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How often should I wash my car?

August 05, 2019 4 min read

Have you ever felt tempted to draw a happy face and write “wash me” on someone’s heavily soiled car? But halt to the thought of, what is it covered in? Where has it even been? Or, has it ever been washed? In fact, not everyone washes their car as often as they should. Routine car washes, waxes, and hygiene maintenance are more essential than you think. Not only can it be eye sore but daily contaminants will damage your cars painted exterior over time.

 

The Basics
Generally, auto professionals recommend washing your vehicle every two weeks or so. That may seem like a bit much but if you regularly wash, it’s most likely a quick rinse more than anything. Washing a clean car is faster and easier than a filthy one. Other factors to consider are your geographic location, the weather/climate, city driving vs rural areas, and lastly if the vehicle is garage kept.  According to a survey on The Telegraph, 31% of 1100 adults polled have never washed their own car and only 12% of those who had, did it regularly. Washing and waxing your vehicle routinely is important because our car’s exterior deals with many environmental factors. Contaminants such as bird droppings, tree sap, pollutants, dust, grime, pollen, dead bug splats, and salt can adhere to your vehicle and can wreak havoc on your cars paint job. If you think the rain will wash your cars grime away, think again! The accumulation of dirt and acid rain on your paint job is just as bad. Another good reason to keeping your car clean through regular washes is to avoid the spread of harmful germs. You take your car to many public places and all those contaminants can get on and in your car’s interior. Most importantly, regular washes will prevent you from having to spend lots of money fixing your exterior paint coat.

 

When to Wash your Car
We’ve established the importance of car washes and suggested number of times to wash your car; every 2 weeks. Of course, not everyone can or should have to follow this recommendation. This also depends on what kind of environment you mostly drive in and how often you take your car out of the garage. If you drive in an area with great exposure to the elements, then you will need to wash your vehicle more frequently, perhaps, weekly. This is generally for folks that use their vehicle for off-road, or even heavy city driving. The area and time of season also play a factor. Heavy rain, areas with a lot of snow fall, extremely hot regions, will all need proper washing and protective coating. On the other hand, if you only drive your car occasionally or in a small radius, you could probably stretch out the recommended 2 weeks into maybe once a month. If your vehicle is garage kept it gets even better, quick rinses will do the trick or whenever you see accumulation of dirt.

 

Proper Washing Techniques
We’re not going to get into a detailed step by step process on how to wash your car or the right material and liquids to use. There is a preferred “two-bucket” system as well as other tip, tricks, does and don’ts. There are too many too list, so we’ll be brief and concise. Instead we’re going to opt of a very generic and standard approach. The most basic of tools you need are as follows.

  • A bucket (make sure its clean and free of debris)
  • Clean water (preferably soft water, contains less calcium and magnesium)
  • A car wash mitt, brush, towel, foam cannon. (we recommend the mitt)
  • Car wash soap (do not use dishwasher or any other kind of soap)
  • A water hose or spray gun to wash off the soapy water.
  • A microfiber towel or shammy
  • Clay Bar/Mitt and, or Car Wax

 


The process is simple, so simple you already know how to do this. It’s important to make sure there is no dirt or debris in the water, bucket or on the car wash mitt. Have small rocks or debris will further complicate your wash by making small scratches on the painted surface. When you apply the soapy water, make sure that you have lots of foam bubbles upon application. Be sure to wash every nook and cranny. If you are cleaning your wheels, use a different wash mitt and water bucket. You will most definitely pick up debris from the rim and tire. Once the car is fully covered in soap, wash it off and dry your vehicle. We recommend using a damp microfiber towel. It will not only dry your car but also pickup dirt and debris. Whereas the shammy will drag the debris across the surface of your paint.

In addition to regular washes, you may have to clay bar your vehicle. Sometimes debris/dirt will embed itself on the topcoat that a wash will not remove. The clay bar is very tacky and will pull the dirt out exposing pours where the dirt once was.  Waxing your car is another crucial step to protecting your vehicle’s exterior. It is the process of applying a thin layer of protectant on your car’s surface exterior to protect its clear coat from the world’s damaging elements. It is applied by hand or by using a polisher after the car has been thoroughly washed and dried. The wax fills in the micro scratches and gaps strengthening the clear coat and provides a nice shiny finish. Professionals recommend waxing your car 3 to 4 times a year and always after your clay bar your vehicle.

 

Final Thoughts
As you can see, car washes and waxing are just as important as any other type of vehicle maintenance you do routinely. If neglected, your cars exterior will begin to fade, peel and even rust. The only remedy for restoring your natural shine can be through expensive auto detailing or as a last resort, repainting the vehicle. Besides keeping your vehicle’s exterior at its best condition, it could prevent you from having to pay hundreds to thousands in the long run. Therefore, making it a habit of adding a car wash and occasional clay bar/wax to your repertoire is well worth it.