Hooniverse Asks: Do You Cringe When You See Someone Using Armor All?

armor all
The automotive age didn’t just usher in an era of car making, it also engendered an ancillary industry of tools and services to keep all those cars looking and working their best. Today the car wash and detailing business in the U.S. alone is estimated at over $10B in revenue, and that’s just the “pros.” That doesn’t even include those of us civilians buying cleaning and maintenance supplies for their personal vehicles, and that leads us to today’s question which revolves around a specific brand of cleaner and ‘protectant’ which goes by the name Armor All.
Armor All has been around for, like forever. And over those years people have been glossing up their dashboards and making their tires look like new with the milky white chemical. The thing of it is, back in the ’70s and ’80s Armor All Protectant used dimethyl silicone oils which were bad news for rubber tires and a lot of different plastics. The company has since changed the formula to eliminate the dimethyl silicone, but some people still shy away from it.
I’m one of those people, but the reason is that I find Armor All’d surfaces to be dust magnets, and it can leave a cloudy surface on hard, smooth plastics. I’m a fan of the Chemical Guys products and use their water-based interior cleaner/protectant on my cars. What about you, are you still in the anti-Armor All crowd? Or have you jumped on board the company’s white pony?
Image: Armor All Eu

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  1. Tanshanomi Avatar

    What is this “cleaning and maintenance” you speak of?

    1. theskitter Avatar

      Came here to post this.
      Leaving in a dirt cloud.

      1. Cragon McBride Avatar
        Cragon McBride

        Go home, Pig-Pen.

  2. Alff Avatar

    I use it sparingly, when I need to put its dust magnet properties to use.

  3. GTXcellent Avatar

    I grew up in a snowmobile town. Kids drove them everywhere – to school, the arena, part-time jobs, everywhere. Being that teenage kids are by nature horrible, horrible beings, we’d always be pulling shenanigans like shutting off the fuel valve, or if you pulled the ignition wires off the key switch you could start someone’s sled without the key. But, one of the best – and cruelest – was to wipe a seat down with Armor All. It is a miserable experience trying to ride and being unable to stay planted on the seat. F-U ARMOR ALL! What was the question again?

    1. Alff Avatar

      In my mountain biking days the cruel trick was to douse your buddy’s brake pads with Tri-Flow Teflon lube. Being nice guys, we saved that for mild terrain.

    2. The Real Number_Six Avatar
      The Real Number_Six

      A certain kind of person does that to their motorcycle seat. Once.

    3. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

      That reminds me of my friend’s VW Rabbit. He had the ultra basic 80-81 car with a single carb and vinyl seats, and Armor All on the seats. At least you had seat belts to hold you in.

  4. JayP Avatar

    I’d used AA on the dash of the 5000.
    Used it once, a few weeks later the dash popped wide open. So yeah… I’m gun shy to use ANYTHING on the dash besides a mild cleaner.
    The Audi was 1986…

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      I used it on the dash in my ’78 Fox. I don’t know if it was all Armor All’s fault, but one day while I was driving it (in the infamous North Texas summer of 1980, when temps hit 100 or more on 69 days, including 42 in a row) the dash split, with a loud bang. Mine looked similar to this (including automatic), but the split was a little further over, past the speaker grille.

      1. JayP Avatar

        I miss those old interiors.
        There’s a pristine Fox that makes the C&C in Plano about once a year.

        1. dukeisduke Avatar

          A friend of mine (that passed away last year after fighting colon cancer for several years) loved the seats in the Fox, because of the shape of the seats and the density of the foam. He had back problems even at the age of 20, and he said they were perfect for his back. They had a nice grippy velour, too.
          I still miss that car some times, even though it was ridiculously unreliable (Bosch K-Jet and electrical problems), had a marginal a/c system, and by 50k had already been through two exhaust systems (the original one and a Stebro system), and needed valve stem seals.

  5. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    I have nothing against Armor All, but I don’t think it would be my go-to for a cleaning product. I don’t clean my interior often, and the dash will usually just get a wipe down with a damp cloth when I do. If I felt a need for an actual cleaning product, I’d probably go with something Meguiar’s, but that’s mostly because they are marginally more expensive, and I can convince myself that I’m getting a better quality product for the extra money. There really is something to be said about perceived value.

  6. The Real Number_Six Avatar
    The Real Number_Six

    Bought a very low-mileage RX-8 from a dealership some years ago. Test driving it, the interior was nice and normal and clean. Loved the car and agreed to buy it. The day I picked it up I wanted to set it on fire: the whole interior had a sickly, smelly sheen of Armor All on every surface, including the leather seats. It took years for those surfaces to look right again. Cringe? No. Rage? Yes.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      Same thing happened with a W124 I bought. Sale nearly did not proceed. Their attitude was ‘What?’

  7. Letstakeawalk Avatar

    A much better option than AA:

    1. ninjabortion Avatar

      “For your stuff” sounds like it is for nudists.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        Wouldn’t that be “for your junk”?

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          That’s the 404.

  8. ptschett Avatar

    I didn’t know there was a reason to cringe at Armor All usage; but I’m indifferent about cleaning products (and some – e.g. tire blackener – make no sense to me.)
    I’ve been slowly working my way through a bottle of AA-branded carwash soap, the few times a year I get to do a hand wash with the pressure washer at the farm; it works fine. Also I’ve been using their dashboard towelettes a few times a year, not on the instrument or infotainment glass of course.

  9. Ayreonaut Avatar

    Eh armor all is ok. Don’t really clean my interior too much,but I do keep up with conditioning and cleaning my leather seats as they are still in great shape for a 20 year old jeep. Meguiars gold class is the best for that.

  10. Papa Van Twee Avatar
    Papa Van Twee

    My dad got me an Armor All kit for Christmas. Been using the wipes for the dash of my old (1998 and 2002) cars with no regrets. I keep forgetting to use the tire foam while it’s still on the grass though. I get it into the garage and think, man, I’m not driving it back out again.
    But the glass cleaner. It… it actually cleans glass! Granted, I was basically pouring windshield wiper fluid into a spray bottle before this. I’ll never skimp like that again.

    1. Gregg Collins Avatar
      Gregg Collins

      Use Bon Ami glass cleaner.

  11. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    My 825 has crazy bat-shit all over it. It’s staying for now, as that’s about the coolest guano a car can recieve.

  12. Harry Callahan Avatar
    Harry Callahan

    I like a clean car. I like my car to look new. Amour All does not make it look new, it makes it look like a Nevada whorehouse hooker’s car. As such, I stay with mild cleaners and an occasional protectant that has a low luster finish.

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      Some of those girls are quite nice really.

  13. MattC Avatar

    I am one of those OCD car detailing guys. I will religiously clean my vehicles. I have and still use AA for a variety of detailing needs. The basic AA car wash is stupendously inexpensive and effective. I use the “natural finish” interior spray that protects but is not greasy/glossy/dust magnet. Overall good stuff but I reckon that AA still is living down the reputation of the original formulation.

  14. Sjalabais Avatar

    I use an ordinary KOH based soft soap to wipe clean the interior. It attracts less dust, leaves a nice smell of fur needles.

    1. CraigSu Avatar

      I’m going to take a leap here and presume you meant to say fir needles. Otherwise, I get a mental image of you sniffing hedgehogs or porcupines.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        Though I want to neither support or deny your claim of fur animal repurpousing, I certainly meant fir needle soap, yes.

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