A common tool that you’ll see many car detailers using these days is a pressure washer. I wouldn’t say that a pressure washer is totally necessary when you’re washing your car, but it does have its uses. One of the most popular ones you can find is the Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric Pressure Washer. This unit is a great pressure washer that will allow you to snow foam your car or to pressure wash areas that need that extra power.
This is the unit that I own and have owned for about five years now, and has gone through quite a bit of use on both my cars and even on home projects. The SPX3000 is a 14.5-amp pressure washer with an 800-Watt motor and 1.76 GPM water flow. It’s not one of the more higher pressure units out there, but it is in the middle-of-the-pack. For car washing, it is most definitely more than adequate.
One of the main uses for a pressure washer on a car is using it in conjunction with a foam cannon, which gives you that nice creamy foam when doing a pre-wash. The great thing about a pressure washer and doing a pre-wash with a foam cannon is you get all of the loose bits off of the car before you use a wash mitt and soap to wipe down the car. This minimizes the amount of small rocks and dirt that can remain on the vehicle, which can end up in your wash mitt resulting in scratching the paint surface.
I also like using a pressure washer when I clean the bed of a truck. Because the water pressure is so much greater than what you’d get from a garden hose, you can spray all of the leaves and loose debris out of the bed much more easily. Similarly, you can use the pressure washer for cleaning off loose dirt/debris off of convertible tops and in wheel wells.
When using the SPX3000, simply plug it in, attach your garden hose to the front connector, turn on the hose, and switch on the unit. I do find it a bit cumbersome to manage the garden hose and hose for the wand while washing the car as it tends to get all tangled up. However, I’m not sure if there’s a way around this; it may just be the nature of the beast.
I do find that the front connector tends to leak a bit when the hose is on, even if I tighten the front connector very tightly and use a rubber O-ring on the fitting. It’s not a significant leak, but I do wish that it was completely leakproof. It wasn’t much of an issue at the beginning, but it seemed to have gotten slightly worse over time.
The SPX3000 comes with 5 quick-connect tips, but most of the time I will use the 40-degree tip for maximum safety. If you use one of the more aggressive tips, it can potentially pierce through your paint, so be careful with that. You do have to be careful when you’re using quick connect tips on any brand of pressure washer because if they are not fully clipped onto the wand, it may shoot out and hit the vehicle. With the SPX3000 and the quick connect tips that come with it, I’ve never experienced this issue.
I do see why this unit gets a ton of reviews though. It’s a great entry-level pressure washer and it has more than enough power if you’re doing any sort of cleaning on cars. The whole unit feels a bit plasticky and leaks a bit over time, but the motor continues to run and run. So, if you’re looking to get a workhorse of a pressure washer, the Sun Joe SPX3000 is a good medium-cost and great-performing option. Currently the SPX3000 is priced at $170, but I do see these being marked down from time-to-time to around $100-$120.