The Hidden Costs of a Dirty Car

6 min read
Dirty Car

A dirty car is more than just unsightly. It can actually put a dent in your wallet in the long run. That’s because there are hidden costs in having a dirty car. Keep reading to find out what they are.

10. You’ll Spend More on Cleaning

Washing Car
Source: Pexels

When you finally do decide to clean your dirty car, you’ll end up spending way more money than you would have it you cleaned it regularly. In order to keep costs down, CarsDirect recommends getting it fully detailed about every three months. That way, you can reduce the amount of cleaning you need to do in-between detailings.

TIP: If you decide to do the detailing yourself at home, look for discount cleaning materials to help you save even more money.

9. It Will Damage Your Car’s Exterior

Rusted Car
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Accord14 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

Not washing your car will create an accumulation of dirt, dust, and other particles. And, it’s this accumulation of filth that will scratch your car’s finish. But, it’s not just the dirt and dust that will damage your car’s finish. Bird droppings, industrial pollutants, dead bugs, tree sap, and acid rain will also damage it if they’re not washed away quickly. And, that’s not even the worst of it. Your car’s clear coat creates a barrier that is designed to protect the paint from the elements. But, an accumulation of abrasive dirt will cause that barrier to wear away faster which will lead it to rust.

8. It Can Add to Operational Complications

Car Switches
Source: Pixabay

Did you know that a car’s dirty interior cabin adds to operational complications? It’s true. According to an article published by Cobblestone Auto Spa, “dirty air exhaust spreads allergens about the cabin, stain and grit cause switches to fail, and hazy windows can obscure the view of a driver.” If you have all of this going on in your car, chances are you will need to get it detailed. There are different ways to do interior car detailing. Here are some of the standard detailing processes:

-Brushing and steam cleaning
-Glass cleaning
-Leather trimming
-Re-vacuuming and wiping

7. You Might be Fined

Source: Pixabay

If you park your dirty car on public roads in Dubai, you will get fined. According to New Delhi Television, Dubai Municipality has taken steps to preserve the city’s aesthetics and ensure that it remains attractive for tourists. One such step is identifying stranded cars and putting notices on the windshields that let the owners know that they have 15 days to clean their vehicles or they will be towed away by authorities. And, if the owner does not contact the authorities about their car, it will be auctioned off.

6. It Creates Drag

Pumping Gas
Source: Pixabay

People used to believe that a dirty car was more fuel-efficient than a clean one. The theory went something like this: mud that’s caked on the side of your car reduces drag much like the dimples on a golf ball. But, the truth of the matter is a dirty car actually creates drag. That’s according to a test conducted by Mythbusters. What they found was that dirt particles can reduce your car’s fuel efficiency by as much as 10 percent. In other words, you’ll end up spending 10 percent more on fuel per year than a person who washes their car regularly.

5. Your Car Will Depreciate

Source: Pixabay

Chances are if your car is filthy, you likely haven’t been properly maintaining it either. And, this is what will cause your car to depreciate, which will, in turn, decrease your car’s trade-in value. But, even if you haven’t been doing preventive maintenance, there are some steps you can take before having it appraised to increase its trade-in value. These include getting it detailed and waxed, shampooing the carpet, polishing the tires, and cleaning all the glass inside and out.

4. It Could Cost You a Ticket

Source: Wikimedia Commons By Oregon Department of Transportation [CC BY 2.0 (]

Believe it or not, you could actually get a ticket for driving around in a dirty car. That’s what happened to a motorist in Marlow, England. The Thames Valley Police posted a picture of the car on Twitter along with the following caption:

Stopped this in Marlow today
A tidy cab = A tidy mind
This was so bad it was dangerous, rubbish under floor pedals
Points on license & fine
Driver was arrested for an unconnected matter
PC4459 Pilling

As you just read, there were all sorts of trash and junk under the pedals, and this posed a hazard as it would make it hard for the driver to operate the car. As a result, the motorist had points taken off his/her license and was fined.

3. It Could Cost You Thousands in Medical Bills

Medical Bills
Source: Pixabay

How can a dirty car result in thousands of dollars worth of medical bills? The same way a dirty house or a dirty (germy) body can. The less you clean it, the more likely you are to get sick. Think about all the dirt and trash there is inside your car. Think about the times when you’re sick and you’re coughing and sneezing all over everything in your car. Think about the people who get in your car. You don’t know what and how many germs they’re carrying. And, yes, you can wash your hands after you get out of your car, but those germs will still be in your vehicle. Not only that, but germs multiply. That means there will be even more of them the next time you get in your car.

2. It Could Cost You a Job

Job Application
Source: Pixabay

When you show up for a job interview, chances are the hiring manager is looking at more than just your resume. In fact, they look at the type of car you drive and the condition it’s in as well. And, if your car is dirty inside and out, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t get the job. It’s not that a dirty car has anything to do with your ability to do the work, it’s the fact that if you have trash all over the floor and/or seats of your car, you likely won’t keep your work area clean either. Or, perhaps you won’t even bother to keep yourself clean — and that’s a big no-no.

1. It Could Cost You a Date

Source: Pixabay

A dirty car doesn’t just come with financial costs. There are other costs, too. Like your love life, for example. So, if you want to make a good first impression on your date, make sure you drive up in a clean car. That’s because, “your date will be looking at your car for clues into your life,” relationship coach Kyle Benson told U.S. News & World Report. “It’s a kind of indicator of how you treat yourself. If your car is dirty and it’s kind of a mess, it indicates that you don’t really take care of yourself. That’s probably what your apartment might look like. It may also indicate to the person you’re on a date with that you might not also be able to take care of them as well.”


Your turn! What has a dirty car cost you? Let us know in the comments below.