Washing Car at Night: Should You Do It?

washing car at night

Personally, I’m a big fan of washing my car at night during hot summer days, but is washing my car at night any good? Should you do it? I’ll cover all your questions in this post, including the pros and cons of washing your car at night.

Key takeaways:

  • Washing cars at night prevents detailing products from drying on the paint.
  • It’s a great alternative for people working all day or trying to avoid the sun.
  • It might be hard to inspect the paint for dirt and cover every single nook and cranny.

Now that you know some takeaways, let’s dive deeper into this topic and I’ll try to explain who should or shouldn’t wash their cars at night.

Benefits of Washing Your Car at Night

Let’s cover some benefits of washing your car at night first. Here are the main benefits:

  • Reduced risks of water spots. Water spots are a pain in the butt, and every detailer hates them. But during the night, when there’s not so much heat and sunlight, the chances of water spots appearing on your car are smaller, even if you wash your car with hard water.
  • You won’t get sweaty. This is one of the main reasons I tend to wash my car during night hours during summer. I hate washing my car and getting fully sweaty because of the outside temperature. When washing your car at night, temperatures are lower, you won’t get so sweaty, and your heart rate won’t go as high as washing your car during the day.
  • Chemicals won’t dry on the paint. When washing your car at night, there’s a much less possibility that some chemicals will dry on the paint, such as car wash soaps, car detailers, wheel cleaners, and even waxes and sealants. This means you won’t need to rush and can take your time to detail the car.
  • Washing cars at night might be cheaper at self-service car washes. The rates are often lower if you wash your car on self-service car washes during the night. So, you can even save some money by doing that.

Drawbacks of Washing Your Car at Night

It’s not all bells and whistles; there are some cons of washing your car at night. Here are the main disadvantages:

  • You’ll probably miss some spots. It’s hard to achieve perfect results when washing or detailing your car at night. Even though you’ll use some lights, nothing compares to daylight. Because of that, you’ll probably miss some spots while washing the car, leaving your car dirty even after washing it.
  • It’s harder to dry the car. During the day, with the temperatures being higher, it’s much easier to dry the car. You just wipe it off with a microfiber drying towel, and it’ll become dry in no time. At night, because of lower temperatures, after drying your car with a microfiber towel, some tiny water particles will stay on the paint for longer and will take more time to dry naturally.
  • Cleaning windows is much harder. If you don’t have a good enough light source, washing windows and achieving perfect results at night is hard. That’s because you won’t be able to see any streaks left behind. Of course, the chances of streaks after cleaning car windows can be reduced by using some high-quality automotive glass cleaner, but generally, it’s harder when compared to day washing your car.
  • Applying paint protection is harder. I’ve realized it’s much harder to apply paint protectants at night. That’s because you won’t be able to see when to buff them and if you buffed the car properly.
  • Applying tire dressings takes more time. Many tire dressings will require the sun to dry quickly and condition the rubber. But during the night time, it will take much more time, and you’ll have to wait for the products to dry. If you rush and drive your car, you’ll probably end up with some of tire dressing spilled all over your vehicle.
  • Your neighbors might get mad at you. If you wash your car at home, using a pressure washer might be too loud for some of your neighbors looking for night peace.

As you can see, unfortunately, there are much more cons than pros of washing your car at night.

Should You Wash Your Car at Night?

people washing their cars at night and having fun

I’ll try to be pretty straightforward here. It comes down to personal preferences regarding whether you should or shouldn’t wash your car at night. But let me share my thoughts on this.

You should wash your car at night if you’re doing some maintenance (regular) washes to keep your car clean.

But if you want to thoroughly detail your car, including applying paint protectants, etc. I don’t think you should do it because it’s much harder when compared to doing the same things during the day.

The Best Time To Wash Your Car

The best time to wash your car is earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon. During that time, you’ll have enough sunlight to clean your car properly, especially when it comes to the interior.

It won’t be too hot, and products won’t dry quickly on the paint, which again means that you don’t need to rush and can take your time for a detailed car wash.

I know it’s a personal preference, but based on my experience, those are the two times that are the best for washing your car. I also try to wash cars only during those times, but of course, if I’m in a rush or have a busy schedule, I’ll wash cars in the midday or night as well, but with taking some extra steps to make sure that everything’s washed and cleaned thoroughly.

Final Words

As you can see, washing cars at night has its pros and cons, and while it may be a great choice for some of you guys out there, for most people, it’s still recommended to wash their cars during the morning or later in the afternoon.

If you want perfect results, you should pick the best time to wash the car. And if you want to learn the proper way of washing cars, check out my guide here.