How Often Should You Wash Your Car – A Detailed Guide.

Written by Victor

October 6, 2022

Cars are significant investments and require a ton of money to maintain – from replacing filters and belts to changing oil and brake pads. One of the best ways to maintain a car is through a regular wash.

However, how often should you wash your car? 

Person is washing classic green car with sponge and car shampoo

Sometimes, it’s obvious when a car needs a wash, for example, after a long hour of driving down gravel, dusty road. 

That said, washing a car should be part of a general cleaning routine. Whether it is to prevent rust, protect the pain, or maintain the car for a better resale value, there are a ton of reasons to wash an entire vehicle regularly. 

How Often Should You Wash Your Vehicle? 

Car experts recommend a general rule of washing a car every two weeks. Car owners who reside in areas with plenty of salt should wash their cars more frequently because salt can corrode the car’s metal and cause it to rust.

People who drive more frequently through the Backcountry should wash their cars regularly too.

You can wash your car less regularly if you drive it only occasionally, or you store it in the garage and away from harmful elements.

Car is completely covered with dirt, view on side doors

How Often Should You Wash Your Car in Winter

Car in the winter road is covered with road salt and dirt.

While many people think car wash is more important in summer, it is also critical to wash a car during winter. Salt on roads that are used in the wintertime is one of the biggest dangers for a car’s paint job.

A regular visit to the car wash, especially those that use hand-held pressure wands, can prevent road salt build-up on your vehicle.

Why Use Extra Attention on the Wheels?

Person is washing wheels from the brake dust

When washing your car, it’s important to pay special attention to the wheels. Brake dust can quickly accumulate on the rims, and if you don’t clean it frequently enough, it can be very difficult to remove. In addition to making your car look dirty, brake dust can also damage the finish of your wheels.

To avoid these problems, be sure to use a wheel cleaner that is specifically designed to remove brake dust. For best results, use a soft brush or sponge and avoid using any harsh chemicals. With a little bit of care and attention, you can keep your wheels looking clean and new.

Advice For Car’s Interior Cleaning

Conversely, while car interiors are less exposed to salt and dead bugs, they still require some cleaning.

Use a vacuum hose to remove particles like cereal and dog hair from the seat crevices and floor mats.

If you notice a stain when vacuuming, remove them using an upholstery spot cleaner. Clean dingy seats using a simple mixture of warm water and mild detergent.

Leather seats should be cleaned and conditioned every three months to prevent rapid aging or cracking. In addition, if you regularly drive (let’s say for a living) or your car Interior is regularly exposed to the sun, always clean and condition the leather every two months.

Man is using vacuum cleaner to clean car seats

Be Careful With Automatic Car Wash

Car in automatic car wash station, big bristle washing car's roof

Automatic car washing is a convenient way to get your vehicle clean without having to put in any elbow grease yourself. However, you may want to think twice before using one, as they can actually damage your car’s paint job.

Usually, the brushes in automatic car washes are not always changed frequently enough, meaning that they can transfer dirt and grime from one car to the next. When these brushes come into contact with your car’s paint, they can scratch or dull the finish.

If you do decide to use an automatic car wash, be sure to choose one that is well and often maintained and uses soft brushes.

Washing a wrapped car

A car wash is an essential part of keeping your car clean and protected from the elements. But what if your car is already wrapped in a protective film? Can you still take it through the car wash without damaging the wrap?

The answer is yes, as long as you take a few precautions. First, make sure that the car wash you choose doesn’t use any harsh chemicals or abrasive brushes, as these can damage the wrap. Second, opt for a gentle cycle and avoid using high-pressure jets, which can also cause problems.

Waxing and Detailing 

Person is waxing freshly washed vehicle with wax and microfiber cloth

Most cars require a proper wax application at least twice annually. You can test if you need a new coat by simply splashing some water on the body. If the water beads up, that’s fine. But if it does not, then it needs some waxing.

Waxing a car does more than make it beautiful and shining. It also protects the paint job from corrosive substances such as bug guts, bird droppings, tree sap, salt, and more.

Detailing is one of the most aesthetic treatments you can give your car. A professional detailing job covers every process – from vacuuming the entire Interior to cleaning the grille with a toothbrush. Think of detailing as a thorough spring cleaning for your vehicle both in and out.

There are a ton of car detailing companies. Their charges vary and range anywhere from $100, although you can do it within a few hours.

While detailing can keep your car looking cool and clean, this isn’t something you should do regularly. A simple, thorough wash every two weeks, waxing every six months, and interior cleaning every few months should keep your vehicle in top condition.

Quick tips

  • The best way to wash your vehicle is through a car wash service. They usually have professional cleaning solutions, high-pressure washer and runoff.

  • Be sure to use mild, biodegradable soap because it’s soft on the paint. If you want to wash your car at home, do it on the lawn. 

Car detailing close up, person in cleaning air channels with brush

FAQ

What should I use to wash my vehicle at home? 

A brush, water hose, two buckets, a sponge, and car shampoo are all needed. After cleaning the exterior, remove smudges of soap and water around the windshield and window using a glass cleaner.

What’s the best alternative to car wash soap? 

One of the best alternatives is a mixture of baking soda and warm water. Avoid laundry detergent and dishwasher soap as they contain chemicals that are harmful to the paint and wax finish of the vehicle.

What is the cost of a hand car wash? 

A hand car wash costs anywhere from $30-$60 based on the service provider. Adding the cost of optional services like wax and wheel cleaning may increase the cost up to $100.

Can I wash my car with hair shampoo? 

Most car experts agree that washing a car with hair shampoo is okay. However, they should be the last option. When using hair shampoo, wash the car just as you would with a regular soap but don’t let the soap stay too long on your car surface.

Do car washes ruin a car’s finish? 

Some car washes can ruin a car’s finish. That’s because they use harsh and abrasive chemicals that may scratch and swirl the vehicle’s finish. 

Final thoughts: How often should you wash your car? 

Black wrapped Audi on the brick road, sporty car

Overall, it’s important to wash your car regularly. Every 10-14 days is the general rule of when you should go between each wash. However, this also depends on the season and where you live. Try to avoid automatic car washes, which can damage your paint, and follow our tips for the best DIY experience.

Take care of your car and good luck! 🙂

<a href="https://us-autoglass.com/blog/author/victor-shvetsov/" target="_self">Victor</a>

Victor

Victor is a car technician with 10 years of experience in the auto repair industry. He's an enthusiast of blogging and he likes nothing more than spending his weekends working on his car. Victor is always up for a new challenge, and he loves learning new things.

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