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. 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.
Having stopped using it (without a convenient cigarette-lighter socket in the house, the device lay 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 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 than the earlier mentioned device. A convenient black and orange zippered carrier means it can also be stored more conveniently.
My first test was carpet cleaning as well as the various deep pockets and storage slots, which ThisWorx TWC-02 completed immaculately, without problems. 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. However, my third and final test was to remove the build-up of fallen leaves in the engine compartment. Considering that this task had not been undertaken for several months, I was amazed with the efficacy of the TWC-02 and it continues to work reliably six weeks later.