How Often Should You Wash Your Car?

How Often Should You Wash Your Car?

You can always tell when it is spring, hoses and buckets get hauled out, the wax gets found in the garage and cars get washed.

Growing up in the Midwest, we washed cars in the winter to keep the salt and ash that they put on the roads to melt ice off of the body before it caused rust. That first real wash in the spring, though, you just knew that it was time to get your car looking its best in the spring and summer.

In the winter, you wash your car to keep salt and ash from accumulating and rusting out the body. The factors that determine how often you should wash your car depends on how mild your winter is.

During the warmer months, though, getting on a regular schedule can help you and your car over the long run. Too many washings will strip the topcoat off of your car, exposing the paint to weathering. A dull paint job looks worse than a dusty car, but not washing enough also has its downside.

Why washing is important?

Your car is a significant investment, both in terms of money and time. It makes sense to protect that investment and one of the easiest ways is simply keeping it clean and waxed.

The first thing that anyone notices about your car is the way it looks. Rust and faded paint are dead giveaways that your car doesn’t mean much to you and that you either don’t take care of your possessions or that it isn’t worth much.

Keeping your car washed and waxed is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to maintain the value of your car. Washing every two weeks, with a good waxing once every couple of months will keep your car looking brand new.

Removing bug residue and animal droppings is also important. That should be done often.

A time for cleaning


Washing your car every two weeks is fine in most parts of the country. Special circumstances will, of course, determine if you need to deviate from your schedule. If you keep your car garaged and don’t drive it, but one or two days in the summer, it doesn’t need to be washed as often.

However, if you are a four wheel drive enthusiast and like to go ‘mudding’ every weekend, you are going to need to adjust your schedule. There is no right or wrong time to wash your car. You do it on your schedule, but biweekly won’t give the road tar or oil time to eat into the topcoat.

If you spend a lot of time driving, or you drive in less than optimal conditions, you may want to increase the frequency of washing to once a week. Any dust and grit on a car can ruin the luster and dull the paint.

The importance of waxing

When you do wash your car, it is important to do a thorough job and to apply the wax when you are finished. It doesn’t have to be done every time, but applying a good coat of wax will help your car repel dirt and grime and makes washing it easier.

If you wash your car every two weeks, waxing once every two to three months will protect the paint and keep a nice gloss on it.

When you put a coat of wax on your car, you apply an additional layer of protection to the current protective coating. This layer prevents oxidization. When paint oxidizes, interacts with oxygen, it gets dull and losing its protective abilities.

Keeping your paint in good shape, maintaining it to the best of your abilities will prolong the protection of your car.

Final thoughts

As important as the car is to the American psyche, it often becomes a ritual to wash and wax your car on warm summer weekends. You probably washed your dad’s car when you were growing up. He taught you how to do it and although he may not have passed along the way, he was right.

Taking pride in your possessions means you take pride in yourself. A person who doesn’t take care of their car is a person who doesn’t take care of themselves.

We hope that answers your question to how often should you wash your car.

How Often Should You Wash Your Car?
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