Washing your car by hand is a painstaking job, but it can be made much easier with a pressure washer. While many people are worried about damaging their car's paint with a pressure washer, using one correctly will not cause any damage and can give your car a better wash than can be accomplished by hand. Here are some tips to help you use a pressure pump for washing your car quickly and easily.

Choose the Right Nozzle

The most important thing you can do to minimize the risk of damaging your vehicle with a pressure washer is to choose the right nozzle. Nozzles are set at different angles to alter the pressure of the water. The most common nozzle angles are zero, 15, 25, and 40 degrees, where zero is a perfectly straight nozzle.

If you have only a single nozzle to use, a 25 degree nozzle will provide an acceptable level of pressure for every part of the car. However, you may find that you get a more efficient wash by using different nozzles for different parts of the car. A straight, zero degree nozzle should not be used, as the direct pressure can easily strip paint and cause significant damage if you are using a high PSI pressure pump. 30 degree nozzles can provide a quick clean for lower levels of dust and grime, and 40 degree nozzles provide lighter pressure to be used on windows and decals. A 15 degree nozzle is recommended if you need to remove thick, caked-on dirt and grime.

Cover Scratches Before Washing

Any time you are washing a car, you must be careful to dry it thoroughly to prevent rust. Pressure washing your car comes with a greater risk of rust than hand washing it, as the water is more capable of percolating through the body of the car and rusting it from the inside.

This can be especially problematic if you car has scratches where water can collect. It's easy to miss water that has seeped down into these scratches when you dry your car, which can allow rust to form along the length of the scratch and spread outward. To prevent this problem from occurring, you should cover scratches with wax or tape before you pressure wash your car.

Use a Brush Attachment for Tough Grime

You do not have to rely on pressure alone to get your car clean when pressure washing. Many pressure washers have brush attachments that help you scrub away caked-on mud and grime more quickly to reduce the chances of damaging your car. You can even find motorized brush attachments with rotating bristles that make the job easier.

Practice Using the Pressure Washer First

Pressure washers can be difficult to control, especially if you are not used to them. Because of the potential damage they can cause to the body of your vehicle, you should practice using your pressure washer before ever pointing it at your car. To get used to the kickback, hold the jet with both hands and spray a short burst at your driveway, away from yourself and any other objects or people.

Once you have learned the kickback of the pressure washer, you must get used to moving the nozzle with smooth, overlapping strokes. Smooth strokes will prevent indents and paint chipping where the nozzle stopped momentarily, and overlapping strokes prevent marks where the strokes start and stop. Do a dry run with the pressure washer by moving the nozzle along your car and a few feet away until you are confident you can do it smoothly with the water on.

Power washing your car correctly will take some practice, but learning to do so will make the job much easier and more enjoyable. Keep these tips in mind to reduce the chances of accidental damage to your car, your yard, or your garage.