May 16, 2011
Filed under Gear Reviews
Most motorhome owners carry some kind of vacuum cleaner, but in many cases, the larger models are difficult to use in compartments and/or when cleaning the dinghy vehicle. There are a number of hand-held vacuums on the market, but for the most part these units are on the anemic side when it comes to versatility — and suction. Turtle Wax’s Auto-Vac Bagless Vacuum is a departure from the norm, in both cleaning power and portability.
The 120-volt AC-powered vacuum cleaner has a number of unique and convenient features. First off, it’s bagless, so owners don’t have to worry about finding — and paying for — replacement bags. It’s very light and has a large carrying handle that makes it maneuverable when working in close areas without causing fatigue, and all the cleaning tools are stored in the body.
Included with the vacuum are tools that are earmarked for specific vehicle duty. A dash and console brush attachment makes cleaning all the nooks and crannies of the instrument panel very efficient. The brush is so soft that it will not scratch any surfaces.
A crevice brush makes it easy to clean between seat backs and cushions without damaging the upholstery — an important item for leather. A carpet/upholstery tool works well, but the 48-inch hose means the vacuum body stays close to you while cleaning — which is actually not a big deal since it’s easy to handle and weighs only a few pounds.
At the end of the hose is a nozzle that the other tools fit over, which makes detailing a breeze. It doubles as a blower tool that can be used to remove water from hard-to-reach areas; to utilize the blower, the hose is simply connected to the other side. A 360-degree pivoting elbow allows the hose to move effortlessly on either side.
Everything that’s sucked through the hose ends up in the collection basket. Once the basket gets filled, the intake door is released to provide access to the basket for emptying. After a while the basket can be thoroughly cleaned using warm, soapy water and air-dried.
The vacuum doesn’t look high-tech but from a practical point of view, it’s well-designed. Airflow in both directions is pretty impressive, attributed to the 550-watt motor. Suction is stronger than most auto vacuums we’ve tried and the unit picked up virtually anything in its path. The 12-foot power cord is long enough to maneuver inside a motorhome and the unit’s small stature enables it to get into some of the tight confines created by motorhome floorplans.
Turtle Wax’s Auto-Vac is available at Walmart and automotive retailers, and sells for $49.95.
Carrand Companies Inc., 310-761-8510, www.carrand.com.