Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills

How much do you spend per car, per year?

$1000+
1
1%
$500-999
1
1%
$300-500
2
2%
$200-299
5
4%
$150-199
7
5%
$100-149
15
11%
$50-99
22
17%
$25-49
17
13%
$1-24
40
31%
$0
21
16%
 
Total votes: 131

Topic Author
understandingJH
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Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by understandingJH »

After redoing our budget I found out how much we spend washing and waxing our cars and was a bit surprised. I'm curious about other bogleheads. How much do you spend on a per car basis?
Last edited by understandingJH on Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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tyrion
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by tyrion »

Zero dollars.

It rains where you live, right?

I'm curious how much you spend, considering you made a poll for it.
Topic Author
understandingJH
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by understandingJH »

tyrion wrote:Zero dollars.

It rains where you live, right?

I'm curious how much you spend, considering you made a poll for it.
You mean acid rain? :lol:

About $140/car. I don't want to have rust damage or other problems that result from not washing off the acid rain, bird poop, bug splatter, tar, tree sap, pollen, dirt, salt and other corrosive winter chemicals, etc. Plus it keeps the car looking nice.
Last edited by understandingJH on Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The Wizard
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by The Wizard »

Pretty much zero for me as well.
There will be bird droppings one in a while, but a paper towel and a shot of 409 fixes that...
Attempted new signature...
Topic Author
understandingJH
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by understandingJH »

The Wizard wrote:Pretty much zero for me as well.
There will be bird droppings one in a while, but a paper towel and a shot of 409 fixes that...
I'm curious how old the cars are of those that pay next to nothing in this category?
The Wizard
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by The Wizard »

understandingJH wrote:
The Wizard wrote:Pretty much zero for me as well.
There will be bird droppings one in a while, but a paper towel and a shot of 409 fixes that...
I'm curious how old the cars are of those that pay next to nothing in this category?
One is a 2004 Ford Ranger, the other is a 2008 Mustang, both bought new. Girlfriend did wash the Mustang last summer (with a bucket and hose) cuz she was doing her car in the driveway next to it and found it hard to stop...
Attempted new signature...
java
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by java »

likely $150 / year.
I wash it a few times a month at a nice drive through place.
Clean the inside, vacuum etc myself.

No reason to have the car look bad and I'm sure it contributes to longevity / resale to some small degree.

I dont wax it or anything like that.

2010 Accord
2004 Odessy
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tyrion
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by tyrion »

I'm curious how old the cars are of those that pay next to nothing in this category?
2001 ford escape. Has always been garaged at home and in a covered lot at work. Used to wash it occasionally and towel it dry, now it's lost garage status and I don't worry about it too much.

Wife has a 2005 Accord that lives in the garage. That gets washed by hand every year or two, usually in the summer when the young kids need a project.

Even if I had a nice new car, at most I would wash it in the driveway. Counting water costs and a new wash/wax/whatever bottle every few years, I still consider that $1-24 tops.
stoptothink
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by stoptothink »

My truck is 15yrs old and silver...I've washed it maybe 4 times since I purchased it 8yrs ago.
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bottlecap
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by bottlecap »

I actually likely spend a few hundred bucks a year now that the vehicle is 12 years old. Earlier in its life, I barely put any money into it. Then a spot or two started bubbling, so I wanted to make sure the paint didn't continue to peel. I'm not a stickler about it, but I like for it to look nice and keeping it clean and waxed maintains the paint a little better. Aside from that spot or two, the paint looks close to new.

JT
Curlyq
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.....

Post by Curlyq »

.....
Last edited by Curlyq on Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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englishgirl
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by englishgirl »

I recently went to a really nice place that was $20 (+ I added $4 tip) - I'd had the car for 2 years and hadn't washed it once. So given that it looks so good now, I think I'll make it an annual event, on the car's "birthday".
Sarah
sscritic
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by sscritic »

Six quarters at a time at the local DIY car wash about six times a year. I also bought some wax and polish about 5 years ago, so that's another $2 a year say. Do I have to include the cost of my old undershirts?
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mmmodem
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by mmmodem »

$1 - $24 for 06 civic and 09 sonata. Send it through the gas station car wash once or twice year when so much dirt accumulates on it that my clothes and hands get dirty going in and out.
Colorado13
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by Colorado13 »

Curlyq wrote:My goats lick the salt off of the car all winter long, so I have "goat racing stripes." Who would want to ruin that? :shock:

Other than that, I may use the $2.00 self-wash once or twice a year.
I almost choked on my lunch because I started laughing when I read that! Thanks for the humor. (I'll eat more carefully now on I guess... ha)
sscritic
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by sscritic »

Curlyq wrote: Other than that, I may use the $2.00 self-wash once or twice a year.
Wash faster. Eight quarters is too much. Keep it to six and save water and the environment.
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Boglenaut
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by Boglenaut »

$0.

THe dealer does it for free, for as long as we have the car. They give us pop and cookies while we wait.
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interplanetjanet
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by interplanetjanet »

Maybe $10/yr? My kids like putting on bathing suits and washing the cars every couple of months, they get soaking wet and have fun and usually the cars end up getting clean.

They're less fond of doing it in the winter, but there's not as much need to here (winter = rain, summer = dry & hot). No road salt to deal with except when we take a trip into the mountains.

-janet
sscritic
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by sscritic »

Boglenaut wrote:$0.

THe dealer does it for free, for as long as we have the car. They give us pop and cookies while we wait.
Donuts and popcorn. Get a new dealer. Or buy a Lexus and get 5 star meals brought to your home.
sscritic
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by sscritic »

sscritic wrote: Donuts and popcorn. Get a new dealer. Or buy a Lexus and get 5 star meals brought to your home.
Actually, you don't have to buy a Lexus. Just go to a dealer when you get hungry. It's better than Costco.
RedTail
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by RedTail »

Thread title is misleading. Car maintenance can mean a lot of things. If you mean cleaning the car, my wife's 4 year old car gets washed inside and out about 1/month at about $20 (after tip). I hand wash my 15 year old 4runner about 1/month in the summer time after I cut the grass. Summer is like 8 months long in texas so that car gets washed plenty. Leaks too much in a car wash though so I do it by hand. I probably spend about $15/year on soap, sponges, etc.
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Midpack
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by Midpack »

I spend a lot more on maintenance overall, but I voted $100-149 for washing & waxing for our two cars. I wax them both annually myself, and we use drive thru washes in winter and sporadically in summer (sometimes I wash them myself). We vacuum them ourselves as needed.

Growing up, my Dad dragged me out and we washed both cars every Sunday whether they needed it or not. Cost $0, the good old days...

There are lots of people who do weekly premium car washes, I'm just not one of them.
You only live once...
tim1999
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by tim1999 »

I wash my car weekly. I do it by hand at home for the 40-45 or so weeks per year when the weather is warm enough for it, and take it to an automatic car wash the other weeks. I also wax it myself at home 4 times per year, and vaccum/clean the inside myself after every other wash. The cost of materials for the home washing/waxing, plus the automatic washes puts me at around $150 on average in costs per year.
Grasshopper
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by Grasshopper »

I don't waste the water that washing requires. My 2 pickups live in the barn, they get more bird poop on them than if I had left them outside. 95 Dodge Ram 4X4, 2009 GMC Sierra PU 4 door, 4X4.
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BHCadet
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by BHCadet »

I mistakenly voted $1,000+ :oops:
It should have been $100-$149.
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momar
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by momar »

Never.

2002 Mazda Protege.
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Topic Author
understandingJH
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by understandingJH »

BHCadet wrote:I mistakenly voted $1,000+ :oops:
It should have been $100-$149.
You can recast your vote to fix that.

Also to the person that said the title is misleading, I thought I had it say "Car exterior maintenance." Sorry about that. It's now fixed.
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camper
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by camper »

I'm taking my truck in for an exterior detail today. I do this twice a year for the wax application. This costs me about $60 a year. Plus I hand wash the truck about once a month.
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jeffyscott
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by jeffyscott »

understandingJH wrote:I'm curious how old the cars are of those that pay next to nothing in this category?
2005 and 2007 models. I mostly just rinse them off occasionally in the driveway with softened water. In winter, I do this when weather is on the milder side, like maybe 40.

In 5 and 7 years, I have paid for a car wash 2-3 times for each car. Also, when I took it to the dealer for oil changes they would wash for free. I think I have actually washed mine (as opposed to just rinsing) myself 2-3 times in the driveway. My wife has washed hers a bit more often, but other than that it gets about the same treatment.

I don't believe that washing a car does much to prevent rust and if the washing just serves to keep built up crud underneath wet, the wetness may actually increase corrosion. I think it is just a cosmetic thing...cars look better clean. In winter around here the cars usually get so grimy from slop on the roads that I like to reduce that a bit by rinsing it off, but actually washing doesn't seem to be worth it as they just get slopped up again pretty quickly.
The two greatest enemies of the equity fund investor are expenses and emotions. ― John C. Bogle
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verbose
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by verbose »

I find that my cars need more inside washing than outside washing. I have kids and when we're on the run we just toss the Happy Meals in the backseat. It gets ugly very quickly.

So about every 4 - 6 months I take a really filthy car to a full-service car wash where they do the inside and outside. I give them a good tip. I love standing there with my beat-up, old, filthy car next to the new-car owners who are having a bit of dust wiped off. :D

If I can limit it to 2 washes a year, then I'm really doing well. Sometimes the vagaries of winter conspire so that I have salt-covered cars when it's 50 degrees out and I have to go through a gas station automatic wash to get it off.

I don't wash the cars myself. I have back problems. The cost of a car wash is not worth an ER visit and yet another lecture from my doctor about the benefits of physical therapy and exercise.
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by HongKonger »

I don't own a car anymore but when I did, I used to enjoy washing it weekly by hand and giving it a full t-cut, wax and buff by hand twice a year. I am a bit OCD on cleaning though - its a big source of satisfaction.
StoutDrinker
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Re: Car maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by StoutDrinker »

$0 in 2011.

$9.30 in 2010 for wheel cleaner/brush.

(not taking into account cost of water)

vehicle: 2010 model year parked in a carport.
gofigure
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by gofigure »

I use a drywall bucket, some dish detergent and a rag on all three cars about once a month.
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bob90245
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by bob90245 »

I live in an area where it is our civic duty to conserve water. (i.e. don't waste water washing your car at home). So I take it to the drive-through car wash ($6) every two or three weeks to get rid of the accumulated dirt, grime and bird droppings.
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camper
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by camper »

bob90245 wrote:I live in an area where it is our civic duty to conserve water. (i.e. don't waste water washing your car at home). So I take it to the drive-through car wash ($6) every two or three weeks to get rid of the accumulated dirt, grime and bird droppings.
Do you think taking it through a car wash really uses less water than you would at home? I would guess that I use 10 or less gallons of water doing it at home.
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jeffyscott
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by jeffyscott »

I don't know about usage, but another difference is the water used at a car wash goes to the sanitary sewer system and is treated before being discharged. When a car is washed in a driveway the used water goes to the storm sewer and is not treated.

Car wash may also recycle the water.

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-wash10.htm
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Toons
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by Toons »

Last car wash I remember using was around 1992. It was one of those facilities where you drop a few quarters in the coin slot and grab the "washer wand" and run around your car trying to do a thorough wash job before the timer shut the water off. :D
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Tim_in_GA
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by Tim_in_GA »

I spend $0. When it rains, they get rinsed off. I have a 13 yr-old truck and a 16 yr-old car and have no desire to keep them looking pretty. What matters to me is keeping up what's under the sheetmetal. They both run well and I will keep them going as long as I can.
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HardKnocker
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by HardKnocker »

I wash the car myself using a hose and car wash soap. Also use tire shine.

I bought 4 gallons of soap concentrate on sale at WalMart. I'll probably never use it up.

So maybe $10 a year.

I do not wax.
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Rodc
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by Rodc »

Once in a blue moon I wash the car - does not matter if new or 10 years old. Use dish soap. Cost basically zero.

I do run it through the auto wash a two or three times a winter when totally covered in road salt, including underbody wash.

I do keep it neat inside, and several times a year vacuum it out as dirt and sand get dragged in on shoes.
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yosef
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by yosef »

I put $50-$99, although I'll admit it has been decreasing as my car gets older. Though most people still don't believe my car is 8 years old. I take pride in my vehicles. Riding in some of my friends/coworkers cars makes me feel physically dirty.
humbucker87
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by humbucker87 »

I put myself in the $100-149 range. I usually hand wash our cars about once every week to two weeks when its warm. Twice a year I detail them which includes using a clay bar, polishing if necessary, waxing, cleaning the interior with a leather conditioner, etc.

I probably end up spending a lot less than $100-150 now, but I'm also including all of the up front costs associated with the supplies I now have. For instance, a few years ago I bought a high quality orbital polisher, high quality microfibers, polishing pads, etc. which all adds up quickly.

I too, for some reason, get an extreme sense of pride and joy out of cleaning a car. I also can't tell you how happy I am that we now have a garage so that all my hard work doesn't go to waste as quickly. :)

The fruits of my labor (would love to see other's):
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callahan00
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by callahan00 »

I wash our vehicles every time I can see they need washing and sometimes that means more than once a week. Wax every other month and do a power buff and detail a couple times a year. It's called pride in ownership. I like it when people ask me "is that car new?" and I tell them it's 7 years old. I do all my own maintenance so costs are pretty low.
After reading these posts maybe the dirty neglected vehicles with "wash me" written in the dirt and grime are owned by some Bogleheads.. When I see a filthy car I always wonder what the owners home looks like.... :)
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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by FrugalInvestor »

We run our 'everyday' car though the $5 automatic wash when we're in the area. It's quite a ways away so that translates into about once per month. I claybar it and put a coat of paint sealant on once per year.

I wash the 'fun' car by hand which costs close to nothing (soap), claybar it once and put sealant on once or twice per year. Between washes I occasionally use a detailer spray.

I buy microfiber cloths at Costco for washing and applying sealant to the cars and eventually recycle them into garage rags.

The total cost of $5 washes, car wash soap, microfiber rags, sealant, claybar kits and detail spray adds up to less than $150 per year for two vehicles.
Have a plan, stay the course and simplify, but most importantly....Ignore the Noise!
Curlyq
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.....

Post by Curlyq »

.....
Last edited by Curlyq on Thu Oct 18, 2018 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by FrugalInvestor »

Curlyq wrote:
FrugalInvestor wrote: I claybar it
What is a "claybar"? Out here, we have mud season, but I'm sure it's not the same thing.
Not quite. :lol:

It's a small piece of special clay, just like it sounds. After a thorough washing you lubricate the paint surface with a soap/water mixture or detail spray and gently rub it over the surface, kneading it occasionally. It removes surface contaminants (like those found in mud) from the paint and makes it as smooth as silk prior to applying a wax or sealant.
Last edited by FrugalInvestor on Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by snowbound »

I pay $14.03 per month for a 12 month period, this allows me unlimited washes which includes a prewash soak, touchless wash, under carriage wash, applying clear coat finish and hand drying. Based on the number of washes so far it has averaged $3.09 per wash and that includes a dollar tip for the drying.
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Rodc
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by Rodc »

callahan00 wrote:I wash our vehicles every time I can see they need washing and sometimes that means more than once a week. Wax every other month and do a power buff and detail a couple times a year. It's called pride in ownership. I like it when people ask me "is that car new?" and I tell them it's 7 years old. I do all my own maintenance so costs are pretty low.
After reading these posts maybe the dirty neglected vehicles with "wash me" written in the dirt and grime are owned by some Bogleheads.. When I see a filthy car I always wonder what the owners home looks like.... :)
House was doing pretty well, just like the car, until I finally fixed the roof and it no longer rained inside. :)
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.
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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by FrugalInvestor »

Rodc wrote:
callahan00 wrote:I wash our vehicles every time I can see they need washing and sometimes that means more than once a week. Wax every other month and do a power buff and detail a couple times a year. It's called pride in ownership. I like it when people ask me "is that car new?" and I tell them it's 7 years old. I do all my own maintenance so costs are pretty low.
After reading these posts maybe the dirty neglected vehicles with "wash me" written in the dirt and grime are owned by some Bogleheads.. When I see a filthy car I always wonder what the owners home looks like.... :)
House was doing pretty well, just like the car, until I finally fixed the roof and it no longer rained inside. :)
You'll need to water your houseplants now. :beer
Have a plan, stay the course and simplify, but most importantly....Ignore the Noise!
Rodc
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Re: Car exterior maintenance (washing, waxing, etc) [poll]

Post by Rodc »

FrugalInvestor wrote:
Rodc wrote:
callahan00 wrote:I wash our vehicles every time I can see they need washing and sometimes that means more than once a week. Wax every other month and do a power buff and detail a couple times a year. It's called pride in ownership. I like it when people ask me "is that car new?" and I tell them it's 7 years old. I do all my own maintenance so costs are pretty low.
After reading these posts maybe the dirty neglected vehicles with "wash me" written in the dirt and grime are owned by some Bogleheads.. When I see a filthy car I always wonder what the owners home looks like.... :)
House was doing pretty well, just like the car, until I finally fixed the roof and it no longer rained inside. :)
You'll need to water your houseplants now. :beer
Dang, more work.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.
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