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Q&A: Keep your ride clean all year with these tips from local car wash experts

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How often should you wash your car? The experts at IQ Car Wash weigh in on this and other common questions from car owners in the Omaha area.

When it comes to regular car washing, car owners have plenty of questions.

What’s the difference between an automatic wash and washing at home? How does the way you wash affect your finish and shine? What’s the most effective way to wash your car?

Travis Barker, owner of IQ Car Wash in Omaha, has the answers.

Below, Barker answers an array of common questions about how to wash and protect your vehicle throughout the year.

Q: How often should I wash my car?

A: How often your car should be washed is an important question. Washing your car once a day is not good for your vehicle because it does not allow moisture to dry out of inner door panels, engine bay areas and any other areas that trap water. When things are not allowed to dry out, there is a possibility of corrosion.


Typically, during the summer months, when there is less rain, you could wash your vehicle twice a month and it would stay clean most of the time, especially in Omaha. However, depending on weather and if you are driving in areas with lots of bugs, it may require some more washing. When precipitation impacts your vehicle, especially during the winter months, it’s important to wash your vehicle more often. Salt left on your vehicle from pre-treated roads can deteriorate your paint and cause underbody corrosion.

Q: Is there a best time of day for a car wash?

A: You can wash your vehicle at any time; however, when the temperature is well below freezing, you shouldn’t wash your car unless you have a heated garage. Washing during extremely cold times can cause the water to freeze in areas such as door seals and other components, making them not function properly.

Q: Should you wax your car with every wash?

A: Keeping wax, or some sort of protectant, on the paint is important. When using an automatic wash, choosing a wash with wax or other protectant is a good idea. Automatic car washes and their products are designed to clean the vehicle surface thoroughly and can remove some waxes, so it’s important to have that wax replaced by the car wash during the washing process.


When washing yourself, waxing the vehicle on a semiannual basis can help protect the paint and keep your vehicle looking its best. When waxing your vehicle, the paint should be cool, clean and dry to ensure the best results. Using the correct cloths such as microfiber that are made for your paint surface is recommended. The softer the cloth, the better.

Q: Do I need to wash the underbody?

A: Underbody washing is always important, especially in the winter. With the salt that is put on the roads, it is important to clean it off to help prevent your vehicles’ underbody and suspension from prematurely corroding. Washing the underbody on a regular basis is a good practice to ensure that suspension and other major components stay clean and free of debris and dirt.

Q: What’s the difference between an automatic wash and washing at home?

A: Using an automatic car wash has many benefits compared to washing at home. It’s not only convenient, but it also saves you time. IQ Car Wash uses premium products to wash your car gently and thoroughly.

Being able to wash your car in a controlled environment without sunlight drying the soap or water before your car is thoroughly clean helps make the finish of your car looks its best. IQ Car Wash rinses vehicles with spot-free water, which is generated through special filtration – something you can’t do at home.

Q: When car washing at home, where do I start?

A: It’s important to start at the top and work your way down. This ensures you move the dirt and other contaminants down off the vehicle. The bottom of the vehicle is typically dirtier, and you don’t want to move that dirt to the less affected areas. Before washing the whole vehicle, you should use a pre-soak on the body and the tires, which will help your car look its best.

Q: What’s the best way to dry your vehicle after washing?

A: Automatic car washes typically use air dryers to dry the vehicle. This is safer than using a towel because it lessens the possibility of rub marks or contaminants. When using a towel, it’s important to pick one that is specifically made for drying the surface of a car. Using a high-quality microfiber, quick-absorbing towel is your best option.

Q: What makes IQ Car Wash unique among automatic car washes?

A: IQ Car Wash is unique because our automatic car washes use special machines to perform a 3D scan of the vehicle and wash to the contour of the vehicle. Both our soft-touch and touch-free automatic washes know what your vehicle looks like. Through this technology, the machine is able to wash your back window. In addition, we are able to use our resources more efficiently, wasting less water and soaps, as it accounts for the size of your vehicle.

Our self-serve bays also stand out because we use premium products and have a lot of options to choose from. Some of our self-serve options include brushes for the body and a separate brush for the wheels/tires.

We also offer different pre-soaks for various components of your vehicle. There are special pre-soaks for your engine bays and tires, for the body, for removing bugs in the summer, and even a pre-soak in the winter months to remove road salt and neutralize the effect it has on your vehicle.

Q: What’s the best way to use a self-serve wash?

A: When using a self-serve bay, it is always important to start by rinsing your vehicle thoroughly by using a high-pressure soap or rinse to get the larger dirt particles off the vehicle before scrubbing your vehicle. Using the brush before spraying off the vehicle can cause swirl marks due to the excessive dirt on the vehicle not being washed off prior to the use of the brush. It’s also important to rinse brushes before using them on your vehicle to ensure their cleanliness.

At IQ Car Wash, the items in our self-serve bays are in an order to help you clean your vehicle in an orderly fashion.

Q: When washing my car, how do I choose the right products?

A: When washing your vehicle, always use a soap that is formulated for washing cars. Other types of soap such as dishwashing soap can strip your vehicles exterior of protectants such as waxes and other protectants on top of your paint. When scrubbing a vehicle, always use the softest available cloths such as microfiber. When using brushes, use one made from soft hog’s hair to ensure that you are not damaging the vehicle. At IQ Car Wash, there is no need to worry about choosing the right soaps, as we have all that available for you. Our products and equipment are chosen carefully to ensure that you receive the best wash in the safest way possible.

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