Winter is the time of year you need to wash your car the most, because it gets mucked up no matter where you live. And unlike Clark Griswold, most of us don't want our cars to be an embarrassment

But with short and chilly winter days, many drivers go weeks without a wash. Is that a good idea?

Auto body shops say there are four great reasons to clean that winter dirt off your car.

1. Washing improves visibility, by keeping the mirrors and windows clean to see other cars

2. A clean car keeps your hands and clothing clean.

3. It keeps the paint shiny and prevents rust: Dust and minerals in road dirt will damage the paint over time (especially if you live in an area with road salt).

4. Washing improves your car's value: A clean car outside tends to be cleaner inside, which gets better trade in,

But from the doesn't that stink file, one reason to not wash your car: you may not want your car to stand out in a bad neighborhood, by being the shiniest car on a street of clunkers.

That can make sense, especially if it is an area with high rates of vandalism.

And that way you don't waste your money.


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