How Often Should I Wash My Car?

It’s a question that many people have asked over the years; should I wash it every Sunday like my father taught me or every month? Or does it even matter unless it’s covered in mud. There is an answer – it depends…

Where do you live? How often do you drive and where? What’s the weather like where you drive mostly?

If you live and drive near the coast, near the sea, there will be a lot of salt and moisture in the air and that can be deadly to a machine made mostly of metal. Do you live in a built up or industrial part of town with a lot of vehicles around that can leave the air full of settling soot and dust? That will fill all the gaps in your bodywork, work its way throughout the under body and coat the body in a layer of grime that gets cumulatively harder to clean.

Both the saltiness in the air and dust are contaminants that will settle on your paintwork and eventually lead to rust and corrosion that very quickly becomes very expensive to treat and restore. In these circumstances, once a week is necessary to keep your paintwork in good order. Anything less can really cause issues to build up over time.

salt corrosion

Washing Your Car

Having a clean and gleaming vehicle is not only aesthetically pleasing it’s also a major factor in maintaining the resale value of your car. It may be a pain, it may take up a couple of you valuable relaxation time but ultimately it’s a fine investment. If you really don’t have the time then it’s worth spending the money on a professional car cleaner to keep your vehicle in prime condition. Just don’t choose an automatic car wash please! Their industrial strength acidic cleaners and dirty, harsh brushes will strip your paintwork of all it’s shine and lustre in no time!

 

RAIN OR SHINE, IT’S WASHING TIME!

If you live in an area with lots of sun, the  heat and gamma rays from the sun will fade the paintwork; effectively slowly baking the finish which can cause dullness and peeling. In the alternate, the rain can hasten corrosion, particularly in urban areas where the rain will be slightly acidic. The weather is a tough thing to get away from, you’re left with little choice but to get into a regular habit of cleaning off the dirt and corrupting debris that coats your car.

If you live in a very mild climate, it may be OK to just wash the car every couple of weeks. Either get a professional to come out and sort it out or invest in some good quality cleaning products and tools.

BASIC CAR WASHING TIPS:

  1. Rinse the car thoroughly; remove all the loose dirt and grime before using a sponge. Any grit or dirt left on the car when you start cleaning with a sponge can scratch the paintwork.
  2. Make sure you use a properly formulated car shampoo! Washing up liquid won’t work here! Use a branded, quality car shampoo that has the right pH levels to avoid damaging your paintwork.
  3. Try to avoid washing the car in the sun. The heat causes the soap to dry too quickly and will leave the car streaky. Equally, don’t wash in the rain; the soap washes off before it has time to penetrate the grime!
  4. When drying,  ideally use a microfiber cloth or at the least use a 100%cotton cloth and dry with a gentle patting motion to avoid scratching the paintwork from any dirt left behind.

REMEMBER the Interior!

Cleaning the interior of your car is just as important as protecting the outside and should not be ignored. A lot of dirt and grime is transferred from outside to the interior of your car and can cause damage if it is left untreated. And if you eat in your car, there are likely to be crumbs and lingering smells as well as the risk of spills.

car interior cleaning

These factors can impact the value of your car especially if there are stains on the upholstery. Investing in a good upholstery cleaner or paying for the service will help rid any unwanted smells and stains. Don’t forget to spend some time once a week to clearing out any rubbish too.

At the end of the day it’s up to you how often you wash your own car. Some people want their vehicle to stay in showroom condition and will want to wash it every single week. Others view their vehicle as a work horse and don’t mind a bit of minor damage and corrosion. Either way is fine but you should know which way you want to go. Use the right products and techniques and you’ll massively extend the lifetime of your paintwork. At the very least, commit to a weekly check of the paintwork and wipe off any bird or bug residue and notice any build up of salt or dirt and remove it as soon as you can.