IAIN ROBERTSON

DSC

DSC

Unless you are prepared to trundle the domestic vacuum-cleaner onto your driveway (if you have one), comments Iain Robertson, or have a sweating, non-English speaking person rifling through the cabin, in-car detritus removal can be tough.

As a car-proud nation, we spend a small fortune every year on polishes, waxes and valeting products to maintain our personal possessions and responsibilities in tip-top condition. However, one aspect, which can also have a detrimental effect on our health, is the amount of hard-to-remove dirt and dust that builds-up on the car’s interior.

Over the years, I have tried everything from dust-pan and brush, to frustrating coin-op machines at the local garage forecourt, or paying a slightly booze-addled Lithuanian to surface clean the carpets and upholstery in my cars. However, when a renowned tool company first introduced its in-car vacuum-cleaner, I became an early adopter.

Being able to plug its cable into the car’s cigarette-lighter/accessory power socket was a key attraction of an item of car valeting equipment that was both lightweight and flexible…the problem was, it was inefficient. To work most effectively, it had to be completely emptied and its paper filter cleaned sometimes in the middle of a vacuuming procedure. Any hints of moisture only served to gum-up the works, requiring that the device be rested until it evaporated. Its 12V motor could also become uncomfortably warm, when pushed to the limits of its capabilities.

DSC

DSC

Having stopped using it (without a convenient cigarette-lighter socket in the house, the device lay unused in the bottom of a cupboard), when I returned to it three months later, to remove some crushed leaves from the driver’s footwell, it had given up the ghost completely. Unwilling to invest another £30-40 in a replacement, it was junked eventually and I resorted to the other customary methods of car vacuuming.

Of course, you might consider any one of a number of the latest domestic gizmos, with their own Lithium-ion battery packs and well over-£100 price-tags but the prospect of ‘once-bitten’ obviates the enormous investments in either a Dyson, or G-Tech, alternative. Therefore, when offered the opportunity to destruct-test a new in-car vac, originating (with great irony) from a small company in Latvia and price-tagged at less than £40 (although Amazon is doing sub-£30 deals on it at present), I was sceptical but prepared to give it a go.

While the plain buff box seemed innocuous enough, among its contents was even a mirror-hanging impregnated air freshener (thoughtful). Printed on the Ikea-standard packaging is the ‘no hassle’ warranty: ‘If it doesn’t work, it will be replaced FOC’. Assembly took seconds and includes a flexible extension pipe, a tiny but tough bristle brush, perfect for access to automotive nooks and crannies, and a superb 16-feet of power cable. While its tinted dust container and black and orange detailed body look neat, it remains lightweight, familiar in appearance but also feels considerably more durable and slightly weightier than the earlier mentioned device. A convenient black and orange zippered carrier means it can also be stored more conveniently.

DSC

DSC

My first test was carpet cleaning as well as delving into the various deep pockets and storage slots around the car’s interior, which ThisWorx TWC-02 completed immaculately, without problems. The drinks-holders in the centre console have been off-limits for several months but now look like new. Thanks to the power cord length, the boot floor and rear parcel-shelf were also vacuumed speedily and effectively.

The second test involved the use of the stiff brush on the seat upholstery, again, with pristine results. It may appear compact but it is a genuinely sturdy and practical cleaning tool. Interestingly, the TWC-02 also sucked-up several coins that had fallen into seat crevices and that ‘no-man’s-land’ between front seats and centre console, which are easy enough to recover, when emptying the clear dust-holder.

However, my third and final test was to remove the build-up of fallen leaves in the engine compartment. Many of them were moist but the vacuum took it all in its stride, without ‘short-circuiting’ and without the electric motor becoming over-heated. Considering that this task had not been undertaken for several months, I was amazed with the efficacy of the TWC-02. Keen to get the coins back, I emptied the contents of its surprisingly large dust-accumulator readily, rinsing the container clean afterwards, and it continues to work reliably six weeks later.

Conclusion:    It is not often that I get to praise an item like this so completely. Having applied a strip of Velcro to the carrier, the aptly-named and substantially-made ThisWorx TWC-02 in-car vacuum now has a permanent place on my car’s boot carpet and can be accessed on demand.

 

DSC

DSC