Proper Car Care – Do You Know the Facts?

Do you think of your car as an investment? It is. In fact, for many Americans, their vehicle is the second biggest investment they will make in a lifetime. In conjunction with National Car Care Month, the International Carwash Association offers the answers to some of the most common questions about car appearance care to help you maintain the value of your second biggest investment.

Question: Isn’t rain a natural, cost-effective car wash?

Answer: No! Rain and snow contain dirt and pollutants from the air (commonly referred to as acid rain) and it can eat away at the finish on your car. After acid rain falls on your vehicle, the water evaporates, leaving a film of acid. Concentrated by sunlight, this acid can become so strong that it will “eat” through your car’s finish, ruining the vehicle’s paint and appearance. You’ll see a lot of this type of thing here is the suburbs.

Question: If my car has a high gloss clear coat finish, do I still need to wax it?

Answer: Yes. Most new cars have a clear coat finish which can be easily damaged by acid rain. Even with minimal time outdoors, any clear coat finish will begin to deteriorate after two years. The suns’ ultraviolet (UV) rays, salt and road wear also damage cars. Wax is an effective and efficient way to shine and protect your vehicle’s finish. It is recommended that a car receive a professional hand wax twice a year, along with a professional car wash once a week.

Question: Isn’t a hand wash in my driveway better for my car and safer for the environment?

Answer: No. Dirt that collects in wash water, sponges and chamois will scratch your vehicle’s finish. The technology used today in a professional car wash will not scratch or create “swirl” marks on your car. Not only is a professional car wash safer for your car, professional washes use only half as much water than a driveway wash and use biodegradable cleaning solutions to further protect the environment. Also, professional car washes are required to appropriately dispose of used, dirty water – not send it down a storm drain like you do in your driveway. I mean heck, we come to you, even if you live out in Plainfield or Geneva.

Question: What kind of car wash will do a good job cleaning my car?

Answer: Any professional car wash – full or self-service – can effectively clean a car without damage. There are several types of professional car washes using variations of touchless, semi touchless, cloth or brush methods of cleaning. In any of these operations, high pressure water and cleaning solutions are used to remove dirt and other potentially damaging particles from the finish, wheel wells and under carriage of your vehicle. A final fresh water rinse leaves your car spot free. Blowers or drying towels will remove excess water from the car.

Question: What if I don’t have the time or money to wash and wax
my car regularly?

Answer: To maintain the value of your vehicle, you can’t afford
not to professionally maintain the appearance of your car. And if you compare a professional car wash to a driveway wash – factoring in cleaners, waxes and water use – you will find that a professional car wash is not significantly more expensive than washing it yourself – and most professional car washes take less than half of the time of the typical driveway wash.

Basic Car Care Tips for Optimum Car Appearance:

  • Wash your car once a week at a professional car wash.
  • Always wash your car after a rain or snow to remove acid rain and road salt.
  • Wax your car every six months. More frequent waxes may be needed if you live in a sunny climate or own a red, black or white car, as these colors are more susceptible to UV rays and need greater protection from the sun. (Don’t forget to wash after a day at the beach! Sea salt is also hard on your car.).
  • Go to a car wash that is professionally managed, clean, well lit and displays their International Carwash Association member decal.


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