Cars can be quite expensive. Hence, it is natural for you to want to pamper it after bringing it home. Indeed, it is very important to take good care of your vehicle. But is it possible to hurt it by caring too much?
How regularly should I wash my car? Can I wash my car too much? These are common and valid questions. From these, the main inquiry that arises is how often should you wash your car?
Many car owners ponder this, so rest assured that you are not alone in this regard. For the same reason, we have put together this detailed article featuring not only an in-depth answer but also other essential care and maintenance information that you should know as a car owner.
In short, you should wash your car once every two weeks. Nonetheless, there are various factors that can affect this timeframe, including but not limited to:
- How often you use your car
- Where you use your car
- When you use your car
- How you use your car
- How you wash your car
For the elaborated details, read until the end!
Table of Contents
Answering the Question: How Often to Wash Cars
As mentioned, the general answer to this is every two weeks. But other factors can come into play, which we will explain in detail below.
How often you use your car
In general, it is advised that a car is washed every two weeks. However, many other factors can affect this recommended time frame. For example, how often you use your vehicle, when, and where you use it can entail more or less frequent washing.
If you are driving your car every day for long hours, like commuting extended distances for work, it is a good idea to stick to the two-week wash schedule.
However, if you are using it every day just to run quick errands on roads without much mud or dirt, you should not wash your car too much but waiting longer in between cleaning sessions to not hurt the mechanics, engines, and car’s paint—every three or four weeks is still sufficient. As such, the rule of thumb here is that the more or longer you have the vehicle out on the road, the more frequent your cleaning routine should be.
Even so, this does not mean that you do not have to wash your car if it is sitting idle. It is necessary to wash your car before you put it into mid-term or long-term storage as well as when you take it out for use again. Washing is an integral part of upkeeping and detailing your car even if it is just sitting in your garage.
Where you use your car
Another equally important aspect to factor in this matter is where you use your car. Dirty terrains filled with grease and grime mean your car is more likely to get a lot of nasty build-ups that can downgrade its quality.
Thus, if you know that you venture filthy roads often, plan ahead so that you can wash your vehicle more regularly, and if you know that you do not, you can spread your cleaning sessions out a bit more.
If you find yourself often on salt roads, it is also crucial that you make it a habit to get rid of salt deposits on your vehicle. If you leave salt on any part of your precious car for too long, it will eat into the construction and harm the integrity of your vehicle. This will imply very costly repairs and replacements in the future as well.
For more details on the consequences of road salt on cars, check out this video on Youtube by WWLP-22News.
Sandy landscapes may require more regular cleaning because sediments and sand particles left unattended can become an abrasion hazard. Hardened sand and sand stains are also incredibly difficult to get rid of. You will have to get special equipment, such as cleaners and scrapers. You may even have to seek professional cleaning services, which are quite pricey.
When you use your car
Aside from the frequency and setting, it is additionally necessary to take into account the point in time that you are driving your vehicle. This is because of weather patterns, which can affect how dirty your car is.
In the winter, salt build-ups are more likely. Your car can be covered in dirty snow or moisture can collect in the undercarriage. Rust is a real concern when the cold season arrives. Similar scenarios can occur in rainy or wet periods. Naturally, it is better to wash your car more often during these times.
On the other hand, in the summer, direct sunlight and intense heat can bake stains like bird droppings and bug splatters on the exterior of your vehicle. It can also wear down your car by discoloring the paint and causing fading. So, you may be convinced to wash your car more regularly during summertime.
However, with both seasons, there are caveats.
In the winter, if the temperatures drop too low, you should not wash your car. The threshold for this is 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because the water used in washing your vehicle can freeze, causing jams in hinges, handles, and locks. You will then have to shell out money to fix them up.
In the summer, washing under harsh sunlight means rapid evaporation, which dries up the water used and leaves stubborn and unsightly spots. As a result, you will have to invest more time and effort into providing special spot treatments.
How you use your car
How you use your car is another significant factor to take into consideration when determining how often a car should be washed. Even though we may not want to admit it, there are car owners that treat their vehicles with care and there are ones who do not.
How careful you are with your car can influence how often you need to wash it. If you are a very cautious person, you may be keen to always avoid potholes, muddy terrains, sandy soils, salt residues, dirty puddles, etc. Hence, there are minimal contaminants and loose debris that need to be eliminated from your car via washes.
However, if you are a careless driver and do not bother to avoid said causes of dust, dirt, grease, grit, or sand, your car will likely take a beating and require “baths” more often.
How you wash your car
One more factor that is worth noting is how you wash your car. Depending on the method that you opt for, more or less cleaning is recommended. Here are the options:
Self-Serve Car Washes
Self-serve car washes are cheap solutions to keep your vehicle clean. Typically, you will spend only $2 to $5 for a wash. Yet, your car can stay clean for a relatively long period of time. This approach to car care is ideal for those who prefer to have control over the cleaning process but do not have the appropriate space or equipment at home to do so.
But because the user cannot select the soap or solution that comes out of a spray wand when washing their car, it is not great to continuously and frequently wash your car at self-serving car bays. The soap or solution used can be low-quality, containing tough chemicals that do more harm than good.
Consequently, you should only avail of self-serve car washes every four to five weeks.
Automatic Touchless Car Washes
Similar to the above method, this way of washing cars is convenient and cost-effective. It is a good option if you do not have the time for manual washing. You just need to drive through the belt and watch your car become spotless.
However, you are not in control of any of the cleaning equipment. Who knows what kind of materials the service is putting to use, right?
Most of these services use low-cost cleaners with quite harsh formulas and chemicals that are bad for your car. So, availing of these once in a while is acceptable. But washing your car this way often is not advised at all.
Automatic Soft Touch Car Washes
The approach to car washing is thorough; your vehicle will get a deep clean. But you cannot choose the level of the pressurized water and cannot oversee the cleanliness of scrubbers used.
High levels of pressurized water can damage the paint on your vehicle’s exterior and strip off its protective wax layer, while dirty scrubbers can cause abrasion issues, leaving behind nasty scratches and cuts.
Therefore, it is not a good idea to wash your car often via automatic soft touch car wash services.
Manual Car Washes
This is arguably the best way to wash your car. Although it is a bit time-consuming and requires you to put in a lot of effort, its pros outweigh the cons. Compared to the other methods of car washing, with manual car washes, it is alright for you to wash your car more often.
With that, you have reached the end of this article on how often should you wash your car. Now, you can be confident in crafting your car wash schedule.
To recap, the general rule is to wash your car every two weeks. However, this timeframe can change depending on a variety of factors.
Hopefully, this article has been helpful. We are always open to new ideas. Therefore, if you have any other hacks and tips regarding this matter, please let us know in the comments.
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