Is A Basic Car Wash Enough (And Which Extras Are Useful)

At the car wash, you are presented with a lot of options.

You may get confused about whether to do a basic wash, wash the undercarriage, wax, or get rust protection.

All these are enticing options, and you may say yes to them before you know it.

However, there’s something to know before visiting a car wash.

Quick Answer

As a general rule, a basic car wash is enough if you only need to get your car clean and remove the grime and dirt from the car’s surface. Adding on extras may be unnecessary every time you go to the car wash and, sometimes, are not worth the money.

You don’t need to wax your car every other week you wash your car or get an undercarriage wash.

Learn why a basic car wash is enough in this article. 

Is A Basic Car Wash Enough?

A basic car wash covers mainly a wash, rinse and dry.

No extras. Some car washes may be generous enough to throw in an undercarriage wash, but not so common.

If that’s the case, is it okay to get just that on your car without bothering about other parts?

Quick Answer

As a whole, a basic car wash is enough to get your car clean without bothering about the extras. The extra services are not really necessary unless you feel there is a need to. 

Your undercarriage doesn’t get dirty every other day like your car surface and doesn’t need as much frequent wash.

If you need a basic cleaning on your car, don’t pay extra.

However, a basic car wash may not be enough if you want a thorough wash done on your car

In fact, a basic car wash may not clean your car completely and leave some dirt on it.

Therefore, your car needs proper detailing by hand.

A hand wash and detailing will eliminate all the grime and dirt on the car.

It will be more thorough because you can reach more hidden spots than a car wash. 

You can wash the undercarriage and clean the inside of your car better with a hand wash.

The bottom line is unless you need more than a regular wash, a basic car wash is okay, and the extras are not worth it.

What Extras Are There And Do I Need Them? 

A car wash can go beyond the basic one.

However, most times, it is all you need if all your car’s protections are still up.

If you recently did a hand detailing of your car, you may not need the extras, and if your car is still relatively new, you might still be good.

Quick Answer

As a whole, the car wash extras include a wheel cleaning, undercarriage wash, car wash wax, and sometimes rust protection, clear coat protection, and more, and different factors contribute to when you need them.

You don’t need all of these every time you visit the car wash.

Wheel Cleaning

Wheel cleaning often deals with removing accumulated brake dust on your car.

This black dust builds up on the rims and has a unique chemical composition that requires special soap to wash it off.

However, you can skip this extra when at the car wash.

It is unnecessary, not effective, and won’t do any real damage to the car if you don’t wash it on every visit to the car wash.

Unless you are keen on your car’s appearance and don’t want any specs, you’re good to go.

Undercarriage Wash

An undercarriage wash deals with the underside of the car.

You may not know, but this part of the car collects dirt, grime, and road salt, especially during some time of the year.

However, you don’t need to spend a few extra bucks on an undercarriage wash every time you go to the car wash.

You can do without it for a long time. If you drive your car through mud often, you should get an undercarriage wash.

In addition, they are great during winter for removing road salt from there. 

Car Wash Wax 

Getting wax on your car is great because it helps protect it, but this isn’t enough reason to get the extra service at the car wash.

Often, car washes use subpar products that won’t last for this.

More so, they are super expensive, and since they are unnecessary, you don’t need them when you visit the car wash.


A basic car wash is okay for a basic wash.

It’s enough if you only need your car’s surface to look good.

However, if you need a thorough cleaning, hand washing and detailing will do a better job.

You don’t need those extras either when at the car wash unless necessary. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Only a basic car wash is necessary,
  • Hand washing and detailing are more effective for thorough cleaning,
  • Ditch the extras; they’re not with it,
  • Get an undercarriage wash during winter and if you drive through mud.


Jan-Lucas Ganssauge
Jan-Lucas Ganssauge