According to a recent report, our friends to the south aren’t as in love with their cars as we are led to believe. Yes they do love them, but they don’t work as hard at it as they should. Americans love their automobiles so much that they converse with them, name them, adorn them with trinkets, and involve them in some of life’s most significant and personal moments. However, when it comes to protecting one of their biggest investments from environmental car culprits, most Americans just plain stink. A survey of 1,000 U.S. car owners by the International Carwash Association found that although 62% of car owners believe appearance is essential, 53% wash their cars less than once a month — and 16% never wash their cars. Even worse, 61% of respondents admitted to leaving garbage in their cars, and 27% perent say their car stinks, or used to because of it. By neglecting simple car maintenance, such as getting their cars professionally washed at least once or twice a month, car owners are putting their cars at risk for environmental damage and financial loss. Consider these facts: — Acid rain, a problem throughout North America caused by industrial and automotive pollution, leaves a film of acid on a car after a rainfall. This can permanently damage a car’s finish. — Salt, which is used on winter roads, can corrode even the toughest paints and finishes in the long run if not washed off consistently. — Bird droppings, road grime, and tree sap can also mar a car’s shiny finish, leaving it dulled and imperfect looking. “All of these menaces eat away at a car’s metal and chrome. They dull the paint. They corrode and cause rust under the carriage, in the wheel wells, even under the hold. You may not see it right away, but over time they will contribute to the decay of a car’s exterior, ultimately diminishing its resale value,” says Courtney Caldwell, founder and publisher of American Woman Road & Travel. According to auto trade-in experts such as Kelley Blue Book, cars in excellent appearance and mechanical condition can be valued as much as $1,500 higher than those in good or fair condition. Even further, nearly $24 billion U.S. a year is spent battling automobile corrosion damage, a cost absorbed by consumers in three ways: Funding auto manufacturer efforts to research corrosion-resistant paints and coatings, fixing damage caused by road or sea salt, or corrosion-related depreciation of cars.