Almost three-quarters (73%) of those questioned for the study say they’d sooner concentrate on keeping the outside of their car clean than vacuuming the inside.
And two-fifths of those who’ve cleaned their car over the last week say they believe it’s important for it to look clean on the outside.
RAC Cars puts the preference down to motorists not wanting to be seen driving around in a dirty-looking car while believing they can “get away” with the interior not looking at its best.
Spokesman Pete Williams says: “We suspect the reason for this is not wanting to be seen driving around in a filthy-looking car which means if there’s only limited time to give the car some TLC, the outside takes precedence.
“Unless you give friends or colleagues lifts, not many people get to see the inside of your car so you can get away with it not being that clean.”
The survey suggests that well over three million motorists have either gone at least six months without cleaning their car – 9% of those questioned – or have never done so (2%).
It indicates that men are more likely than women to clean the car and suggests that while Londoners are the keenest to keep their vehicles clean, drivers in the North East are least bothered.
Almost half (48%) of the motorists surveyed say they like to wash their car themselves but a third say there’s nothing they hate hearing a passer-by say more than “you can do mine as well if you like”.
Nearly half of those quizzed say they clean their car to make it feel new again with 5% admitting they do it before giving a work colleague a lift and 2% doing so before a date.
Mr Williams adds: “But the best motivation for getting the car cleaning equipment out has to be having a nice new motor to take pride in, whether that’s a brand new model straight out of the showroom or a ‘new to you’ used vehicle from a dealer or private seller. RAC Cars gives buyers the chance to find their perfect four-wheel match together with the buying confidence the RAC name brings.”