Many car owners have a deep sense of pride for their vehicles, and we love returning vehicles to their owners in pristine condition after we’ve done work on it. And when people pick their vehicle up after we’ve fixed problems, especially external issues like dents and scratches, there’s a renewed sense of awe and ownership.
We often get asked: “How long should I wait to wash my vehicle after auto body repair work?”. It’s a great question and we love that people are eager to take care of their car.
The answer really depends on the kind of work we do, and whether the job involves having your car painted
If the car has undergone basic body or mechanical work with no paint touch ups required, you are pretty much good to go. Wash away! Of course, it’s a good idea to still follow some basic tips when caring for your vehicle’s paint job like keeping it out of the sun as much as possible and applying a protective wax coating on it.
If, on the other hand, the vehicle has needs a new coat of paint, it’s advised to take more precaution. In order for new paint to last, it has to cure or harden —and this takes a bit of time. Most places will recommend waiting one to two months (at least) before you start washing it again.
But what if you are the type of person who religiously washes their vehicle every week and it will drive you crazy to see a layer of dust and dirt build up? Or maybe a bird left a present for you as it flew overhead and you can’t stand to see it sit there.
If that’s the case, we can recommend that you wash the vehicle by hand. Plain water is best but if you are determined to use soap, make sure that it’s a soap that’s made for vehicles. Dish soap or other types of soap can break down car pain, especially if that paint has not fully cured yet. Again, it would be best to simply give the car a rinse with plain water if that’s an option for you.
The rule is: at this early stage, avoid high power automatic or wand car washes.
If you must (gently) wash your car, we would also suggest avoiding applying wax for at least a couple of months until the paint is 100% cured. After the waiting period is over, we believe that it’s important to keep your paint coated in a high quality car wax. Most new options on the market incorporate UV inhibitors and this will help prolong the life of the paint job.
Getting repairs to your vehicle can be stressful at times, especially if you’ve been in a collision or are dealing with ICBC. Even if it’s just fixing a couple of scratches or dents, people are very attached to their vehicles.
That’s why it’s important to properly care for a vehicle after the repairs are finished. If there have been paint touch-ups or a new coat of paint applied, try your best to give the new paint some time to fully cure. This will mean that it will stay in better condition for longer. If you have to wash it, be gentle, try not to use soap and don’t apply a wax coating for at least a couple of months. This will give your car’s paint the best shot at staying beautiful and bright.