Believe it or not, I get the question “when should you wash your car?” a lot from my friends and family. My yuppie uncle, who loves cars but seems to hate washing them, specifically asked me this question a couple of months ago. He asked me “When is the right time to wash my car? Should I wash it weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly like I do?”
I flashed a wide smile and looked at his ride. It was an old Subaru wagon with half an inch of thick dirt all over the body. The interior is still in good shape, but it felt like an old and neglected attic with paper cups, chip wrappers, and cigarette dust scattered all over.
I shook my head in disbelief. Apparently, my uncle is not alone in this predicament. But honestly, who can blame them, right? We now live in a fast paced environment, and it seems people have less time to spend caring for their rides.
Here’s the good news: you don’t need to wash your car every single day. I told my uncle that he only needs to wash his car at least weekly, and apply wax at least every 3 months. He scoffed at the idea of waxing his old Subaru, but I told him that waxing is a necessary part of vehicle maintenance.
So there you go. Are you wondering when you should wash your car? My straight answer is you should wash your vehicle at least once a week, regardless if the vehicle is extremely dirty or not. The same holds true for the interior. You should clean and vacuum the interior at least once a week before running the risk of finding a massive ant colony under the carpeting and the seats.
I understand that visiting the carwash weekly is not exactly friendly on the pocket. Here are some of the questions you need to answer in order to determine how frequently your vehicle will need to be washed.
When Should You Wash Your Car?
Where Do You Live?
Your location is an important factor here. Do you live in a snowy area? You will need to wash your car more frequently than the usual, specifically the undercarriage. Road salts pose a major threat to the metallic components of your ride.
Do you live near the ocean? Same predicament. Salt and sand will not only scratch the paint, but it will also promote the formation of rust.
Do you live in an area with a lot of bugs and insects? The dried out carcasses of bugs and insects on your shiny paint job will be very difficult to remove, hence the importance of frequent washing and waxing.
If you live in a dusty environment, or if you live in places where snow and road salt are an everyday occurrence, then you will definitely need to wash your car at least weekly.
Do Your Drive Your Car A Lot?
Are you a roving salesman who drives hundreds of miles on a daily basis? You will need to frequently wash your vehicle. Your car is constantly exposed to environmental hazards as you drive, including dust, mud, rocks, bugs, UV exposure, and acid rain.
If you are always on the road, or if the daily routine is to take long drives from one city to the next, then you should consider visiting the car wash more often. This will not only preserve the finish and value of your ride, but a clean car will also make your car more pleasurable to drive. You can quote me on that.
Do You Have A Garage?
Where do you park your car? Do you have a shaded garage, or do you just leave it parked under the shade of a tree? If you have the luxury of parking your vehicle in an enclosed garage, congratulations! This means your car is protected from the harmful elements of sun, wind, snow, dust, and rain, which also means there is less of a need to wash your car.
But if you are like most people who park their vehicle on the street or in a non-shaded driveway, then you need to wash your car on a weekly basis.
When Should You Wash Your Car?
The golden rule of thumb is to wash and shampoo your car weekly. This will hold true if you live near the ocean or in places with extreme weather conditions, if you drive your car a lot, and if you don’t have access to an enclosed garage.
However, you can wash your car once or twice a month if you:
- Live in an area with mild to moderate weather conditions
- Always park your car in a shaded garage
- Have 2 or more vehicles at your disposal
- Don’t have to deal with bird droppings and tree sap regularly
If you only wash your car once or twice a month, then it is a good idea to apply wax or polish at least every 3 months to protect and beautify the paint. This alone will pay dividends when it’s time to sell or trade-in your vehicle.
Remember that caring for the exterior is only a small part of the pie. It is a good idea to wipe the interior clean and vacuum the carpeting every time you wash your car, no matter if you wash it weekly or once a month.
I understand that not all car owners have the luxury of time to regularly wash their vehicles. But if you use the right tools and employ the proper techniques in washing your car, then you can have a squeaky clean car in no time at all. The best part? You don’t even need to spend a ton of money on an automatic car wash.
Your vehicle is one of the most expensive investments you will ever make. Perhaps this is the only important reason to consider why you should allocate a couple of hours of your time to clean and beautify your ride.