Tips, Tricks & Trends

How Often Should You Wash Your Car?

Maintaining your car goes beyond simple oil changes and buying new tires every few years. Washing your car is just as important as any other maintenance  if you want to keep your car looking as new as possible during the time you own it, but how often should you wash it?

The time interval is up for debate

There is technically no hard and fast rule for how often you should wash your car. However, some publications, like The Drive and How Stuff Works, will tell you to do it every two weeks. We actually agree, considering two weeks is usually the amount of time it takes for your car to build up enough dirt and grime to warrant a nice bath. However, it’s technically up to your discretion as to how often you want to wash it, considering your commute and what you use the car for could make it dirtier quicker.

According to The Drive, here are some common reasons that you should wash your car more often:

  • Road salt
  • Animal Droppings
  • To remove stubborn dead bugs and insects
  • Dirt and mug
  • Hard water stains
  • Rain
  • Tree Sap
  • Pollen
  • Brake Dust
  • Tar

Of course, if you just want to be more meticulous about your car care, by all means, wash it every week if you really want to keep that new-car sparkle. Also, if you park your car outside, as opposed to inside a garage, you may need to wash it more often.

Washly CEO Karan Walia, pictured, and co-founder Aysar Khalid. The York University pair recently launched Washly, a waterless mobile car wash that comes to you in Toronto. They take appointments with a smart phone app. May 16, 2012. STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR (Photo by Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Wash it more in the winter

If you live in an area where it snows during the winter, then it’s a good idea to wash your car more often. The salt from the roads, as well as any other dirt from the roads, will have a higher chance of sticking to your car when mixed with the snow, so be sure to wash your car more than twice a week during that time. The same goes for areas with a lot of rain.

The Tesla Model S Performance offers a 2.3-second 0-60 time and over 350 miles of available range.
Tesla Model S | Tesla

Tips for washing your car without damaging the paint

If you do plan on washing your car more often, then here are a few tips for washing it without damaging the paint:

  • Do a proper hand wash, preferably using the “two-bucket” method to minimize any scratches.
  • Refrain from using any automatic car washed unless they are “touchless”
  • Use a soft sponge or wash mitt and only use vehicle-safe car wash chemicals
  • Use a micro-fiber cloth when drying the car and use a separate towel for the wheels.
A white Ford Fusion at a car wash with several workers carefully polishing it
The Ford Fusion | Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

How often should you wax your car?

Now that you have an idea of how frequently you should wash your car, applying a coat of wax is a good idea. Don’t worry, you don’t need to wax your car every time you wash it. In fact, twice a year should be good, but if you want to know if your car needs a new coat, then simply splash some water on it.

If the water beads up, then there’s enough wax, but if it doesn’t, then you should probably apply more. For proper car care, we would advise you to wash your car every two weeks, wax it every six months, and clean the interior every few months, and you should be good to go.