How Often Should You Wash Your Car?

(Updated on November 16, 2021)

Car owners spend so much time worrying about the maintenance of their vehicles. Things like tire rotations, tire pressure, oil changes, and air filters must regularly be addressed. But how about the exterior of the vehicle?

Think about all the dirt, gravel, dust, salt, pollen, and other airborne elements which hit your vehicle each time you drive on a road. There may even be insects, bird poop, and squirrels hitting your car too.

If you don’t wash your car regularly, these creatures and contaminants could diminish the paint and overall presentation of your vehicle. Then you’ll need to repaint your vehicle if you ever want to sell it for market value. But repainting a vehicle costs a lot of money. It is much cheaper to wash your car periodically and preserve the paint and finish of your vehicle.

People often don’t integrate car washes into their regular car maintenance routine. At most, they may take a hose and spray their car with it. However, a thorough car wash consists of a good manual scrubbing with a sponge, warm water, and soap.

If you don’t want to do this hard work yourself, you can always drive your vehicle through a professional car wash for $10 or $20. But this money can add up quickly, so it is better to wash the car yourself.

When to Get a Car Wash

It is recommended that you wash your car every 1 to 2 weeks or if it gets noticeably dirty. Don’t be like most people and wait until your car is visibly dirty before you wash it. If you drive regularly, then you can assume there are contaminants already building up on your paint.

This is especially true if you drive on dirt roads, near beaches, or in tropical locations which have a lot of pollen in the air. The same goes for city driving too because your car is more exposed to carbon pollutants and acid rain. After 1 week of driving in any of these kinds of environments, you should wash your car again.

Out of all the possible contaminants which can land on your vehicle, salt is perhaps the most damaging of them all. You often get salt on your vehicle if you drive near the ocean or on icy roads which have been salted by salt trucks.

Not only does salt mess up your paint job, but the metal underneath the paint will get corroded too. This is how rust forms on a vehicle. Once that happens, its resale value will decrease drastically.

A simple car wash cannot take away rust after it has formed. So, the best thing to do is prevent the rust from forming by getting car washes on a weekly basis.

Tips to Protect Your Vehicle

Driving your vehicle is not the only time when it is susceptible to airborne contaminants. Simply parking your vehicle outside can still make it vulnerable to getting hit with bird poop, salt, dirt, dust, and pollen.

Does this mean you should put a cover over your vehicle whenever it is parked in your driveway? Well, you can do that if you want too, but it’s probably not realistic.

If you have a garage, then park your vehicle inside of it. That is the easiest way to keep it protected.

If you park your vehicle indoors, then you can possibly wait 2 weeks to wash your car instead of 1 week. Again, it depends on where you live and what kind of environments you’re normally driving through.

But one thing is for sure, never wait more than 2 weeks to wash your vehicle no matter where you live. This can surely spell disaster for your vehicle’s exterior.

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