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How often should you wash your car?

How often should you wash your car? Once a week? Once a month? Once a year? Is there such thing as washing your car too much? These are questions that over 253 million vehicle owners face every day in the United States. Having been in the professional automotive cleaning industry for over 30 years, our answer is very simple: Wash your vehicle whenever it is dirty.

The more complicated part of this equation is what you should consider “dirty” ? In order to answer this question, you should keep the environment you have exposed your car to in mind. The Wisconsin climate can be notoriously harsh on vehicles, exposing them to all sorts of contaminants year round, especially salt in the winter.

Winter Washing

Everyone from Wisconsin is familiar with salty winter roads. Not everyone knows that salt is extremely corrosive to metal. Even with modern manufacturing processes and materials, corrosion costs American drivers over 23.4 billion dollars every year. Most corrosion comes from the salt used to melt icy roads in the winter. That doesn’t mean that every time your car touches salted roads, you should get it cleaned. Dry salted roads do not get your vehicle as crisp white with salt as fast as wet salty roads do. Only consider washing your vehicle when you see salt on its surface, and remember to always get an underbody flush.

Spring Washing

In the spring, heavy rains loosening up the salty and sandy roads, mixed with other contaminants, like break carbon, oils, and tire residue, that are not washed away during the winter months. These contaminants can get your car dirty very quickly, and letting all the winter leftovers, combined with the acid rain, sit on your vehicle’s finish can make it turn quickly. Wash your vehicle after a short stretch of rain. This time of year, it’s important to also consider getting an interior detail to get the salt out of your interior. Salt that seeps through your carpeting on to the metal underneath will cause corrosion and deterioration of your floorboards.

Summer/Fall Washing

During the summer and fall months, bugs, and tar or oil from road construction also can dirty up your ride quickly! Bugs, being made of protein, are highly acidic. Bird droppings are also very acidic, and can rapidly deteriorate the clear coat of your vehicle. The combination of these acidic bugs, bird droppings, general dirt, and tar from construction baking in your vehicle under the UV radiation from the sun and hot temperatures, means your vehicle’s finish is at risk. You should wash your car whenever you see bird droppings, excessive bugs, or general dust on your vehicle. A great preventative measure this time of year is to get your vehicle hand waxed. A simple coat of carnauba wax provides a layer of protection that your vehicle will retain for 6 months if properly applied by a trained professional.

Add-ons That Are Worth It

When you do wash your vehicle, always consider the extra services and add-ons that different facilities wash menus offer to you. While getting a higher wash package that offers extensive cleaning is great, it’s not always necessary. Consider what your individual cleaning needs are, and choose a car wash package that will meet them. Before you visit a car wash, look at your vehicle rims, wheel wells, and interior such as windows, floor mats, and carpet so you know what you want cleaned. I always recommend adding the extra sealant such as Armor All Extreme Shine Wax and an underbody flush to every wash. Extra sealants like Armor All Extreme Shine Wax help keep your vehicle cleaner for longer, and also provide a layer of protection from bugs, salt, and bird droppings. Getting your vehicle vacuumed regularly is also relevant to maintaining its longevity. Just like your carpet at home, if you do not vacuum it regularly, dirt and grime will get ground in it over time, and eventually will not be able to be removed. Not maintaining a vacuumed vehicle is the exact same. You are making your carpet susceptible to being embedded with dirt and stains that might not be able to be removed during normal vacuuming or even detailing.

Can You Wash Your Car Too Much?

So how often should you wash your car? As often as you want at a soft touch wash facility. A responsible soft touch car wash operator that maintains and operates their equipment correctly will have no issues with frequent vehicle washes. I personally wash my vehicle between three or four times a week at all of our facilities without any issues what so ever. It actually is also our company’s policy to wash each location’s chase vehicle every day, before we open to test and inspect our equipment and maintain the vehicle’s cleanliness. On the contrary, beware of using touchless car washes that use harsh chemicals that essentially “burn” the dirt off your car. Washing in these chemicals, especially when done often, is not healthy for your vehicle’s finish, and will fade and dry rot your vehicle’s plastic and rubber trim.

How Full Service Car Wash Gives Your Car What It Really Needs

At Full Service Car Wash, our knowledgeable and trained service advising staff, not automated sales computers, will always help you choose a wash package to make sure our employees, not just machines, fulfill your individual vehicle cleaning needs. We have structured our menu to provide important services that ensure every vehicle gets certain vital levels of cleaning every time. Every wash at Full Service Car Wash includes hand prep, which removes stubborn bugs in the summer, all the snow and ice in the winter, and ensures hard to reach areas such as wheel wells get cleaned. Every wash also includes interior vacuuming, underbody flush, clear coat wax, and hand towel dry. Finally, every car wash includes our signature Free Five Day Rewash, so you are guaranteed that your investment in a clean car lasts. All of these factors are very important to ensuring your vehicle’s appearance and overall well-being are maintained, inside and out!

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