How To Save Money On Exterior Car Care

By Brian Alexander, Road Test Editor
Everyone likes having a shiny, sparkly car, but in today’s fast-paced, get-this-done-yesterday world, our car’s exterior often serves as a dirt-encrusted testament to just how little free time we have. For everyone aside from the most resolutely insane car lovers, a car wash is little more than a once a month inconvenience that gets in the way of recreational activities. 
 
So what do we do? Stop in on the car wash while running errands, of course. But at $7-15 each, those convenience stops can add up fast. If you’re thinking gas station automated washes are the answer, think again. Don’t use a gas station car wash if there’s even a scant chance you vaguely like your car. They’re incredibly abrasive on your vehicle’s finish, even if they are only $5.00 each.
 
If you want to save money, it’s time to grab a bucket and some towels. It really only takes about 30 minutes to wash a car yourself. Go to an auto parts store and pick up a big jug of car shampoo for around $7.00. It will last dozens of washes, saving you money each time you soap down your car.

You can protect the paint with a low-cost spray-on wax too. A bottle of spray-on wax only costs about $10, takes a few minutes to apply and makes washing and drying your car the next time that much easier, as it forms a slippery protective barrier on top of the paint. 
 
That wasn’t so bad, was it?
 


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