Car washing was always one of the most hated chores in our household. It usually meant an entire afternoon in the sun, scrubbing down a month’s worth of dirt and grime from a vehicle. Often, we would just skip it, and let the vehicle go another month without being washed. And why not? While a little bit of dirt on the car might not make it look great, it certain wasn’t hurting the car was it? It turns out that washing and waxing your vehicle is about far more than just making your vehicle look great. In fact, regular washing can prolong the life of your paint job, prevent scratches, and simply make your car work better. Here’s why you should wash your car:
1. Keeps your windshield clear – Nothing is more frustrating that driving and realizing that you cannot see through your windshield as the sun shines on it. While you can often clear it up a little bit if you use fluid and your wipers, you are simply not going to be able to get a thorough clean unless you actually was your car. It’s also important to remember that your front windshield is not the only window in your vehicle. You cannot clear off your side or back windows just by spraying them down and using your wipers.
2. Keeps your headlights clear – Over time, your headlights will start to accumulate dirt and dust, which can make their lights dimmer and make it more dangerous for you to drive at night. If you regularly wash your vehicle, you probably will not have to worry about your headlights becoming so cloudy that they do not effectively light the road that you are driving down. As one of the most basic and important safety features on your vehicle, make sure that they are properly cared for.
3. Helps to prolong the life of your paint – The paint job on your vehicle is not going to last forever. We’ve all seen those vehicles, where the paint has started to chip or strip away. Before the elements can do this to your paint, they have to work through the wax and sealant on your vehicle. This usually occurs because of grime and dirt on the surface of your vehicle. Any time you brush up against a dirty car, you scratch that car. If you do not regularly remove the dirt, it can actually become like sandpaper as you drive. The longer the dirt is allowed to cake up on the surface of your vehicle, the more damaging it becomes.
4. Helps to prevent chemical damage – Especially after the winter, when most communities put rock salt or chemical deicer on the roads to help keep them clear, it is likely that your vehicle has accumulated chemicals that could be eating through the paint. Even run of the mill sap that drops from a tree onto the hood of your car can quickly eat away the sealant and paint, leaving behind just the metal, which is now susceptible to rust. Even slightly acidic rain could seriously damage your vehicle. If you live in a city where there is pollution, each time it rains, that pollution is likely being rained down on your vehicle, where it can start to eat away at the paint job. Regular washings prevents this from happening.
5. Makes your vehicle look nice – Nothing can make your prouder of your vehicle than washing it. A thorough wash, using the right detergents and followed by a wax, can make your vehicle look just as beautiful as the day you bought it.
Now that you know it is important for you to wash your vehicle, how do you actually keep it clean? There are essentially two ways that you can wash your vehicle. The first is by hand and the second is by taking it to a car wash.
What are the benefits of choosing hand washing? When you get up close and personal with your vehicle, you can see where it needs the most attention. Some vehicles, especially those with aggressive styling, will often accumulate dirt and grime in areas that might be difficult for an automatic car wash to clean away. When you are washing by hand, you can easily find those areas and buff them clean. The issue that most people have with hand washing, however, is that they do not know how to do it safely. If you use a sprayer on your hose, you might actually be creating the problems that you are trying to solve by washing away the dust and dirt that has settled on your vehicle.
It is important to use the right detergents and to thoroughly dry your vehicle once you have washed it. Not only will you be left with water spots if you do not hand-dry your vehicle, you might be left with water spots that can eat through your paint and ruin it.
An automatic car wash is a great alternative for most car owners. These usually have settings that wash the undercarriage of your vehicle, which is an area that can be difficult to get to when you are handwashing your vehicle. They are also usually designed so that the water pressure is high enough to clear away the dirt, but not so high that it will peel the paint off of your vehicle. You can find one that will apply wax and other coatings to your vehicle to further protect it from the elements, too.