You love your car. The two of you spend a lot of time together. All you really want to do is to keep your car brand new as those cars glinting in the lights of the showroom or the day you bought it off the lot.
Okay, we both know that is not maintainable, but you can keep your car looking magnificent while still actually taking it out on the streets.
Are you confused by conflicting advice on when and how to detail your car? Don’t let your car deteriorate due to inaction.
We’ve got good news: Washos has distilled all the information you need right here. After you read this, you’ll be ready to give your car the TLC it deserves.
How often should you wash your car?
Let’s face it; most of us don’t wash our cars as often as we should.
Splattered with what used to be bugs? Splattered with bird droppings? Splattered with tree sap? Dirty from a long commute and the polluted air that comes with it? Sticky from heat or stained from rain or salty from the coastal air?
Does this sound like your car?
If that’s your car, it needs to be washed weekly.
If your car doesn’t have much contact with bugs or birds or trees, if you live in an area with mild weather, or if you keep your car in a closed garage, then every other week should do it.
If you’re really lucky, then you can stretch it to once a month. But to be this lucky, you probably don’t actually drive your car very much.
How often should you wax your car?
In general, you should wax your car once every three months.
But maybe the first question you have is why you should wax your car at all.
Once every three months sounds doable. But that’s an average. How do you know if your car needs waxing right now?
The Bead Test
The easiest way is the bead test. Anyone can do it. Simply throw some water on your car and see if the water beads up. If it does, you’re still good . . . for now. If it doesn’t, it’s time to get your wax on.
Speaking of wax, what kind of wax should you use?
Carnauba wax will give your car a fabulous shine—but only for about four to six weeks, so get ready to pay for that sheen with some extra elbow grease. If you’re not as fussy, then polymer sealant will work just fine and last the full three months.
Now, if you live in an environment that’s tough on your car’s exterior—salt, smog, cold temperatures, exposure to tree sap, all those elements that mean you need to wash more often—you will also have to wax more frequently.
If your car’s new (lucky you!), you might not have to wax as often as the rest of us with models that have seen a bit of the world.
Consistent waxing protects your car’s finish long-term so make it a routine that you keep up.
How often should you condition your leather seats?
As a general rule, you should also condition your leather seats every three months.
However, is this the car you use every day? Do you frequently have passengers? Do you have children? Do the seats spend a lot of time exposed to the sun? If so, every two months is a safer bet to keep the leather in top shape.
If you use your car more infrequently and more gently, you may be able to extend the timetable up to six months.
How often should you clean your engine bay?
If you’ve never thought about cleaning your engine bay as part of your regular detailing routine, it’s time to start.
If your environment has a lot of dust, pollen, snow, or dirt (starting to sound familiar?), then you should be cleaning your engine bay every three months to remove the build-up.
If your environment is more forgiving, then once or twice a year is adequate.
When you pop the hood, look for build-up in the PCV valve, which can create leaks. Whenever any valves or gaskets are replaced, you should have the engine bay steam cleaned.
However tempting it might be to do it yourself, do not pick up that water hose. You could cause a great deal of damage.
How often should you clay your car?
If you haven’t heard of claying your car, you’re not alone.
Because clay bars have only recently been made available to the general public, most people don’t know about this great alternative to polishing or buffing.
Why is it so much better? Claying actually removes particles that have become trapped in the paint. Using a clay bar will make your car feel as smooth as glass, but don’t forget to wax after each claying.
At Washos, we recommend claying twice a year, but you can do it as often as you want.
It’s easy to determine whether you should clay right now. Rub your hand along your car. Do you feel roughness? If so, it’s time to clay and draw those particles out of the paint.
Flat areas like the roof, hood, and trunk attract more grit since it’s easier for it to settle there.
How often should you detail your car?
The good news is that how often you should have your car detailed is mostly personal preference. Many people prefer to do it every four months.
Our recommendation is to do a full and thorough detail twice a year. This includes claying, polishing, sealing—the works.
However, once every three months you should do a refresher detail, including sealant and wax as well as treat any leather.
You should thoroughly clean the interior of your car once a month. It’s time-consuming, but clean out any trash and wipe all the interior surfaces free of dust and grime.
And of course, don’t forget the weekly or bi-weekly wash!
Washos’ Quick Guide to Keeping your Car Brand New
Now you know how to keep your car looking its best. Here’s a quick guide (remember to take into account the harshness of your environment):
|Wax, Condition Leather seats, Clean engine bay, Mini Detail
When you care for your car, it’ll care for you. Keep your car looking its best while protecting your investment.
Do you have any car cleaning maintenance tips? Share in the comments below.