Use of Pressure Washers

Discussion in 'Detailing' started by DennisDownie, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. DennisDownie

    DennisDownie New Member

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    Hi

    Recently bought my first E220 (W215). I like it clean, but distrust hand car wash establishments. I have hand washed it myself so far, which I will continue to do when detailing.

    As the winter months approach, I am likely to call in to my local hand wash establishment to keep the worst of the winter off it.

    Can someone advise me how the Sensors in the front and rear bumpers will stand up to the usual level of abuse from a pressure washer from these guys?

    Thanks

    Dennis
     
  2. DrFeelgood

    DrFeelgood MB Club Veteran

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    It's impossible to answer the question as it will all depend on how powerful the pressure washer is, how close they hold it to your sensors and at what angle.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    DennisDownie

    DennisDownie New Member

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    Sorry, what I meant was are they super sensitive and have any members experienced problems with pressure washers and the sensors at hand car wash facilities.
     
  4. OneForTheRoad

    OneForTheRoad Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    id personally avoid them , they really dont like water. certainly not up close anyways from a pressure washer. A light spray from a distance cant hurt i suppose , most of the failures of the parking sensors comes at the main body of the sensor behind the bumpers, where its sealed up with liquid rubber , this rubber degrades over time and lets moisture in onto the inner electronics . be carefull also as the sensors are painted and you dont want the paint flaking off .
     
  5. grober

    grober MB Club Veteran

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    There's a finite risk of damage to sensors from injudicious use of a pressure washer jet. Depends on the sensibility of the pressure washer operator and to be fair its principally their job is to get your car clean - I doubt if keeping its proximity sensors operational forms part of their job description altho it should. Caveat Emptor
     
  6. flowrider99

    flowrider99 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I have stopped using a pressure washer to clean my car. I now use just a hose to soak the car to remove the loose dirt and then go straight in with the shampoo and a wash mitt.
     
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  7. alabbasi

    alabbasi Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    It shouldn't hurt them, if it does, then you driving at 70mph in the rain would too.
     
  8. DrFeelgood

    DrFeelgood MB Club Veteran

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    What about the back ones?
     
  9. alabbasi

    alabbasi Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I've never driven backwards at 70mph but suspect that the back ones probably get more abuse from road grime being kicked up from the back tires and the lack of under shielding on the back of the car.
     
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  10. OP
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    DennisDownie

    DennisDownie New Member

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    No-one had them killed by pressure washers then?

    Kinda re-assuring

    Thanks for the replies

    Dennis
     
  11. Merc220cls

    Merc220cls Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I’ve used pressure washers to wash my cars for over 30 years and never had a problem.
    Best way to release loose dirt and to rinse off when finished washing. I also use a snow foam lance attached to the washer.
    As for parking sensors just treat them with a little care and don’t spend too much time around them, the same applies to door seals etc.
     
  12. zipdip

    zipdip Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Well when I have used a pressure washer I was always careful of the radiator,with too much pressure you can damage the fins and cause all sorts of problems
     
  13. exvolvoman

    exvolvoman Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Washing, really...???
     

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  14. Wolfie1

    Wolfie1 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    At work we sometimes get an issue when the car cleaners wash a car where they push the sensor into the bumper and then of course the vast majority of the time the bumper has to come off to refit it. The weird thing is whenever you get 1 in the plastic clip is damaged, granted the pressure washer is very powerful but powerfull enough to crack a clip im not so sure, personally i think the car has had a shunt at some point in the past and the sensor isint held as securely as it should be and the water pressure pushes it out as i have washed my own car many times with it and have never had a sensor pop in
     
  15. alabbasi

    alabbasi Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    With the right nozzle, my pressure washer can drill holes in the concrete. But I think that in your case, the pressure washer will strip paint off the car before it damages radiator fins. Use it to clean the radiator and condenser. It will make your a/c work better and your car run cooler.
     
  16. Merc220cls

    Merc220cls Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    You are indeed correct, especially with the older copper cored radiators. I work a lot on classic cars where even a hose pipe could damage the fins but if they’re that bad the car really needs the radiator re cored.

    Most modern car radiators have aluminium type fins and are much stronger plus they last much longer.

    Power washers are fine to use with the proper care, just remember don’t get your hands too close, yes I’ve done that holding a component while power washing and boy can it sting if you hit your hand..
     
  17. Thrash

    Thrash Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Never had an issue with the sensors on any of my cars and I used to wash my cars with a pressure washer nearly every week for a few years. That being said, I would never use the 'dirt blaster' lance that came with my Karcher as that feels too powerful and unnecessary. I also wouldn't get too close or spend a lot of time blasting certain areas - just a quick rinse and not perpendicular to the surface.
     
  18. zoros

    zoros Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    First you say you diztrust hand car washer establishments and then you tell us you're going to use one shortly.
    Then you don't realise that driving a car at high speed in the rain has the same effect.
    Mmmm worrying .........
     
  19. baxlin

    baxlin Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Not sure about the 'PW to.....rinse off when finished washing' advice, the general opinion on the likes of DW forum is to use an open hose when rinsing. Amongst other reasons for this, when you have removed the dirt and grot, there should be no need for the pressure washer.

    FWIW, I don’t use a PW at all. To loosen the initial dirt, an ordinary non-powered spray attachment on a mains water hose has always served me. Why introduce potential for damage?

    And before you ask, I do have a pressure washer.......

    But as ever, see my sig below
     
  20. OP
    OP
    DennisDownie

    DennisDownie New Member

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    Thanks for your reply zoros. This forum is brilliant and I appreciate the input. May I clarify, so you don't find it worrying?

    I did say I distrust hand car wash establishments, but would probably use one during the winter to keep the thick of the dirt off. This why I asked the question about the sensitivity of the sensors before I trust them to do it. I was looking for real experiences. As it happens, no-one has actually reported sensors failed after such a washing regime.

    Zoros, you intimate that I don't realise that driving a car at hight speed in the rain has the same effect. I never mentioned this. (someone else did). In fact I am aware that the sensors have to be able to stand up the this sort of normal duty and I disagree with the assertion that is has the same effect as a power washer. The speed of water from a power washer nozzle is calculated at 243MPH, not 70!

    In addition, driving at 70 (or any speed the car can reach) does not strip paint from your car, which, as was observed, is possible with a power washer. Although I have never seen it personally, I can imagine the power washer can get under the edge of a stone chip or blast the paint off a rust spot. I'm sure we all understand that power washers are violent things to be given respect. Here is my source for the water speed speed data...

    Learn the speed of the water from your pressure washer – PressureWashr

    Thanks to everyone for your responses, it generates interesting discussion and has re-assured me that I should be ok with my plan. I will still ask the car wash technicians to be careful around the sensors. Still interested in hearing from anyone who has had problems of this kind.

    Dennis
     
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