Some car owners wash their car daily while others don’t wash their vehicle until a stranger scratches the words, “PLEASE WASH ME”, into the pollen, dust and mud that is caked on their car’s exterior. The goal of washing your car is to keep it in excellent condition by maintaining its appearance and protecting its’ resale/trade-in value.
Washing your car is extremely important. It prevents contaminants like dust, dirt, pollen, tree sap, bug guts, salt, air-borne pollutants from adhering to your vehicle. Many auto detailing and car experts recommend washing your car once a week to successfully prevent contaminants from damaging your paint and finish. You may worry that it is too expensive to wash your car every week. However, more and more commercial car washes offer unlimited wash deals for an affordable monthly fee.
If you do not have time to wash your car every week or need to be more budget conscious, then use the guidelines below to help you decide how often to wash your vehicle.
How Often Should I Wash My Car? Consider the Following Questions:
- Location – Where do you live? Are your near industrial areas, oceans, areas with a lot of trees, construction sites or regions with a lot of bugs and insects? Is there a lot of dust? Are you in an urban area with a lot of pigeons?
- Frequency and Distance of Your Drive – What is your daily route to work like? The more you drive your car, the more it is exposed to dirt, dust, mud, bugs and other environmental threats to your paints and finish.
- Weather – What kind of weather is your car exposed to on a daily basis? Heavy rains, sun, heat, cold, snow, heavy winds, salt? Is there acid rain?
- Storage of Your Vehicle – Do you store your car in a closed garage? Do you park your truck or car in the drive way? Do you keep your car parked on the street? Is it parked under trees?
- Car’s Appearance – Do you prefer for your car to look showroom shiny? Do you enjoy driving a clean car? Do you take pride in driving a well-kept car?
When to Consider Washing Your Car Weekly:
- Newly Splattered Bugs – Bug splatters not only look disgusting but are damaging to your car by bonding to the paint and finish. The longer bug remains sit on your exterior, the hard it is to remove them without chipping the paint. During “bug season” it is very important to wash at least once per week.
- Bird Droppings – Bird droppings on your vehicle’s exterior dry up and harden during Summer months, causing etching and damage to your vehicle’s paint. The longer the droppings remain, the greater the damage to the automotive paint. It’s important to remove these deposits quickly to avoid long term damage.
- Tree Sap – If you live in a highly wooded area or park regularly under a tree, your car is more susceptible to getting tree sap on it. Tree sap can corrode your car and etch through the paint’s finish, leading to discoloring and staining. Heat will accelerate the damage process that sap causes.
- Long Commute – If you drive a significant distance during your daily commute, environmental contaminants like dirt, dust, pollen, gravel, bugs and air pollutants can damage your car. Consider weekly washing as a preventive maintenance step.
- Heat – Heat accelerates damage caused by all of the above. Excessive exposure to sun and heat can also melt the wax protection off your car, reducing the protection between contaminants and the automotive paint.
- Rain – If you live in an area with lots of rain, the moisture traps contaminants on the exterior and promotes rusting.
- Air Pollution – If you live in an urban area be aware that air pollution caused by factories, industrial construction or other air-borne contaminants creates the need for additional washing. Though you may not feel compelled to wash your car after a good rain, don’t assume that the rain has washed away the contaminants on your car because the ‘acid rain’ causes even more damage.
When to Consider Washing Your Car 1-2 Times Each Month:
- If your vehicle gets limited exposure to tree sap, bug guts and bird droppings
- You live in an area with mild weather
- Your car remains in a closed garage most of the time
- If you live near coast or take your car to the beach occasionally, salt in the air can damage the finish and undercarriage and cause rust.
Exterior car washing and waxing your car keeps it clean, and more importantly protects your car from everyday environmental threats. Ultimately, you are protecting your car from etching, discoloration, fading, rusting and more by taking it to an automatic car wash on a regular basis.