Cheap Thrills: Turtle Wax ICE Wheel Cleaner

I have to admit that one of the biggest reasons why I hold off washing my car is cleaning the wheels. As I am sure many of you will agree, it really is a pain in the butt, especially if the wheels have an intricate design with all those nooks and crannies that hide / hold brake dust and grime like no other. And when they are some pricey wheels like the Volk CE-28N wheels on the in-house Evo IX MR, you don’t want to use a cheap product that may scratch or damage such expensive wheels.

While visiting the local Pep Boys, I noticed a new wheel cleaning product from Turtle Wax – ICE Wheel & Tire Cleaner. With a solution in a spray bottle and a detachable wheel brush, it looked like a worthy product to check out. I had been looking for a soft wheel brush that could fit within and between the spokes of the CE-28Ns without banging things up. Of special concern was finding a brush that could fit into the center section of the wheel, where the Rays lugnuts are quite recessed for any ordinary wheel brush to fit. The ICE brushhead looked like it could do the job.

In practice, the product works really well. Pulling the trigger produces a foamy spray, which do a great job of clinging to the wheel surface, pulling off much of the brake dust and grime. And the brushhead is very effective in doing final clean up duties on the wheels, especially handy for the tight confines at the center of the wheels, where lugnuts tend to hide / mask surrounding contamination. Compared to the old way of cleaning wheels – with a microfiber towel and solution – using the ICE system definitely cut down on wheel cleaning time. So much so that I may actually clean them on a regular basis rather than waiting for the wheels become so dirty that they look like bronze anodized wheels from all the accumulated dirt and brake dust!

I do have a question and a comment for the folks at Turtle Wax, however. How safe is the solution for the sensitive clearcoats on aftermarket wheels? And I would recommend coating the brush handle area with a thin layer of rubber so that the plastic handle that could mar or scratch the wheel being cleaned. Will have to wait to see what the folks at Turtle Wax have to say.

P.S. – all of our “Cheap Thrills’ product reviews are unendorsed, honest-to-goodness evaluations; we pay for the product ourselves and try it out; whether it’s stellar or just plain sucks, we’ll definitely you know!


Turtle Wax, Inc.
P.O. Box 247
Westmont, IL 60559-0247
1-800-Turtle Wax

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Cheap Thrills: Denso Iridium Spark Plugs

Denso Iridium Spark Plug After 15,000 Miles

With this feature, we launch a new category of editorial on “Cheap Thrills.” These aren’t the kind of thrills that will likely get you arrested and thrown in the slammer. Rather, these are small, affordable upgrades you can perform on your car to achieve better performance, realiability and / or driving experience.

Reportedly invented by Edmond Berger in 1839, spark plugs are the often-overlooked component of an engine. Most people don’t give a second thought to replacing them, relegating this rather simple maintenance item to their dealer or local mechanic during a “tune up” (newer vehicles really don’t need “tune ups” per se). But checking and replacing your vehicle’s spark plugs at regular intervals can pay dividends.

Our in-house Mitsubishi Evolution IX MR came equipped with NGK Iridium spark plugs from the factory. Compared to spark plugs with a conventional copper center electrode, iridium spark plugs – due to the high temperature nature of iridium – allow the use of a smaller center electrode, which will not melt or corrode away. When you combine this increased level of durability and the more efficient spark afforded by iridium, these spark plugs will provide more efficient combustion translating into performance and economy gains. Indeed, the advantages iridium spark plugs permit are ideal for high performance applications like the turbocharged 4G63 engine in the Evo IX.

At 15,000 miles on the odometer, the NGK’s were swapped for Denso Iridium spark plugs. Although the Mitsubishi service manual advises a longer change interval, we were pleased by the results. Immediately, idle smoothed out and engine response was improved. Now with 30,000 miles on the odometer, we checked out the Denso Iridium plugs previously installed. The plugs looked almost new, the center electrode showing no signs of any corrosion or melting. And idle and engine response is still excellent.

While we can certainly continue to use the plugs, we figured as long as they were out, we’d install a fresh set. Sure, iridium plugs do cost more than standard copper or platinum plugs, but the performance and efficiency advantages they offer more than justify the extra cost in our opinion. Even if your pocketbook does not permit spending upward of $25 per plug, regularly checking and replacing your vehicle’s spark plugs will enhance the vehicle ownership and driving experience.


Denso Sales California, Inc.
3900 Via Oro Avenue
Long Beach CA 90815
(888) 96-DENSO

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