A pressure washer or jet washer is the ultimate addition to any car owner’s cleaning kit. Not only will it make swift work of dirt, it could also add value to your car.
Pressure washers mean more… pressure
There are a couple of good reasons for using a pressure washer. The water pressure you get through a regular hose pipe will be fairly limited, depending on the pressure into your home and how long your hose is. A pressure washer will blast water out at approximately more than 30 times the pressure of a regular hose pipe.
Why is pressure good?
There are two reasons for this. First, you’ll be able to clean your car quicker. That means you’ll be blasting water at it for less time. In turn that means you’ll save water. Second, a jet wash blasts off the tiny specs of dust and dirt stuck to a car’s paintwork. A hose pipe will simply tickle these, maybe move them around a bit but probably leave them on your car.
Why a pressure washer will help your car’s value
When you wash the car, your wash mitt or sponge will pick up the specs of dust and dirt with the shampoo and rub them against your car’s paintwork. Although these foreign bodies are near enough invisible, they’ll still damage your paintwork. Over time this will give a swirling effect over the bodywork.
Won’t a pressure washer damage a car’s paint?
It shouldn’t but don’t stand too close and blast away at one particular area or if there are any defects in the paintwork, it could open them up and peel away some of the paint.
Which parts shouldn’t you pressure wash?
Blasting old tyres that are cracked and at the end of their life could cause them to explode. Don’t pressure wash the panel gaps for too long or guess what? Water could get between them and into your car. Rubber seals are only designed to keep rain and splashed up liquid out; they’re not designed to have high pressure water blasted at them.
Don’t pressure wash the engine either. This could cause costly damage. And obviously don’t jet wash inside the boot.
Things to bear in mind
Unless you want the interior smelling of wet dog, it’s advisable to make sure all the windows are tightly shut. If you can, don’t jet wash your car on a gravel drive in case it flicks small stones against your car’s precious paintwork. And you can’t use the patio attachment on a car: the jets are too strong.
What to look for in a pressure washer
Ideally it’ll have a long hose. The longer it is, the less frequently you’ll have to move the jet washer itself. Think about the length of electrical cable too and where you’re going to plug it in.
When you’re looking at pressure washers, consider if they’ve got variable power settings and how many different nozzles they are supplied with. Do they also have the ability to add car wash shampoo and spray that on? Some need you to have a separate container of this, others have a bottle that attaches to the unit. And of course, if they come with a rotary attachment, you can use it to clean the patio too.
I’ve been writing about cars and motoring for more than 25 years. My career started on a long-departed classic car weekly magazine called AutoClassic. I’ve since pitched up at Autosport, Auto Express, the News of the World, Sunday Times and most recently the Daily Telegraph. When I’m not writing about cars and motoring, I’m probably doing some kind of sport or working in my garden.