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Pressure washing your vehicle

Many people like to use a pressure washer to clean their vehicle. In the long wrong, purchasing a pressure washer for car cleaning can save you money (depending on how often you wash your car).

Not only are pressure washers good for cleaning vehicles, but cleaning garages and driveways as well. If you’re anything like me, once you start washing, you’ll find you can’t stop. There’s something appealing about seeing years of dirt and grime getting washed away.

Ok, back to washing your vehicle. This should be done at least every few weeks. Washing your vehicle often can help protect it from wear and tear from the weather and other elements such as, sun exposure, acid rain, cold, salty air, and road salt. Most importantly, do not forget to pressure wash your vehicle in the winter months. Road salt can cause great damage if left on your vehicle. Pressure washers work great for getting to the hard to reach places underneath your vehicle’s engine and chassis.

An important thing to remember when using a pressure washer, is depending on the strength of your washer, it may damage the paint if you get too close. Make sure you know what settings to use and are familiar with the amount of pressure your washer provides. It is a good idea to practice with the trigger and get comfortable using your washer before you start in on your vehicle. Also, for added control, it is always a good idea to use both hands when spraying.

Soaps to use when pressure washing your vehicle

Do not use laundry soap or dishwater detergent on your vehicle. The use of improper soaps can dull or even ruin your car or trucks finish. Only use soap or detergents made specifically for vehicles or that you are sure are safe to use on automotive paint.

Be Careful when power washing!


Always use caution when using a pressure or power washer. The amount of force coming out of the end of the washer can seriously injure someone. The pressure can be so high that it has even been known to cut or lacerate the skin. So never point the nozzle towards someone.

With the large SUV’s these days, I see people all the time standing on ladders to wash the top of their vehicles. This isn’t the safest way of doing this, especially when holding a power washer. The force coming out of the washer can cause you to become off balance and fall off the ladder.

Getting the most from power washing with small areas


Once you’re ready to start washing, start on a small area to get the feel of how it’s working. And again, make sure you’re using cleaning solutions that are approved for powerwashers. The optimal distance for spraying is approx. 4 feet away. If you need more pressure to get rid of some dead bugs or dirt, go ahead and move closer but pay attention to what you are doing, you don’t want to damage the paint. Most generally, an angle of around 30 degrees works the best.

Personally, I always start on the bottom of the car first. Underneath to get all the big stuff before moving to the top. Working in little areas as I go to get the best clean possible. I sort of pretend like I’m spray painting my car with each section overlapping the previous one a little bit.

Pressure washing can be fun and used for all sorts of things. Like I mentioned earlier, once you get started it is hard to stop. Once I startup my pressure washer, I often find myself walking around trying to see what else I can wash!

Comments on this entry are closed.

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  • Rob April 26, 2010, 12:19 pm