Suds on Sunday: Do you still wash your own car?


Financial Guidance

When walking down a street in the UK on a Sunday morning a few years ago, it was customary to see most of the residents outside giving their car a good clean ready for the week ahead. However, as vehicle owners increasingly rely on professional valet services or automatic car washes, this image appears to be becoming a thing of the past.

Do it yourself

Research conducted for us recently revealed that just one in 10 vehicle owners wash their car themselves once every week. And while cleaning your set of wheels at home remains a popular option, it’s far from being something owners push themselves to do once a week.

Instead, many people prefer to leave their car in the hands of the professionals. Not long ago taking your car to a professional valet or hand cleaning service would be seen as a real luxury, but today it’s something nearly a quarter of owners do – and a similar number of drivers choose to take their vehicle to the drive-through car wash.

Counting the pennies

It doesn’t cost much to take your vehicle to an automatic car wash, and valet services are also becoming increasingly affordable. Sometimes they’re even available when you park your car at a shopping centre; with customers offered a discount service while they shop. However, if you’re forking out to get your vehicle cleaned once a week, or even once a month, that cost can soon mount up. And it might take a bit of elbow grease to wash it yourself at home, but doing so costs no more than a couple of buckets of hot water, some soap and a sponge.

Big savings

It’s cuts to your budget like this that can really help you make savings. Taking your car to the car wash once a week could cost nearly £20 a month, while paying this amount or more each month to have it valeted adds up to a couple of hundred pounds each year. What else could you be spending this money on? However, if your car is your pride and joy it might be cash you’re happy to splash.

Ultimately, deciding whether getting your car professionally cleaned is worth it is something only you can decide. You might prefer the results, or you may just enjoy the additional free time you gain by not doing it yourself.

One thing’s for sure: we may never again see those lines of just-washed cars gleaming on British streets every Sunday morning.

*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 1,822 adults aged 18 and over between 25th February and 7th March 2014. Figures have been extrapolated to fit ONS 2013 population projections of 50,371,000 UK adults.

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