Treat your car to a day at the spa - your local car wash
|A monthly professional car wash will keep your vehicle in top condition throughout the winter|
If you're like most people, you probably consider your car an extension of the family. A recent International Carwash Association survey found that 84 percent of Americans feel an emotional connection to their cars. But not every car owner treats their car like an extended member of the family, especially in the winter. But winter is the ideal time to give your beloved car a day at the spa.
The "spa" for your car is the local car wash, where your car can get treated to a thorough interior and exterior cleaning and even some detailing work, giving your car the makeover it deserves this winter -- a nice, clean look after being covered in winter's salt, mud and road grime.
"Some of the most visible winterizing tips deal with checking your car's oil, brakes and antifreeze," says Mark Thorsby, executive director of the International Carwash Association. "Those items are important, but that's just part of what your car requires this winter. Cars also need professional car washes at least once or twice a month to keep them in top condition."
There are three things car owners need to know about their cars this winter to keep them looking great:
1. Protect the car's value. Getting your cars washed, waxed and detailed professionally -- especially during winter, when most interior and exterior damage is likely to occur -- helps it maintain its value. Your car's appearance needs extra attention during the colder months, because salt, mud and road grime are more likely to accumulate on your vehicle. Watch out in particular for salt. It's highly corrosive and by far the biggest car culprit, affecting a vast majority of automobiles in the United States. Industry experts estimate that Mother Nature causes $14 billion in irreversible damages each year to autos across the country.
"Most car owners understand the value of changing motor oil regularly to protect the engine," says Thorsby. "However, a car with oxidized paint and a rusted body can never be economically restored. The best way to prevent that is regular washing and waxing at a professional car wash."
According to auto trade-in experts such as the Kelley Blue Book, cars in excellent condition and appearance can be valued as much as $1,500 higher than those in good or fair condition.
2. Save time. Another benefit of professional car washes: They save time. In cold-weather months, nobody wants to be outside washing the salt, mud and grime off their cars. That's the time to take the car to the pros. Stopping by a full service car wash while running errands on the weekends or filling up at gas stations that offer car-washing options is your chance to save time.
Because many professional car washes provide "spa services" for your car that include interior and exterior detailing work, a trip to the car wash makes a unique gift for every car owner on your list. Who wouldn't appreciate the gift of time and a great-looking car with a full-service car wash, wax or detail for the holidays?
3. Help the environment. How does getting your car washed at a professional car wash help the environment? Most people don't realize that do-it-yourself home car washes can use up to two times more water than professional car washes, many of which recycle water for future use. Professional car washes also send dirty water -- laden with soap, tar and road grime -- to water treatment facilities. On the contrary, dirty water from at-home washes runs into sewers, which may eventually pollute rivers, lakes and streams.