Why It’s Actually Important to Wash Your Car

There are some people out there who never wash their car, and that’s okay. Well, actually, it is not really okay because washing your car is actually extremely important. Beyond basic pride in ownership, here are a few valid reasons to break out the cloths and suds and get to work on your favorite vehicle.

Preserve the beauty of your vehicle

You may take the condition of the paint on your vehicle for granted; however, it needs care and upkeep just like any other part of a car or truck. Vehicles stay nice and shiny because of the many layers of paint and then clear coat on the exterior. You’ll often see older cars driving around with the clear coat peeling off, which is very unsightly. Dirt dulls the exterior finish and wears it off over time. Preserving the paint and clear coat is one good reason to wash your car regularly.

Road grit, bird droppings, and residue from rain can all damage the surface of your vehicle. Bird droppings eat away at the finish, and so do bugs because they emit amino acids as they decompose. Neither is anything you want hanging around on your car’s exterior. 

Protect against the ravages of winter

If you live in a Northern climate, you know that highway departments dump loads of salt on the roads to melt the snow in the winter. As you drive, salt gets thrown up underneath the car and on the sides around the wheel wells. This is a perfect opportunity for rust to get a foothold and start eating away at your precious mode of transportation.

Regular car washes – yes, even in those cold temperatures – are a must during winter. Be sure to get up underneath the chassis and spray up and under the wheel wells to clear away any salt or winter debris that may be trapped up there. Also, remember not to wash your car in temperatures below freezing or the water will freeze and you won’t be able to get your doors open. 

A clean car is a safe car

Miami, Little Havana, men working at car wash.
A car wash in Miami | Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Safe driving is really all about visibility. If you can’t see, you can’t drive properly. Clear windows are an important part of 360-degree visibility in your vehicle. Even if the middle of the windshield is cleared by the windshield wipers, that’s not enough for safe driving. All windows, including the windshield, side, and rear windows, need to be completely clear of dirt and debris. Washing your car completely on a regular basis keeps dirt from building up and causing visibility problems. 

Another way washing the car helps with safety is that it gives you an opportunity to go over the car with a fine-tooth comb. While you’re scrubbing, you can check for loose wires, bulbs, license plate holders, and even peek under the hood to look for problems. Think of a car wash as an opportunity to get to know your vehicle a little bit better and check for safety issues.

It is recommended that you wash your car with a hose in your own driveway or in a bay at a car wash. Generally, it isn’t a great idea to take a nice car through a mechanized car wash mainly because there could be small particles in the recycled water that could cause microscopic damage to the clear coat.

Car wash brushes can be harsh on a vehicle’s finish and don’t really get to all the nooks and crannies of your car or truck. Make breaking out the soft cloths and buckets part of your regular maintenance routine, and you’ll benefit from more years of safe driving.