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What are the benefits of a pressure washer?

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Looking at a lot of car washing / detailing vids seems as if everyone is using pressure washers for cleaning their car.

Is the pressure washer used to blast the dirt off the car or just to make rinsing the car quicker or any other benefit from using the pressure washer?

I'm asking as I currently live in a 3 floor flat with no access to mains water / water butt.  I currently have a battery powered pressure washer getting water from a 10 litre can, it gives about the same pressure as normal mains hose.  While the pressure matches the mains hose the flow rate is not great so stills takes me ages just to rinse the shampoo off.  Its basically a real pain to wash the car and I mostly end up going to the local hand car wash.  While the job is good for the money, I'd prefer to do it my self with better products and more care to avoid rubbing the dirt in and causing more swirl marks.

This is similar to what I have: Current pressure washer

I'm thinking of investing in a Worx Hydroshot basically a super charged version of what I currently have and gives a power of up to 22 bar which while still well below an entry level mains powered pressure washer it is a lot better than what I have now.  They occasionally drop down to ~£120 with battery and accessories or ~£100 for the base unit only.  Worx Hydroshot link

But before I go for the Worx Hydroshot is there any real benefit over the system I currently have?  Will the 22 bar make much difference?  Should I just invest in a mains powered system and wash car at the parents house more often?

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I'd never use one again on a Lotus. Or go to a "hand" car wash that uses them.

The quickest way to turn a minor stone chip into an even more unsightly mess as it will lift away the clear coat unless you are really careful. 

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I also never wash any car I like with a pressure washer. Apart from the real risk of damage, they dont get the car clean - it needs direct contact for that.

Pressure washer great for cleaning paths, rejuvenating garden furniture, washing dog (jk) but not cars.

Invest in a good bucket with grit guard and if you are feeling really picky, buy 2 - one to load the sponge/mitt, the other to rinse, such is the danger of grit.

Image result for car washing bucket with grit guard

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Yes, pressure washers make a massive difference, lifting dirt is what they are designed for, but as mentioned in the wrong hands they cause damage.

There is always a risk that a pressure washer will get under an imperfection and lift it. For that reason I'd never use the patio cleaning lance like my neighbour, but just be careful, regulate distance. As with all tools, if there is a tool using it it can do more harm than good. A drill can ruin a wall if used wrong, I wouldn't say drills should never be used.

As for the battery operated PW, I've never found any that are any good and generally won't lift dirt off a mountain bike (tried the worx on my bike this weekend) - personally I wouldn't waste my money

Evora paint is reasonably robust but has a very soft clear coat, making marring and swirling inevitable without a way to lift the dirt.

To avoid swirling you need to find a way to lift the dirt and then remove it. You can do this with a waterless wash and plenty of clean well lubricated microfibres in the summer, and where you can use hose or your existing pressure washer with two buckets.

In the winter I would use the pressure washer at a garage (just the lance). Use a snow foamer like this: https://www.elitecarcare.co.uk/product/valetpro-foam-blaster-mini-sprayer-1-5-litre/ while you queue up, get it soaking the dirt. Then use the lance to blast all loose dirt clear, it won't clean it but will knock of most of the grit that will cause damage. When home, use two bucket method and rinse.

Never go to a hand car wash, most will use a brick acid soak  as a TFR, and then drag grit over a car with the same water and spins they have been using all day

To add I am saying pressure washer for pre clean, and then a proper wash. A pressure wash alone is not a wash 😀, but essential to remove loose dirt. If you can't use a pressure washer it's a moot point.

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7 minutes ago, slewthy said:

 

Invest in a good bucket with grit guard and if you are feeling really picky, buy 2 - one to load the sponge/mitt, the other to rinse, such is the danger of grit.

 

Just to add 100% agree with that, I would count 2 buckets as essential, 3 better (3rd for wheels). 2 buckets will make the biggest difference to preserving you paint by preventing contamination and dragging grit all over your car after the first panel

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Looking at the Hydroshoot this will not replace a pressure washer.  But it will help with rinsing and maybe worth the investment for that.

To comment to the above comment that pressure washers will lift stone chips -  Its true pressure washers can lift compromised clear coat.  However its happens due to poor use of the pressure washer.  If used correctly a pressure washer is not going to cause damage and is why all professional will use one. Pressure washers are the best way to clean your car as they help rinse the heavy grim off before contact with a wash mitt or sponge.  A hose or Hyroshoot is not going to help rinse grim off but are good tools to remove the detergents. 

 

If in your case your can't wash with a pressure washer there are methods for washing your car. I have been playing with different methods myself and this is the best system I have found to date. 

Pre spray your vehicle with a snow foam.  You can use a product like this to apply.  https://www.elitecarcare.co.uk/product/kwazar-venus-2-litre-foamer-pressure-sprayer/

The dirt is then lubricated and loosening from the paint surface. You can then wash your car.  If the car is very muddy don't use a wash mitt (wash mitts can matt up with dirt very quickly sponges are much easier to keep clean). Use a good quality sponge https://www.elitecarcare.co.uk/product/valet-pro-safe-car-wash-sponge/  like this(photo is out of date).  Its important to keep rinsing the sponge to keep it clean.  

Your hydro shoot will then make rinsing down much quicker and easier.  Should be prepared ready to rinse down.  Your can then dry and quick detail your car or use your preferred wax.  

 

I prefer using a pressure washer but this system does work well for me.

Just to add the grit guard Buckets are very important and you should invest in one.

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I used to run a petrol station that had a carwash, that had 2 main options, standard wash with brushes, or "touchless". Even the engineers from the firm that supplied & maintained it said "touchless" was a waste of time.

The chemicals are designed to loosen the dirt/ grease which is them carried away by the water, but the chemicals aren't really very effective even when they use the good stuff (which is so strong that it causes skin to crack on short-term contact). So, if at home you're using less harsh chemicals, chances are it will be even less effective at lifting the dirt in a "touchless" situation. I'd say do as Greg says, buckets and take using good old fashioned contact methods with modern chemicals

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@MrP_ I'm also a fellow mountain biker.  Main use of a battery washer is for the bikes and also found out about the Hydroshot from STW forum.  I find it pretty good at cleaning the bikes but you have to use a brush to loosen the mud, just standing and blasting with water doesn't work.  Soak, brush, rinse and the bikes should come up pretty clean.

Thanks all for the input, its been very helpful, much appreciated.  I'm already using two buckets and a grit guard.  Sounds like the Hydroshot will make rinsing quicker but won't necessarily give better results just quicker results.  I'll hold out till its on offer again before buying.

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Personally, I like my everyday cars dirty - X3, i3s

But I like my classics nice and clean - Esprit S3; Citroen DS23

And yes. All my cars have to have the number '3' in their name.

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