How often should you wash your car?

Knowing how often to wash your car is part of regular car maintenance and should not be ignored if you want to keep your car in its optimum condition. The general rule of thumb is to wash your car every two weeks during the summer and at least 4 times per month during the winter.

These vary depending on a myriad of different factors such as the amount of salt used during the winter, how much you drive the car, if you keep it in a garage or not, animal droppings, dirt and mud, pollen, rain, tree sap, brake dust, road tar, and bugs and insects.

All of these can require an immediate clean in order not to damage the paint. Another thing to keep in mind is to clean up the undercarriage of the car as well because this is also a commonplace where lots of dirt is situated and can cause lots of defects such as corrosion.

All in all, be sure to read this article in order to find out when and how to clean the car up depending on the factors listed above. It’s essential that you follow the right steps in order to minimize the risks of damaging your paint and making your car less valuable in the process.

Washing your car during the summer – Dos, and don’ts

Summertime carries its own set of issues that need to be dealt with to preserve your car’s exterior appearance. Because the outside temperature can often reach scorching levels, it’s best to shield your car from the sun whenever you want to clean it up.

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This means that you should never wash your car during midday or in direct sunlight because this can speed up the drying process which tends to leave streaks and watermarks. A great way to tell if it’s a great time to clean the car up is to feel out the panels, if they are hot to the touch, don’t wash them.

Increased temperatures also speed up the baking process of all the specific types of impurities on your paint which means that you should clean them up the moment you see them. Bird poop, pollen, tree sap, and insects usually bake in the sun which makes these types of dirt particles exponentially more harmful to the paint.

This means that you should clean them up the moment you see them, even if you’ve just cleaned you’re a day or two ago.

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Washing your car during the winter – Dos, and don’ts

Wintertime is mostly associated with lots of rain, snow, and ice which carry their own set of issues as far as washing your car is concerned. Here you should do the opposite of what you would during the summer by washing your car during the warmest part of the day in order to avoid freezing yourself and the car.

Furthermore, salt and brine are often used for keeping the roads ice-free, but both of these are known to cause a lot of issues for cars. They can speed up corrosion and break down paint cells at an alarming rate which means that you need to wash the car more often to prevent that from happening.

The general rule of thumb is to clean your car 4-6 times per month depending on how often you tend to drive the car. During the winter, roads are brimming with all sorts of impurities so it’s essential not to ignore this if you want to keep your car looking fresh for the longest.

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Washing your undercarriage and considering specific factors

Even though most modern-day cars come with extensive anti-corrosion protection, it’s still necessary to thoroughly wash your undercarriage at least once per season. However, this can also vary depending on how old your car is and if there are any rust spots already taking form.

Specific factors such as long-distance driving usually accumulate lots of bug splats both on your windshield and your front bumper. As such, be sure to wash the car every time you finish a long-distance journey.

You should also clean the car momentarily if it has accumulated lots of dirt, mud, and grime as these can also weaken the paint over time. If you keep your car garaged at all times, sometimes it makes sense to clean the wheels and tires before you take it inside in order not to mess up your garage floor.

Either way, be sure to follow all the tips listed above in order to keep your car looking clean and tidy. If you don’t take proper care of your paint, you are likely going to devalue the car.

FAQ Section

What is the best car-washing method?

The best and easiest way how one can clean a car thoroughly is to opt for the trusted two-bucket washing method. Going through an automated car wash is not exactly the best thing to do because these are known to use aggressive brushes which can damage the paint if you use them regularly.

They are also unforgiving to plastic trim and can even scratch the glass if they are of lower quality. A thorough car detail or deep-clean sessions are the ones that offer the highest level of quality and thoroughness yet they do cost considerably more money compared to every other method listed in this paragraph.

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How can I minimize paint scratching while washing the car?

The best way to minimize scratching is to never glide over the panel with a mitt or a sponge while applying pressure because if there are any contaminants left on the panel, you are likely going to cause scratches if you move them on top of the panel.

As such, it’s always best to lightly glide over the panels with a clean microfiber mitt. You need to rinse down the mitt every time you reach for the soap bucket. Also, be sure not to glide over the car with the towels while drying the car as this can cause scratches as well.

Does it make any sense to wash the car with water only?

You should not be washing your car solely with water as this can cause watermarks and streaks. However, if your car is only dusty you can rinse it down with water, but be sure to dry the car out with a set of microfiber towels.

All things considered, it’s better to wash the car with water than it is to not wash it at all, but if you are already investing the effort to do that, you can upgrade to the trusty two bucket method.

Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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