A vehicle is one of the biggest investments a person can make in their lifetime. While most car owners regularly get the oil changed, rotate the tires, and replace the brake pads, they do not realize that washing the vehicle is also an important part of maintenance. In most cases, a car will get washed when it has a layer of dust or when bird droppings built up on the paint or windows, but it really should be done on a regular basis to keep rust to a minimum and to protect the paint job. There are several other important reasons to wash a car often, which are explained below.

How Often Should a Car be Washed?

In general, a car should be washed every 14 days throughout the year. In locations where there is a great deal of salt because of proximity to the ocean or on the roads due to snow, a vehicle should be washed more frequently, as salt is corrosive to metal and can lead to rust. Those who enjoy going offroad should invest more time in washing their car due to bird droppings, dead bugs and tree sap that is often encountered in backcountry areas.

Many people think washing the car is a summer activity, but in reality, it needs to be done more often during the winter months. Road salt can build up on the body of a vehicle and eat through paint and metal, which is expensive to repair. Going to the car wash more often and using a high-pressure wand to blast the salt off the vehicle will keep it in tip-top shape.

The interior of a car needs attention, too. While it is not as exposed to the elements, it requires vacuuming and stain removal as part of the maintenance process. It is vital to look under seats for debris and to clean leather upholstery every 90 days to keep it from aging too quickly and cracking open. In hot, sunny climates like the desert, or if the car is used as a work vehicle, leather should be conditioned every 60 days.

Waxing and Detailing a Car

The majority of cars require waxing every six months. This keeps bird droppings, tree sap, bugs, and road salt from sticking to the paint and causing damage. A vehicle will also accumulate less dust and dirt overall with a coating of wax as well as looking attractive and shiny.

Additionally, a car needs to be detailed every so often to keep it in optimal condition. A detail job is a deep cleaning inside and out that will leave the vehicle in near-new condition. It can cost $100 or even more, but it is an excellent investment for any car owner. Depending on how the car is used, detailing should usually be done every two to three years for the best results.

By making it a part of the regular maintenance routine, washing a car will keep it in top shape for years to come.