Body repair: How soon can it be washed?

I had some bodywork done to a 2006 Ford F-150. Paint involved a “standard” clear coat finish paint to match the original. The body shop advised DO NOT WASh the truck until 60-90 days had passed, in order to allow the paint to “fully set up”. I can see that not putting it through a machine car wash right away, but how about hand washing? How long should I avoid the car wash?

I would wait the 60-90 days since that’s the recommendation from the body shop. You can go 60-90 days without washing your vehicle. People in the northern tier states do this every year from about October to May.

I would also wait if you can, with that said he probably already washed it before he gave it back to you… It’s the chemicals in the detergents he is trying to protect you against, not the water. So if you want to sponge the car down sans soap have at it, just be careful not to push to hard as you have less lubricating the surface.

The auto body guys I know recommend 60-90 days before waxing. In thinking about it, as much as we like to keep a coat of wax on our cars, the amount of paint deterioration that would occur in 90 days is pretty minimal. Cars sit much longer than that on the lot before bbeing purchased. I’d wait the 90 days.

Hand washing it after a week with mild soap will not damage it, but avoid automated car washes. Waxing it will seal in the solvents trying to get out and could dull your finish. Wait 60 days before waxing. However if they advised you to wait to wash it, I would; just to keep any warranty issues at bay.

I’ve always been told not to wax new paint for 30 days, not the 60 to 90 days that’s being discussed here, so that’s interesting. I’ve generally held out on washing for close to the 30 days as well.

I’m with FfromSD …A good rinse with no scrubbing is fine. After all, you do plan on driving out in the rain don’t you ?

It is not the rain, it is a combination of ocean spray/ocean fog and accumulated road salt from trips north and inland that is bothering me.

No, I have not applied a wax. I can understand the 90-day wait for that.

I’ll keep on rinsing with spray from a garden hose for a bit longer. Thanks for the responses.

I’m with DfromSD. OK to wash by hand with car wash solution but I’d avoid the waxing and mechanical car washes. The paints used today are very very tough. I’ve color sanded and machine polished the same day before. Even 40 years ago when my car was painted by enamel, I was told to douse it with cold water every day to harden the paint. I think the guy might either have been refering to waxing, is behind the times, or used a cheaper paint on it.

Hand washing is ok. No high presser wash. 60 to 90 days is what I would wait if you live were its cooler. In the summer you can get by with 30 - 40 days. The reason for not waxing the solvents in the paint can be trapped by wax. There are ways to protect the paint and let the solvents out. You want to use a non wax coating. A swirl remover type polish will work fine, it just wont last long maybe a week or 2. You will know when its safe to wax when the paint wont bead water after you wash it. By the way use just a car soap without wax in it.

Body shop is wrong. Wash it all you want, just dont wax for 90 days.

I’ve also been told not to wax for a least 30 days. I use to work part time in a body shop and the owner of the shop always washed newly painted cars by hand before returning them to his customers.