Pressure Washing vs. Traditional Car Wash: Which is Better?

Thoroughly washing your vehicle at least once per month is a duty for every car owner, and there are a few good reasons behind it. Of course, washing the car will drastically improve its appearance. However, the real benefit is prolonging the lifespan of the car’s body. 

Regular washing prevents rust, protects it from scratches, and removes dull paint, which is crucial for preserving its health and resale value. Furthermore, clean mirrors and headlights are a huge part of staying safe on the road.

There are numerous ways of cleaning your car, but the two methods that stick out are pressure washing it yourself or going to a traditional car wash. In the following words, we’ll compare the two and determine if there’s a clear winner between these methods.

Should you pressure wash your car?

A pressure washer can be used on various surfaces, and the car’s exterior is undoubtedly one of them. 

However, many pressure washer users are skeptical regarding pressure washing their car due to the fear of damaging its exterior. That fear is justified, as when you don’t handle it properly, a pressure washer can damage the paint. This happens when you use too strong of a model and/or a nozzle that isn’t fitting for the job.

To avoid damaging the surface, you should use a pressure washer with 1,300 to 1,700 PSI. With that range, you’ll get a thorough clean while not causing any damage to the surface. Furthermore, you should attach the proper nozzle – the 40° nozzle is ideal for washing your car.

Of course, when you decide to apply soap, you should switch to the 65° nozzle, and after applying it, switch back to the 40° one.

When everything is done correctly, pressure washing a car is completely safe.

Should you use a car wash?

A car wash is a quick and convenient way of cleaning your vehicle. It will usually take less than ten minutes to complete the cleaning, and you can sit back and relax while it does the job. In addition, the standard exterior wash is pretty cheap.

But, certain risks come with using a car wash. Firstly, a standard car wash’s brushes are abrasive, which will inevitably scratch the paint. The soft cloth was believed to be a better alternative, but it can easily cause scratches as well.

The second thing that can make you question the efficiency of a car wash is the brush’s cleanliness. As dozens of cars go through it on a daily basis, there’s a high chance that some of the dirt from the previous cars will end up on yours. 

Another thing to keep in mind is water spots that can appear after the car is cleaned. This is because the unfiltered water from the carwash is saturated with minerals that embed themselves in the paint, making it very difficult to clean afterward. Additionally, apart from aesthetics, these spots can damage the car’s paint.

Overall, the car wash does provide convenience, but there are a few “side effects” that you must be aware of.

Is pressure washing a car better than a car wash?

Pressure washing a car requires more effort and time, but you are in complete control over how thorough the cleaning is, which chemicals you use, and ensure that you don’t damage the car. That makes it a much better option than a traditional car wash.

A car wash is a true time-saver. It’s cheap, simple, and requires no effort, which may be exactly what you are looking for. But the benefits don’t outweigh the risks, as, at some point, scratches and watermarks will appear on the car’s surface, which leads to long-term issues.

Furthermore, car washes rarely clean their equipment and can use harmful chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid, which can also damage the car’s body if not rinsed immediately.

With a pressure washer, adjust the pressure, attach the correct nozzle, use a designated soap for cars, and you’ll always get flawless results.

In conclusion

If you are choosing between a car wash and a pressure washer, you should always go with the other option. But, naturally, you’ll sometimes be in a rush and have no other option but to take your car to the car wash. 

In every other scenario, pressure washing is a much better choice. Although it takes more effort, it is much safer for your vehicle and will preserve its resale value and prolong its lifespan.

Steven Hatman
Steven Hatman

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