The image of car-loving Californians cruising the freeways in shiny vehicles may be more than a myth. According to the "Shell V-Power Consumer Car Care Survey," Westerners are more likely than their East Coast counterparts to treat their cars with a wash and wax job. Buffing from Bumper to Bumper According to the Shell survey, men (20 percent) are more likely than women (16 percent) to give their cars a special wash and wax treatment on the outside. On the other hand, women are slightly more likely (19 percent) than men (16 percent) to vacuum the interiors of their cars and add an air freshener. The motivation behind keeping a clean car also differs by gender. Women want to avoid embarrassment by keeping their car clean for important business meetings -- according to the survey, nearly 60 percent of women said they would be embarrassed to drive their colleagues to a business lunch in an excessively dirty car, compared with about 35 percent of men. Men, on the other hand, are thinking more about pleasure than business when it comes to keeping a car clean. Almost half (48 percent) of the men surveyed said they'd be more embarrassed by a dirty car if they were taking a date to dinner, compared with just 18 percent of women. Energizing the Engine Just as many Americans make routine manicures and pedicures a top priority, and never miss an appointment at their hair salon, men and women from coast to coast agree that the best way to treat a car right is to take it in for routine maintenance. When asked how they prefer to pamper their car, 54 percent of survey respondents said they would perform, or have someone else perform, routine maintenance on their vehicles, such as checking the tire pressure, oil and washer fluid, but some do it more frequently than others. Specifically, the survey found: * Only 24 percent of Americans perform some type of routine maintenance on their cars on a monthly basis, with 18 percent doing it more frequently -- approximately every two weeks. * The majority of those surveyed (40 percent) don't perform routine maintenance until their car's regular oil change. * One out of every 10 Americans never, or hardly ever, performs routine maintenance to care for their car. In the South, traditional Southern manners seem to rule, with nearly 50 percent of people living in this region attending to the needs of their cars at least once a month by performing routine maintenance. Focusing on Fuels While running out of gas and ending up stranded on the side of the highway wouldn't be a pleasant experience for most people, the survey seems to indicate that more than a quarter of Americans don't mind taking their chances. In fact, about 19 percent of people surveyed said they wait until their car's fuel light comes on and about 7 percent wait until they know there's nothing but fumes left in the tank before they pull into a gas station to fill up.