Washing Vehicles and Equipment with Your Pressure Washer

pressure washer billy goatNo matter what you originally bought your Billy Goat pressure washer to clean, at some point you’ll want to use it to clean vehicles and equipment. With the right technique, you can remove dirt and grime quickly and with less potential damage than hand washing.

Can a Pressure Washer Damage Paint?

While there are pressure washers out there designed specifically for vehicle detailing, Billy Goat’s models are designed for general washing duties, providing a wide range of options when cleaning. That means it can produce water pressures that can do paint damage, but only if the washer is used incorrectly. While a portable pressure washer makes cleaning equipment easier, it can also get superior results to a hand wash: since no fabric touches the paint, there’s no chance of picking up grit that can scratch the surface.

Even with the right techniques, there is a chance of doing damage if some issues aren’t addressed beforehand:

– If the paint has been weakened by damage or is bubbling up from rust, the pressure washer might remove it.
– If a trim piece is loose, the force from the water jet may be enough to pull it off.
– If a door or window seal is in bad shape, the water could come through and soak the interior.

Do a thorough inspection before you start cleaning to avoid any issues.

What Not to Do with Your Pressure Washer

Always flush the soap system with water before switching chemicals. Never let alkaline and acid cleaners come in contact with bleach. These chemicals will react with each other creating high pressures that can rupture pressure washer components, and the resulting gases from the reactions are poisonous.

If it contains grease or oil, assume it’s not watertight. Spraying at seals and seams in engines, transmissions, axles, and spindles can force water inside, reducing the effectiveness of lubrication and causing premature failure of equipment.

If dirt won’t come off using the methods outlined below, try changing your cleaning chemicals instead of increasing the force of the water jet. Using a narrower nozzle or moving closer to the surface could flake away paint.


When rinsing a vehicle or equipment, use the green 25-degree tip. As you spray, keep the tip two to four feet from the surface of the equipment and at a 45-degree angle. This ensures a safe surface pressure, a wide cleaning area and water movement that will help push dirt off of the surface. Move the nozzle constantly to ensure the water doesn’t have time to penetrate any seals.

Starting a cleaning job with rinsing will knock off loose dirt that can get in the way of detergents. Chemicals should be rinsed off after their specified dwell time: most soaps can be removed immediately after application, while others need to sit for a few minutes to act on dirt and grime.

Soaps and Detergents

Attaching the pink nozzle to the end of the wand will let the pump draw from the detergent hose and mix it in with the water. Soap is drawn after the pump, so there’s no worry about damaging seals with cleaning chemicals. Since it’s using the chemicals to clean instead of water pressure, it also has the widest, gentlest spray pattern. Use the same distance and angle as you did when rinsing, making sure to get an even coat across the surface.

For the best results, use detergents and soaps made specifically for pressure washers, since they’re made in concentrations that will mix correctly with the water. While there are a lot of options out there, they come in three main formulas:

Car wash detergent removes dirt while leaving the underlying protective surface intact.

Heavy duty degreaser will remove grease, tar, pollen and other hard-to-remove surface contaminants. These will also strip away wax. This is a great option for equipment and heavily soiled cars and trucks.

Pre-rinse loosens surface dirt to be rinsed off before using regular detergent. This is less harsh than a degreaser, although it does add a couple steps to the washing process. Pre-rinse agents usually need to dwell for a few minutes before being rinsed off.

A Maintained Pressure Washer is an Effective Pressure Washer

Whether you lost a tip, need parts for a tuneup or have to do some major repairs on your Billy Goat pressure washer, you can get everything you need at www.billygoatparts.com. We’re a certified dealer for Billy Goat and the manufacturers who make the pumps and engines used in them including AR and Honda. We can ship those parts anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.

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