Did you know that pressure washing your car uses less water than if you were to clean your car with a garden hose? That’s a handy bit of information if you have to pay water charges.
Washing your car with a pressure hose is also much faster than washing your car by hand. This gives you more free time to enjoy your day.
While pressure washing your car is fun remember that a pressure washer is not a toy so there are some best practise and safety guidelines to follow.
Electric is Best
Cars are covered in paint and contain glass windows (in case you didn’t know!) so you only need low pressure. An electric pressure washer such as the Karcher K2 Full Control is ideal with 110 bar pressure.
Petrol or diesel pressure washers are aimed at the commercial market and their spray can be too powerful to use on cars as water stains or paint damage can occur.
Inspect The Paint
Before you pressure wash your car inspect the paint work and ensure that you know where the paint is damaged by such things as stone chips. When pressure washing paint defects water can get underneath the surrounding paint and lift of a large section of paint.
Point That Gun Away
The initial blast from a pressure washer once you press the trigger is very powerful and can exceed the stated blast pressure which the manufacturer has supplied. For this reason you should never point the lance at the car when you first squeeze the trigger.
On that note you should also wear proper footwear so that if the lance accidentally points at your feet while power washing you won’t end up in A&E!
Also never place the tip of the pressure washer against the side of the car as this could cause serious damage to the cars paint and panels which could be costly to repair.
Nozzles and Detergent
Make sure that your pressure washer can use detergent as using a detergent will make your car cleaner and shinier than if you clean the car without detergent.
Also if your pressure washer can use detergent make sure that you buy the right detergent for your pressure washer so that you don’t damage the machine. For example use a Karcher detergent with Karcher pressure washers etc.
When buying your pressure washer check that there are several different types of nozzles or sprays available. You will want a soft water spray for detergent application and a stronger water stream for rinsing.
How To Pressure Wash Your Car or Truck
Here are the basic steps of how to pressure wash your car or truck.
- Spray the car with plain water from about 3 feet away with a 25° or 40° nozzle
- Next apply detergent from the bottom up in broad even strokes
- Leave the detergent for 5 minutes. Never leave detergent on the car for more than 10 minutes and never leave the detergent dry completely
- For any really dirty areas you can take a soft car brush and scrub these areas. Clean the car body parts first and the wheels last as you don’t want to pick up any dirt or sand from the wheels that can damage the paint work
- Remove the detergent from the water flow
- Finally rinse the detergent from the car at a distance of 3 feet and an angle of 25° from the top of the car down
Wash Car on Solid Surface
Make sure that you wash your car on a solid surface such as a concrete driveway.
If you pressure wash your car on a soft surface such as grass you will only end up with a mud bath. Similarly washing your car with a pressure washer on gravel isn’t a good idea because you could also end up with a mud bath plus the gravel may fly up, after being inadvertently hit with a high power water stream, and damage your car.
Wheels and Long Hose
If your pressure washer has wheels it makes the washer easier to shift into different positions. Pressure washers without wheels constantly have to be picked up.
A long hose also makes it easy to move around the car without moving the pressure washer too much.
Hose extensions can easily be purchased from online shops such as Amazon.
Don’t Open The Hood
The engine is a very delicate part of your car which is expensive to repair. Many engine parts can easily get damaged if you were to clean them with a high powered pressure washer. For this reason it is best to keep the hood closed when pressure washing your car.
Wear Proper Clothing
As always when pressure washing you should wear proper clothing to ensure that you remain dry. Protect your feet by wearing steel cap boots and protect your eyes by wearing goggles.
The bottom of the car is often the dirtiest place and most hard to reach area for obvious reasons. A great little tip is to buy an angled extension lance as this will allow you the extra angle needed to clean the bottom of the car properly without breaking your back!
Close The Windows
Ensure that the car windows are all closed. Check twice to be sure as a wet interior is not very nice and can lead to a damp smell, mould or a total car replacement!
Also never pressure hose inside the boot of the car.
When pressure hosing your car you should never directly spray the panel joints for too long as these areas are where leaks can occur. In fact it is good practise after pressure washing your car to check the interior for any leaks as this could indicate worn and leaking seals.
Never pressure wash old tyres with a very powerful spray as it has been know for old tyres to explode.
3 Best Pressure Washers For Cars
The Karcher K2 Compact is one of the cheapest pressure washers on the market however the unit is great as you can mix and match which accessories that you would like to purchase with it. Options include the car cleaning kit or brush and detergent etc.
Operating with 1400w and 110 bar pressure the Karcher K2 Compact is not too powerful so that it will damage your car or truck.
Nilfisk is a great pressure washer brand and the C110 4-5 X-tra Pressure Washer is ideal for cleaning your car. As with the Karcher K2 pressure washer above you can pick and mix your accessories with the Nilfisk range of pressure washers.
As mentioned in the article you should use low pressure to clean your car and the Nilfisk C110 operates at 1400w and 110 bar making it an ideal pressure washer to wash your car with.
All the pressure washers listed here, including the Draper 31562 pressure washer, were included in our 5 best pressure washers for under £100 post. This just goes to show that you don’t have to spend much money in order to buy a quality product for your exact needs.
The Draper brand is not as well-known as the Karcher or Nilfisk brands however since the 31562 has a 92% satisfaction rate from well over 500 reviews on Amazon you can be assured that you are buying a quality product.
How to Pressure Wash Your Car Video
Check out this great Karcher video which shows you how to pressure wash your car.
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