Protect Your Car’s Finish and Value With Regular Soap and Water

Posted by Safeco March 7, 2016
Regular Car Washes Help Prevention Corrosion

Washing Your Car Can Help Maintain Appearance and Slow Depreciation

Maybe you think the only reason to wash your car is to attract admiring glances as you cruise down Broadway. Sure, nothing wrong with that.

But, there’s more to a good car wash than meets the eye. Keeping your car clean and polished helps maintain the strength and integrity of the exterior and structure, and that can mean more years of use, lower long-term maintenance costs and higher resale value. And, all it takes is a regular visit to your local car wash.

Note we said regular, not occasional. Frequent washes are a must because your car is under assault all year round:

  • Winter: The salt that keeps roadways clear of snow and ice also corrodes your undercarriage.
  • Spring: Dripping tree sap forms a hard coating on your paint finish. Pollen clouds your windshield, causing decreased visibility.
  • Summer: If you vacation by the ocean, the sea spray in the air can settle on your car and leave a coating of salt that can damage the finish and metal beneath. The ash from wildfires is alkaline and can also ruin your finish. And, the bodies of bugs that splatter your windshield don’t just blur your vision, they also leave an acidic residue.
  • Fall and year-round: Mud and dirt can hold moisture on the surface of your car, creating the perfect opportunity for rust. Bird poop is acidic. In areas where coal and other fossil fuels generate power, pollution can fall as acid rain, or even as dry deposition, and ruin your finish.

Washing your car is the one solution to combat it all. But, should you take it to a commercial facility or just wash it at home by hand? The latter may seem cheaper, especially if you have a fidgety teenager around. But, there are other costs to consider.

An at-home car wash is “one of the most environmentally un-friendly chores we can do,” according to the EarthTalk blog. There are two reasons for this: High water usage, and the potential for toxin and soap runoff to reach local waterways.

Washing your car at a commercial facility, on the other hand, cuts water usage in half. Not to mention these facilities must drain their waste water through the sewer, keeping it out of the local water supply. Some even recycle their water.

Other concerns: If you use detergents, brushes or cloths that aren’t made for washing cars, you may do more harm than good. The soaps might be abrasive, or the cloth you use might grind road grit deeper into your paint.

But, if you enjoy giving your personal touch to your car’s appearance, you have responsible options. You could park your vehicle on your front lawn, allowing waste water to reach your grass and filter through the soil. Try biodegradable car soaps. There are even waterless car cleaners available.

Taking the Next Step in Protection

Whatever washing method you choose, you’ll want to follow up with a quality car wax to protect your finish even longer. And, while you’re thinking about protection, think about your insurance coverage. Does it make sense to add a coverage option such as roadside assistance? Call your local independent agent to find out what options are available.


How Are Car Insurance Rates Determined?

Ever wonder why you pay what you do for your auto insurance? An independent agent blogs about some of the different factors that can impact your car insurance costs.


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Insurance is offered by Safeco Insurance Company of America and/or its affiliates, with their principal place of business at 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. This website provides a simplified description of coverage. Nothing stated herein creates a contract. All statements made are subject to the provisions, exclusions, conditions and limitations of the applicable insurance policy. Please refer to actual policy forms for complete details regarding the coverage discussed. If the information in these materials conflicts with the policy language that it describes, the policy language prevails. Coverages and features not available in all states. Eligibility is subject to meeting applicable underwriting criteria.