Will pressure washing your car damage the paint?

There are plenty of misconceptions about pressure washers damaging your car’s paint. If you think about it, concentrating a jet of water on your car’s paint may seem too much just to get some grime off. You’ll hear arguments about the minute particles of grit scratching the paint before they’re driven of by the high pressure water jet. Anecdotal evidence suggests experience to the contrary, specially if you hit the offending spot at a shallow angle.

A pressure washer works great in getting caked mud, hardened lubricants, and other road grime from a vehicle’s body. It also works great for cleaning under fenders, greasy door jambs, and behind bumpers. But be careful and use common sense. If you blast on a plastic trim, it may fly off, possibly breaking a retaining pin. Or just a part may break off, in which case you’ve incurred some extra expense. And sometimes, sticky road tar doesn’t come off even with a high pressure water jet. You’ll need to use some elbow grease, a rag and kerosene to rub it off. So, to the question of whether a pressure washer will damage car paint, the answer is generally no.

A consideration in using a pressure washer on a car is its age. When you have flaking paint or rust spots, hitting the exterior with a pressure washer will most likely flake the paint off, or blow a hole into the rusted portion of the car body. Definitely not a good thing. With an adjustable pressure washer, like professional washers use, you could lower the pressure to the minimum setting in such cases, but the risk is still there.

Enthusiasts who own a vintage or show quality car will cringe at using a pressure washer to clean a pristine paint job. But these people are a minority compared to the majority of vehicle owners who will save time and find it more convenient to use a pressure washer.

It’s worth noting that a pressure washer uses more water when you use it to wash a car. Plus it uses electricity which would not be used if you were using a plain garden hose.

Contact Local Pressure Washing in Vancouver BC for more information.