Pressure Wash a Car
Automobile Maintenance

Is It Safe to Pressure Wash a Car?

We all want the best-looking, squeaky-clean vehicle that turns heads wherever it goes. But, the optimal way to accomplish this still strikes controversy amongst vehicle aficionados.

Should we opt for the manual handwash treatment or the traditional automatic carwash?

How about a pressure wash?

It sounds like a good idea, but we must first know what to expect, otherwise, we may end up damaging our vehicles. 

Keep reading and learn what to look out for when we pressure wash a car!

The Pressure’s On

The single most important factor to consider when pressure washing cars remains the pressure itself. We consider a pressure washer a more powerful hose that can clean objects generating up to 3,000 pounds per square inch (PSI).

That said, the optimal pressure range for cleaning cars lies between 1,200 and 1,900 PSI. For context, our homes produce approximately 80 PSI. 

Simply put, too much pressure results in damage to the car, while too little leaves behind a lackluster wash job.

Pressure Wash a Car With the Right Nozzle

We can choose from 5 different nozzle kinds. They include:

  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Green
  • White
  • Black

Nozzles determine how much water ejects out from the hose (either a narrow or broad opening), plus the angle at which it ejects. Generally, we use green, white, and/or black to wash cars. These nozzles spray water out at 15-, 40-, and 65- degrees, respectively. 

Ready, Set, Aim

We have our pressure washer, the set pressure, and nozzle. Now, we must consider its aim and distance. 

Think about it: we already have a cleaning device several times more pressurized, several times more powerful than what our house or garden hose can produce. Thus, we risk breaking off plastic trims, emblems, and stickers if we stand too close at that same high pressure. 

Gas vs. Electric Pressure Washer Showdown  

Generally, an electric pressure washer suffices. Gas pressure washers, on the other hand, yield up to  5,000 PSI. We typically use them to clean larger spaces, like driveways. They come in larger models, as a result.

Conversely, electric pressure washers come in smaller models. This makes it easier to transport and manage overall. 

Either way, pressure washers save us time cleaning. 

What To Look Out For 

Using a pressure washer can become dangerous if we use an inappropriate nozzle or pressure quantity. An older or used car might fall apart or sustain damage under high pressure. 

Fortunately, people like car detailers at can assist us with professional cleaning.

We can also avoid spending excess money on expensive pressure washers.

Is it Worth it?

Overall, pressure washing cars comes with its benefits and risks. We must properly research and assess our situation beforehand.

After all, we want to invest in our vehicular future when we pressure wash a car while staying safe and saving money (when/if possible).

Read further on pressure washers, cars, and more in the related articles!