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  1. #1
    Super Member Mc'lovin's Avatar
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    advice on how to safely wash your car using a pressure washer

    Hi all,

    I'm a noob detailer (started getting into the field only a couple of months ago and have read tonns of information since), and I need your advice regarding washing a car with a pressure washer.

    Until now I have used the following washing method: Sparying each panel liberally with ONR first to soften the dirt, then using the two bucket method with Grit-Guard in each bucket (First bucket contains Meguiar's gold class car wash and the second contains fresh water).

    I recently got a pressure washer (1450 psi) and I do want to use it to wash the car, however I am a little afraid that using it on a dry car will cause the dirt splattering off the surface to mar the paint.

    What I thought to do is this: 1) Spray ONR on each panel. 2) pressure wash that panel. 3) wash the panel using the two bucket method.

    Could I please have your thoughts on the above? Would you pass on the pressure washer?

    Thank you!!

  2. #2
    Super Member BobbyG's Avatar
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    Re: advice on how to safely wash your car using a pressure washer

    To Autogeek Online.

    Using a pressure washer to wash each panel prior to performing a general bucket wash is a bit of over-kill. I would feel safe to say that better than 95% of car owners that wash their car or truck do not use a pressure washer.

    Do I have a pressure washer? Yes, but I use it only when I need to and never for general washing.

    Wetting down the car with ordinary water will soften dirt and debris "almost" as good as Optimum No Rinse so you can save this and use it when rinsing isn't an option..

    BobbyG - 2004 Millennium Yellow Z06 Corvette

  3. #3
    Super Member Mc'lovin's Avatar
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    Re: advice on how to safely wash your car using a pressure washer

    Hi Bobby, thank you for the quick reply.
    A few questions if you don't mind:

    1) Will using the pressure washer after washing the car to remove the car shampoo be OK? It's a long story, but I do need the pressure washer in order to control the water flow, or else there is a long way for me to walk from the car to the hose's faucet.

    2) In which situations do you have to use the pressure washer?

    Thanks again

  4. #4
    Super Member BobbyG's Avatar
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    Re: advice on how to safely wash your car using a pressure washer

    Quote Originally Posted by Mc'lovin View Post

    1) Will using the pressure washer after washing the car to remove the car shampoo be OK? It's a long story, but I do need the pressure washer in order to control the water flow, or else there is a long way for me to walk from the car to the hose's faucet.

    2) In which situations do you have to use the pressure washer?

    Thanks again

    1. Yes, you can use it but use a low pressure nozzle. This will allow for a thorough rinsing and save on water.
    2. After compounding and polishing, wheels, fender wells, heavy caked on dirt and debris etc.

    BobbyG - 2004 Millennium Yellow Z06 Corvette

  5. #5
    Super Member Mc'lovin's Avatar
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    Re: advice on how to safely wash your car using a pressure washer

    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
    1. Yes, you can use it but use a low pressure nozzle. This will allow for a thorough rinsing and save on water.
    Will 1450 psi be low enough?

  6. #6
    Super Member BobbyG's Avatar
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    Re: advice on how to safely wash your car using a pressure washer

    Quote Originally Posted by Mc'lovin View Post
    Will 1450 psi be low enough?
    Sure, my pressure washer puts out 2600psi and I've never had a problem....

    BobbyG - 2004 Millennium Yellow Z06 Corvette

  7. #7
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    Re: advice on how to safely wash your car using a pressure washer

    buy a foam lance
    Glen
    21 BMW X2 M35i

    (old and highly opinionated)

  8. #8
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    Re: advice on how to safely wash your car using a pressure washer

    Quote Originally Posted by glen e View Post
    buy a foam lance
    This is what I'm going to be doing. I have a foam lance and Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow foam ordered, can't wait to get them and try it out.

    Though something tells me BobbyG already has experience with foam lances. Pros/Cons?

  9. #9
    Super Member tuscarora dave's Avatar
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    Re: advice on how to safely wash your car using a pressure washer

    I use a pressure washer all the time. Here are a few warnings/suggestions that I have.

    warnings:

    Pressure washers and stone chips:

    When pressure washing a vehicle, be very much aware of any paint defects such as stone chips and or deep scratches that go deeply into the paint's film build. I learned through experience that pressure washing cars with paint defects such as these can be a recipe for disaster. The pressurized water can hit the edge of a paint defect such as a stone chip or a scratch and get underneath the paint and lift off a large section of the car's paint. This lesson in my case cost me about $400 out of pocket and may or may not have effected the word of mouth for my business. I immediately without haggling, made an appointment to have the panel repainted so the word of mouth shouldn't have been too bad.

    Pressure washer unloaders: Pressure washers have a device called an unloader that when the trigger is squeezed, releases an initial blast of pressurized water that can and often does exceed the rated pressure of the washer. You should always point the pressure washer wand away from the vehicle when you initially squeeze the trigger as the initial blast of water can blast the paint right off of the vehicle or even crack tail light or headlight lenses.

    Never place the tip of a pressure washer wand directly against the paint to try and remove bug carcases or tar/sap deposits. This is a sure fire way of leaving yourself vulnerable to taking a trip to the paint shop. Use a clay bar to remove such deposits.

    I know that you are just using a 1450 PSI unit but other readers of this thread might be using something more powerful and benefit from the content of this thread.

    Suggestions/things I do:

    When washing with a pressure washer the first thing that I do is to spray down the entire car from about 3 feet away just to wet it from roof to wheels,wells and tires. This begins the softening/loosening of any caked on dirt/grit. Next I clean the wheels and tires and pressure rinse them then if any pre treatments are to be used to remove bugs or tar I apply that and spray down the wells with cleaner before pressure rinsing the rest of the grit and dirt from the entire vehicle. I try to keep the tip of the wand about 12 inches from the paint. Next is the bucket washing and other stuff.

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  11. #10
    Super Member loudog2's Avatar
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    Re: advice on how to safely wash your car using a pressure washer

    I have a preesure washer like Bobby, I think the same one(troybuilt honda engine). I use it with the gently auto tip. Not for every wash, but mostly after polishing to remove residue and dust from cracks/gaps. It does help with claying too by removing more stuck on particles before you start.

    Using it every time if you need to will not hurt if you use the right tip. And of course, don't put it a inch from the paint.

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