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Can Pressure Washer Damage Car Paint? (Risks of Pressure Car Wash)


If you are planning to wash your car or to take it to the nearby car wash station, you must be wondering can pressure washer damage car paints. No doubt, it’s debatable because of the quality of the car paint and several factors.

Well, the car paint is totally safe if the washer is used correctly with the pressure between 1,200 – 1,900 pounds per square inch (PSI). However, there are several risks associated with the washer’s pressure which we’ll discuss in this post.

At What Pressure Car Paint Will Be Damaged?

Before visiting the car wash service, it’s important to know the correct PSI for washing your car. It’s because pressure is the only major factor that can damage the car paint.


You must have heard people talking about how the local car washers have sandblasted their car in the name of washing. That’s quite dangerous because it not only wears off the car paint but can damage the engine and other metal auto parts.

Therefore, it’s better to DIY instead of visiting a car wash service if you don’t like taking risks when it comes to your car.

Washing a car on your own is simple. You have to simply rinse and soap your car. After that, wash off your car. Done.

But that’s not the end of the process. After DIY, you might see the grime is still stuck on the number plates and door handles. You have to rub them one by one, which is pretty frustrating.

Therefore, if you want to choose a car wash service, select a station that uses electric washers. These washers are pressure-controlled, which means you can check and see at what pressure they are going to wash your car.

Typically, the pressure is set anywhere between 1,200 – 1,900 PSI. That’s the right amount of pressure as it doesn’t damage the modern car paint.

Take Care of Chipped Paint and Rust Spots

There’s a rumor that domestic water pressure damages car paint. No, that’s not the case.

If you are washing your car at home, understand that the domestic water pressure is not going to damage the car paint even if the paint is chipped or there are any rust spots.

However, it’s better to take care of the chipped paint and rust spots before washing your car. You can wax and touch up such weak spots if you are DIY or taking your car to the washing service.

In addition to that, make sure to always momentarily spray high pressure at a single spot. Also, the distance should be at least 2-4 feet away from the car, and the angle of the jet should be at 40-45 degrees.

Buy a Washer That Doesn’t Damage Your Car Paint

It’s important to know what features to look for while buying a car washer, especially if you are avoiding going to the car wash service.

The following are some aspects to consider that make sure your car paint is safe from the washer.

Go for Electric Model

There are a number of car washers available that run either on gas or electricity. It’s recommended to choose an electric one.

Moreover, make sure you buy enough cable so that you won’t find it difficult to wash your car from a distance and from different angles as well.

Have a look at the Greenworks 1600 PSI 1.2 GPM Pressure Washer.

But why not the gas washer model?

It’s because the gas model is highly unpredictable due to fluctuating pressure. If the gas supply is continuous, everything is fine.

However, if the gas pressure is slightly disturbed due to any reason, the washer may be overpowered. As a result, you will get more pressure than necessary which might damage the car paint.

Check Gallons Per Minute (GPM)

GPM is a metric to measure the flow of water. Since we are talking about the domestic car wash, you will need 1.4-1.6 GPM for home car washing.

Moreover, this range of water flow is quite friendly to the environment as well.

When you start washing your car, this pressure will suffice the car washing need as it’s consistent and powerful to wash away all types of dirt and grime.

Besides, you can find the list of GPM of different household fixtures here.

Choose a Model With Long Hose

A longer hose means more safety because when you are washing the car from a distance, you can forcefully pull the hose, which can damage the car. Moreover, number plates, side mirrors, and wipers are vulnerable to the shorter hose.

Besides, a shorter hose can also make a mess of car paint as well. Therefore, it’s friendly advice to buy a hose with an additional 5-10 meters of length.

These are the features you should consider while buying a domestic car washer.

Check out the Flexzilla Pressure Water Hose – Up To 3,100 PSI.

Now, let’s take a look at the do’s and don’t of pressure car washing.

Properly close the car doors and windows.Don’t park your car in a sandy place as the pressure washer can send the sand grains right at your car, which can chip the car paint.
Put on suitable clothes, boots, and gloves.Don’t use a washer with a shorter hose.
Set the pressure anywhere between 1,200 – 1,600 PSI with 1.4 – 1.6 GPM.Don’t open the hood and wash the insides of your car. That’s another job to do.
Start washing from ground to top.Don’t spray at a single spot for too long.
Keep changing the angle of the washer.Don’t buy a cheap washer for domestic car washing.
Keep the brush and other washing accessories clean.Don’t stand too close to your car while washing it.
Get a washer that has a built-in soap container.Don’t waste water while washing your car. A single spell of washing is enough.

Final Words

High washer pressure can damage the car paint if you don’t take safety precautions. Domestically, the water pressure is not enough to wash away all the grime. Therefore, it’s recommended to go for an electric car washing kit so that you can regulate the pressure as per the requirement.

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