A pressure washer is a great tool to help to wash your car or truck quickly and efficiently and is a lot faster than by hand. However, without care and caution you can end up causing more damage than good! We will walk you through the steps to make sure your car comes away shining as bright as they day it was purchased, well close at least.

Where to start

First of all, think about where you are going to do your cleaning. Check the surface that you are on, you want a hard surface that is clear of any loose materials. Do not use a pressure washer on a gravel or dirt surface as stones will fly up and damage your car. At the very least they will just make it dirty again.

Check the area around your car. If you have plants or ornaments take care to move them to a safe location or note not to spray in that direction. As we will be using detergent make sure that you have suitable drainage nearby.

Being safe with a pressure washer

Before you even get your pressure washer out of the workshop or garage it is important to think about safety. Boots should be worn that cover your toes to stop accidentally spray your feet. Eye protection is a good idea to stop any spray from affecting your vision. Overalls are great to keep your clothes dry, especially if washing during the winter.

Make sure you have your hose laid out, fuel and detergent ready. Now we are ready to start up our pressure washer.

Features for a good car cleaning pressure washer

When choosing your pressure washer make sure that it has an adjustable pressure option. We want to make sure that we don’t turn up the pressure too much as it can damage your car paint. We also want a pressure washer that has various nozzles for different operations such as applying soap.

A washer that comes with wheels is great addition. It helps you to be able to easily move from your garage when needed. Also, make sure you have a long enough hose that allows you to fully maneuver around your truck. If you find your hose is too short hose consider a hose extension.

Pressure washer car cleaning tips

After turning on your pressure washer and connecting your hose pick a wide spray nozzle. Use a low-pressure setting and give the vehicle a thorough rinse. This helps to get rid of any looser grit or dirt. We suggest a pressure no higher than 2000 PSI to make sure you don’t cause any damage. Start at the front of your vehicle and work your way to the rear. Control the water by moving your wand gently from side to side.

Detergent is key

Next, add your detergent to your pressure washer. Depending on your pressure washer this may be in a special compartment on the machine or at the wand. Don’t forget to switch your nozzle to the detergent nozzle which helps to aerate the liquid and foam the soap. We also need to adjust the pressure a bit lower, if your pressure washer has a soap setting then switch it across now. 

Once again with a gentle sweeping motion starting from the front cover the whole vehicle with a layer of detergent. After adding the cleaner across the car let it settle for 3 to 5 mins but make sure not to let it dry. In the meantime, grab a brush to loosen up the dirt in any of the tougher areas, such as behind the wheel arch. Make sure not to use the same brush for the wheels as the body work otherwise you might scratch the bodywork from a piece of grit.

Now switch your nozzle again to a wider setting at 2000 PSI and rinse off your detergent. Use the wand to reach hard to access areas such as on top of the roof. To get a great finish let the water drain off and begin to dry in the sun. Use a microfiber cloth to remove what is left behind and polish out any watermarks.

What not to do when cleaning a vehicle

Never pressure washer the engine bay as there are lots of places you can easily damage. Make sure to keep the nozzle a safe distance from the car to allow for a wide-angle of spray and not damage the paintwork. Keep your pressure levels low, no more than 2000 PSI is needed. And always use the correct detergent for your application.

Overall pressure washers are great for cleaning cars and other vehicles as they use less water and can help speed up the job. One last tip – don’t forget to empty your soap from your pressure washer once you have finished.

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