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Story and photos by Frank Rizzuti
Just in time for our summer driving season, Rain-x has introduced two new products. If they work, a lot of Canadian motorists will be very happy.
First is a Bug and Tar Pre-Wash Gel. It’s a special gel formula that, according to Rain-x, “clings to surfaces to quickly penetrate and loosen bugs, tar, bird droppings and other sticky debris that ordinary car washing leaves behind.” It’s designed as a pre-wash and spot treatment, safe for clear coat finishes, glass and plastic.
The second product is Bug and Tar Protective Shield. This is an aerosol that you spray on your vehicle to create a micro-thin clear barrier so that bugs, tar, etc. stick to the coating instead of the car. After driving for a while, the idea is that you can simply rinse away the debris with no need for scrubbing. Rain-x indicates that this product is safe for chrome, metal, paint and plastics, but is not to be used on glass.
As well as being tough to remove, insect residues are often corrosive to paint finishes, and have the ability to dull and even etch the paint. Tar can be an even tougher challenge as it contains abrasives that may scratch the surface if rubbed vigorously.
Removing bugs from a windshield isn’t normally a problem. A good glass cleaner, paper towels and elbow grease will do the trick quite nicely. But on the painted surfaces, even after washing with a quality car wash, the bug splatters can reappear after the car is dry.
As an experiment I sprayed half of the front of my car with the Protective Shield and left the other half untreated, where I was later going to try the Pre-Wash Gel. The protective shield is invisible when applied.
So off I go on my bug-collecting trip. I deliberately chose a humid evening at dusk, along the banks of the Ottawa River for a two-hour drive. On this evening you could actually see the insects emerging from the water and being attracted to the headlights. Mosquito’s, moths, and other more exotic bugs left a nice coating along the bumper, windshield and leading edge of the hood. I left the car overnight so the residue could dry nice and hard.
On the side with the Protective Shield, all that was needed was a good blast with the hose and the entire residue rinsed away. The water was still beading on the surface, indicating that the Shield did not remove the wax.
On the untreated side I squirted a generous amount of the Gel and let it sit for a few minutes. With a wet sponge all the bugs and residue wiped off quite easily.
I washed and dried the rest of the car and found no evidence of bug residue.
The Gel works very well, however the Shield requires a proactive approach: you must remember to spray it on. If I were to choose one to keep in my arsenal of car cleaning products it would be the Gel. Either way, it’s good news as these products do a much better job than a sponge and soap.
Both products retail for $8.97 and are currently available at Wal Mart, Canadian Tire, and other retailers.