Wash Me! How to Pressure Wash Your Car

Off-roading on my day off is my kind of fun. Roaring through sand, gravel, a riverbed, or mud and rocks is easy when you have the right vehicle. I do. You can call it a kind of extreme driving with a nod at “extreme” sports. It’s all in the same mental and physical vein. You need the right tires and a vehicle with a sound body and superior suspension. I vote for the Xterra.

When I get back from a day on rough terrain, the car looks a bit worse for wear. Sometimes the mud is literally caked on and the paint is hidden beneath a layer of grime. It’s a patina that bespeaks of a great time out there in no man’s land. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But I don’t wait too long to address the need to clean it all up. I get to the pressure washer within hours of my return to restore my SUV’s sparkle and shine.

My advice to you if you are in the same boat is to get a great pressure washer. They don’t cost a bundle relative to what they can do for your van. Tidying up is their specialty. But only a sturdy device can handle a gritty job. You have your choice of many models. Here are just a few I like.

A mid-range option in the $300 range is the Karcher K 5.540 if you want electric. It is known as “best in class” by reviewers for cleaning performance. The water-cooled motor gets high praise from experts because it lasts so much longer. The Vario power wand lets you switch from detergent to high pressure spray with ease.

By contrast, the Campbell Hausfeld is your budget model at under $150. The PW182501AV is also electric and features a swivel hose adaptor. It has a 20-foot hose with onboard storage. It is convenient and handy.

For a little more than the Karcher you can select the Simpson Megashot 3100 with a gas-driven Honda engine. This is premium stuff for home use. It boasts of a pro-style steel spray wand with five nozzle tips and a soap applicator to boot. This may well be the Cadillac of pressure washer and a great machine to own. The hose won’t cause you any problems being kink resistant and snarl free. You’ll love the easy twist-on connectors.

I say read the reviews if in doubt and compare prices. You want something definitely user friendly where you don’t even need to read the manual. By the way, you can always shave off a few dollars and get a better deal. There are plenty of these washers on the market so the competition makes for bargains. The point is to get one and start using it for so many chores around your home after the SUV is done. Take care of dirty driveways and sidewalks as well as oily garage floors. Get that grimy garage door while you are at it. Then attack your shed and the back patio.

All things are not equal, however, in the world of pressure washers. You will want top-grade construction for durability and longevity, something ergonomic that won’t break your arm or back, an easy-start motor with consistent high performance, reasonably light weight, and even good solid little tires. In the long run, with most any model, you will love getting things done yourself. But high on my list is the van. It always comes first.