Cleaning your vehicle after a lengthy overland trip, 5000 miles tour, weekend trip along Salisbury plain and even after a long winter is a necessity.
Pay special attention to the underside of your vehicle. By administering periodic vehicle cleaning maintenance, your vehicle will last alot longer and be less susceptible to early part & MOT failures. The rubber bushings on the suspension components alone are very susceptible to the salt that is common on the UK roads in the winter. Mud from fields and tracks if left on the chassis will erode the metal and cause premature rusting if left long enough.The Pressure Washer:
To my knowledge you cant really go wrong when buying a pressure washer. Just make sure it has a lance, plenty of heavy duty hose between the lance and the machine, a plug to attach the water hose pipe to and of course a power cable lead.
There are as many different types of brands and models of pressure washers as there are 4x4 vehicles, some cost alot and others are much cheapness.
If you want to maximise your power washing needs there are a few features to look out for. This is particularly helpful especially when dealing with mud and dirt common to our beloved vehicles. Lance Functions:
When choosing your pressure washer make sure the you check that it has an adjustable lance tip, this allows you to focus your water beam from thin to wide, useful when needing to blast of lumps of clay or just wide spraying the vehicle to get the soap suds off.
Also look out for a ball bearing tipped lance, this small ball bearing oscillates in the end of the lance laying the water down in an oval pattern, this again is also useful for suborn mud but also useful if you want to remove moss or algae from your patio or bricks.
If you are going to be pressure washing a large vehicle or area it is alot easier to do if your lance has the trigger lock feature, look out for this when buying.Soap/Cleaning solution inlet:
Most mid levelled priced pressure washers come with a section of piping with a small filter attached to the end. This allows you to insert the pipe in to your desired cleaning solution and it will mix in with the water about to be used from your lance on the vehicle. This is particularly effective at removing all kinds of dirt and is very good at time saving. Most pressure washers with this inlet function will have an open/close valve between the machine and the pipe. When you are not using the cleaning solution inlet pipe you simple close this valve shut to avoid filling your system with air.Hot/Cold Functions:
If you need to wash large quantities of vehicles on a professional level you want to look to spend £500-£3000 on an Hot pressure washer. These use a fuel based furnace to head the water that is stored inside the machine. These machines are large in size and can hold numerous litres of water. These machines come supplied with many attachments, extender pieces and usually 2x inlet pipes and 2x lances, one long one short.
The pipe that runs from the machine to the lance will be of heavy duty construction, similar to the pipe found on construction hydraulics and jack hammers. With these hot/cold pressure washers you have the option to select what the temperature output is and also what pressure is available.Soaps/Cleaning solutions:
As good as the halfords car shampoo is save your money and buy something abit more industrial. Mud, dirt, oil and more oil that is common on 4x4's need something abit more stout than autoglym. What you want is a "Traffic Film Remover" or TFR.
This is the stuff you want to use.Last of all, a little safety warning:
When you have finished with your pressure washer, and you need to disassemble the machine for storage, dissconedt the power, then the water hose pipe from your property to the pressure washer then squeze the trigger on the lance to RELEASE pressure before detatching the lance from the pressure washer hose pipe.
Some 4x4 owners might laugh at your shiny, clean vehicle, saying its not a true 4x4 unless its covered in mud but rest assured you will have the last laugh................ Your's will last longer.