When it comes to cleaning your vehicle or patio, when the pressure’s on, the gunk comes off – and a whole a lot easier than with elbow grease alone. If you are often choosing the road less travelled and taking the dirt and grime with you, or if your car is commonly the target of birds flying over, you may want to invest in a pressure washer!
Super Cheap Auto stocks two basic types of pressure washer; electric and 4 stroke petrol engined.
With both, the bigger the motor, the higher the pressure and the more you can clean faster, although you generally get more pressure out of the petrol engine than the electric version.
Both power a pump that forces water through the outlet nozzle. Some petrol-powered models have a brass pump which will give you higher pressure at the nozzle than the alternative aluminium pump. We stock a couple of petrol models; a 2.6 horse power and a 5.5 horse power.
The 2.6 horse power model delivers 1900psi, - that’s pounds per square inch – and uses 6 Litres of water per minute. It comes with 4 nozzles, and a 5m hose. It has an aluminium pump and the throttle control is on the motor. It’s a good, useful unit for the occasional job.
The 5.5 horse power model delivers 2800psi, using 8 Litres of water per minute, comes with 5 nozzles, a 6metre hose, has a brass and aluminium pump and has the throttle control on the handle making it a lot easier to use that extra power.
|What you’ll need|
- Pressure washer and hose
- Rags for cleaning
- Replacement air filters
- Suitable engine oil
|Before you start|
Using a pressure washer is not quite as a simple as point and shoot, but it’s not hard to use once you know how. Preferably, park your car on your lawn or on sandy soil so that any run offs don’t end up in our waterways. Be aware of the surrounding area and stay clear of any hazards or open electrical areas. Connect the pressure washer to the garden hose and turn the tap a half to one full turn, before you start the washer.
|1. Start the pressure washer and test|
If you are starting your pressure for the first time you may need to pull the starter up to 12 times. Test the pressure washer on an inconspicuous part of the vehicle or patio to get used to the feel and pressure of the jet. Ensure that the water is flowing out in a fan rather than one straight point – this is usually adjustable and if you have a variety of nozzles to choose from, you may want to experiment which each of these first, or follow the instruction recommendations.
The force of your water pressure will determine the distance you stand away from the car or patio surface. As a general rule, stand approximately 1-1.5m away from the surface you're washing, put the throttle to ‘slow’ and then move closer and adjust pressure higher if necessary. If you are standing too close, expect some back spray to hit you!
Use continuous overlapping circular movements to avoid leaving streaks where the strokes start and stop. It is best to remove the worst dirt and grime, for cars it’s usually on the wheel rims and tyres, first so that it doesn’t contaminate your hard work later. Then take a top to bottom approach to the car so that you’re not creating twice the work for yourself by dirtying clean surfaces with run offs.
|3. Turn off the pressure washer|
When you stop the pressure washer, turn the petrol motor off before you turn the water off, squeeze the trigger to release the water pressure, and then turn the fuel tap off.
|4. Clean and wipe down|
It’s also a good idea to clean and wipe down the pressure cleaner after use. Just be careful of the hot motor and muffler, best to give it a minute or so before you clean.
|Tips and warnings|
- Holding the pressure washer too close to the surface can damage what you’re cleaning. So when you’re using the black, detergent nozzle, always have the throttle on ‘slow’.
- Check the oil level every time before you use it making sure the unit is fully assembled and on flat, level ground.
- Check the air filter regularly as well and change the oil and the air filter every 50 hours of operation.
- On cars, be wary of vinyl graphics, pin stripes and dealer stickers, as they will be removed if you are standing too close, but don’t worry, it will not harm a normal paint surface.
- Never point the pressure washer at people or animals, you can cause serious injury!