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Blog: Why it pays to keep your car clean

Sprucing up your motor this spring could have financial and even romantic advantages, as motoring journalist Maria McCarthy explains.

Car wash

Spring officially begins on 20 March - the perfect time to make a fresh start on caring for your car.

As well as making it more pleasant to drive around in there are plenty of other incentives for keeping your motor looking good.

Clean your car 'little and often'

"Cleaning your car on a regular basis focuses your attention on it," says Ade Potts, car valeting expert at car care firm Autoglym.

"It means you get a sense of what type of attention it needs and can address any problems promptly.

"For example, little scratches are easy to polish out by hand but deeper ones require specialist treatment.

"You can also spot early signs of rust or tyre damage and get them sorted out."

Declutter your motor to spot stains

Potts recommends a "little and often" approach to car maintenance.

"It's best to take a clean-as-you-go approach rather than let the car become really dirty and then blitz it.

"Clutter can get in the way of noticing stains, but the sooner they're spotted and dealt with, the easier it is to get rid of them.

"I think sticking with the traditional British approach of a weekly interior and exterior car clean and monthly polish is best."

Boost your resale value

We've all watched those property programmes where the owner struggles to sell their run-down house, but then a quick, relatively inexpensive makeover has buyers suddenly taking an interest.

"It can work in a similar way with cars," says Richard Crosthwaite, motoring editor at car valuation specialist Glass’s.

"If you're presenting a car that's clean and tidy then you're giving potential buyers less of a chance to talk you down on price.

"It can be worth shopping around for a professional valet, as they will have tools and techniques that aren’t available to you.

"Go for a valet who charges a competitive price - in the region of £50 - and you will be likely to more than recoup that when you sell."

Clean cars less likely to get bumped

And maybe your car is less likely to get bumped and suffer scratches if it's looking good.

Peter Rodger, chief examiner at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, says: "If your car is dirty then the chances are that people will treat it less respectfully.

"For example if someone is in the supermarket car park with a wayward trolley they'll probably make every effort to avoid hitting a clean, shiny car.

"However, they won't be so bothered about hitting a rust-bucket."

Impressing other people

Girl polishing red car

It's not very savvy to overstretch yourself financially to buy a flash motor to impress other people.

But taking care of the vehicle you've got will help you win others' respect, while driving round in a wreck could have them looking down their nose at you.

For example, if you have to give a senior colleague a lift they might see your dirty, untidy car as a sign of a slapdash approach in other areas of your life - such as your work.

And of course there's always the possibility of a budding romance biting the dust if a prospective partner is put off by the state of your car.

55% check state of date's car

Some 55% of women check to see how grubby their suitor's vehicle is and use this to help inform their decision on whether to accept an offer to go out for a second time.

This is according to a recent survey by car accessories retailer Halfords.

Festering food and sweaty sports gear were cited as major turn-offs but the worst offender was the prospect of oily dirt around the passenger door.

Some 37% were worried this would stain their dress or coat, leaving a lasting - though not very happy - memory of their date.

Win an Autoglym car cleaning kit!

Is your car in need of a good spring clean? 

Confess via Instagram and you could win an Autoglym cleaning kit. Don't let your waste go to waste!

How to enter

  • Take a photo of your messy motor
  • Share it on Instagram with the hashtag #Instagramnesty
  • The dirtiest car, as chosen by us, will be crowned winner 

You can find out more information here.

What do you think?

How often do you clean your car? Do you take pride in keeping your motor clean?

We want to hear from you! You can share your views on the message board below.

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Maria McCarthy

Maria McCarthy

Maria McCarthy is a motoring and lifestyle journalist and author of The Girls' Car Handbook and The Girls' Guide to Losing your L Plates published by Simon and Schuster. She's also a regular on BBC Breakfast news, and local and national radio, commenting on motoring matters. Her pet motoring hates are potholes and high fuel prices.

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