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What is needed to meet or exceed typical car wash performance?

Discussion in 'Power Washing' started by 4 seasons lawn&land, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Posts: 3,597

    Im wondering what kind of pressure washer I would need to be comparable to a better car wash.

    and would hooking up to a hot water outlet produce enough heat or should I get a propane one?
  2. JCinNJ

    JCinNJ LawnSite Member
    Posts: 159

    what are you trying to clean?
  3. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,142

    It's too hard. The guys who do a lot of powerwashing on here say that powerwashing is an artform that only a few very select individuals can perform. Years of training and school before you can run a power washer.:rolleyes::hammerhead: Kind of like mowing a lawn:dizzy::drinkup:
    I have a little honda that works pretty well. I think its around 3000 psi and has a bunch of tips. It's pretty powerful, we use it all the time.(only after years of training though)
  4. ajslands

    ajslands LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,238

    The ones at car washes are on great big systems so it's toned down a little. At least around here. Just don't peep the paint off and you'll be fine!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Posts: 3,597

    cleaning equipment
  6. Certified MD Roof Cleaner

    Certified MD Roof Cleaner LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    If you're just trying to remove dirt and dust, a cold water washer will be fine. If you need to clean grease and oil off equipment, I would invest in a hot water machine. Typically you don't want to use a hot water supply as you mentioned above, because it will cause damage to the pump. If you're just washing your own equipment, then a 4 gpm 3-4000 psi machine will be fine. If you're going after this as a seperate business, I would invest in a 5.5gpm or larger machine. 3-4000 psi will be alot more pressure than a car wash puts out, and will be more than enough to cause damage to paint, bearings, etc. Using larger orfice tips can lower the pressure, making it safe.
  7. Cajun Cleanin'

    Cajun Cleanin' LawnSite Member
    Posts: 115

    Car washes run around 1800 psi.If you aere gonna try and wash houses and such with that kind of pressure plan on lots of time on the job site.

    Most guys are moving away from pressure to higher volume machines to wash houses.The pressure will damage stuff pretty quick.If I was buying one with out much thought as to what I would be doing I would get at least a 4 gpm 4 k psi machine and tone down the pressure with larger tip sizes.Water Cannon and Pressure tek are 2 good sites to check for comercial stuff.
  8. Pumptecguy

    Pumptecguy Inactive
    Posts: 71

    Car washes run at 1000-1200 psi, with some truck washes at 1500 psi. 1000 psi will start to damage electrical connections and some hydraulics.

    The important factor is flow. A typical car wash uses 3.5 to 4 gpm of flow at the above pressures. The nozzles sizes range between '05 to '08.

    Remember that a car wash relies upon chemicals to help cleaning.

    I do not recommend 4 at 4000 equipment unless you or your operator is very skilled. The margin of error with this equipment is very small. The effect cleaning distance (the distance of maximum impact force between too far away and too close [damage]) is impractically short. You would be much better off with a higher flow, lower pressure set-up. These are more expensive and not made with disposable (Italian/China) pumps. The best pumps I have ever found for real durable washers of this type are Arimitsu pumps. I used like CAT until they lowered their quality to compete with the Italian/China pumps.
  9. ConstSvcs

    ConstSvcs LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 380

    I just bought this a few months ago:


    we use it for cleaning our equipment and misc at site cleaning. It is GREAT !! I had never owned a hot water machine prior to this. What a difference! The only negative is that the thing is the size of a "Smart Car" ...............
  10. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Posts: 3,597

    great info! thanks

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