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How to Clean your Car with a Pressure Washer

Date: Wed 10th January 2018   |   Author: L Blake

How to clean your Car with a Pressure Washer

Protect your vehicle against grit and debris

There are more reasons to wash your vehicle than just wanting shiny paint. On a day to day basis your car gets covered with all sorts of debris that will damage the surface of your paintwork. This is especially true in winter, because although grit does a great job of improving your grip in winter, the salt is corrosive on your vehicle.

One way that you can protect your vehicle from rust is through regular washing, but if you do it wrong it will leave your paint looking dull and scuffed over time. In this blog we look at how to clean your car with a car pressure washer and how it will help it last longer.

Why a pressure washer?

There are a number of benefits to using a car pressure washer rather than the traditional sponge and hose pipe, including:

  • Reduced risk of scuffing from dirt and debris compared to using just a sponge.
  • Quicker more efficient wash.
  • Remove caked on dirt and stains without breaking a sweat.
  • Allows you to clean alloys, grilles and other hard to get places more effectively without getting your hands dirty.
  • Reduced irritation if you have sensitive skin.

When not to use a pressure washer

Not all pressure washers are meant to be used on vehicle paint. Make sure the one that you’re using is specifically to clean car paint or it could end up doing more damage than good.

Pressure washers come with a range of nozzles and power settings, depending on the brand and model you purchase. Incorrectly using a power washer will damage the paintwork of your vehicle. So read the instructions thoroughly before using the machine and ensure that it sprays at a safe PSI for a car wash, generally around 1200 - 1700 PSI.

You should also note that a power washer should not be used on vintage cars or caravans.

5. Finish with a chamois leather

Finally, to ensure your car doesn’t have a streaky finish use a quality chamois leather (the bigger the better). Ensure you rinse it regularly with a bucket of clean cold water. If it drops on the tarmac, rinse it thoroughly under the tap to remove any debris that will scratch the surface of your car.

From reading this guide you should now be aware of how to clean your car with a pressure washer, alongside the benefits of using a car pressure washer. AutoProtect has plenty more helpful motoring articles on understanding and properly looking after your vehicle.


How to use a power washer

1. Attach your pressure washer to your garden hose

Your garden hose will easily hook onto the car pressure washer. When purchasing a power washer, try to find a model with a long electrical cord. This is to ensure you’re not too close to an electrical main when using the machine.

 2. Choose the appropriate nozzle for your machine

Before using the car pressure washer, make sure you read the instructions that come with the machine. This is because each model and brand may have different specifications and parts. Typically, you will need to attach the 25 or 40 degree nozzle. 

3. It’s time to start pressure washing

When using the car pressure washer, make sure to stand at least four feet away from your vehicle. This is to avoid any accidents to yourself or damage to your vehicle. If your water pressure isn’t strong enough at this distance, you can move closer to the vehicle slowly. Always make sure you follow the manufacturer's guidelines.

4. Next add the soap and rinse

Once you have sprayed your vehicle and removed the harmful debris, add the car shampoo. You can either add soap by hand using a clean sponge or by using a soap tip on your car pressure washer.

If you are using a sponge, you shouldn’t need to scrub your vehicle hard. Simply coat the car in shampoo and rinse with the pressure washer till all soap suds are gone. If you are using a soap tip, ensure you buy the correct car wash concentrate for use with a car pressure washer.