The first things to come to mind when many people ponder vehicle maintenance are oil changes and routine tune-ups. Though each of those things are vital components of automotive maintenance, it’s important that drivers recognize the value of a thorough car wash as well.
Drivers may see a car wash as a way to make their car look good, and that’s not untrue. An effective car wash can give a car a look that mirrors how the vehicle appeared the moment it was driven off the lot. But an effective wash is more than just cosmetic. According to Consumer Reports, a thorough car wash removes grit and residue, thus protecting the car’s paint job and reducing the likelihood of corrosion. Though late model vehicles aren’t as susceptible to rust, fading and peeling as cars made decades ago, they still need a thorough and routine wash to remove dirt, grime and bird droppings that, over time, can adversely affect the paint job and, if left unchecked, eat away at the metal.
Another benefit to routine car washes is they can prevent damage related to seasonal issues. For example, individuals who live in regions where winter snowfall is common may routinely drive on roads that have been salted. Deicing the roads makes driving safer, but salt can accumulate on the undercarriage of the vehicle and contribute to corrosion. Winter may not be a time many drivers visit the car wash, but it’s important to do so after snow has melted and salt on the roadways has been washed away by rain. Most car washes now offer high-pressure undercarriage treatments that can wash off salt and prevent corrosion and the formation of rust.
But it’s not just the exterior of the car that can benefit from routine washing. When taking their cars to get washed, many motorists pay a little extra to have their vehicle interiors cleaned. Sometimes referred to as ‘interior detailing,’ cleaning the cabin of the car helps to maintain the interior so it looks new longer. Routine interior cleaning also can remove dust and other particles that can serve as irritants if allowed to build up over time.
Resale and trade-in value is another factor to consider. The automotive experts at Edmunds note that the average transaction price for a used vehicle in the second quarter of 2021 was $25,410, which marks a 21 percent increase over the year prior. Much has been made of the microchip issues that have compromised auto manufacturers’ ability to produce new automobiles, and that led many motorists to the preowned vehicle market. Dealerships also offered incentives to drivers willing to trade in their late model cars. By taking care of a vehicle’s interior, drivers are putting themselves in position to capitalize on the increased reliance on the preowned market. Prospective buyers, whether they’re private citizens or dealerships, will see more value in a vehicle with a well-maintained interior than one with a cabin that’s seen much better days.