Using a pressure washer is one of the easiest ways to clean your car. They can remove dirt from areas that may otherwise be difficult to reach. However, there are downsides to this, too. A pressure washer can easily damage your car if it is not used correctly (for instance, it can remove the paint coatings on your vehicle).
How, then can you effectively use a pressure washer without damaging your car? Read on to find your answer.
The main factor to consider is the pressure washer nozzle to use. The nozzle will usually determine the spraying velocity of the water.
With so many types of pressure washer nozzles out there, it may be challenging to find the perfect one for your car without the proper knowledge.
In this article, I will delve into the different types of pressure washer nozzles that are safe for vehicles.
Hopefully, your questions will be fully addressed by the time you finish reading the article.
Types of Pressure Washer Nozzles
There are 7 types of pressure washer nozzles you are likely to come across. To pick the proper nozzle for your car, you will need to grasp the qualities of each nozzle type and how it works. Do you feel confused already? Don’t worry. I scoured the internet and came up with this list just for you.
1. 0-degree Nozzle
The 0-degree pressure washer nozzle is usually red. As the name suggests, its spray coverage is very restricted.
It lets out a direct jet of water that only lands on a specific part of the surface you are cleaning.
The 0-degree nozzle is, therefore, not the safest option to use when washing your car as it may cause damage. Besides, it will require a lot of time to clean a vehicle.
When can you use this type of nozzle?
A 0-degree nozzle is best for tough dirt like mud or rust on high-strength concrete materials or car tires. This reduces the chances of causing damage.
2. 15-degree Nozzle
The 15-degree nozzle usually comes in yellow. Unlike the 0-degree nozzle, this type has a wide spray coverage, usually 15 degrees. Consequently, water hits the car’s surface with less pressure minimizing damage caused.
Although it is better than the 0-degree, the 15-degree nozzle is also suitable for getting rid of tough dirt on car tires or high-strength materials.
This type is also your best option if you contemplate painting or resealing your car’s surface.
3. 25-degree Nozzle
This is, perhaps, the most common pressure washer nozzle used to wash cars. The 25-degree nozzle is color-coded as green. As can be inferred from the name, the nozzle creates a 25-degree wide spray coverage of water.
The wider the spray coverage, the less the pressure on the car’s surface. It is unlikely to affect the paint coating on your vehicle.
Can you use this nozzle for other functions besides washing cars? Your guess is as good as mine. The 25-degree pressure washer nozzle has a wide array of uses. It can also clean sidewalks, patio furniture, driveways, and boats.
Plus, it takes an incredibly short time to clean your car.
However, it is not the best option for mud or other dirt deeply embedded onto the surface.
4. 40-degree Nozzle
Next on the list is the 40-degree pressure washer nozzle color-coded as white. If you need something gentle to use on delicate surfaces, this is the best option. The nozzle produces a 40-degree wide spray coverage that further minimizes the impact on the surface it lands on.
It is safe to use on windows, flower pots, and blinds. Likewise, if you have customized the paintwork on your car, the 40-degree nozzle will help to preserve it. Before cleaning, you may also use this nozzle to dampen the vehicle.
The wide coverage area makes it perfect for rinsing off soap and detergents.
5. 65-degree Nozzle
The 65-degree nozzle usually comes in black. The 65-degree spray coverage is the largest in the market. Consequently, the nozzle has the lowest pressure as it effectively minimizes the water velocity.
This type of nozzle is safe for fragile surfaces like windows. However, it may not be effective in removing dirt stuck on a surface.
Also, this red pressure washer nozzle is commonly used to rinse off soap and detergent. It is also used before applying soap or detergent on the car surface.
6. Turbo Nozzle
Unlike the types named above, the turbo pressure washer nozzle has no particular color code. It comes in different colors, and you cannot predict. However, it is a powerful nozzle as it combines the features of the 0-degree nozzle and the 25-degree nozzle.
How does the turbo nozzle work?
It rotates the water jet at a rate ranging from 1800 and 3000 revolutions per minute (rpm). This brings about a pulsating action, which results in the formation of a cone shape when water hits the car’s surface.
The nozzle can safely clean surfaces by removing tough stains with these combined features. It can be used to remove paint if you intend to repaint your car.
Turbo nozzle reduces the time needed to clean your car.
7. Adjustable Nozzle
This is the most versatile and most effective type of pressure washer nozzle. It usually comes in black, but it has no specific color code. An adjustable nozzle has all the spray angles under one roof.
The advantage is that you rotate the nozzle to an angle you require without necessarily removing it. This is time-saving and easy to use.
What Pressure Nozzle Is Safe for Car?
The 25-degree nozzle made it first on my top 3 list. As previously indicated, the nozzle is color-coded as green, so you can always know one. The nozzle is relatively affordable, going for about $4.99.
It has a 25-degree wide spray of water coverage, which reduces the pressure upon impact with the car. This ensures that it does not tamper with the paint coatings on your vehicle.
However, the low pressure makes it unsuitable for cleaning tough stains such as mud stuck on tires or stains on the car’s surface.
The green nozzle is made from alloy steel with a stainless steel exterior finishing that makes it strong and durable. It is also universal, meaning it can be fitted on most brands.
I saved the second place for this white color-coded washer nozzle. The nozzle features a 40-degree wide spray coverage covering a larger surface area than the 25-degree washer nozzle.
In effect, the pressure it exerts upon landing on the surface is also reduced, making it an excellent option to use when dealing with fragile surfaces such as car windows.
The 40-degree nozzle is also useful when dampening the car, washing off soap and detergent after cleaning, cleaning gutters, hard-to-reach areas, and underside motor vehicles. It is also used to water plants.
The nozzle has been designed using high-quality stainless steel, making it strong and durable. It is universal and can thus fit any brand. However, it is a tad more expensive than the 25-degree nozzle.
The 65-degree nozzle is black and has the most extensive spray coverage and least pressure. It is safe for cleaning your car as it minimizes damage and covers a wide area, reducing the amount of time taken.
The most common uses include washing off soap and detergent. It is also the best nozzle if you have customized paintings on your car.
How to Wash a Car with a Pressure Washer
Step 1: Select the Right Pressure Washer and Nozzle
Depending on your needs, you should select between an electric and gas-powered pressure washer.
The latter has a strong cleaning capacity and may be too strong for washing your car. Therefore, an electric washer is safer, provided you set it to the right pound-force per square inch (PSI).
Tip: it is important to choose a pressure washer whose PSI ranges between 1200 and 1900. This will be safe for cars and will not damage the painting.
Likewise, you should select the right type of nozzle. A pressure washer will usually be delivered with several nozzles or tips to shape the spray pattern. It would be best to choose a nozzle adapted to the surface you are cleaning.
Pro tip: a 25-degree spray pattern tip is the best for cleaning wheels and wheel wells. A 40-degree tip is the best for cleaning the rest of the car’s exterior.
Step 2: Select the Perfect Parking Spot
Find the right spot to park your car for washing. An open space will be ideal. If you are using an electric washer, be sure to be near an outlet since not all such washers can be used with an extension cord.
Step 3: Rinse your car
Ensure the windows of your car are rolled up. Start by breaking up the caked-on soil and then rinse loose debris. Make sure to remove as much dirt as possible.
Tip: start with the 25-degree nozzle and spray the car wheels. Afterward, switch to the 40-degree nozzle and rinse the car’s exterior.
Step 4: Foam up
The next step is to apply a detergent to your car. Start by pouring water and the detergent into a bucket. You should then fill the detergent tank of your pressure washer with a mixture of water and detergent.
Tip: if the pressure washer has no detergent tank, you should use your hands ad a piece of cloth to apply the detergent onto your car’s surface.
Spray the detergent onto your car, working from the top-down. Ensure that your car is covered with a generous amount of foam.
Step 5: Scrub
Use a clean microfiber car wash mitt to scrub the car from the top, working your way down. You should focus on a specific area at a time to ensure you get all the dirt.
Step 6: Rinse
Use the 40-degree nozzle tip and spray clean water to wash off the soap and detergent from your car. Again, you should rinse the car from the top and work your way downwards.
Step 7: Dry your car
Use a towel or soft cloth to dry your car.
Pro-tip: instead of a towel or soft cloth, you may use a special blow dryer specifically designed to dry cars.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Psi Will Damage Car Paint?
The right PSI for a car range between 1200 and 1900. Any pressure beyond this range will most definitely damage the paint coating on your car. Besides using the right pressure, ensure that you select the right nozzle if you are determined to preserve the paint job on your car.
Will A Pressure Washer Hurt My Car?
No. If you select the right pressure washer and nozzle, it will not damage your car. Failure, however, can bring about undesired results, including nicking the paint coatings. Alternatively, you may use garden hose, or soapy sponge.
Is 3000 Psi Too Much for A Car?
It depends! A combination of 3000 PSI and a 0-degree or 15-degree nozzle will damage your car. Use pressure between 1200 and 1900 PSI to stay on the safe side.
What Is the Best Way to Wash Your Car?
My recommendation will be to use a hose without a nozzle. Start working from the top of the car (the roof) and work downwards for best results. Mix the detergent and water to ensure it forms a lot of foam. The foam will act as a lubricant and prevent scratching the car surface.
Can You Pressure Wash Car Wheels?
Using pressure washers to clean car wheels is not recommended. If you must, don’t stand too close to the tires, especially if you are using a nozzle with a narrow spray angle.
What Pressure Washer Nozzle Is Safe for Car?
The green and white nozzles are the best for cars. As a rule of thumb, the wider the spray angle, the safer the nozzle. The wide spray angle also makes it efficient in covering a large area.
If you combine with a safe distance, and within the recommended PSI, (under 1900psi), white and green nozzles are the safest pressure washer nozzles for washing your car.
What Pressure Washer Tip Is Safe for Cars?
Generally, a 25-degree nozzle is the standard tip that should be used. You should not go below that. The 10 to 15-degree nozzles should only be used to clean parking lots and concrete pavement.
Finding the perfect nozzle for your car can be a nerve-wracking task, especially if you have never done it before.
However, I have tried to simplify this process, and I hope this article was helpful. After thorough research, one of my most recommended pressure washer nozzles is the green 25-degree nozzle.
It covers a wide area reducing the time required to clean your car. Likewise, the pressure is not too high to cause damage to your vehicle.
Hi I’m Marshall based in 1478 Doctors Drive Santa Monica, CA. I’m your DIY Car Repairman with more than 5 years experience in automobile repair, a skill I learned from my old man.
I started this blog to share my experience on both simple and technical aspects of your car.