Washing your car, whether by hand or by machine, can take a good chunk of time out of your day. It can also cost you a pretty penny. Of course you’d like to keep your vehicle sparkling as long as possible. Here are a few tips to help you stay out of the car wash lane just that bit longer.
Avoiding Unpaved Areas
While it’s likely obvious to stay off of muddy, pothole-filled roads if you want to keep your car clean, any sort of unpaved surface has it’s dangers. Gravel driveways are notorious for throwing up dust and white gunk that will make your car look as if it’s just emerged from a hundred years in an attic. Dirt roads can cause the same sort of trouble.
In fact, grassy fields can even produce clouds of dust or green slime that splatters the wheel wells of your vehicle. If at all possible, remain only on paved areas with your car. Better yet, try to remain on roads that are frequently traveled. This is especially true if you are driving during a storm. The more tires on the road, the more cars have picked up oil, slime, gunk and grime from the road before your vehicle will!
Using the Weather
This is very simple. If it is sunny, keep your vehicle covered (we’ll be talking more about that in the next section). If there is a chance of storms or a shower, there’s no reason not to take advantage of a natural car wash. Though this may not clean your undercarriage or anything that’s really “caked on” dirt, it should give the vehicle a quick rinse and leave it shiny.
Likewise, there is no reason to wash a typically dirty vehicle right before a storm. It’s very likely that the rain will do the heavy work for you.
There are two main forms of cover that can keep additional dirt from your vehicle. A carport or a garage can help save your vehicle from dust storms, mud, and just typical day to day dust. A stretch cover, like a sheet, can also be very helpful in saving you a car washing bill if your vehicle is not kept under a carport, garage or similar structure.
Wax can help for the first week or two after application in preventing water spots, light dirt and other such things from sticking to your car. That doesn’t save your glass.
Things like Rain-X and other oil-based, aqua-phobic window treatments can be used to great effect to keep your glass clean from the majority of ailments. It can also make it easier to wash away bird droppings or insects that may occur while driving down the road. However, you should use these with caution. They are not always well received by the windshield and may cause heavy streaking during downpours when you need all the clarity you can get from your glass. Give them a try under light rain conditions. If you don’t like them, they can be removed with Windex and a paper towel or newspapers.