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Should You Wash Your Car Before It Rains?

Should You Wash Your Car Before It Rains? Is It Worth It?

Should you wash your car before it rains? Will it do any harm? Is it good for your car? These are all great questions and well… let’s talk about that today.

Washing your car before it rains is a good idea as long as you apply a protective product like wax after. This will help bead up and repel the water from vehicle preventing damage from acid rain and contaminates in the future. It’s recommended to wash your car 24 hours before it rains.

Best Car Soaps For Water Spots And Rain Water:

best car wash soap for hard water optimum
best car wash soap for hard water adams

Does Washing Your Car Before It Rains Harm Your Car?

The Effects of Rain on Car Wash

Contrary to popular belief, letting rainwater wash your car may not be the best idea. Rainwater is not free of minerals and contaminants. When these come in contact with the paint of the car, they could potentially cause damage.

Furthermore, if your car was recently washed, the rain could rinse your car of the protective coat of wax or other protective layers.

Understanding the Impact of Rainwater on Your Car’s Paint

Rainwater isn’t as innocent as it may seem. Acid rain, laden with numerous pollutants, poses a serious threat to your car paint. The acidic nature of rainwater can etch into the paintwork and leave hard water spots after drying, which are difficult to remove and degrade your car’s look.

What’s wrong with washing your car before it rains?

Washing your car before it rains isn’t bad but can be quite ineffective. After spending time to clean your car and get it gleaming, a rain shower can immediately make your efforts go in vain by leaving water spots and deposits upon drying.

However, this is purely dependent on how you far you take your detailing.  When it comes to washing your car in the heat, sun, and rain, you need to make sure you do it properly. 

Understanding the Role of Rain in Car Wash

should you wash your car before it rains

Does Rain Provide a Free Car Wash?

Although rainfall may visually seem like a free car wash, this unfortunately is a myth. Sediments and contaminants in rainwater can stick to your car, making it look dirty instead of clean. Rain showers can’t substitute the efficiency of an actual car wash.

Washing your car regularly will help with water spots from the rain as long as you detail it right. Do not let the rain “give you a free” car wash. There’s nothing wrong with washing a dirty car on a rainy day. With that being said, you should wash a vehicle before it rains so you can take the proper steps to protect your paint and prevent water marks. 

Uncovering the Effects of Acid Rain on Car Wash

Acid rain is a dangerous adversary for your car paint. When acid rain gets on your car surface, it leaves water spots that are hard to remove. Over time, this can cause significant damage to your car’s finish.

Acid rain can cause not only water spots, but over time the contaminates actually eat at your clear coat paint resulting in unsightly water spotting and breakdown of the protective barrier that protects your color coat. 

You can prevent water spots by washing then immediately drying the car. The goal is to remove any moisture so you don’t get water spots on the paint. Don’t leave the water to evaporate either, if it does, you took too long removing the water from your vehicle. 

Dealing With Rainwater and Hard Water Spots After a Wash

After washing your car, hard water spots and rainwater streaks can be a nuisance. A good coat of wax can help form a protective barrier over your vehicle’s paint, making it harder for contaminants from rainwater to stick to your car.

Pro tip: You should always avoid an automatic car wash. These facilities are known to leave scratches in your paint from previous vehicle dirt being trapped in the fibers of the brushes. 

You can also make your car repel this heavy rain water by leaving your car inside. Another great way to reduce water spots is to apply wax or ceramic coat as I stated just a second ago. Your vehicle will need to be washed first, then it can be accompanied by a wax or ceramic coat. 

This “beads” up the water and repels it from the surface of your car without harming it. A protected vehicle not only remove spots on your paint, but a properly protected vehicle will look great to. There’s no reason to skip on the wax as it offers great protection against the rain.

Is It Better to Wash Your Car When It’s Going to Rain?

Factors to Consider When Washing Your Car Before a Rain

Before you decide to wash your car, consider if there’s rain in the forecast. If it’s going to rain soon, you might want to postpone your car wash until after the rain to avoid water spots and streaks. 

I only recommend this though if you haven’t waxed in a while. If you regularly wash your car and don’t apply any wax, it’s probably going to be a lot better once the rain dries for you to detail. The wax forms a slick surface which not only helps with water marks in the long run, but will repel the rain water from the car while it’s raining. 

Some of you may wash your car once a week, some of you need to wash your cars more.

Washing your car while it’s raining isn’t going to hurt. But it’s not the best idea.

If rain is in the forecast and you live in an area that’s hot and dry, it’s a good idea to detail it first and apply a protection product. Just make sure your wax doesn’t dry onto the surface, always wash in shaded areas. 

If you need to detail in the sun, I have a guide on that here.

Here’s some benefits to washing your car before it rains:

  1. Proper protection
  2. Vehicle will look a lot nicer
  3. Prevents water marks
  4. Removes streaking and drip marks

The Trade-Off: Wash Your Car and Protect It From Rain

rain windshield

Determining if you should clean your car before rain involves a trade-off. Washing your car can help clear off the pollutants, and a good wash and wax can shield your car paint from the acid rain effects.

However, the rain may still leave spots on your car if it’s not properly dried or covered after the wash.

How Rain Can Benefit Your Car’s Cleanliness

If your car is only lightly dust-ridden, a rain shower might actually wash your car off the loose dirt. However, this can’t replace the thorough cleansing a proper car wash can provide.

Not only that, but a thorough washing and scratch removal can remove swirl marks in the long run and ensures a clean car. You should wash the car frequently even if it’s going to rain. Always stay up on your protection. 

How to Protect Your Car When It’s Raining After a Wash

Quick Tips to Protect Your Car In The Rain

How to keep your car clean in the rain? A hydropathic wax coating can make a big difference. This layer ensures that the water beads up and rolls off the car’s surface rather than sitting and leaving water spots. Covering your car or parking it under cover, if possible, can also minimize the rain effects.

Effective Ways to Avoid Water Spots After A Rain Wash

After a rain shower, ensure you dry your car properly to avoid any water spots or streaks that the rain may have left on your car. This way, you’ll keep your car clean and pristine even after rain showers.

Ensure Your Car’s Paint Remains Vibrant Despite the Rain

Regular clay barring can help smooth the surface of your car, while sealing and protectants can form a barrier that resists water penetration. A paint protective film offers even higher protection, keeping your car paint vibrant even during constant rain showers.

Choosing the Right Time to Wash Your Car

splash puddle rain

Should You Wash Your Car When It’s Still Raining?

If it’s raining, you should ideally postpone washing your car. Washing your car in direct sunlight or rain every day can result in water spots and direct sunlight can cause the soap to dry too quickly, leading to swirl marks and making the car wash harder.

Planning Car Wash With Weather: When Is The Best Time To Wash?

Ideally, I wash my car when the sky is overcast but the rain is not in the forecast. This way, direct sunlight won’t dry the car too quickly to cause water spots or swirl marks, and the car can dry naturally.

Preventing Swirl Marks and Contaminants During a Car Wash

You can prevent swirl marks and other issues by using a proper car wash technique. This involves washing your car from the top down, rinse your car well before and after the wash, and dry your car properly. This ensures you protect your car while keeping your car clean effectively and efficiently.

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