UK motorists wash their money worries away: almost a fifth of drivers are ditching car washing services

partial view of car cleaner washing car with sponge and detergent

Motorists in the UK are opting to grab a bucket and sponge to wash their own vehicle, with 18% of surveyed drivers quitting car washing services in the last 12 months according to exclusive eBay research.

Amid the current cost-of-living crisis, money-saving is the biggest motivator for those making the switch, with 67% taking the decision to save cash. Some are going to extreme lengths, with 14% of drivers admitting they never wash their car.

The eBay research of 2,000 UK motorists revealed that 28% of the motorists surveyed clean the exterior of their cars at least once a month, typically spending an estimated 25 hours and 40 minutes each year doing so. An impressive 17% of respondents go the whole hog, using specialist car cleaning products and waxes, and eBay data backs up the findings with demand for wash, wax and cleaning kits up 20% compared to last year.

Cleaning tactics vary, though, with 23% opting to simply use hot water and washing-up liquid, followed by a quick hose down – but this cost saving measure could actually be causing long term damage to paintwork.

Richard Tipper, eBay’s detailing expert and owner of detailing company, Perfection Valet, said: “For motorists washing their own vehicles, I’d strongly advise against the use of washing up liquid. Put simply, washing up liquid is designed to get rid of grease, so could strip protective coatings off the paint.

“A properly formulated car shampoo will look after your paintwork, provide a superior finish and needn’t break the bank – and there are hundreds of options to choose from. Finishing with a wax or polish can then take your vehicle from clean to sparkling, and give you a professional standard finish at home”

It’s not just exteriors that are satisfying to clean, 29% of motorists surveyed give the inside of their vehicle a spruce once a month or more. They’ll spend an estimated 19 hours and 48 minutes over the course of a year making sure their car interior is sparkling clean. eBay sales data reflects this, with an 83% YoY increase of car vacuums compared to last year.

The surge in motorists choosing to clean their own car isn’t all down to cost-of-living; 28% of respondents carry out the task themselves because they ‘know’ they’ll do a good job, while 18% actively enjoy doing it – 9% admit they don’t trust anyone else to do it for them.

When asked about their car cleaning and washing abilities, more than half of those surveyed (54%) describe their standard as ‘good’.

Laura Richards, Category Lead – Vehicle Parts and Accessories eBay UK Ltd, said: “It’s no surprise that motorists are opting to clean their own vehicles. Not only is it more cost-efficient, but cleaning a car can be extremely gratifying. With hundreds of thousands of listings in the car cleaning category, eBay can be used to curate the perfect bespoke cleaning kit whether you’re after a quick shampoo and buff, or you want to clay bar like a pro.”

Richard Tipper’s recommended products

1. Buckets with Grit Guards.Link 
2. RaceGlaze PH Neutrel Soap.Link 
3. Lambs Wool Wash Mitts.Link 
4. Wheel Woolies (Brushes).Link 
5. Kenotek Wheel Cleaner Ultra.Link 
6. Costco Plush Micro Fibre cloths.Link 
7. Bilt Hamber Snow Foam.Link 
8. AutoGlym MultiWash TFR.Link 
9. X-Pert 60 Express Detailer Spray.Link 
10.  X-Pert 60 Glass Cleaner.Link 
11. 3M Clay Bar (Blue).Link 
12. Dash Detailing Brushes.Link 
13. Drying waffle towels Link 
14. Zymol Solid WaxLink 
15. Belgom AluLink 
16. Belgom ChromesLink 
17. Autoglym Coat-it 5l Super Hydrophobic CoatingLink 

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