On test: Kleers tar remover

On test: Kleers tar remover

The TotallyMotor Verdict


Rain stopped play during our TotallyMotor voyage into the soapy and shiny world of quality car care last weekend, so with the rain at bay this Sunday it was time again to treat our Alfa 146 to some more distinctly non-dirty weekend action. She’s never had it so good!

We’re using a full complement of Kleers car care products for this test; a new range of potent potions to detail every inch of metal, plastic and rubber of the dreamboat on your driveway. Last week we used the car shampoo, wheel cleaner and glass cleaner ( reviews HERE ); this time we’re delving into the detailing with the tar remover, paint cleaner and paint detailer. Let the gleaming games begin…

The Tar Remover:
So, after a wash using the very-cherry-scented Kleers shampoo, a hose down and dry, the Alfa’s silver metallic paint was ready for a big-time-buffing. 

Ever since buying the car in mid-December, small but abundant tiny tar spots behind the wheels have been driving me to distraction. Tar spots are exactly as the name describes – spots of road tar flicked from the tyres during the warmer weather, when the tar is softer, that stick to your paint and dry hard, leaving stone chip-like spots. Unfortunately, with our 10-year-old TotallyMotor project car, some of them actually are stone chips and different to deal with, but many too were the small black blighters and their free ride on my ride was soon to be over. 

I sprayed the product onto the affected areas – behind the wheels and along the side skirts are usually the landing areas – which leaves the aluminium Kleers bottle with a water-like consistency, and left it to work for a couple of minutes while I brewed a brew. 

After my tea power-up I wiped over the tar-speckled areas with the recommended Kleers Supersoft Polish Towel and watched with a wicked smile as the evil brown smears melted away. 

Now you can pick away at these small specks with your fingernail, if you want to spend your entire weekend doing it, but even then you can be left with a brown smear as the crusty top layer comes off only to leave softer tar behind, which then spreads over the paint much like Marmite. This is no good. The paint-eating tar needs to go entirely and forever, so a proper cleaning product is needed. 

The Kleers tar remover did its job on this tough adversary, but a couple of persistent spots needed a couple of sprays and a little bit of firm rubbing. Hardened tar is the hardest contaminant to take off your paint, but stay on top if it with this product – that leaves a protective layer behind – and you’ll soon be spot free like a lucky teenager. 

Kleers Tar Remover: £9.58 + VAT for 250ml
Kleers Supersoft Polish Towels: £4.58 + VAT for a 5-towel pack (50x50cm approx.)
www.kleers.com or selected dealers and retail points at major automotive events

The Paint Cleaner:
There was much happiness in the TotallyMotor camp with our sworn enemy, tar, now banished, so now it was time for some distinctly satisfying detailing action, and something I particularly enjoy; polishing. 

Now our Alfa is a real-world project car in that she only cost £1495 ( from Veloces of London HERE ), but promised much potential for that reasonable outlay. The paintwork while showing the odd car park ding, stone chip and scratch was straight and unfaded, the 58,000-mile engine pushes out 140bhp without any black smoke, and the tan MOMO leather interior shows great condition, offering luxury and comfort. But it’s the paint we’re interested in here. Certainly good enough to warrant a polish, but not so precious as to fear every little stone chip on the odd back-lane-blast. Unlike my last project car ( HERE ).

As the Kleers team mention on their website: “your paintwork is under constant attack from UV light, bird droppings and other environmental contaminants”. Sounds scary, but it’s true. However, it’s easy to combat if you stay on top of it. 

The Alfa’s previous owner clearly cared for this cheeky little Italian, so much of the shine she shows today is a credit to him, but I thought I’d investigate just how clean a particularly picked-on area was. The bonnet.

Your car’s “nose” takes all the head-on hits from sprayed up road grime and insect strikes, while the flat bonnet surface offers an easy target to our flatulent feathered friends. And while the Alfa’s bonnet looked good enough after and shampoo and dry, five minutes with the paint cleaner returned a quite dirty towel and proof of the ground-in dirt that was disguising her deeper beauty.

The Kleers paint cleaner is exactly that – a polish-like, creamy, err, cream, that wipes on with a Kleers Supersoft Polish Towel, and then buffs off. As I say, the towel was dirty confirming the product had indeed lifted the grime, but gently and without too much elbow-grease or swirl marks left behind. 

Ideally I would’ve applied a coat of wax over the top, but it was getting dark so I went for the quick shining fix with the Kleers paint detailer.

Kleers Paint Cleaner: £5.82 + VAT for 250ml
Kleers Supersoft Polish Towels: £4.58 + VAT, 5-towel pack (50x50cm approx.)
www.kleers.com or selected dealers and retail points at major automotive events

The Paint Detailer:
Now you may not have heard of a paint detailer, let alone used one. Quite a new product to the aftermarket and one that’s used a great deal by the car-showing boys and girls across the world. 

The idea is that you turn up to a car show with big plans to wow the crowds with a concours show car on display for all to see. Washed and waxed the night or morning before but after the drive to the show she’ll need a little touch-up to look her very best. 

Simply spray, wipe and buff your way around the car using the detailer to remove any slight contamination or dust, bringing your waxed-shine back to full power. 

These detailers must be quick and easy to use whilst still leaving behind a satisfying and protecting shine as a back-up for between full waxes. And the Kleers detailer really did the trick. 

Sprayed across the paintwork, glass (but not windscreens) and trim rubbers, the milky consistency wash-and-waxer went on quick and came off quick, using a Kleers Microfibre Finishing Cloth. 

All that was left behind was a deep paint shine, streak-free glass and blacker, glossier rubber trims. The black dirt on the cloth when cleaning the already clean (to the naked eye, at least) rubber trims confirmed that this product actually deep-cleans almost all exterior finishes and leaves them glossy and protected. Not a total alternative to a full coat of wax, but a satisfying alternative for when you just don’t have the time but can’t walk away without leaving your pride and joy in a lusty lustre.

There’s even more cleaning to come, with a full wax treat in store for the glamorous Alfa, as well as some interior leather-care-lovin’ that won’t just be on the back seat! Come back soon, buffin’ buddies…

Kleers Paint Detailer: £9.99 + VAT for 500ml
Kleers Microfibre Finishing Cloth: £4.99 + VAT, 1-cloth pack, heavyweight 320gsm microfibre
www.kleers.com or selected dealers and retail points at major automotive events

By Daniel Anslow

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