Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 July 2019

Why you shouldn't wait too long to wash your car after it rains

The UAE has a number of laws in place to protect the image of its cities, including making it an offence to own a dirty or dusty car

Dirty cars parked in the same spot for more than three days are assumed abandoned and are fined and impounded. Pawan Singh / The National
Dirty cars parked in the same spot for more than three days are assumed abandoned and are fined and impounded. Pawan Singh / The National

If your car is dirty from all the rain we have been having, this weekend may not be the best time to wash it.

Forecasters say more storms, and possibly even hail, might be on the way on Saturday and Sunday.

But do not leave it too long once the sun comes out again or you could risk falling foul of laws designed to protect the country’s image.

What are those laws, though? And what are the penalties for flouting them?

How often to wash your car?

There is no set time schedule you should be following, as long as you do not let your car get too dirty, which is an offence in many parts of the UAE and could lead to it being impounded. Emirates including Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah have very strict rules in place about dirty cars.

What are the rules?

In Abu Dhabi, drivers must not let their cars get covered in dust or dirt for too long, or the vehicle can be impounded. The municipality warned residents of the consequences of not doing so two weeks ago as part of a campaign intended to identify abandoned cars which "distort the city’s image". Inspectors stick a warning on the windscreens of particularly dirty cars before they return to tow them away three days later if they have still not been cleaned or moved. Drivers must pay Dh1,500 to get their car back, or Dh3,000 if they wait more than 30 days. In 2017, 500 fines of Dh3,000 were handed out for distorting the city’s public image.

Dubai issues fines of Dh500 a time to people who fail to keep their car clean.

No problem, I can just wash my car at home. But...

If you are going to wash your car at home, it should be parked in a garage and you should use as little water as possible. In Abu Dhabi, residents must not wash their cars in public places, or they risk a Dh500 fine. Authorities say the practice wastes water, attracts insects and damages roads and pavements when the water builds up on the asphalt.

Car washing in public places in Dubai will also incur a Dh500 fine, which rises to Dh1,000 for repeat offences. Some communities have also imposed their own rules, such as Emaar which has banned residents in the Emirates Living area from washing their cars to prevent chemicals from seeping into the 66 interconnected man-made lakes there. People found flouting the rule will be subject to a Dh500 fine.

Sharjah has similarl strict laws in place regarding where cars can be washed.

So where can I wash my car?

From washers in car parks if you live in an apartment building, or cleaners stationed inside every mall, there are plenty of legal ways to keep your car clean in the UAE. Alternatively, you can go to the car washes at petrol stations and in other stand-alone locations such as malls. But if you are looking for something a bit different, you could try the volcano foam wash at Mushrif Mall in Abu Dhabi or a car spa.

Updated: April 14, 2019 09:11 AM