Keeping your vehicle looking clean and shiny is hard work. Let’s face it, the elements are against you — dust, road grime, pollution, rain, tree sap, birds. You need to stay on top of all that. The question is how often to get a car wash.
Asking your friends or co-workers probably isn’t the best way to get an answer here. Think about it — you’ve got the one who obsesses over every speck of dust and the other who may never have washed their car — despite kids having written “WASH ME” with their fingers in the layers of dust and dirt on the rear window.
Realistically, you need to make the decision of how often to get a car wash and you can base that call on some facts only you would know.
As a baseline, unless you keep your car under a cover at home and drive in a very clean town to a very clean garage at work only in good weather, you should wash your car at least every other week. Even if it doesn’t look dirty, there are things that need to be washed off — bugs, sap, tar, bird droppings — that left uncleaned can damage your paint.
Consider Your Location, Too
Do you park within a couple of miles of the ocean or live in an area where they salt the roads in the winter? It might be a good idea to double down and make time to wash your car once a week. That road salt is the leading cause of rust and corrosion — a cancer that will eat away not just at your car’s finish, but at the body itself and critical suspension parts.
That can get expensive at the local car wash, but the great news about washing your car is that it’s about the easiest and most satisfying do-it-yourself thing you can do for your car. It’s an opportunity for you to get up close and personal, examine every part of your car, spot potential trouble spots early and enjoy the pride of ownership on a very hands-on way. And all you really need is a garden hose and a couple of car-cleaning supplies.
When somebody compliments you on how nice your car looks, you’ll know it’s your work they’re admiring. And when the weather’s lousy, that’s when you can splurge and pay someone else to do it.
Check out all the chemical products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how often you should wash your car, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Mike Hagerty is an automotive journalist whose work has been featured on radio, TV, in print and online since 1997. He's the Publisher and Editor of MikeHagertyCars.com, and contributes car reviews to the Los Altos Town Crier and losaltosonline.com. Previous outlets have included KFBK and KFBK.com in Sacramento, California, the ABC television affiliates and Hearst-Argyle and Emmis radio stations in Phoenix, Arizona; AAA magazines for Arizona, Oklahoma, Northwest Ohio, South Dakota and the Mountain West and BBCCars.com.