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A Clean Car Is A Happy Car

Keeping Your Car Clean Protects Your Vehicle's Value

One of the easiest ways to help maintain your vehicle's resale or trade-in value is to simply keep it clean, inside and out. The non-profit Car Care Council offers these simple steps to keep your vehicle clean and protect it from the elements.

Declutter: We've all got some junk in our cars, be it trash, clothes, junk mail, or otherwise. Removing excess clutter from the inside of your vehicle can not only make it look (and smell) nice, but it removes distractions and potentially dangerous situations. Road accidents due to debris finding its way under the gas or brake pedal happen all the time. Obviously an accident isn't going to do much to maximize your vehicle's value. Remember to check your trunk for accumulated items as well. This can add extra weight and reduce fuel efficiency.

Clean the Interior: Thoroughly cleaning the interior is important as well. Dirt can get ground into carpet an upholstery, odorous particles can leave smells that are difficult to remove (though not impossible). Wash windows and vacuum on a regular basis. All of this serves another purpose: to more easily spot issues inside the cabin of the vehicle so that they may be repaired before further damage is done.

Wash the Exterior: Give your vehicle a thorough wash from top to bottom (and even in the engine compartment and underside). Use products specifically made for automobiles to avoid unwanted interactions with cleaners and your vehicle's finish. Remember to clean the tires and wheels before washing the body, and use different washing/drying towels for both.

Wax Twice a Year: Waxing protects your vehicle's finish and makes subsequent washing much easier. Make sure that the vehicle is clean and free of debris, as the process of waxing could damage the finish. Dust and dirt may seem relatively harmless, but it can act like sandpaper when wiping down the vehicle or rubbing wax onto the paint. Always wax your vehicle in the shade, not direct sunlight.

Fix Chips in the Finish: Minor paint damage should be covered as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Many automotive parts suppliers offer paint touchup supplies, but clear nail polish can also work in a pinch.


“A clean car is money in the bank. Since many vehicles are sitting idle for long periods these days, it is important to remove the grime and sediment that can build up on the outside of the car to help prevent rust. It’s also a good idea to wipe the dashboard, steering wheel, cup holders, door handles, vents and console with a quality, all-purpose automotive cleaner to disinfect the interior areas of the vehicle.”

~Rich White, Executive Director, Car Care Council.