Preparing your car for sale: take car-washing to the next level with a Karcher Pressure Washer – EFTM

Preparing your car for sale: take car-washing to the next level with a Karcher Pressure Washer

When you’re putting your car up for sale you can’t just run it through the car-wash at the local servo, you’ve got to put in a bit of effort....

When you’re putting your car up for sale you can’t just run it through the car-wash at the local servo, you’ve got to put in a bit of effort.  Any discerning buyer will check more than just the basics of the car before even contemplating putting in an offer – so if you want that offer to be decent take note, there’s a bunch of things you can do to improve the appeal and value of your car.


I don’t know about you but ever time I walk through one of those big hardware stores I look at the pressure washers and just want to impulse buy.  My wife though, probably not so keen.

However, having borrowed one from Chris recently, I think I converted the wife – because the pavement around the house has never looked so clean.

So, armed with a shiny new pressure washer thanks to our mates over at Kärcher I’ve got pavement that looks good, and the cars could be listed for sale at top dollar!


To help you out, the folks at Kärcher have put together a list of tips to help you get the best looking car and the best deal.

The Body

  • Use a high pressure cleaner to blast the body of the car, getting under the wipers and wheel arches.
  • Start from the roof and wash one side of the car at a time, rinse off before the paintwork dries, to avoid streaks, and then repeat on the other side.
  • Even after hosing, dirt and grit can cling to your car and scratch the paintwork as you wash. Minimise this by using two buckets: one with the shampoo in and the other with clean, fresh water. Charge the sponge and begin washing then regularly rinse the sponge in the bucket of clean water.
  • If you don’t have a chamois, invest in one! They only cost around $5-$10 and is used for drying your car. Air drying is fine, but will leave water marks.
  • When you wax your car make sure it is in the shade or parked under cover; baked on wax doesn’t come off very easily and doesn’t provide the shiny look that you are after.

The Wheels

  • Some people like cleaning the wheels first and some like to finish with the wheels but it is completely personal preference.
  • Make sure the wheels are cold to the touch before you begin or you could discolour or damage the finish.
  • Clean from the bottom up to avoid patches and streaks before you wash off the suds.

Under the Hood

  • Most people would be afraid to give their engine a good clean, but it goes a long way when talking with discerning buyers.
  • Wrap the airbox and electrical components using a garbage bag and duct tape
  • Use a high pressure cleaner under the hood, but make sure you use a lower power and aim carefully.

The Interior

  • Begin with detailing the headliner; buyers will instinctively look up so make sure the first area they look at is pristine.
  • Use a damp cloth and a mild cleaning agent to clean your headliner, dash and the wheel. However be wary of going overboard as too much cleaning can cause stains or bleaching in areas.
  • Use an upholstery shampoo to remove any stains from the seats and carpet and a wet vacuum to avoid any mildew caused by the moisture. Alternatively use a steam vacuum or spray extraction cleaner to give the upholstery and carpet a deeper clean without worrying about moisture.
  • For a quick fix, consider buying some new floor mats; they are relatively cheap and will look better than your old ones no matter how much you clean them.
  • Odour can be the element to completely turn off potential buyers; use a spray extraction cleaner to eliminate bad odours that may be hiding deep in the seats. A spray extraction cleaner can be the most effective method of removing hidden odours, dirt and grime from upholstery.

From my experience, don’t assume a Kärcher pressure washer is going to make cleaning the car easier – it’s just a more efficient tool for getting the hard grime off in places you probably don’t normally wash.  There are a bunch of accessories you can buy including brushes and detergents, but for my mind, the best clean is a hand wash with a sponge and bucket – but my goodness you can make a huge difference by getting the pressure washer out and attacking the under-body, wheels and wheel-arches on a regular basis.


Oh, and a final tip from me: If you’re going to get started on a paved or concrete area – be prepared for the long haul, once you start its addictive, you won’t be able to stop until it’s all done – and it looks amazing!


Trevor produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He has a weekly radio show on 2UE, as well as appearances across the country and regularly provides Technology Commentary to Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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