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Money Saving Tips to Keep Your Car Clean and Cash Safe

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Car Washing Tips Budget Motoring Car

If you're trying to live off a relatively tight budget, you may be surprised to hear that washing your car yourself can actually save some people around 500GBP a year. By using a little elbow grease and some excellent car washing tips, you may find that you're not only keeping your cash safe in your pocket, but also keeping your car in tip top condition.

Avoiding Car Washes and Doing it Yourself

Although it may be convenient for many to have their cars washed by professionals or indeed to wash at a car wash bay, it's actually going to cost a lot more in the long run than doing it at home. Having a professional valet clean your car can cost up to 50GBP whereas buying all the products you need will cost less and last longer. There are certain authentic reasons why people may need to take their car to a professional for cleaning:
  • If you live in an apartment block many will not allow you to wash your car in the car parking area.
  • If you live in an area that is on a water restriction, you may be forced to take your car to a car wash to abide by the law.
  • If your car is oversized or simply requires specialist cleaning then it's advisable to take it to a professional.

If you don't fit into any of the above categories, you should be washing your car at home and saving a sizeable amount of cash that can be used on more fun pastimes.

Products you Need for Cleaning your Car

Although it might seem obvious that you'd need a sponge and water to clean your car, when it comes to budget motoring, it's important that you get the job done efficiently, as well as you can and still save. Important items you should purchase to clean your car are:
  • Car Shampoo – It doesn't need to be expensive, but look for a good brand that you're confident in.
  • A bucket or preferably a hose – if you can afford a cheap pressure washer get one, otherwise the traditional methods will suffice.
  • A sponge, chamois leather and window cleaning cloth – all of these are essential for getting the right finish on your car.
  • Car wax or car polish – to give the shine that you're used to getting at a valet.

Never use soap and water, washing up liquid or vinegar on your car. Using washing up liquid can lead to rust long-term and vinegar, although great for windows does stink!

The Best Method for Washing your Car

To keep your car clean and make your job easier, there are a number of procedures to follow:
  • Always clean your car from top to bottom. This lets the dirt run down to the ground and you won't be dragging up dirt to the windows where you may possibly scratch them
  • Make sure you clean your wheels after you've washed the rest of your car. The dirt that is lodged in wheels can contain small stones and if you wash your wheels and then the bodywork, you may end up scratching the paintwork which will cost you money to repair
  • Rinse the car as thoroughly as you can. Don't throw dirty water over the top. Always use fresh water, preferably from a hose
  • Use a chamois leather cloth to remove excess water from the vehicle. This will get rid of any spotting on the car which is often seen when people let their vehicles dry in a stationary position. It should help remove any streaks also.
  • Finish off with some car wax or polish. It'll keep your car looking shiny and new, as well as acting as an important barrier against the elements. This means your car paintwork will last longer, saving you money long-term.

How Often Should you Clean our Car?

If you want your car to remain in great condition and want it to maintain it's value, you should consider washing it every week. A car that is well cared for will show after a few years and it can be the difference between getting the sale value you want and having to settle for less. If you're on a water metered area and are worried that washing your car every week will cost you in water, use a bucket. You'll use less water overall this way and will keep water costs down.

Keeping your car clean need not be an expensive task. If you want to keep your car clean on a budget, do it yourself, do it often and do it thoroughly – your car and your pocket will appreciate it.

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