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Q: Car washing/detailing schedule?

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How often do I need to wash/clean my car externally/internally? What would happen if I didn't wash it regularly? How often do I need to buff and wax it and what's the advantage of waxing my car?

A: Hello. Washing and cleaning your car is jus...

Hello. Washing and cleaning your car is just as important to the longevity of the vehicle as changing the oil is. There is not a set schedule as to how or when this should be done, but the best way to maintain the look of your vehicle is to wash it regularly. Washing the exterior of your car should be done about once a week. If the car is kept in a garage then every two weeks is typically fine. This should be done with a car wash soap as it is formulated to clean the painted surface and not damage the clear coat. Using soaps such as dishwashing liquid is not a good idea. Washing the outside of your car regularly not only removes dirt, but it removes chemicals and other particles from the ozone that eat away at the pint over time. Even the chemicals in bird dropping can damage the paint.

The interior of the car should be cleaned out at least once a month, but if any liquid is spilled inside of the vehicle that should be cleaned up immediately. Liquids will not only cause some terrible scents, but they can damage electrical components. If you live in an area that uses a lot of road salt in the winter, the undercarriage of the car should be rinsed off at least once a week. As for more detailed work such as waxing and shampooing the interior, this should be done once or twice a year. Shampooing keeps the interior clean and free of stains. Waxing the exterior of the vehicle will protect the paint as it not only removes debris that are stuck to the surface, it also fills in cracks and imperfections that you cannot see visually. Filling these in will keep foreign materials from being able to penetrate the paint and damage it.

About once a year you should also have the engine professionally cleaned. It is important that someone with experience tackles this job as improperly washing an engine compartment can cause serious damage. Keeping the engine clean can help with engine diagnostics in the future as it allows a mechanic to more easily identify leaks and other problems. Regularly cleaning your car is essential to keeping it looking good, smelling good, and having a great resale value.

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