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The Carthage Press
  • Keep your ride clean without spending a lot of green

  • Keeping your car clean is a good way to maintain its value and protect your investment, but it’s easy for car washing expenses to add up, especially over a long, hot, dusty summer.

     

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  • Keeping your car clean is a good way to maintain its value and protect your investment, but it’s easy for car washing expenses to add up, especially over a long, hot, dusty summer.
    If you’re on a tight budget, it may be tempting to skip car washing. Instead, try these tips for maximizing your car washing dollars:
    • AAA recommends washing your vehicle every two weeks. When you wash your car, you can save money and water if you use a commercial car wash instead of a hose, bucket and sponge at home. The old-fashioned home method uses 80 to 140 gallons of water, while commercial car washes use 12 to 72 gallons, depending on which type of car wash you choose, according to the International Car Wash Association. The self-serve type uses the least water. If you do wash with a hose at home, remember to use a nozzle with a shut-off feature so you don’t waste water.
    • Waxing your car is important to protect the paint from acid rain, ultraviolet light and other damaging elements. But waxing can get expensive, whether you do it by hand or pay a car wash for the service, so you don’t want to do this more often than you need to. Experts recommend watching how water hits your car. If water beads on your car, the wax is still in good shape. Once the beads disappear, it’s time for wax.
    • Car parts manufacturers and car wash retailers sell all sorts of cleaners and other supplies for taking care of the interior of your car, but you probably don’t need anything specially made for vehicles to keep seats, windows and other parts of the cabin tidy. It is important to keep your car interior clean, not only so it looks nice, but to prevent mold from growing and bacteria from multiplying. Shaking out floor mats and tossing garbage are easy and free tasks that you should do regularly. And you can use regular window cleaner for glass surfaces and carpet cleaner for upholstered surfaces. A microfiber towel is good for the dashboard and control panel.
    • The devil of a car wash is often in the details. It can be pricey to pay for a detail job that will make sure your wheels are spotless and shiny, but you can do a fair job of spiffing up wheels with a plain cotton cloth. If you find any stubbornly dirty spots, or you have trouble reaching small crevices, use a bristle brush.
    • The easiest way to cut car wash expenses is to do your best to keep your vehicle clean. Don’t eat or smoke in the car, for instance. Also, when you’re looking for a parking spot, avoid ones under trees.
     
     
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