Nothing beats the look of a freshly-cleaned car. We’re not talking about running your car through those cheap, automatic car washers. We’re talking about the type of clean you can only get when you take the time to wash your car by hand.
Forget using a hose to wash your car – that takes forever. To get that exceptional clean you crave, you need a power washer.
There’s an art and a science to washing your car or truck with a power washer. We’ll show you how in this in-depth guide.
How to Clean Your Car or Truck with a Power Washer in 2019
When cleaning your car with a power washer, it’s important to choose the right type of pressure washer and the right nozzle. According to Ford service center, “The actual cleaning process doesn’t differ too much from using a hose, but we’ll explain how to get your car as clean as possible.”
The first step is to find the right power washer and nozzle for your vehicle.
How to Choose the Right Power Washer and Nozzle for Your Car
Power washers are powerful tools, so it’s important to choose the right one for your car. Otherwise, you may wind up damaging your paint job or the vehicle itself.
Type, PSI and GPM
The first decision you’ll have to make is whether to buy a gas or electric pressure washer. Electric is the better option because gas units are too powerful for car washing.
If you’re not sure what to look for when buying a pressure washer, here’s a guide on how to choose an electric model of power washer for your car. There are DIY video clips produced on this topic. You can check it out over on YouTube too.Generally speaking, you’ll want a pressure washer with a setting of 1200-1900 PSI and a 1.4-1.6 GPM. This will make it safe to use the unit on your car without worrying about damaging the paint.
Choosing the Right Nozzle
Next, you’ll need to choose the right nozzle for your pressure washer. There are several different sizes of nozzles, but not all of them are suitable for washing your car.
Generally, wider nozzles are better suited for washing the body of a vehicle and sometimes in air duct cleaning because they cover more area and use less pressure. The narrower the nozzle, the more pressure and the less surface area it covers.
There are two nozzles that are suitable for car-washing:
- 25-degree (green): Ideal for removing mud from your car’s body, and for cleaning truck beds and wheels. You might also use this nozzle for pre-wash rinsing.
- 40-degree (white): Ideal for cleaning large areas quickly. Use this nozzle when cleaning the body of your car and for rinsing off detergent.
Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Car or Truck with a Pressure Washer
Washing your car with a pressure washer is quick and easy. We’ll explain how, but if you need a visual guide, this YouTube guide can help.
Find a suitable place to wash your vehicle. Concrete works best. If you wash your car on a gravel driveway, stones may fly up and hit the paintwork.
1. Pre-Wash Rinse
Start with a pre-wash rinse to remove the top layer of dirt and grime. If your pressure washer has a variable jet spray, adjust the spray to 5-8cm wide.
It’s important to note that the initial burst of water that comes through the pressure washer may be too strong for your vehicle. We recommend pointing the nozzle at the ground first to avoid directing that strong initial spray at your car.
The spray should be strong enough to remove dirt, but not so powerful that it removes your paint. Adjust the jet spray to be wider and less powerful when cleaning fragile areas, like the windows and lights.
2. Apply Detergent and Remove Stubborn Dirt
Next, set your pressure washer nozzle to the widest and least powerful setting possible (or you can remove it completely), and coat the car in a layer of detergent.
Let the detergent sit for a minute or two, but don’t let it dry.
To remove stubborn dirt and grease, use an attachable car brush.
3. Rinse with a High-Pressure Setting
When you’re ready to rinse off the detergent, use a slightly higher jet setting. Make sure that you adjust to a weaker setting for rinsing the glass areas and lights.
Finally, spray down the wheels and dry your vehicle. Using a pressure washer to clean your car is quick and easy if you follow the tips above.