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2.0 out of 5 stars Theoretically good plugs, but..., 22 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the correct set of four plugs for my Punto Sporting 1.2 16V as originally specified by Fiat, so I thought there was no way I could go wrong by buying them. The price was very competitive too.

The plugs I received were over three years old and not particularly well packaged: just in a fairly lightweight jiffy bag that looked a bit scuffed and crumpled by the time it reached me. I decided to fit them anyway, using a proper plug socket and a calibrated torque wrench - but two of the plugs failed really quickly (<100 miles), with gases leaking past the seal between the metal base and the ceramic insulator. You can see where the black 'fingers' of exhaust gas have been working their way up the ceramic insulators. In 35 years of maintaining my own cars, I've never had an NGK spark plug fail - so you can imagine my surprise and disappointment.

Researching this further, I've now read on a couple of car forums that some 'petrol-heads' think buying spark plugs online may be a bad idea because they are more likely to be old stock and also to get imperceptibly but critically damaged by rough handling (of small, badly protected packs) in transit. Following this recent experience I'm inclined to agree, and it's interesting to note that the replacements that I've bought at my local motor factor are doing just fine so far.

Not worth getting into a debate with the supplier about who damaged them, why they are rather old (and whether that matters), whether they were packed well enough, etc - but I've learned a useful lesson and will probably go back to buying my spark plugs locally from now on.

So, two stars because they're the genuine article at a good price and arrived quickly enough. No more than that though, because two of the four plugs were faulty.


Jazooli Super Bright 9 LED Mini Torch Flashlight Light - Blue
Jazooli Super Bright 9 LED Mini Torch Flashlight Light - Blue
Offered by Jazooli
Price: £0.99

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compact, rugged, bright - and terrific value too, 8 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This tough, aluminium-bodied torch is branded 'Hilka' and is just 85mm long and 25mm in diameter.

Its nine LEDs cast a reassuringly bright beam that's focused enough for close-up work, but broad enough to safely light your progress along an unlit path on a dark night. It's certainly far brighter than the (equally well built) Maglite that I've been using for many years.

The torch runs on three AAA batteries, which seem to last a long time: we've got four of these torches altogether, and we haven't had to change any batteries yet.

The switch is a rubberised push-button on the end of the torch body, and has a positive action. Once it's switched on, you can flash the light on and off by pressing gently on the same button. Press harder (click!), and it's switched off. The wrist-strap is actually too small to put your hand through, but it's still useful for hanging the torch on a coat hook, ready for when it's needed.

I've not tested this torch in water, but there's a rubber sealing ring on the aluminium end cap which unscrews for changing batteries, and it certainly seems sufficiently well made to resist water.

If you're after a compact, bright, well engineered and dependable torch at a budget price then you won't go far wrong with this...


No Title Available

5.0 out of 5 stars Dependable, 23 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I used to buy AA batteries from Screwfix, but they started getting the quality/price balance wrong. These Duracell Procells get it exactly right.

They're easily as good as any other battery I've ever bought, and terrific value for money. I think what I like best about them is their dependability: every battery seems to be just the same as the last, with good performance whether you're using them for high discharge (e.g. cameras, motors, etc) or low discharge (smoke alarms, etc) applications. Nowadays, these are the only batteries I'll buy...


Scalextric C3130 Lamborghini Gallardo Orange/ Blue 1:32 Scale Twin Slot Car Pack
Scalextric C3130 Lamborghini Gallardo Orange/ Blue 1:32 Scale Twin Slot Car Pack

4.0 out of 5 stars Storming Gallardos, 23 Oct. 2012
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Simply styled, brightly colored and full of attitude, these cars will provide hours of fun.

As they're from the 'super resistant' range of Scalextric cars, the detailing is fairly minimal - so if you're looking for a really authentic model of the Gallardo, look elsewhere: but these cars are for racing. They feature powerful 'downforce' magnets and very light but strong bodyshells, which gives them a great turn of speed and truly amazing handling. At the limit, they can be a bit of a handful and exhausting to drive in a long (30 minute+) race - but that's really only because you're going so fast!

Because they're so competent, you really do need to buy the boxed pair, as otherwise the person with the Gallardo is going to win, and the person without isn't...


Replacement Battery for Tom Tom 520 720 920 520T 720T 920T & LIVE Editions
Replacement Battery for Tom Tom 520 720 920 520T 720T 920T & LIVE Editions
Offered by The Battery Specialist
Price: £5.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Long term success, 15 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought this ten months ago, and have not reviewed it until now because I wanted to see how it performed over a period of time in my Tomtom 520.

I think the original battery died mainly because I use the TomTom so infrequently (our main car has a built in sat. nav. of its own), but this replacement seems to be doing really well: holds a full charge and still seems to be working like new almost a year later.

I found a really helpful video on youtube that shows you step-by-step how to install the new battery, which made the job feel a lot less like DIY brain surgery than it might have. A PDA toolkit like this one helps a lot, as it has the correct driver and also a 'spudger' to help prise the two halves of the case apart without damaging them: PDA GPS Phone Toolkit [Misc.

So, my small investment has allowed my TomTom to live on - at least for another ten months, and counting...


AutoGlym Quality Car Leather Cleaner 500ml
AutoGlym Quality Car Leather Cleaner 500ml
Offered by Autoshop Bury
Price: £6.75

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond criticism, 14 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've used this leather cleaner for years, and wouldn't be without it in my workshop.

I make a habit of cleaning the leather seats in our Honda Insight every time I vacuum the interior: with AutoGlym's leather cleaner it's the work of five minutes with a microfibre cloth, and it unfailingly leaves the seats looking (and smelling) like new. I used it in my MINI Cooper S too, and the seats in that looked perfect even after 70,000 miles.

Unlike some leather creams I've used, it doesn't leave a sticky residue - but it doesn't really leave a shine either (if you want a subtle sheen on you leather try this after you've used the cleaner: Auto Glym 500ml Leather Care Balm ), but personally, I prefer that fairly 'flat' look. It's got a surprisingly strong detergent action, lifting off dirt and grime easily.

Because this is just a cleaner, you can use it on leather steering wheel rims and gear knobs too: polish it off thoroughly with a clean cloth and you won't need to worry that you've left the control surfaces slippery.


Richbrook Chrome Stainless Steel Car Single Number Plate Surround Frame Holder
Richbrook Chrome Stainless Steel Car Single Number Plate Surround Frame Holder
Offered by Motionperformance - Waxacar
Price: £16.20

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sharp and shiny, 14 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Number plate surrounds aren't always quite what they seem, and there are plenty of cheap 'metal' ones that are actually chromed plastic: trouble is, they tend to gradually degrade when exposed to heat, cold, sunshine and rain.

This Richbrook version is the genuine article (stainless steel) and should last indefinitely. The edges on mine were really sharp, so I smoothed them off carefully with some wet-and-dry abrasive paper - but not before I'd accidentally cut my finger, so do take care! I also succeeded in forming the surround to the gentle curve needed to mount it successfully on my car - it's not too thick to bend a little, and seems to hold it's shape afterwards.

The mirror finish is superb on all the bits that show, and provides a classy finishing touch to any well-presented vehicle. I think these look especially good on a classic car that already has some chrome or stainless steel exterior trim.

Overall an excellent product, marked down from five stars only because of those sharp edges...


AutoGlym Aqua Dry Chamois
AutoGlym Aqua Dry Chamois
Price: £8.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Indestructible, but ineffective, 14 Oct. 2012
I'm a huge Autoglym fan and I've happily used these AutoGlym Synthetic Chamois' for about ten years, but the replacement one that I bought a few months ago was a real disappointment. It's clearly an entirely different product to the original version: stiff, difficult to use and nothing like as absorbent.

I wondered whether it just needed to be 'run in' and might soften up with time (so I delayed writing this review, in the hope that things would improve) but unfortunately there's no real evidence of that happening. In desperation I've now even put it through the washing machine a couple of times, but its harsh and unabsorbent properties have remained stubbornly unchanged.

The good news is that I've found a much better product that's cheaper and works brilliantly! Kent IC300 Microfibre Synthetic Chamois Cloth , and I've recently reviewed that here on Amazon too...


Kent IC300 Microfibre Synthetic Chamois Cloth
Kent IC300 Microfibre Synthetic Chamois Cloth
Price: £7.12

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly brilliant, 14 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For many years I've used AutoGlym's Aqua Dry Synthetic Chamois, but the replacement one that I bought a few months ago was a real disappointment - it's clearly a different product, stiff, difficult to use and nothing like as absorbent as the original version.

So, the hunt was on for a really good synthetic drying cloth. I found this Kent one at Amazon and was in two minds: good reviews, but the low price left me wondering if it really could be any better than the (previously market-leading) AutoGlym version. In the end, I decided to risk a fiver and order it.

What a revelation. It worked brilliantly straight out of the pack, absorbing huge amounts of water and leaving a perfect, streak-free finish on my concours-winning Alfa Romeo. The other thing I've noticed is that there's a lot less wringing-out needed, as it still seems to work well even when fairly wet.

This is the best synthetic chamois I've ever used and the cheapest too: an unbeatable combination, so I've ordered a second one to put into 'stock' - just in case they stop manufacturing it!


Scalextric C3128 BMW Mini Yellow/ Blue 1:32 Scale Twin Slot Car Pack
Scalextric C3128 BMW Mini Yellow/ Blue 1:32 Scale Twin Slot Car Pack

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Serious little racers, 13 Mar. 2011
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have a few Scalextric cars, but most of them are carefully tuned, finely detailed, and cost over £40 each, so I get a bit nervous letting my children (or other peoples!) use them. It was my wife's idea to buy some cheaper cars for the 'junior racers' to use, which is why we bought this boxed set of two MINIs.

I was expecting the performance of these cars to be a bit tame compared to some of my others, but I'm really surprised at how well they run and handle. I own a full-sized BMW MINI Cooper S too, and these Scalextric ones have a lot in common with it: solid construction, strong acceleration, go-kart handling, an impressive turn of speed, and bags of fun. The only downside is that the visual appearance is very simple with (for example) blacked-out windows and therefore no interior detailing. But if that doesn't bother you then these little cars should prove highly competitive, terrific value for money, and a real hoot...


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