Hamilton Washing: Keeping a Car Clean Protects its Value

Winter is mostly likely to wreak havoc on a vehicle's fine finish. Keeping the car clean is the best way to combat the effects of icy weather, road salt and gravel, and general muck to preserve a vehicle's value. During the summer, a Saturday morning car wash may work, but in the cold of winter, your only option (especially once you've drained your outside taps and hoses for the winter, to protect from fost damage) is the car wash.

The International Carwash Association (of course) recommends, "Keeping your vehicle clean by frequenting a professional car wash every ten days".

In addition, they suggest these tip to maintain a vehicle's finish during the winter months:

  • Be sure to thoroughly dry the area around the inside of the door and trunk, and where a power antenna is mounted to the car. This keeps those areas from freezing up as soon as you leave the wash. If you using a self-service car wash, bring some towels to do this yourself.
  • With a do-it-yourself car wash, right after exiting the wash area, open and close all doors, the trunk. Open & close the locks before parking it to make sure all the little hidden areas are dry.
  • Periodically apply a good silicone spray to all-weather stripping during freezing weather, to repel water.

Here are some year-round exterior care suggestions:

  • Remove bug splatters, road tar and bird droppings between car washings to prevent any permanent spots on the paint.
  • If mud is a problem in your area, be sure to clean it from the exterior painted areas, but also from the undercarriage. Caked-on mud holds moisture to metal and causes rust and body rot especially around wheel wells and door sills.
  • Wax the car at least every six months, and more frequently if the car is red, black or white. Those colors are more susceptible to acid rain and UV rays. Consult the owner's manual for the recommended waxing product.

You should also clean out your trunk. This reduces clutter, increases trunk space, keeps your spare tire more accessible, and reduces the total weight of your car, improving gas mileage.

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