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Should I Wash My Car Before It Rains?

Everyone loves a clean car. However, if it's going to rain, it may not make sense to wash your car. But should you actually wash your car before it rains to protect the paint? Let's take a look to see which is the best option.

In order to protect your paint, wash your car, followed by wax. The wax will repel the rain water and help protect the paint. If you don't have time to wash and wax your car, then at least apply a spray-on wax.

You may be wondering how rainwater affects car paint and why you should even bother protecting it. This article will explain why rain is bad for your car paint and how you can protect it. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about protecting your car paint, so keep reading!

Manual car wash with pressurized water in car wash outside, Should I Wash My Car Before It Rains?

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Why You Should Wash Your Car Before It Rains

Rain is good for the environment but not so good for your car. Rainwater is acidic and can strip away the protective wax coating on your paint. When rainwater is left on your car without being wiped away, it can cause water spots. Water spots are difficult to remove and can permanently damage your paint.

To avoid water spots, wash your car before it rains. If you can't wash your car before it rains, then at least wipe it down with an absorbent cloth.

However, the best strategy is to wash your car, dry it, and then apply a coat of wax. The wax will add a layer of protection against the rainwater. The water will then be repelled rather than settle on your paint and cause spots. Think of the wax as a rain jacket for your car.

Click here to see Meguiar's conventional wax on Amazon.

If you don't have time to do a full wax, then you can use a spray-on wax. Spray-on wax is easier to apply than traditional wax and will still offer some protection against the rain.

It is easy to apply, but your car still needs to be washed before applying. If you don't, you will scratch your paint when applying the wax.

Click here to see Meguiar's spray-on wax on Amazon.

Heavy rain on road with a gray color car in them in the street while trees are waving towards the left

How Often Should You Wax Your Car?

Depending on your climate type, you should wax your car at least 2-4 times per year.

If you live in an area with a lot of salt on the roads, you should wax your car more often. The salt can damage your paint and cause rusting. Waxing your car regularly will help protect it from the elements and keep it looking its best.

When we say wax, we mean having a professional-grade carnauba wax applied to your car. Of course, you can do it yourself, but it's best to leave it to the professionals. Carnauba wax is a natural product made from the leaves of a Brazilian palm tree. It's considered one of the best waxes for protecting car paint.

It creates a thick, glossy coat that helps protect your paint from the elements. Carnauba wax can also help remove water spots and stains. If you use a spray-on wax, then you may need to apply it more often. Usually, a spray-on wax will last for about 2-3 washes before it needs to be reapplied.

Be sure to read the instructions on the product before applying it to your car.

How Do You Apply Wax To A Car?

You can apply wax to your car by hand or with a machine. No matter what, you need to wash your car before applying the wax

If you're going to do it by hand, then you'll need a clean wax pad. Apply the wax to the pad and then rub it into the paint in a circular motion.

You'll need to put some elbow grease into it to get a good coat of wax. Once you've gone over the entire car, then let the wax dry for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer.

After it's dry, you can buff it off with a clean cloth. If you're going to use a machine, then you'll need a polisher. A polisher is a handheld machine that helps apply the wax evenly.

Follow the instructions that come with the polisher. Usually, you'll put the wax on the polisher pad and then turn it on. Hold the polisher against the paint and move it in a circular motion. Again, let the wax dry for the recommended amount of time before buffing it off.

You can find polishers and waxes at your local automotive store.

Red car and a hand polishing the car

What Else Can You Do To Protect Your Car Paint?

In addition to washing and waxing your car, you can do a few other things to protect your paint.

If you're going to be storing your car for an extended period of time, then you should cover it. A car cover will protect your paint from dust, dirt, and scratches.

You can also use a garage if you have one. Storing your car in a garage will help protect it from the elements. If you don't have a garage, then you can park it under a tree or in a carport.

You should also avoid washing your car in direct sunlight. The sun can cause the water to evaporate too quickly and leave spots on your paint.

It's best to wash your car in the shade or on an overcast day.

Can Hard Water Spots Be Removed From A Car?

It depends on how long the hard water spots have been on your car. The longer they've been there, the more difficult they will be to remove. However, if the spots are new, you may be able to remove them with a little elbow grease, car cleaner, and a clean cloth.

If the spots are older, then you may need to use a polisher or a hard water spot remover. You can find hard water spot removers at your local automotive store. In addition, a detail shop can buff out hard water spots.

Yellow sponge and hand wearing white gloves while cleaning a red car

Can You Wax Your Car Too Much?

Waxing your car frequently won't hurt your paint. However, if you are using high-quality wax, then it may be a waste of money to wax your car more than necessary. A high-quality wax will bond to the paint and last for several washes. So, adding more won't necessarily add more protection.

Going to a professional detailer will ensure that you're using the best products for your car and that the wax is applied correctly. Plus, detailers have the experience and knowledge to properly care for your car's paint.

What Is The Best Way To Wash A Car?

There are some mistakes car owners make when washing their cars. One of the biggest is using abrasive materials. Abrasive materials can scratch your paint and damage the clear coat. For example, a lot of manual car washes have brushes that are too stiff.

These brushes can leave swirl marks on your paint. Instead, if you are manually washing your car, then use a soft sponge or cloth.

Another mistake is washing your car in direct sunlight. The sun can cause the water to evaporate too quickly and leave spots on your paint. It's best to wash your car in the shade or on an overcast day. Lastly, completely dry the paint after washing to avoid water spots.

To dry your car, use a clean, soft cloth or chamois. Make sure to get in all the nooks and crannies to prevent water spots.

Even if you go through an automatic car wash, the dryers don't always do a thorough job. It's always best to dry your car by hand to avoid water spots.

hand holding a yellow sponge while washing the red car

Can Rain Cause Rust On A Car?

Rain can cause rust on a car if the paint is chipped or scratched. Rust occurs when water and oxygen interact with iron.

Paint protects your car from rust by creating a barrier between the metal and the elements. When the paint is chipped or scratched, it no longer forms a complete barrier. This exposes the metal to moisture and oxygen, which can cause rust.

To prevent rust, you should regularly wash and wax your car. You should also repair any chips or scratches in the paint as soon as possible.

If you live in an area with a lot of salt on the roads, then you should wash your car more frequently. This is because salt speeds up the rusting process.

You should also consider getting a rust-proofing treatment for your car. This will create an extra layer of protection against rust.

Read more: How To Protect The Underside Of A Car From Rust

Final Thoughts

Manual car wash with pressurized water in car wash outside

Washing and waxing your car not only protects your vehicle from rain and rust but also protects it from debris and ultra-violet rays.

By taking the time to care for your car, you'll be able to keep it looking new for years to come. Investing in good-quality wax and rust-proofing treatment is worth the money.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might find helpful:

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