when in contact and mixed with water.
The body is sponged with the solution, rinsed and buffed leaving a protective gloss coating however I tend to skip the rinse, concentrating application to small areas at a time which I then simply buff until all of the solution is dried. It saves time and I feel you get a far superior finish. The entire process takes me around forty minutes to an hour and a half to apply.
Confirmation of the effectiveness of Conserver can be found not just in the glossy appearance of the vehicle but also by running fingers over scratches which should now feel smooth where the Conserver has dried to a hard coating that prevents further exposure to the elements. This stage warrants your efforts as, correctly applied, Conserver will protect the paint and provide a polished appearance that repels water, causing rain and splashes to collect and bead rather than run which eliminates streaks. I've found that once applied, dirt can be washed from the surface with greater ease and particles of dust seemed to be repelled. Application of Con server also means you won't need to polish or wax the car ever again and subsequent applications only need to be applied once a month (or so!) regardless of how often you decide to wash your car. The downside to Conserver is the pungent smell that's not dissimilar to Brasso.
The science behind Rainscreen is quite simple. Rainscreen causes water to bead, creating droplets that aerodynamically clear from the windscreen, improving visibility, particularly in adverse weather as water can't gather and dribble between blade wipes. I've found that wipers tend to cause less smearing and streaking and although dubious about the product when I first applied, during heavy downpours it does repel vast amounts of rain from the windscreen a lot quicker than the blades can remove it.
It's an effective product that's simply applied by dabbing a pea sized amount of solution directly to a cloth and then rubbed across the glass, a process of no more than five minutes per window, however too much product or too little wiping and what can appear to be a perfect application quickly turns into a greasy mess which is noticeable when sunlight catches the glass, highlighting smears. I generally only ever apply Rainscreen during the winter months and so my original bottle is still going strong some three years later!
Alloy Wheel Cleaner:
Suitable for steel and plastic Alloy's, the cleaner has been developed to cut through grime build ups caused by traffic film, road salts and brake dust. Two to three sprays per alloy is enough to break down stubborn, ground in dirt. I've found the cleaner to be most effective when the wheels have been subjected to a quick shampoo to remove dried mud and dirt clumps after which I simply leave the solution to settle for a few minutes to allow it to breakdown the finer dirt particles before rinsing off which is generally sufficient to clear the dirt although occasionally I have been required to use a brush to clean into the harder reached areas.
I'm not going to elaborate on the finer details of the micro fibre cloth or sponge as both are self explanatory. Approved or not I personally see no added benefits of using these two items in comparison with cheaper supermarket versions that can be brought at a fraction of the cost of Diamondbrite's when needing replacing and the same sentiments apply to the glass cleaner and aerosol upholstery cleaner, both of which I feel fare no better than any other brand although the glass cleaner does seem to smear less.
---- Pricing And Purchasing ----
I would suggest that you buy directly from the Diamondbrite website as the price we paid at our Vauxhaul dealership for this pack was priced substantially higher than buying direct. This pack currently retails at £50.81 (inc VAT) if purchased directly from Jeweletta, not including the standard delivery charge which was a hefty £7.20, although this fee remains the same no matter how many subsequent items you buy and with my last purchase I also revieved a couple of free gifts. To buy the items individually would cost £47.99 (excluding the holdall) but replacements can be obtained in the form of larger sizes and multi buys, far more cost effective. Jeweletta's website is a Mecca to valet products, simple and easy to navigate with products clearly catagorised in a methodical manor and is open to anyone, so not exclusive to just those working in the car industry. Items can be purchased using most major credit and debit cards and the delivery time was just two days.
---- For Those Still Awake....Quick Final Thoughts! ----
The initial outlay may seem a little pricey for a cleaning kit but in fact it is excellent value, especially considering the results achieved from using the products but to buy the kit and apply yourself is a substantial saving to that of the cost of the professional application. The shampoo and Conserver bottles from the kit lasted me a good eighteen months although a more realistic timescale would be in the region of six to twelve, assuming that you apply at least once a month.
The application is easy, if not a little time consuming, the main reason if I'm honest I don't clean the car as much as I should. The products are water repellent and so quite a lot of dirty water does tend to run straight off the bodywork which makes subsequent cleans a little easier, sometimes just a hose down and a quick wipe is all that's needed rather than a full on application.
Our car has been subjected to the usual vandalism of key scratches, some of the minor ones have faded after several applications whilst a couple of deeper scratches, although still visible have been significantly reduced and at least protected by the Conserver coating although permanent removal unfortunately would have to be a re-spray but at least I'm confident they won't rust.
Asked if I would recommend and I would have to answer yes even though I don't use the product half as much as I probably should. Five stars from me!
Product Reference: PPLUS4 (Premium Plus Aftercare Pack)
---- Replacements ----
1litre shampoo & 1litre conserver duo saver pack £26.77
Shampoo & Conserver Saver pack 2: 5litre shampoo & 1litre conserver £42.18
Alloy Wheel Cleaner: 500ml £6.73 / 5litre £47.10
Rainscreen: 250ml: £7.80
Spirit Glass Cleaner: 500ml £4.78 / 5litre £39.30