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How Often Should You Wash Your Car

Image via Pexels

Image via Pexels

How Often Should You Wash Your Car

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A car is an investment that most people take pride in maintaining and yours is no different. With the heavy expenditure you’ve made, it’s only logical that your vehicle should be kept in pristine fashion. When you’re showing it off to someone else or simply driving around, the last thing you’ll want them to notice is a scratch or stained spot. 

Washing your car serves multiple values as it not only gets rid of stains but it prevents future contaminants such as bird droppings, tree sap, road grime, salt, pollen, bug remains, and any other impurities found in this pollutant plagued environment. It’s really easy to know when a car is in dire need of a wash, but it may be more difficult to decide when it should be regularly cleaned. 

Not only will it stay in excellent condition in your driveway, but it also will stand the test of time if you ever plan on trading it in or selling it. It’s very easy to identify when someone just washed their car down once to sell it as opposed to keeping it in an immaculate condition for the entirety of its ownership.

Essentials To Wash A Car

Pressure Washer

Microfiber Mitt

Grit Guard

Pressure washers (with the help of a quality car shampoo) can power off dirt and road grime without having to physically touch your car or truck to minimize the potential for scratches

When a pressure washer isn’t enough, a high-quality microfiber wash mitt made of 70/30 blend of South Korean microfiber traps dirt particles in its nap keeping it away from your finish where it can cause scratches

Grit guards keep dirt and other abrasives separated at the bottom of your wash bucket and keep your wash mitt from picking them back up and potentially causing scratches or swirls

Pressure Washer

Pressure washers (with the help of a quality car shampoo) can power off dirt and road grime without having to physically touch your car or truck to minimize the potential for scratches

Microfiber Mitt

When a pressure washer isn’t enough, a high-quality microfiber wash mitt made of 70/30 blend of South Korean microfiber traps dirt particles in its nap keeping it away from your finish where it can cause scratches

Grit Guard

Grit guards keep dirt and other abrasives separated at the bottom of your wash bucket and keep your wash mitt from picking them back up and potentially causing scratches or swirls

How Often is Enough?

People typically associate the warmer climate with the time that you should wash your car, but in reality, it may need to be touched up much more often than that. If you value the cleanliness of your car, many car dealers recommend washing your car up to once a week.

However, this may be difficult to do considering the number of personal obligations you may have, so to balance this out, most experts agree that a thorough cleaning every two weeks will do just fine. This two-week recommendation is geared towards those that practice appropriate methods and have the available materials needed to properly wash a car.  One huge thing to remember is that if you are washing your car improperly, there is such a thing as too much.

This recommendation may also vary depending on how often you use your vehicle and where you live. Different types of car washes is another factor to consider when deciding how often you should be cleaning your vehicle. Make sure you closely examine how your own life and environment may affect the cleanliness of your car, inside and out. 

Personal Things to Consider

There are a lot of things to consider before creating a schedule for yourself surrounding how often to wash your car. First, be aware of your location and what comes with it.

Are you in an urban setting where it is prone to get a lot of pigeon poop and pollution from the industrial lifestyle? Or are you in a rural setting with a lot of trees, critters, and insects? What kind of weather does the area you live in receiving? Is there a lot of rain, snow, or heavy winds? With this weather, what is the accompanied lifestyle of your community? For example, if you live near the ocean or some heavy salt trucks, it may be required to wash it more often.

All of these factors combined with your personal preference will determine how often your car should be washed. 

Take note of how frequently you are using your vehicle. It could be a potential waste of your time to wash it once a week if you are simply going to let it sit in your garage for the next two weeks.

When you do drive it, be aware of what materials it is being exposed to whether due to the industrial surrounding or the environment itself. Ultimately, it will depend on your preference, the environmental factors, and what you are using your automobile for. 

Types of Washing

When you are ready for washing your car and you’ve decided whether it be every week, two weeks, or even once-a-month, the next step will be how you decide to wash your vehicle. If you’re taking the once-a-month approach, you may want to wash your car in a more detailed approach while even intertwining a wax and polish job every three months. Everyone has different preferences and may view washing their car in a plethora of ways. Here is a list of some of the more common ways that people wash their vehicle: 

  • Self-Service Car Wash 
  • Automated Car Wash 
  • Machine Dryer Car Wash 
  • Hand Car Wash
  • Touchless Car Wash at Home
 

There are countless pros and cons for each approach, so first, you’ll have to decide which type of car wash works best for you and your vehicle. For example, an automated car wash may be quick and economical but it can cause more long term damage. Unless it’s a touchless car wash, they use brushes or cloths that can cause swirl marks and fine scratches on your clear coat.

These swirl marks may lead to long-term damage for the paint of your car causing you to go through paint correction which immediately eradicates its original perks of being speedy and frugal. Also, if you do use an automated car wash, make sure to choose a touch-free system as anything else could result in more long-term damage to your paint and exterior. The last thing you want to have to do after getting a car wash is to wash the car all over again.

With that said, utilizing different types of cleaning your car may require different frequencies of how often you wash it. For example, if you are going to wax and detail your car, that is recommended to occur once every three-to-six months. 

An automated car wash should not be done every day or even every two weeks as is recommended for a touchless car wash at home. The most common and typically the best option for most people is to hand wash your car. In essence, if you want the best results, you’ll have to roll your sleeves up and do it yourself. After all, no one cares about the cleanliness of your car as much as you do. 

Hand Car Wash

The biggest pro is obviously the fact that you won’t need to physically touch your car or truck when washing it. This makes it almost impossible to cause scratches and washing your car becomes much easier.

If you are going to wash your car once every two weeks, as most experts recommend, then a hand car wash may be the best option for you. First, you will have to invest in materials that are specifically geared towards washing a car. As a side note, please don’t use laundry or dish detergent as these can shorten the life of the paint protection on your car.

Aside from car wash shampoo, you’ll need to invest in microfiber cloths/towels, special wheel cleaner, wheel brushes, ammonia-free window cleaner, and even polish and wax for more advanced cleaning. Although it may seem like a lot of materials, when you have the appropriate collection, it will make cleaning much more fluid and efficient.

As I said before, if you are washing your vehicle improperly then it will have adverse effects for you to continue washing it. The best way to do it is to just do it right the first time. The biggest con is that if your car is very dirty this method won’t get it perfectly clean. Heavy dirt and road grime will need to be cleaned with a hands-on method. This also means that eventually you will need to wash your car with a hands-on approach such as the 2-bucket method.

A touchless car wash at home is not a replacement method for washing your vehicle. It is essentially a way of reducing how often you’ll need to wash your car or truck with a hands-on method. And by reducing the need to wash hands-on you will drastically reduce opportunities to scratch your clear coat.

Car Wash Scratched My Car! What To Do Now?

Helpful Links

Conclusion

Deciding how much to wash a car depends on many things but mostly on how clean you want to maintain it. Your environmental conditions will determine how dirty it gets and how quickly. It’s important to keep contaminants off of your clear coat to protect it. Washing regularly will help this but a good paint sealant or ceramic coating is highly recommended to not only make washes easier but also protect your finish from contaminants such as bird droppings and tree sap, as well as daily heat from the sun.

You really can’t wash your car too often but washing it improperly can cause fine swirls and scratches in the paint. Keep in mind that you should use the right products if you plan to do the job yourself. Frequent washing and maintaining of paint protection will help keep dirt and bugs from sticking to your vehicle and actually make semi-weekly or monthly washes easier.

Auto washing car services can be convenient but only touchless car washes are recommended to keep your car clean regularly. Those with brushes or even soft-fabric can cause swirls and scratches on your finish. Even touchless automatic car washes aren’t ideal as they can break down any paint sealants that are protecting your clear coat.

If you regularly care for your car’s cleanliness you’ll never need to worry about its looks and years later when you might decide to sell your car or truck you can be assured you can sell it for a premium.

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