HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO WASH MY CAR?
According to the International Carwash Association, how often you should wash your vehicle depends on where you live. Below is information for our area.
State of Illinois:
Illinois offers a moderate degree of corrosiveness for vehicles due to the effects of road salt and acid rain.
Annual snowfall in central and southern Illinois averages 15 to 30 inches - but northern Illinois, with its close proximity to Lake Michigan - can bring 60 inches of snow. Where there's snow, there's road salt. Road de-icing materials can cause great damage to vehicles, and are estimated to cause billions of dollars in damage each year to American automobiles.
Additionally, environmental groups such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the auto industry alike concede that acid rain, a serious problem in urban and industrial areas within the United States, also causes damage to automotive coatings. When the moisture evaporates, the acid remains - often forming a blemish that looks like a splattered raindrop. Acid rain eats through a car's finish, permanently etching it. Annual precipitation in Illinois averages about 34 inches in the north, and 46 in the south. It's important to wash a car soon after a rainfall. Once damage is done, the only solution is to repaint. Effects are most noticeable on vehicles with dark or metallic finishes.
If you park your car outside, drive long distances, or live in a heavily wooded area, you should also wash your car more frequently to avoid other damaging elements such as dirt, tree sap and even bird droppings (which you may be surprised to learn is very acidic and if not removed, will permanently stain your car's finish).
Car Wash Wizard Prescription:
Illinois car owners wishing to preserve their auto investment should wash their car at least two to three times a month to protect against long-term damage from salt, acid rain and other harmful elements. If you see or feel salt building up on your car, wash it within a few days to avoid the beginnings of corrosion. A professional detail job at least once a year - preferably twice - will keep the carpets and upholstery looking like new. Research shows that resale or trade-in values for cars can be significantly increased (by more than $1,500) if the exterior and interior of an automobile were well cared for.