How Long You Should Wait After Repair to Wash Your Car

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After having bodywork completed on your vehicle, it’s customary to wait to wash it. Though the recommendations vary depending on the body shop and the services you received, the general reasoning is the same. Doing so too early can jeopardize the health and performance of the paint.

Why Waiting Matters

There are different opinions regarding the length of time you should wait. Most body shops recommend 30, 60 or 90 days.

Because a newly repaired car’s paint is soft, it needs time to properly cure. During this time, the paint’s solvents need enough time to evaporate.
Washing the vehicle or rinsing road debris from it with plain water is likely to be fine as long as you use gentle pressure. Some body shops might also okay the use of car wash solution as well. Avoid using a mechanical or high-pressure wash to do so and don’t use harsh soap or car soap that contains wax.

Using wax on the car’s paint before it’s had a chance to cure properly can trap the solvents. This can cause the paint to look dull. The chemicals in the car wash detergent could also damage certain types of paints and coatings.

While it can seem like your body shop’s recommendations are so long that your car’s paint job might be affected by dirt and grime, the opposite is actually true. Waiting for the recommended time can protect the investment you’ve made in your car and help it look its best.