Back in the 1950s people would paint their cars with vacuum cleaners. Seriously! You would just hook up a hose to the “blow” end of the vacuum and a spray gun attachment to the other end. Predictably, they looked horrible most of the time though some were able to perfect the otherwise flawed approach. The characters at the Russian YouTube site Garage54 are up for anything car-related. They got the idea to try their hands at painting a Lada with a pressure washer. You know it works, the question is, “How well does it work?” So the short answer is “Yes, you can paint your car with a pressure washer.”
That’s an insane amount of paint to blow in such a short time span
The second part of the answer is, “as long as coverage, quality, running paint, and a mystery finish are unimportant to the end product.” Part of the problem comes from the flow rates being way beyond anything you would want to use to paint a car. Like one and one-half gallons a minute. That’s an insane amount of paint to blow in such a short time span.
So the nature of that amount of paint flowing means you’ve got about one minute to complete your paint job. You’ll need to have plenty of room to maneuver around the car if you’re going to try this.
The next problem that arises is there is no pump with a pressure washer to create pressure in the paint system. So a canister is made from a one-gallon water container that gets pressurized. How? With a valve stem that is attached to the plastic bottle. By introducing air from a compressor into the valve stem there is enough positive pressure created to get the paint into the pressure washer.
Don’t forget to drill a hole into the container for the valve stem
The cap of the plastic container is drilled out and a brass fitting and o-ring arrangement are attached to it. A feed hose is attached to the fitting. Don’t forget to drill a hole into the side of the container for the valve stem. Plug it all together and the spraying head and pressure washer are ready to paint.
A tired Lada was chosen as the guinea pig for this paint test. The windows, grille, and some trim were masked off. All of this is done in an open lot. Environmental protection and safeguards are of little concern when you’ve got a job to do in Russia.
Practically one whole side of the car was painted in seconds
A couple of minor adjustments were all that was necessary to begin painting. Practically one whole side of the car was painted in a matter of seconds. You have to be quick at turning on and off the paint stream to conserve paint when you’re pumping this much volume. From the distance that the procedure was shot it looks fantastic.
Up close; not so much. It is as bad as one would expect. But from a distance it is OK and an improvement over what it looked like before. So yes, you really can paint a car with a pressure washer. We don’t recommend it on a variety of different levels, but if you’ve got a lot of time and no money this could be just what you’ve prayed for.