Even though you’re a dedicated car owner, you may be confused about exactly how often to wash your car. How often is too often? Does it need washing in the winter as well as summer? What is an undercarriage flush and when and why is it needed? What’s the difference between various car wash locations? Here are answers to some of your most perplexing car wash questions.
Reasons to wash your car, by the season
Summer or winter, your car faces a tough environment out there. In the summer, there’s dust and the oil and tar drops that stick to your car as you drive past construction sites. Then there are the tree resins that drip on to your car when you park outdoors, hoping for some shade. Bird droppings are not only unsightly, they are also highly acidic, and can eat through the car paint to give rust a foothold on the metal body. The bugs that get squished in the summer are also acidic and can damage the paint job.
Winter is likewise tough on your car’s paint finish, and especially so if you live in the snow belt. The salt used to make roads passable can corrode the metal. Similarly, if you live near the sea, the salty air can harm the metal body. With all these threats to the car’s paint job and the metal body that the paint protects, it’s a good idea to set up a regular year-round car cleaning schedule.
How often does your car need to be cleaned?
In general, your car should be washed every two weeks, summer or winter, whether you wash it at home or at one of the car wash locations near you. One advantage of using automatic car washes is that they tend to recycle and reuse the water from the wash, making it a more environmentally friendly option. You can make your home car wash greener too, by choosing an environmentally-friendly biodegradable car shampoo.
If you live in the country, your car probably needs more attention, especially if you are driving on dirt roads. If you live in the snow country, you should use the undercarriage flush option at your drive through car wash. That will help to remove the salt building up on the underside of your car.
Where to get your car washed
There are over 100,000 car wash locations around the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That means you should be able to find one not too far away. There’s no clear answer to the question of whether to wash your car at home or at an automatic car wash. Automatic car wash locations do report a steady increase in the demand for their services, at the rate of 2.1% more vehicles each year.
Cumulatively, over the past fifteen years, there’s been a 69% increase in the number of car owners who use car washes instead of cleaning their cars at home. That may be because car wash location offer other popular serves like waxing and car vacuums as well.
Regular car washes are an investment that will pay off in terms of maintaining your car’s appearance as well as protecting its body from rust and corrosion. It’s a good idea to try out different car wash locations near your to find the one that best suits your needs, and to take your car there every two weeks.