Can You Wash a Car with a Pressure Washer?


Pressure washers are incredibly efficient and powerful tools that you can use to quickly clean large surfaces on your property ranging from your driveway to your patio, depending on the material. Because of the nature of pressure washers, it is important to remember that there are some surfaces to be careful with.

Is it Ok to wash my car with a pressure washer?

Stick to a standard garden hose when cleaning your car. Some people will clean their cars with pressure washers, but there is some threat that you will end up doing damage to the car. In fact, there are numerous ways that a pressure washer can damage your car.

The Problem with Pressure Washers and Cars

It can generally go without saying that cars are built to be durable. Most people expect their brand-new cars to last them for about a decade at a time before it becomes too much to repair them for the amount that the car is worth. Because of this, one would expect that it is fairly hard to damage the surface of a car from pressure alone. However, there are a few things to be noted about pressure washers.

Pressure washers exert a very high amount of pressure over a very small surface area. This concentration of the pressure becomes the problem, rather than the pressure itself. If the pressure from even the lightest setting on a pressure washer were able to cover a wider swath, it might actually be better to clean your car with that. Unfortunately, pressure washers do not work this way, meaning that you should avoid using the pressure washer on your car.

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Pressure washers can easily nick the paint of the car

In addition to this, the pressure from pressure washers can easily nick the paint of the car, potentially even damaging and removing it. Even if you do not care that much about the stylistic aspect of patches of removed paint, your car’s paint does more than alter its appearance. A car’s paint is designed to protect the body and frame of the car from outside elements, so when that metal underneath is exposed, there is the potential for rust to form.

When rust forms inside of the frame, you are going to be in for thousands and thousands of dollars worth of repairs, and that will be if you find the problem before it is too late for your car. There is really no way to guarantee that a pressure washer, on any pressure setting, will not damage the paint of your car. Because of this, this is another reason why you should avoid using the pressure washer around the car.

Pressure washing a car is also risky by the glass

Finally, there is the problem of the glass on your car. Again, all parts of a car are designed to be durable, but there are different types of damage that your car can sustain, and high pressure in localized areas is not one of those damages that cars are specifically built to resist. If you point the pressure washer toward your car windows or mirrors, you will be in for a long day of picking up broken glass from the car’s floor.

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It is not worth saving half an hour by using the pressure washer to get your car clean. Instead, there are quite a few other ways that you can consider cleaning your car, with some of these methods leaving your car looking as if it was fresh from the factory itself.

Related questions to cleaning a car with a pressure washer

How Should You Clean a Car?

How you should clean your car is going to depend on what is on the car and what needs to be moved away from it. For most standard situations where you have a car that is covered in dust and dirt, simply using the garden hose and a soap-filled sponge will get the job done without a hassle. If the problem in question is a bit more resilient, it might be worth shelling out the money for an automatic car wash, where the materials there have been specially designed to work with a car’s crucial build.

What About on the Roof of the Car?

Some people might think that because the roof of the car is the top of the car, and because many people will store luggage on that cartop during long trips, it means that the roof of your car is pressure washable. However, this is the opposite of the case, as the roof is notoriously one of the easiest parts of a car to dent.

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What Should You Do If You Decide to Use a Pressure Washer?

Many people will still opt to use their pressure washers on their cars, simply because it can save time and energy despite the inherent risks. If you choose to do this, the most important thing that you will need to remember is to use one of the lowest pressures that you can get away with using. You should avoid cleaning the glass or mirrors on your car entirely with the pressure washer, as glass is not designed to stand up to that kind of effect.

Can you wash a car with a pressure washer?

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