How Often Should You Wash Your Car?

It’s generally recommended that you should be washing your car every two weeks.

A car is a considerable investment and a big responsibility. In order to keep it running for a long time, it’s crucial to make sure your car is being taken care of as best as possible. This includes washing it as often as required. Sometimes we think that this isn’t as important as it is, but your car should be regularly washed every two weeks. If you have been driving around on dirty roads or during the winter months collecting road salt, you may even want to give your car an additional wash when needed. 

The rest of this article will go over the best time/temperature to wash your car, how to wash your car in certain conditions and seasons, and whether hand-washing your car is better than going through an automatic car wash. 

Best Time to Wash a Car

According to many detailers, early in the morning or later in the evening are the best times to wash your car especially during the summer months. This is because there is less sunlight and a lower temperature compared to the middle of the day. Avoiding direct sunlight as well as high temperatures will help avoid the soap and conditioner from drying too quickly causing stains to be left on your car.

The best temperature to wash your car is anywhere between 50°F(10°C) to 80°F(26°C). That being said, as previously mentioned, direct sunlight in hot summers can affect the quality of your car wash. This is because the soap that is used can dry before it’s properly rinsed, leaving residue stains on your car. 

An additional tip to avoid watermarks is to let your car thoroughly dry before taking it for a drive. Oftentimes we rush to drive our car off right after getting out of a car wash. It’s better to park your car in the shade and give it a moment to properly dry off before driving. This way you will achieve a more sleek and shiny look.

Washing Your Car in Cold Weather

If you prefer washing your car by hand, washing during colder weather will be a challenge. Even though washing your car during the cooler months can seem like a chore, it is definitely beneficial. The main thing to keep in mind when washing your car in cold weather is to make sure that the temperature is above freezing.

One of the questions that arises is when not to wash your car. The only time it is not recommended to wash your car is when the temperature is at freezing levels. Washing your car when the temperature is below freezing will cause the water to freeze and in some cases lead to your windshield being at risk of cracking. On a side note, hot water should never be used on your windshield at all, even to de-ice, since this is a common way windshields are accidently cracked.

How Often Should You Wash Your Car in the Winter?

On average, you should be washing your car every two weeks year-round. During the winter, if you drive on a daily basis, I would recommend washing your car once a week. This is to help wash off the salt from your car which collects from driving around on snowy roads.

Road salt is harmful to vehicles since it becomes the cause of rust growth. If you happen to live in a place where salt builds up on the roads, you should pay extra attention to washing your car regularly. 

Even if you keep your car in a garage away from the cold temperatures, ice and snow, you may have still noticed dust and dirt layering up on top of your car. Always take this into consideration as well and be sure to keep your car clean during the cold winter months. On top of the other benefits such as maintaining the new look of your car, washing it regularly in the winter will also prevent rust from growing.

Washing Your Car in the Rain

If you happen to live somewhere that gets a lot of rain or want to kill two birds with one stone, can you wash your car in the rain? 

The answer is yes, you can wash your car in the rain. In fact, there are a few benefits in doing so. One of the great benefits is that you won’t have to pre-rinse your car, the faucet of nature will automatically supply rainwater for your carwash. Usually people only give their car a water rinse when it rains. However if you want to fully benefit, bring out some soap and a sponge to lather some detergent onto your car as you let the rain wash your car.

You may be thinking, “does rain damage car paint?” This entirely depends on where you live. In places where there are high levels of pollution, acid rain can be a common phenomenon. In this situation I would advise to keep your car protected from the rain as much as possible as acid rain can be a factor in damaging car paint. Otherwise, if you live in a relatively smog-free area then you have nothing to worry about. Normal rain water generally won’t have a harmful effect on car paint.

The only real downside to washing your car in the rain is that you can’t towel dry right away. You will have to wait until the rain stops before you can dry off your car.

Automatic Car Wash vs Hand Wash

One of the reasons we neglect washing our car on a regular basis is because it can be time-consuming. I know I’m personally guilty of that. Luckily there’s different methods to get the job done. You have the option of hand washing your car or taking it to an automatic car wash.

Handwashing can be a tedious way to wash your car, but you will get a much better result from it. This method is personalized, catered to your vehicle, thorough and much cheaper. If you are willing to put in the work to handwash your car, you will rid your vehicle of more salt, dust, and dirt than if you were to go through a car wash. 

If it’s your first time handwashing your own car, be gentle making sure not to leave scratch marks or stains. Watch some YouTube videos and find the easiest one to follow for you. After a few times you will become a natural and know the exact tools and techniques to handwash your car by yourself.

If you lack time, don’t have the space or prefer not to put in the effort to handwash your car but still want to keep it clean, an automatic car wash is the right option for you. Automatic car washes are quite convenient in getting the job done when you’re short on time. Automatic car washes are often not the best in terms of quality. They can leave smear marks when done swiftly and almost always leave watermarks due to insufficient time to dry off your car towards the end. That being said, it is still better to get a low quality wash than nothing at all.


Washing your car once every two weeks is a good habit to make, often being the thing that most people neglect when it comes to their car. Not only will washing your car regularly keep it looking good, it will also ensure your investment is being taken care of. Thankfully, there are various options, including hand washing and automatic car washes.

Take good care of your car, it will last longer and be there for you!

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