How often do you clean your car? Once a month, once every 6 months, maybe even once a year? I’ll tell you why you should think about changing that bad habit. It can cost you a
lot more in the long run than it will to start washing it. You see a lot of car fanatics go to the car wash once a week if not more. Some Collectors get their cars detailed once a month or more. There are even those people who only hand wash and wax their cars weekly. But something all these people have in common is the regularity that they are cleaning their car. People ask themselves, “why can’t I just clean my car when it starts to look gross or things start to grow on it?” Good question, let’s start with the outside of the car.
A day in the life of your car. We begin with the morning and your car is faithfully sitting outside waiting for you, and accumulating airborne dirt and dust. Or maybe it’s raining, and the rain is leaving particulates like dirt, grit, and all sorts of organics on the car. Don’t be fooled either, because that rain didn’t wash off the dirt that was already on the car. Then we get to driving, the dirtiest of activities your car goes through ironically enough. While you’re driving through the neighborhood, your car is hit with gravel, rocks, more dirt, leaves, and all sorts of foliage from the beautiful surrounding plant life. You leave your neighborhood and encounter the concrete jungle including the interstate, parking lots, and dirty back roads. On the interstate you’re mercilessly taking out insects, getting covered with exhaust fumes, and like always accumulating more dirt. Made it to work and it’s time to park in the middle of all the other dirty cars. It sits and accumulates more of that dirt blown around in the wind, trash from the lot, and all sorts of grit from the concrete. Now it’s the end of the day and time to head back home, but you decide to take the back roads to avoid traffic. Ever looked behind you on a dirt or gravel road? That jet stream of dirt and sand you throw up isn’t all behind you, a whole lot of it is stuck on your car. Finally, you’re home and you get to see all the brake dust sitting on your rims from your drive, and the visible dirt that has been packing on since the morning sitting in your driveway. And after all that, it’s only been one day!
Your car goes through a lot day to day, and you may think that it’s not such a big deal that its only dirty. Would it be a big deal if say some one keyed your car? Or maybe they wrote on it with a big old marker. That grabs the visual attention for sure. So if that’s the case, let’s say you haven’t washed your car in a month. Remember how much it goes through in a single day, even more depending on where you drive and how much on a daily basis. Someone in a hurry walks by your car in a parking lot and rubs your car with their side. You might not think about it but that 30-day layer of dirt just dug into your paint. You get to the parking lot and see a big scuff on the paint. Why did this happen to you, will it come off if you wash it? Unfortunately, now it’s a big ugly attention grabber that’s not going to just wash off. Often times scratches on dirty paint can only be fixed by paint touch up or buffing sessions (only if you want it to look nice again). Now if you had washed your car last week it wouldn’t be so noticeable, maybe even a small smudge. If you had really been careful and gotten it waxed, you wouldn’t see anything!
The longer you leave the outside of your car dirty the more likely you’re going to get some unattractive mark that requires buffing or paint touch up. Dirt on the surface of your car is like leaving sand on the screen of your phone and trying to text. Every time you touch it, you’re scratching it. Dirt works the same way with the paint on your car. Organic residue can start to grow mold, algae, and even moss if its left for a long time. If brake dust is left of the rims or paint, it can create scratches that look like someone did key your car. Now your dirty car is a little more concerning. Fortunately, it’s a simple fix, wash the damn thing. Make it part of your Sunday routine, most Americans need more activity any way. Or if you like, we here @ The Car Wash in Central Park, Fredericksburg VA, offer monthly wash passes. You have the ability to then come as often as you like and never bear the risk of having an overly dirty car. The key is regularity, the more often the car is clean, the less often the exterior is in harm’s way. you may think those car fanatics are crazy, but they know how to take care of their investment. Most of the time it’s the second most expensive thing you will ever own, it should last a little bit of time.
Let’s talk about the interior now, if you’d ever like to resell your car or even enjoy being inside of it, it’s a pretty important part. It can get pretty pricey to get your car detailed regularly so this one will involve more effort if you aren’t willing to shell out the cash. The inside needs just as much regularity as the outside.
Factor in that every
day you track in dirt every time you get in the car. Then if you transport other people that factor grows. If at this point you realize you also transport small humans called children your factor grows exponentially. Did you ever lie to Mom or Dad about dropping that French fry or potato chip? Yeah I did too, till I started driving and looked under the seats I had so deceivingly soiled as a child. Never have you felt so much regret when you see that 10-year-old fast food in your floorboards. Maybe you are one of those people that own a mobile trash bin, or hoarder house on wheels. Just imagine the amount of food, dirt, trash, bugs, and other nasties that can accumulate in the floors and seats of your car. Eventually you’ll smell it if you learned to ignore the sight of it. Or perhaps you’ve gone nose blind to the filth as well, I promise you the rest of us who get in the car with you have not. Over time that dirt and other refuse in your carpets and seats develop odors, and they aren’t pleasant. Maybe food is a common factor in your car, it becomes food for things like bugs, rats, mice, and even mold. You could be pretty clean and it’s just dirt that tags along on the bottom of your shoes. Ove
r time it can become very hard to remove that packed soil from your once tan carpets that look pretty dark brown.
Even if you vacuum your car once a week, say when you wash it? It can be the bare minimum to protecting the interior from odors, uninvited guests, and being a general eye sore. The time could come to buy a new car, you’re going to want to sell this one for what it’s worth, and I promise people don’t pay extra for the dirt inside. It’s that pay more to get less mentality.
Having a generally clean car on a weekly basis or even biweekly can protect the value, appearance, and drive-ability of it as a whole. Protect your investment, it really doesn’t cost much extra, especially I you do it yourself. You’ll be happier with it longer, and you’ll be very happy you’ve kept up the value of the appearance when it comes time to sell.
Written by Kurt Riesbeck, Marketing for @ The Car Wash, a Fredericksburg Car Wash.