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How often should you wash your car?

By WhichCar Staff, 23 Jul 2017 Car Advice

How often should you wash your car?

The answer isn’t as obvious as you’d think

It seems obvious that you should wash your car whenever it gets dirty. However, it’s a good idea to wash regularly to prevent dirt, grime and other contaminants settling on the paintwork in the first place.

Your car is also exposed to things that aren’t as obvious to the eye as dirt and grime such as tree sap, chemicals and the remnants that squashed bugs leave on a car that can damage the paint and be harder to remove later if left unchecked.

According to James Kennedy, co-owner of Mothers Polish, the frequency between washes generally depends on “where you go and how many kays you drive and where you store your car”.

“If you live by the beach or do 1000 kilometres a week, or if it stays outside, you’re going to have to do it more regularly. It’s a matter of keeping an eye on it,” Kennedy says.

As a rule you want to wash your car once per week, particularly if your car is exposed daily to the following conditions when parked or driving:

  • Industrial and construction areas
  • Seaside areas (salt in the air can cause rust)
  • Dusty areas

  • Parked outside all the time, particularly under or near trees where leaves, sap and bird poo do their worst
  • Inclement weather including rain, heat, snow and wind (no season is safe)

Once or twice a month is fine if the car is usually garaged and not regularly driven through such conditions.

As well as keeping your car looking good, regular light washing will protect the paint and reduce the number of times you’ll need to wax your car.

How to wash your car: Dos and Don'ts