Residents planning an extended summer getaway are not only ensuring their homes are secure but are also taking steps to keep their cars clean and orderly. Some have faced fines in the past for leaving their vehicles in a dirty state in public parking areas while they were away. Now, they are taking preventive measures to avoid further penalties and enjoy their vacations without worry. Hadi Amani, a resident of Sharjah, is returning to Shiraz, Iran, for a 20-day summer break. He told Khaleej Times: “I am hiring a cleaner to maintain my vehicle while I am away. It's not just about avoiding fines; I always want to keep my car tidy.”

Abdul Rahman Eltahir, a Dubai resident living in Al Nahda, did not want a repeat of his previous experience. “I was surprised when I returned to Dubai and received a Dh500 fine for not keeping my car clean. I parked my car near my house, and there was no one to take care of it,” said the Egyptian expat, who works at an automobile company. “Now, before traveling, I will leave my car at the office and give the key to one of my colleagues. The parking is indoors, and my car will not collect dust while I’m away,” he added.

In Abu Dhabi, Mohd AbuSalem, a Jordanian living on Hamdan Street, has asked his brother, Ahmed, to clean his car weekly. He said: “A friend of mine, who was away for a month, was fined Dh3,000 last year for having a dirty car. I’m not taking any chances, so I’ve asked my brother to take care of my car while I’m away.”

Last year, authorities in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafra region intensified inspections to clear parking lots and public places of abandoned cars. Some residents returning from long holidays were surprised to receive a Dh3,000 fine. Municipal officials emphasized that rules must be followed to prevent health hazards and maintain the city's aesthetic appearance, requiring owners to keep their cars clean. The policy in Dubai against dirty cars has been enforced since July 2019. According to the Dubai Municipality, residents will be issued a Dh500 fine if they leave their vehicle parked in public spaces unwashed for an extended period. Inspectors monitor abandoned vehicles, and if an unkempt car is identified, a notice is placed on the windshield, giving the owner up to 15 days to clean the car, or it will be impounded.

In 2021, Sharjah Municipality impounded 3,911 'abandoned cars' in the first half of the year. Emirati traffic safety researcher Dr Mostafa Al Dah said: “Motorists must take note that washing their cars at least once a week can help prevent exterior rust. A clean car also means maintaining the vehicle in top shape.” He added: “Cars can be kept in a garage or underground parking. Owners can ask a friend or family member to clean the car. This is not only for cleanliness but also for security purposes.” Al Dah noted that high exterior temperatures during summer can be damaging to cars, especially when combined with ultraviolet exposure. He advised car owners to give their keys to a friend who can start the engine and drive it briefly once a week, find a shaded parking spot or use a car cover, ensure tire pressures are at recommended levels, and use sun shades on car windows if parked in the sun.