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Clean Cars: Why a Car Was is Good for Your Well-Being, Too
Why a Clean Car is Good for the Environment

by Courtney CaldwellAt the Car Wash ...

Owning a car is quite similar to owning a pet. We take time and great care to pick out just the right one to be our unconditional friend. We want the relationship to be happy since we'll be spending a lot of time together. Finally that perfect match happens, and then we name it, talk to it, play with it and even brag about it. And ultimately, for most of us, we even fall in love with it. Suffice to say, Americans have this same love affair with their cars.

Our cars are an extension of our personalities. They reflect our lifestyles and the perception we have of ourselves. They inspire feelings and quite often ignite our passion. Pick up trucks make us feel tough, athletic and in control. Sports cars ignite our sex appeal making us feel oh so hot and very cool. Luxury cars inspire feelings of elegance, leadership, and often a sense of wealth that you may not even have.

Isn't it funny, though, how any one of these beasts or beauties can send us cowering into shame and embarrassment if they're coated in dirt? Or the interior is gorging with garbage? How easily that all changes with a simple professional car wash! Just like that, a clean car can change your day. It can change how you feel about yourself, your surroundings, even transform a bad mood into a glowing one.

But more importantly, keeping your car clean has many significant financial and environmental benefits, especially when performed by a professional car wash.

Let's start with the financial rewards. Every day our cars are subjected to sun, salt from the sea, salt from snow trucks, grease and grime from the road, acid rain, smog, tree sap, dead bugs, and worst of all, the ever-acidic compound of bird poop bombs. We've all been riddled and splattered at one time or another.

All of these malleable menaces eat away at a car's metal and chrome. They dull the paint. They corrode and cause rust under the carriage, in the wheel wells, even under the hood. They destroy your pride and joy drop by drop, day after day. You may not see it right away, but over time they will contribute to the decay of your car's exterior, ultimately diminishing its resale value.

This is serious stuff. Did you know that nearly $24 billion a year is spent battling car corrosion damage? This cost is absorbed by you, the consumer, in three ways: funding automakers efforts to research corrosion-resistant paints and coatings, fixing damage to your car caused by road and sea salt, and overall depreciation of cars due to corrosion.

That's not the only scary fact. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that acid rain, a serious problem in the U.S., particularly in urban and industrial areas, damages car paint when the moisture evaporates, leaving the acid — which can form a blemish that looks like a splattered raindrop. This eats through a car's finish, permanently etching it.

By professionally washing your car at least once or twice a month, you can maintain your dignity and help preserve one of your biggest investments.

Another benefit? Saved time and convenience. Time, apparently, has become the most valued commodity by most Americans today. Any way to save it — accomplishing more with less — appears to be the latest trend. To wash a car yourself, first you need to buy the soap and washcloths. Then there's the clean up of your yard or driveway. Lugging everything in and out of your garage or house is exhausting compared to a quick trip to the nearest car wash.

Few people also realize that washing their cars at home pollutes the environment. Soap and road grime such as oils, tar, and dirt end up in storm sewers that flow into lakes, streams and rivers — the same water in which your children might swim, or where you fish or hunt. Water conservation is another benefit: professional car washes can use about half the amount of water it takes to do it yourself.

For all these reasons, you can't beat a professional car wash. And oh what fun it is to take your kid through the wash from the inside of the car! Or just follow along by the window.

Interestingly, a recent survey shows that more than 50 percent of car owners wash their cars less than once a month — and 16 percent never wash their cars. This translates into 73 million grimy automobiles on the roads. Even worse: 27 percent say their car smells, or used to, because of garbage. All sorts of interesting facts illuminating how we use and abuse our cars can be found at www.carlove.org.

So treat your car the way you want it to treat you. Add car washing to your monthly list of chores; go to the bank, pick up the dry cleaning, visit the grocery store, and get the car washed. With some 75,000 professional car washes nationwide, there's just no excuse not to swing through one every two or three weeks. You'll protect your investment, save time, and minimize environmental impact inspiring the best feeling of all; unconditional love for an unconditional friend.

Also, check out carlove.org for a cool wizard that'll tell you how often you should be washing you car. You can also enter the Car Love Sweepstakes, where you could win free car payments, free car washes or even free gasoline!

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