Cleaning Your Car - Making Maintenance Resolutions
Updated: Mar 13
Everyone is familiar with vehicle maintenance when it comes to responsibilities such as changing the oil, rotating the tires, etc. but do you view cleaning your vehicle as routine maintenance? Let's explore some reasons why you should.
A figure cited on LibertyMutual.com suggests, "Ongoing maintenance and major repairs become bigger and bigger expenses as a car gets older. An average American household can expect to spend about 1.5 percent of its annual income, or about $817 a year, on car repairs for its two (or more statistically accurate, 1.9) vehicles." (1). This is on top of the existing costs of ownership (loan, insurance, gas, etc).
A lack of maintenance can lead to expensive damage. We've all seen firsthand or heard horror stories of high-cost repair bills should you not, so we follow manufacturer recommendations for intervals of time and distance to change the oil or perform other routine maintenance, ensuring the vehicle’s useful lifespan. The same can be said about cleaning your car. Your vehicle's finish (and other surfaces) will be destroyed through neglect and exposure to dirt, road grime, chemical and UV exposure, or other elements without a routine cleaning schedule to prevent damage. Believe it or not, sometimes the manufacturer will recommend this too! But habits from past ownership experiences, cost or time factors, or a combination of both prevent many owners from keeping up with such care.
Vehicles are a big life purchase. For many people these days it's the single biggest purchase they've made. Unfortunately, they are a depreciating purchase. Depreciation is inevitable, and Carfax.com cites the current rate of decline for most vehicles will leave a new car worth as little as 40% of its original value within the first five years (2). By keeping your vehicle clean and presentable you're slowing the rate of depreciation for that specific vehicle and in return retaining higher resale value from your original purchase. Whether you plan to sell the vehicle or not, it’s proven that detailing your car often keeps more money in your pocket long-term! To see what your vehicle's depreciation curve looks like, visit www.usedfirst.com.
I always tell my clients a good interval to follow is cleaning the exterior after driving in any major weather event, and at minimum once a month or every 2,000 miles. This ensures that heavy debris is knocked off the vehicle before it can bond or etch the finish, and a level of protection is added to the paint (wax/sealant/ceramic coating). The interior is a very important area to keep clean for occupant health and safety, and that should be cleaned thoroughly every three months or 5,000 miles to prevent germs, odors, viruses from becoming a growing concern.
Now that I have a suggested a maintenance schedule, I hope it has made you stop and think about your own routine the past 2-3 or more years of owning your vehicle. Have you stuck to a schedule? Do you set aside money in your household to maintain this aspect of your vehicle? Do you like to clean your own car, go to the car wash, or hire a professional? Doing it yourself can certainly be rewarding, but time consuming. Car washes often end up being a “bare minimum” experience with varied results. Hiring a professional detailer will get you the benefits of tools, knowledge, and experience with the best possible results, and by budgeting this cost into your vehicle maintenance funds you'll be able to prevent high repair costs down the road for appearance related issues!
I hope that as you drive into the next decade you can make vehicle ownership more valuable and enjoyable by establishing a regular cleaning routine. I remain committed to helping you in the automotive appearance category at Biff's Automotive Detailing in 2020 and beyond! If you have any questions or are seeking help with your next detail, please give a call!
1. Lifetime Cost Of Car Repairs: Masterthis: Liberty Mutual
2. Krome, Charles. “Car Depreciation: How Much Value Will a New Car Lose?” CARFAX, 9 Nov. 2019, https://www.carfax.com/blog/car-depreciation.