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When is the Best Time to Wash My Car?

When is the Best Time to Wash My Car?

Somewhere out there, somebody is asking themselves “When is the best time to wash my car?” That isn’t a tough question to answer… wash your car when it is convenient and safe to do so. Think about safety and weather conditions. 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


Not all climates are appropriate for car washing.

For example, if you set out to wash your car in the sunlight, you are going to make the whole job harder as soaps and waxes dry too fast. To make matters worse, you’re putting yourself (and the car) at risk of unnecessary UV exposure. A sunburn from washing the car isn’t any fun!

Chicago is known as the windy city. It is called that from the constant gossip of politics, not because of those Lake Michigan gusts! Nevertheless, windy days aren’t good for car repair or washing your car. The sand and dust will be rubbing onto your work surface, causing scratches along the way.

What follows are some additional points on the matter. You should really mull them over if you’re curious about when is the best time to wash a car.

The Best Time to Wash Your Car

If somebody asked, “When is the best time to wash a car”, it almost sounds like a trick question, like an mysterious riddle.

There are some obvious responses.

When the weather is nice makes a great time to wash your car. Think of a cloudy day where rain isn’t likely. The weather is a warm 73 degrees. You aren’t frying under the sun or shivering in the cold. Everything is just right. Soap, bucket, wax, and not a care in the world.

Then there are worse times. There’s a tornado warning. There’s lightning. It’s snowing and the hose water is nearly frozen. There is a sandstorm. Who knows!? None of these times make sense to wash a car. Safety first.

In medical situations, first responders approach every incident by first “surveying the scene.” In this action, they take note of all the dangers and hazards that currently make assisting a person risky. If they can make it less risky, they should. If it’s too dangerous to help, they must wait for backup.

This approach can be applied to washing your car. 

If you are struck with the great idea to wash your car at 3:00 AM on a frigid Friday night in February, you might want to reconsider that plan, especially if you’re thinking of doing it the old-fashioned way with a bucket and a hose.

In this situation, your neighbors might call the police if you wash your car at 3:00 AM. It’s also freezing outside. That means the water is going to be like ice, and you can’t subject your hand to that when it is dangerously cold. The wash is going to be pretty bad all things considered. It’s better to wait.

This is an extreme example, but it does demonstrate the simple yet complex nature of the question. 

There is a good time to wash a car, but it’s fairly hard to define. What’s appropriate to you might not be appropriate to the next person.

Make Time to Wash Your Car Inside and Out, Including the Engine

If you hear one of your buddies ask when the best time to wash his car is, be sure to remind him to wash the car inside and out.

Too many people today are obsessively visiting car washes to clean the exterior of their vehicles. What they need, however, is to remember to clean the car interior, too.

They don’t vacuum up those crumbs Junior left from munching on French fries in the backseat last weekend. They forget to remove the shavings from a scratch off lottery ticket. Maybe Fido’s hair has been shedding a lot, and there’s a trail of fur in the trekker. It happens to the best of us!

However, we can’t forget to clean the interiors of our cars regularly. For taxi drivers, ride sharing chauffeurs, and other professionals, a good vacuum could be an occurrence that happens multiple times a day.

Another point to bring up with the buddies during car talk is that they should wash the inside of their engine. Every person who really cares about their car knows to keep the engine clean. When people say clean the car, inside and out, they might really mean under the hood.

In cities and suburbs, where debris and dust aren’t such an issue, you should clean your engine every six months. In rural environments where dust and leaves on the ground are the regular, there should be cleanings every three months.

Mechanics and automobile enthusiasts agree that a clean engine bay is desirable. Having a clean engine makes the car look great and increases resale value as well.

Amateurs should not try to take on washing the car engine without learning a thing or two about the process. It is NOT okay to spray down your engine with a hose. You will fry sensors and other electrical components. 

Washing a car engine is more exhaustive than washing the car’s exterior or even detailing the car on the inside.

What do people check when cleaning the engine of the car? They look for engine coolant that is where shouldn’t be. It would be a sign that something is wrong with the engine. 

You can learn a lot about your car engine’s health while cleaning the engine. In some cases, you might catch an oil leak while you’re tidying up under the hood. It’s the best time to inspect hoses and other parts that commonly need to be replaced as the miles add up.

You might pair your engine cleaning schedule to your oil change schedule. If you are tinkering with the engine, or paying somebody else to do it, on a regular basis, you can take advantage of the time by doing oil changes and washings around the same time.

If you’re due, you might even get a tune up. That really cleans that old engine up – you get all the bits and pieces checked and replaced so that it runs like new!

You shouldn’t really try to clean your engine on your own if you have no experience or knowledge. You can call a mechanic or an auto body shop for assistance if that’s the case.

Best Time to Wash Car in the Winter

Snow, salt, slush and winter in general leave us wondering When is the Best Time to Wash a Car in the Winter? The answer: when it’s not below freezing or a blizzard.

You already know that salt, ice, snow, slush, grime, and potholes are wrecking your car all winter long. It’s really frustrating. One way to conquer some of that damage is by getting your car washed – but how? 

In the freezing temperatures, we envision ice forming faster than we can wash the car.

Well, unless you have a heated garage with a lot of space and water access, you can forget washing your car at home. It just won’t work. You cannot be outside sticking your hand into a bucket of ice-cold water in the dead of winter; it simply isn’t safe.

You can take your car to professionals in at almost any temperature. On mild winter days, even a drive-through car wash can do the trick. These are not everybody’s preference, but you cannot beat the efficiency. 

If the temperature is above freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit), a drive-through car wash is just fine.

Take your time moving through the dryer section of the car wash. 

If somebody is outside of the car wash with a towel, let them dry your car off and pay the bill. It will be good for the car, and the dryers willing to do such work in cold temperatures have definitely earned that tip.

Chicagoans know that keeping their car clean is a matter of self-pride. A freshly cleaned car shines bright on the expressway no matter it’s age. 

When winter comes, though, those car washes are harder to get into our busy weeks. There are just too many variables.

Is it Best to Wash a Car at Night?

Maybe this has happened to you: It’s a summer night – around 9:45 pm, and you say, “Hey, when is the best time to wash a car?” Washing your car, on your own, is not recommended at night because you won’t be able to see what you’re doing.

Sure, if you have a fancy facility or a well-lit warehouse, then perhaps an exception can be made.

On your own, say in your backyard or in an alley, isn’t going to cut it without the sunlight illuminating your work. You need to be able to see the dirt, dust, and debris in your wash, wax, and dry process. If not, you could be rubbing more dirt, sand, or salt right into the paint job. That isn’t good!

If you know a place that does 24-hour car washes, then perhaps you can take it to a professional if you want to wash your car at night. Even still, in the majority of cases, it can probably wait until the morning.

When is a Bad Time to Wash a Car?

Is there a bad time to wash a car? Yes! There are plenty of times when washing a car isn’t a good idea. For example, if your garage is on fire, then maybe washing your car should wait.

That’s hypothetical situation is so extreme that it’s almost comical. The point, however, is not. People often turn their attention to the wrong task, hoping to focus on an easier or more fun detail. 

For example, maybe a car owner feels like having their car washed is a sign that their life is going in the right direction. It is rewarding to know our cars look their best. If this compulsion occurs to you in the middle of a hail storm, you may need to reevaluate your priorities.

Another situation might be that somebody who knows their car needs repairs. The engine knocks. The muffler is embarrassingly riotous. Somebody might think, I can afford a car wash but not the repairs – better to get the thing cleaned at least.

That isn’t right. Your car engine, and your own safety, are priorities. It’s better to have a dirty car that works than to have a clean car that doesn’t. 

If this resonates with you, consider sending your old car to a junkyard. They will tow it away and leave with you a fistful of cash.

In the end, identifying bad times to wash a car comes down to planning and risk analysis. 

If there is a thunderstorm, for instance, you shouldn’t wash your car. Being under skies filled with lightning is dangerous, especially standing next to giant metal object covered in water. Use common sense. 

In other words, do not wash your car during a thunderstorm or if there is lightning. 

Final Answer: When is the Best Time to Wash My Car

The results are in. The best time to wash your car depends on your schedule, the weather, and the amount of access you have to a professional wash. 

When you work out the various parts of the equation, you will be able to determine whether now is the appropriate time to wash your car.

When it comes to finding the best car wash, you have to do a little self-work. Do you have the time, space, and necessary equipment? If so, then check your schedule and the weather. You will figure it out just fine. If you can’t, ask a friend or family member for advice.

Washing your car is rewarding. A clean car reflects your self-esteem, confidence, and success. The only action left to take is to schedule your next car wash at a time that is both safe and convenient.