WHAT PRESSURE WASHER NOZZLE IS SAFE FOR YOUR CAR? – Have you ever been irked to the point of wanting to use a pressure washer on your car? We are quite familiar with what they do at public car wash centers as well as the tools they use. Well, at least we think we do. What we don’t know, however, is the measures they have put in place to ensure that you only return home with a sparkling neat car and not more. So, naturally, we feel like if they can, why can’t we? Little did we know that using a pressure washer on cars has more to it than meets the eye.
A pressure washer may do the work faster but it is not guaranteed to do the work better. Handling a pressure washer requires certain skills and pre-knowledge to use it effectively. Nevertheless, if pressure-washing your car will give you 100% satisfaction and make you sleep better at night, how about getting the required information on the appropriate pressure washer nozzle for your car? Only then can you be sure that you are good to go.
What is a Pressure Washer?
As the name implies, a pressure washer is a mechanical cleaning device, characterized by its high pressure and ability to remove dirt and stains from various surfaces such as cars, buildings, and other concrete surfaces.
The ease with which a pressure washer removes stubborn stains is incomparable to none and that is why it is also referred to as power washer. Its mechanism of action can be likened to that of a sprayer, but with more force and higher efficiency.
Before buying a pressure washer, it is necessary to take certain things into consideration such as the surface you want to use it on, the expected pressure range for such surface, the appropriate pressure washer nozzle, and more importantly, an adequate source of water supply.
It is important to note that an inadequate supply of water to the power washer can lead to its damage. This is the main reason why most public car wash centers are located where there’s enough supply of water. It would also do you a lot of good to know that using the wrong pressure nozzle for a particular surface could lead to the destruction of parts of or the whole surface. Thus, if you are doing this, then you must be sure of what you are doing.
A pressure washer consists of 4 major components; the motor, the water pump, the high-pressure hose, and the water inlet. Each part has its own characteristic function without which the pressure washer wouldn’t function.
The motor type could be electric, internal combustion, or hydraulic. While some pressure washers make use of electric motors, others run on gasoline. The motor powers the water pump with a power range of 3 to 5 kilowatts.
The water pump is basically what the pressure washer is all and on about. It is powered by a motor and is responsible for pumping water from a faucet and squirting it out under high pressure. A typical water pump has a water capacity of about 4 to 8 liters.
The high-pressure hose isn’t your regular type of hose. It has been designed to fit its job with the help of its wire mesh and multiple layers of high-density plastic. The pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (psi) and it is of utmost importance to use a hose with a higher-pressure rating than that of your pressure washer. A typical pressure washer hose has a safety margin of about 300%. By implication, a pressure hose rated at 2000 psi should be able to withstand a pressure of about 6000 psi.
The water inlet acts as a middleman between the pressure washer and the main water supply. It is made up of a filter that helps to trap dirt that could pose a threat of blocking and damaging the machine.
Apart from these major components, a pressure washer also comes with a cleaning attachment. This is a tool that comes in two forms: a trigger gun or a rotating brush. You can decide to switch in between these forms, depending on the surface being cleaned. A nozzle is usually attached to the trigger gun and could be described as the last stop before water is finally released from the device.
There are different types of nozzles, each with its own characteristic patterns such as the fan pattern which emits water in a triangular plane, or the cone pattern which emits water in spirals.
Pressure or as they are otherwise called, power washers have the ability to spray objects with so much force as 75 times the pressure of a typical garden hose.
Pressure Washer Nozzle for Cars
It’s not such a bad idea to pressure-wash your car, after all, the cleaner, the better. You just need to familiarize yourself with the proper and safest way to go about it.
Before you get on with it, questions such as the appropriate washer nozzle size and the exact amount of pressure that needs to be exerted definitely need answers. A wrong, even in the slightest, could cost you dearly and leave your car susceptible to oxidative damage.
To start with, what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander as in this case. Your car comes with various surfaces, ranging from glass to metallic and even rubber surfaces. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect to use the same pressure on all parts. Knowing when to switch nozzles to fit a particular surface is imperative.
For all painted surfaces and glass exteriors such as the windscreen and body, a 40-degree nozzle is highly recommended. This is due to the fragile nature of these surfaces as the higher the flow rate of the nozzle, the lower the output pressure.
For the tires and wheels, which have a higher tendency of trapping dirt, a 25-degree nozzle is appropriate and safe to use. This is enough to get rid of all forms of debris that might have stuck to those surfaces like leeches stuck to a tank. This implies that it isn’t safe to go below the 25-degree mark for washing your car. A lower degree size could mean an invitation to trouble.
Picking the right nozzle isn’t exactly enough to make your car immune to pressure-wash damages. You also need to know the right amount of pressure to exert. Exerting a higher amount of pressure than required could damage the paint on your car and expose it to risks of rust and consequently, oxidation.
A pressure of 1500 psi is more than enough to ensure deep cleaning. However, if for any reason you have to go higher, it is advisable to never go beyond the 2200 psi mark. Consequently, a pressure range of about 1500 psi – 2000 psi can be considered safe and appropriate. Anything beyond this such as 3000 psi can become damaging to your car.
Best Pressure Washer Tips for Cars
In as much as you are itching to get your hands on a pressure washer and subject your car to a fast and deep cleaning process, a lot of things can still go wrong. Even with the right knowledge of nozzle sizes and pressure range, your car could get damaged faster with the wrong manner of approach. Factors such as proximity go a long way in determining the end result.
While pressure-washing your car, it isn’t necessary to come too close to the painted surface. Being in close proximity with your car wouldn’t necessarily guarantee a better wash or a cleaner surface. Always ensure to keep the pressure nozzle at a 6-inch distance from the paint and a 12-inch distance from the trim. With the appropriate pressure, this is enough distance to give your car a thorough wash, without causing damages.
Also, you may want to leave no stone unturned and be tempted to pressure-wash all nooks and crannies, including already damaged parts. However, applying a pressure of 1500 psi on faded paint is like adding salt to injury. Hand-washing such parts with a mild detergent will be a better solution as applying force on them would only worsen the damage.
No doubt, a pressure washer is an efficient utility tool. While most people find washing their cars a pain in the butt, others just can’t simply find the perfect time for it. With a pressure washer and strict adherence to safety instructions, you get to save time, conserve water and achieve the sparkle you so desire in the least stressful way possible.