Friday, February 19, 2010


The Turbo Vac is a supplemental offer on the Fix It scratch repair website. Since the Fix It product is used to repair a car, apparently the assumption is that you will also need to clean the car you need to repair. Not a bad assumption since I added one to my order . Of course you don’t actually, buy the Turbo Vac, it is one of those freebees where you only pay for shipping and handling at a cost of $14.95. I’m not entirely certain what shipping costs $14.95 when it takes 3-6 weeks to arrive, but I fell for it. I figured, my car needs all the help it can get so for a mere $14.95, the Turbo Vac might actually be worth it. The draw of this item is that it plugs into the cigarette lighter and you can use its awesome suction power to clean your car’s skanky interior. It claims to be “The Detailer’s Choice.” Quite a claim, in my opinion, but perhaps this little vacuum really is worth it’s weight in sucking power.

First let me say that I was immediately put off by the ordering process. On the Fix It website you could order the Fix It product either with or without the “free” Turbo Vac. I opted for the “with the Turbo Vac” option. One would think that would have been the end of the ordering process and you would then go right to the checkout like most other on-line shopping experiences. Not so. I was immediately inundated with about 75 other products that I could add to my shipment for “free”. I turned all of them down until the Turbo Vac came up as an option again. I thought that maybe there was some kind of mess up and the system forgot that I already (technically) ordered one so I clicked on it. I then turned down the next 75 products and finally arrived at the checkout. The best part however is that once you get to checkout, you can’t adjust what you are purchasing. You just have to go with whatever is in your cart. It was at this point that I discovered that I had 2 Turbo Vacs for a not-so-mere $29.90. Let’s just say that at that point, I was really hoping that it worked so I could give one to some unsuspecting family member for Christmas.

3-6 weeks later my package arrived. Both Turbo Vacs and my car Fix It scratch remover (I also got a stainless steel scratch remover system. I’m not entirely certain why, maybe as a thank you for buying two Turbo Vacs.). Since I can’t use the Fix It repair kit until the outside temperature reaches 55 degrees (they don’t tell you this in the commercials), you won’t be hearing about that until this summer at the earliest. It won’t be 55 degrees here until June. I suppose if I had a heated garage I could test it out this winter, but I’m just not that sophisticated, not, I imagine are most of the rest of the people purchasing the product. Despite my Fix It disappointment, I was able to try one of the two “free” Turbo Vacs.

The first thing I did was empty out the contents of the box and have a little look-see so I knew what the deal was. There were several attachments and the snappy red color, for some odd reason gave me hope. There is a corner/edge sucker, a carpet/upholstery sucker and a flexible hose, presumably to get into those tight spots.

I figured my car to be a good test case, since it is pretty much always dirty. Its primary purpose in life is to serve as a method of chauffeuring our dogs to their many and varied hiking locations so it is forever in a state of complete disrepair. The dirt consists mostly of fur, dried mud and sand, but there is a bit of a smattering of dog cookie and plain munchkin crumbs. Although it’s always a tragedy wearing black in my car, the mess is nothing too large or intimidating by vacuum standards. Although there are copious amounts of the above listed substances in the vehicle, there is no substance that should cause clogs, suckability issues, or challenges for “The Detailer’s Choice.”

Upon first run of the Turbo Vac, I was pleasantly surprised. I began on the passenger’s side and vacuumed the seat, the floor mat, behind the seat and the cup holder. The suction power was pretty decent, and although it didn’t get the floor spotless, I didn’t really expect it too. That would have taken soap and water which is not part of the package. What the Turbo Vac did do is remove the free floating sand and grit from the surface, which is what a vacuum is supposed to do. And it was sort of fun to use. I was surprised that a 12V hand vac plugged into the cigarette lighter could do what it did. I was impressed.

I emptied out the fur and sand in the canister and moved to the other side of the vehicle. But my pleasure was short lived. I began to smell electrical burning. By the time I finished the floor on the driver’s side my Turbo Vac was no more. The little light on the front indicated it was still getting power, but the horrid electrical smell and the smoke pouring out of the motor were good indications that I had successfully annihilated the Turbo Vac. (I guess “smoke pouring” is a little bit of an exaggeration since I don’t think that tiny motor has the power to create “pouring” smoke, but you get the idea.) This was not exactly the end result I was going for. I killed it. I killed the Turbo Vac. And I was really quite excited that it was working so well on the first half of the vehicle. Apparently, “The Detailer’s Choice” isn’t so choice. I know that some may say that my vehicle is worse than others, and there are days that I will agree. That said, however, there are people who bring cars to detailers that rival mine in dirtiness and I would imagine that the detailer’s vacuums don’t poop out half way though the job. I will admit that $14.95 for the Turbo Vac is much less to spend than the $100 plus on a detailing job, but then again, the detailers would have actually finished the job, unlike the Turbo Vac that just gave up half way.

1 comment:

  1. Well that stinks! Even for $14.95 it shouldn't have died so quickly! Did you contact the manufacturer and try to get it fixed/replaced?