Sometimes it’s obvious when it’s time to clean your vehicle, like when someone scrawls “wash me” on the muddy window. Waiting until you can’t tell your vehicle’s original color isn’t the best strategy, though.
“It may seem like a car wash is just a temporary thing, but there are long-lasting benefits to regularly washing your vehicle,” says Mike Reijonen, a Michigan-based distribution manager for Mark VII.
The advantages of regularly washing your vehicle go far beyond cosmetic appeal. Now’s a great time to make car washing part of your vehicle’s routine maintenance, not just an afterthought. When you invest in regular car washes, you can:
- Get your money’s worth. While a basic wash is a good starting point, additional options can add extra protection for your vehicle. A clear coat helps protect the vehicle’s paint from the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, moisture and oxidation that fade paint. A clear coat also helps manage small scratches. “If you drive on gravel roads, you definitely need some type of protective coating on our vehicle’s exterior,” Reijonen says. Don’t forget the wheels, no matter what types of roads you drive on. “A tire shine/hub scrub removes brake dust,” Reijonen adds.
- Preserve your vehicle’s value. If you plan to sell or trade your vehicle someday, it pays to think ahead. “If you check vehicle valuation sites like Kelley Blue Book, there can easily be a 20% difference in an above-average-condition vehicle ranking versus fair or poor condition,” Reijonen says. Keeping your vehicle clean and shiny with regular car washes is an investment for the future. Regular car washes help protect your vehicle from grime, mud, bird droppings, road salt and other corrosive debris that can lead to rust, faded paint and other problems. “I grew up in the Chicago area, where they put tons of salt on the roads in the winter,” says Reijonen, who used to own his own car wash. “You don’t want that sticking on your car.” No matter how new your vehicle is, it’s never early to start preparing for the future and investing in regular car washes. “People are hesitant to buy a vehicle that looks run down,” Reijonen adds.
- Protect you and your passengers’ safety. You wouldn’t want to drive a vehicle whose windows are covered with dirt, would you? Windows, mirrors, lights and tires are some of the most important parts of any vehicle, because your safety depends on them. Washing your vehicle regularly helps you see clearly with your windows and mirrors. It also clears your tires of debris. Don’t forget that regular car washes contribute to clean headlights, which lead to maximum illumination — a must for driving at night or in inclement weather. All this helps ensure a safer trip when you’re on the road.
- Prolong your vehicle’s lifespan. If you want to keep your vehicle for a long time, don’t overlook the importance of regular car washes. While a variety of factors can impact a vehicle’s longevity, a lot depends on how the owner maintains the vehicle. Take local conditions into account, as well. “Some areas of the country have issues with acid rain, while others deal with the saltwater effects of the ocean,” Reijonen says. “Pollen and insects can also be big issues in some parts of the country. All these things can take a toll on a vehicle, if they aren’t washed off frequently.” Paint will last longer and look better when it’s cleaned and protected regularly. “Waxes and clear coats applied during the wash process also help offset sun fading in any climate,” Reijonen says.
- Enjoy more peace of mind. You know how a clean home makes you feel? A clean car also offers peace of mind. It’s surprising how a clean vehicle can affect your mood and de-clutter your mind. “A clean vehicle gives you that positive, ‘new car’ feel, which is a good feeling,” Reijonen says.