Keeping the cars clean

I’m in my 60’s and I can say, I have rarely used a car wash to keep my cars clean.

My father had a saying that remains with me to this day, “you can tell a poor man from a rich man because the poor man washes his Cadillac.” This speaks of the prosperous and hopeful times in the 50’s and 60’s.

Anyway, my thinking has always been, why pay someone if I can do it myself? I can save the money that I would spend at a car wash.

Yesterday, I took advantage of very warm temperatures here of 81 wash both my cars as well as scrub down the outside of my sunroom windows. Ahhhh, the satisfaction of seeing through clear windows again and seeing the glimmer off the cars. Wow, amazing. I’m hoping that today, I can vacuum one of the cars out and perhaps, clean the windows. We’ll see how my energy goes, I have my aches and pains and scrunching up at weird angles inside the car is not a delightful thought but….the end result is amazing.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that everything, including my time and energy and patience has a cost, so I ask myself: Can I do it? Am I willing to do it? Do I have enough patience and fortitude to do it? Am I willing to deal with the pain in my back if I do, do it? Am I willing to devote the time to do it?

All important questions to ask myself and some things I just can’t do anymore and I have that done by others. It pains me but, a woman needs to know her limitations:)

The temperature today is starting out in the 40’s and supposed to get up to 59 degrees….perfect weather to be in the garage cleaning out the car or cars.

Lucky Dog


I’m right there with you.

There are things that I can’t/don’t want to do anymore and I’m fortunate that I can pay someone to do them for me. Started going to the car wash when I traded from an Accord to a CRV and would have had to get the step stool out to wash the top. I’m no longer flexible enough to easily clean the inside of the windshield.

And then there are things I’d be willing to pay for but the estimates are unreasonable. Most recently, I wanted someone to dig out some dirt so I could put down some pavers for a walkway along the driveway. I was told that what I wanted to do wouldn’t work,that it would take much longer than I thought and that I wasn’t offering enough for the job. So I did it myself. This asthmatic old lady completed it yesterday in less time than I originally estimated and it’s exactly what I wanted.



I’m in my 60’s and I can say, I have rarely used a car wash to keep my cars clean.

Clean car side note:
My brother owned ‘lots’ of rentals, college town, and he said one of the tests he developed when renting to new tenants/students whose habits he suspected, was to make a point of walking them to their car and seeing how neat or trashed their vehicle was.

Drivers of trashed cars were rejected. Simple but useful character test evidently.

60’s? Ah, yes, I used to be 60! Them was the good ol’ days!

Washing the car? In the past, I have done it ‘lots’. Now, gotten lazy I guess. So pay exorbitant amounts to have someone else do it. Some do it quite well, others not so much.


I just spent part of Sunday helping my daughter wash her car and apply different protectants to the paint, black plastic trim, headlights, and windshield and windows.


Our cars are about 10 and 16 years old. I’m not particularly concerned with how clean they are on the outside. An occasional rinse off in the rain seems sufficient. I do sometimes clean off the windshield, windows and headlights. If some school group is having a car wash, I might pay them to do it for me.


make a point of walking them to their car and seeing how neat or trashed their vehicle was

Great tip!

LD, rosewine yall are inspirations! :grinning:

For the last couple years, I’ve had a “monthly subscription” to a local automatic wash, hand-dry, free-vacuum car wash place.

For <$20 month*, I wash my car once per week.
The vacuum is self-service, quick, and easy. They provide towels and window cleaning stuff.
Occasionally, I’ll clean the car a couple times per week… cause a quickie takes 10 minutes or so.
I usually do the inside, front windshield about every 2 weeks, and the other windows every 3 months or so.
The car wash part is “automatic” and includes tire shine and underbody.

IMO- well worth $20. And a bright, shiny clean car is NICE!
It usually takes me 15 minutes to “run through”.

  • I tip the girls and guys who are “working at the car wash”, $2/trip. They are young (16-20ish), the tips are pooled, etc.

For older cars, I also recommend the DIY “instant” shine products. I’ve used the ceramic coat stuff on a 20 year old car and a 25 yo Pickup.
WOW! EASY to apply, makes the vehicle look 1000% better.
Way easier than “wax”.

And, I have a similar set of questions:
What is needed?
Is it doable?
Can I do it / is it doable by me (do I have the skills, time to do it?)?

More important: Do I WANT to do it?
And most important: Is it MINE to do?

Perhaps a corollary question: Is it someone else’s to do?


PSU writes: apply different protectants to the paint, black plastic trim, headlights, and windshield and windows.

Care to elaborate?
Especially for the headlights?

And, I remember you recommended a particular windshield wiper a couple years ago.
Please remind me?

TIA :grinning:

Care to elaborate?
Especially for the headlights?

I change paint waxes/polishes/protectants over the years. The latest one that I use is Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Wax.…

For the black plastic trim, I use Meguiar’s Ultimate Black Trim Restorer.…

For headlights and tail lights, I use Meguiar’s Clear Plastic Cleaner and Polish.…

For the windshield and windows, I used to use Rain-X. Now I use Nu Finish car polish on the glass.

Another use for Nu Finish is on the glass in the shower. It helps prevent the buildup of soap scum on the glass.



And then there are things I’d be willing to pay for but the estimates are unreasonable.

At least you’re getting estimates. I wanted a DR side table painted. I contacted a few painters who have shops, figuring I could bring it to them, and it’d be easy for them to spray paint it, after sanding, which would be very tedious, which is why I didn’t want to do it, and also why they didn’t either. So I did it myself.

There’s a backlog around here for just about everything. Whenever I need a plumber, electrician, carpet installation, I’m put on the schedule for 3 weeks later. For a new fence, it’s a 6-month wait. Painters are busy enough that they can pick and choose their jobs. I don’t blame them for preferring walls to furniture; the ratio of area covered to time spent is a lot more satisfying.

…pavers for a walkway along the driveway. …completed it yesterday …it’s exactly what I wanted.

I’m sure it looks great!

“I’m in my 60’s and I can say, I have rarely used a car wash to keep my cars clean.”

When I lived in VA - 30-40 years ago… my friend Sue would come over and every two weeks we’d wash the cars. She lived in apt in DC with no way to wash cars. Good exercise when you’re 35 or 40. Took half hour for both cars.

Then I moved to TX. When you bought 8 gal of gas, you’d get a free car wash. Just about every station had a free car wash. So…no need to wash cars any longer. That lasted about 10 years…then they stopped doing that. Half of them went out of business - well, 3 out of 4 corners of major intersections 2-3 miles apart in all directions had gas stations. And they turned into banks or fast food places. Only 1 left at an intersection and you had to pay for their car wash. They weren’t great - 120 feet long…

So I started going to the big car wash - like 300 feet long and does a great job - for $5. Now it’s up to 10. There are self service places where you get warm soapy water for X minutes for 50c and then a rinse. You can do a decent job there for a buck or buck fifty. Or do in your driveway. Unless water rationing which happens every couple years with lack of rain.

Now at 70, the car goes to the car wash about once every six weeks. Sits in garage so is just ‘road dirt’. Don’t go out in snow, sleet, where they salt/sand the roads so the car doesn’t ge filthy. Not a lot of that weather here anyway.

If the car is dirty…it’s dirty. Clean off the windshield when I get gas at the gas station.
The car wash is 10 miles away so when I’m that way, it will get washed.

If I go on a long trip - I’ll go to the car wash to get the road crud off the car. Sometimes go on dirt/muddy roads to get into wildlife areas and remote parks.

today is laundry day. Back complaining a bit. taking it easy. Five loads so far. Rain and 44 outside. Had sleet this morn. 70 on Thursday. Then rain/sleet on Friday. Spring in TX.

When I was saving, I washed the car. Now retired and have enough to let someone else run the car wash.



Painters are busy enough that they can pick and choose their jobs.

I was lucky with the painter the last time I needed him. He and the floor guy both adjusted their schedules so they could get my job done withing my time frame. Wanted the room painted and the floor refinished before I moved the heavy dining table in and it had to be done before the neighbors closed on the sale of their house since I was buying the table from them.

I don’t take my vehicle to the car wash since I don’t know if the “soft” brushes don’t have some imbedded dirt that will scratch the paint.



We have a local ‘Raintree’ car wash, lots of busy folks, hand washing before it goes into the touches tunnel for wash, wax, blowoff, then on to a hand wipe down, vac inside black the tires, etc… maybe $30 for my F150… And washing the inside of the windshield is well worth it… To me… I’ve done it at home, but with our water shortage, at least this is all filtered, recycled… Good folks earning a living…


LOL! I have a white 2013 Nissan Frontier pickup that I washed once since I bought it new. I figures that dirt protects the finish, me. The only reason that I washed it that time is because DW did about $16,000 worth of damage on her new car in a low speed crash before its first oil change. She and her friends begged me to wash the Nissan and allow her to use it until her car was repaired.

The way that the dirt protects the finish is that if I’m driving down the road in a dirty, junky looking pickup and some lawyer in his BMW or Mercedes as looking to hit someone to sue, he’ll figure I’m poor with minimum or no insurance and look for someone else to run into. Its amazing how many people in their shiny new cars give me the right of way, which didn’t happen when it was new & clean. Besides that, I’m lazy.

Another thing about that pickup is that the dealer has never done an oil change on it. The book said to change the oil every 3,000 miles. I say that is B.S. If I have them do it, I have to schedule an appointment, drive the 18 or 17 miles to the dealership, wait the 30 or 20 minutes to have it done and pay for some kid in their shop to do it. For less than $30 I can buy a 5-quart jug of synthetic oil and a heavy duty filter so i can do it myself in less time than driving to the dealer’s and having some kid do it. I change the oil, check the other fluids, rotate the tires, etc., etc. every 7,500 miles. I’ll usually donate my vehicles to one of the local charities when I gets a major radiator leak or other major problem at around 220,000 or 210,000 miles.

C.J.V. - don’t trust dealer’s mechanics now-a-daze, me


For the inside of the car
303 Products or Chemical Guys makes great stuff, smells nice, does not over shine and is decent for you as a human as well.

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New cars typically have a 7500 mile oil change with the new synthetics. In addition, most cars have ‘oil life sensors’ that figure out the miles left before you need an oil change.

I buy tires at Discount Tires and they rotate them free every 6000 miles. Even on a new car as long as you are ‘long time customer’.

My Malibu typically will need an oil change at 8000 miles by the oil life indicator.

It often gets a car wash when it is oil change time.

Oh, and the air filter on the Malibu has a 45,000 mile change interval.


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New cars typically have a 7500 mile oil change with the new synthetics.

All four of the family vehicles have 10,000 mile oil change intervals.



After losing an engine, on the '95 K2500 Chev 4x4 lemon, I went to synthetics, forever… Lost 2 trans on that thing, too… Too much road time, quick change oil stops where they never, and can’t legally, change the internal trans filer. Once retired, back to my independent, trustworthy mechanic, no further problems… This man/wife team were super, honest, I would have left a blank check with them, really… But they retired, tired of wrenching… Just not the same relationship with the replacement place, nit the same drive to solve problems, I still have the ‘Brake’ lamp lit on my '06 F150. I know what it is, just too lazy to dig into it, fix the cold slyer I discovered was a known issue… Dealer, they’d replace the whole instrument cluster, and many $$$$!

No, no trust of any of the local dealers, the Ford dealership owns nearly all the other dealers, Honda, Toyota, etc. in the County, Chevy dealers have been dicey forever, don’t know any of the Dodge dealers…

So we try to go with used, maybe 2 year old vehicles, run 'em out, but I think this F150 will outlast me! Honda Civic, needs to go, move on to all the safety gadgets for my DW…

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I take my car to the carwash 2-3x a year for a basic wash and interior cleaning. I love sitting in the car while the device takes the wheel and I experience all the fun from the safety of my car seat. I typically do it just before houseguests come, especially if they might drive my car.

Normally a periodic hard rain keeps it clean enough for me, although I wouldn’t mind washing the outside if I felt it needed it. Inside, though–too much bending/leaning/fussiness.

I clean the windshield and sometimes headlights/backlights when I gas up, but gas stations don’t maintain the cleanliness of that water like they used to so sometimes I just clean the glass with windex at home if we’ve had a long dry spell.

Supposed to rain the next few days–ahhh.

I’m no longer flexible enough to easily clean the inside of the windshield.

I recently “discovered” (learned???) a new trick for inside the windshield.

Use my squeegee / sponge stick, intended for use OUTSIDE, but use it to clean the hard to reach expanse of the inside side. Bottle of Windex in one hand, squeegee stick in the other. Spray Windex on window and sponge side of the stick.

Wiping: Use paper towels / cloth on the squeegee side of the stick.

Not perfect, but the reaching and bending effort is much reduced.

(It helps to cover your dashboard with a nice big towel, folded double, to catch any Windex that might drip.)

Have it done? At the car wash? Some are ‘okay’. More often than not, half vast. They’re too busy, gotta move you outa there.