Thrifty Thursday this week talks about washing your car yourself. On average, Americans wash their car 13 times a year. The average cost of a carwash is anywhere from $10-25 each time, equaling from $130 - $325 a year. If you choose to have it detailed, some places charge up to $250 for a showroom detail. If you're aiming to save money, try washing and detailing your own vehicles. Experts suggest washing your car every two weeks and getting a detail twice a year to make sure it stays in good condition. However, in today's fast-paced world, that's not always possible. Doing little things throughout the year can make a huge difference when it comes to your car's appearance and maintenance.
What little things can I do to help with the upkeep of my car's appearance? CreditSoup offers 5 easy tips that can help.
Take the trash out. Preserve the interior of your car by keeping the trash picked up. Getting gas? Toss your garbage as you wait. Parking your car for the night? Grab your rubbish & toss it in the nearest trashcan. This way your car won't have any strange smells, or be attracting potential critters.
Wipe down interior surfaces. ArmorAll has some handy wipes that you can conveniently store in your car. Keep your dash, console, steering wheel, and any other surfaces free of dust, smudges and debris by wiping them down periodically.
Vacuum your floor mats. Keeping your floor mats clean, will help your car not only look clean, but feel clean, even if it's not deep cleaned. If you don't have time or resources to vacuum, just shake the dirt and gravel out every so often.
Wash the windows. Fueling up? Take a few minutes while you're waiting to squeegee the dirt off your windows.
Quick rinse. If you have access to a garden hose, rinse off any dust, dirt & debris before you park it for the night. If you don't have access to a garden hose, most car washes have a self service wash bay. Throw a couple quarters in and just rinse it off.
Washing your car at least once a month will help maintain a beautiful finish. If you live in a hard winter state, such as the north or midwest, washing once a week will clear the finish of road salt buildup and keep your car from rusting.
3 Affordable Options to Save Money
According to this article from Yelp, a single carwash can range anywhere from $10 up to $250, depending on the level of detailing you want or need done. They've summarized the car wash levels in these three points:
- Machine washes are cheapest but can scratch a car’s paint
- Hand washes cost more, but are gentler on a car’s exterior
- Full-service washes usually include a wash, wax, and full-body detailing
Washing your car at home is by far the most affordable option. That being said, some people don't have the space or means to wash their cars at home and will end up machine washing it.
Buy a subscription. Some car washes, such as Silverstar offer monthly subscriptions for unlimited car washes, costing $15–35 per month, on average. At that rate, you’ve already saved money on 2 machine washes.
Get a coupon. Many car washes offer discount coupons in local savings mailers, phone books, or online. Some will accept competitors’ coupons, or even give you one if you ask.
Keep in mind that if you are a frequent car washer, your credit card may even offer cash back or rewards for frequenting such establishments.
Editorial Disclaimer: Information in these articles is brought to you by CreditSoup. Banks, issuers, and credit card companies mentioned in the articles do not endorse or guarantee, and are not responsible for, the contents of the articles. The information is accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted; however, all credit card information is presented without warranty. Please check the issuer’s website for the most current information.