How Often Should You Get Your Car Detailed

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How often should you get your car detailed

Like any major investment, your car best retains its value when you properly maintain it. That doesn’t stop at oil changes and tire rotations – washing your vehicle is also a huge part of preserving it for the future.

Mileage and overall condition are the most influential factors in a car’s value. The condition is largely based upon appearance and external wear and tear, and those are both things that regular car washes can help with.

Although it’s important to wash your car when it’s obviously dirty, most experts will recommend more frequent washes to protect the paint and maintain the exterior shine.

So, how often should you wash your car? And how else can you preserve its external appearance? 

What the Experts Recommend

Car wash twice a month

Most Americans (66%) get their car washed one to two times a month – and that’s about right.

According to most dealerships and car manufacturers, the general rule of thumb is to wash your car every two weeks. This includes cleaning the exterior, as well as the wheels, tires, and lights.

However, this is a general recommendation – you need to account for your environment and habits, too. Consider:

  • How often do you drive your car
  • Where you live
  • Where you drive your car

Driving Activity

Someone who uses their car a couple of times per week likely won’t need to wash their vehicle as often as someone who commutes to a job every day. To determine how often to wash your car, you’ll need to account for your personal schedule and driving habits.


Some living environments call for more frequent car washes than others.

For instance, coastal and northern state residents may need to wash their cars every week due to salt exposure from the sea and from salt trucks on winter roads. Salt may be invisible, but it can quickly corrode metal and cause ugly rust stains when left on a car’s surface.

In the state of Washington, many car owners experience a trifecta of issues: ocean salt, winter weather conditions, and wooded areas. Therefore, as professional car detailers, we often recommend washing local cars at least three times per month.

Road Types

Lastly, think about where you drive your car and what kinds of roads you take.

You may need to wash your car more frequently if you drive on country roads often. Exposure to bird droppings, dead bugs, tree sap, and grime can tarnish your car’s exterior, creating long-term damage. Salty roads are especially harmful to your automobile and even harm its integrity.

On the other hand, if you’re usually driving smooth, easy roads in a suburban area, you can likely stick to washes every two weeks or so.

Does an Automatic Car Wash Count?

Automatic car wash

In most cases, an automatic or drive-through car wash will do the job well enough, at least for these regular bi-weekly washes. However, there is some risk of micro-scratches from the machinery. It’s best to seek hand washes to protect your automobile’s paint. 

How Often Should You Detail and Wax?

Auto detailing and waxing

Sometimes, a basic car wash doesn’t cut it. To really maintain your car’s outside appearance, it’s a good idea to schedule an auto detailing session and wax application at least twice per year (every six months or so).

Think of detailing as a “spring cleaning” for your vehicle. Professional car washers will meticulously wash the exterior of your automobile, then vacuum in the inside and comb every inch for dust and dirt. Although detailing appointments are generally more expensive, they’re a strong investment in the appearance and value of your vehicle.

Waxing isn’t just about making your vehicle shine – it’s crucial for fighting corrosive substances like salt, bugs, bird droppings, sap, and more. When your car is regularly waxed, these harmful contaminants should slide off the vehicle’s surface rather than causing permanent damage.

You’ll find auto detailing and waxing appointments preserve your car’s appearance while also protecting it for the months to come. If you can’t remember the last time you paid for some top-tier cleaning services, then it’s probably time to make an appointment.

What’s the Best Time of Year for Detailing and Waxing?

The best time for detailing and waxing services depends on where you live. Generally, we recommend scheduling these bi-annual appointments in the spring and fall – especially for our Washington customers.

This allows you to prepare your car for the winter elements and snow/salt from trucks. Then, as the weather warms up, you can remove any sticky contaminants that may be clinging to the automobile and prepare for the upcoming summer.

Is It Bad to Wash Your Car Too Often?

Some will say that washing your car too often can ruin its finish – and that’s not true. As long as car detailers are using safe cleaning products and have no harsh chemicals or abrasives, washing your car regularly will only improve its shine and color.

If you decide to wash your car several times a month, that’s fine – as long as you’re using a car cleaning service you know and trust.

Contact Big’s Mobile Detailing Today

Big's automobile team celebrating

Speaking of using the right products, all of ours are sourced from local companies in Washington. Big’s Mobile Detailing commits to using safe cleaning agents that only improve your car’s experience – never hurt.

Our goal is to help you protect your investment. We know you care about your vehicle – and we pour the same level of care into our regular washes and auto detailing services. We’re also happy to provide exemplary waxing services for additional shine and protection.

For more information on our car wash services, feel free to contact us. You can also schedule your mobile detailing appointment online. We’ll come right to you, making detailed car washes easier and more convenient than ever.

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These blogs are meant purely for education and demonstration purposes. It contains only general information and may not account for specific issues related to your particular vehicle or situation. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. Read full disclaimer.

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