Performance Technic Tuesday: Power washers are fun, but they cause more damage than you think

Performance Technic is the new technical facility in Kyalami, run by the same team behind the phenomenally successful Fire It Up and Bike Buyers. Every Tuesday they will be providing some technical knowhow that could make your biking life a better and easier one. Today, we look at how much damage power washers cause even though they are so much fun to use.

Pressure washer Performance Technique

All men are essentially little boys. We are, and when we get something as cool as a power washer we tend to get giddy with excitement. We un-package it, bolt it all together, throw the directions away and, after many false starts, begin our journey into the world of high-powered water tomfoolery.

We begin by spraying water off the walls, shooting the bucket across the driveway, shooting the bottle of bike shampoo, the cat, the dog and the kids. This is all achieved with a manic grin and possibly even Flash Gordon laser shooter sounds. Once the juvenile necessities have been fulfilled, we get on with actually cleaning our motorcycle.

With one of these, life gets so much easier – spray on the soap of your choice, let it sink in a little and then unleash the god of hellfire. The dirt literally shoots off with no back ache and scuffed knees. It’s brilliant in every way.

Except it sort of isn’t.

On dirtbikes, it’s not so bad. They do not have complex electronics, and the wheels and bits are unbolted regularly enough, but on road legal bikes there are some problems. The electronics, seals and bolts are inherently water-resistant – unless you’re riding a classic British or Italian bike, in which case rather steer clear of all moisture – but they are not built for the onslaught unleashed by your new ninja toy.

Things like the ABS components and the myriad of electronic goods submerged beneath your plastic coverings are not designed to be hit by a high-pressured barrage of water. It’s only after you have finished washing your bike that the warning lights come on, and then it’s a trip back to the dealer and much argument because expensive electronics need replacing.

It’s not just electronics; one of the most popular cleaning areas on a motorcycle – because they are a bastard to get into with a cloth – are the wheels. The high pressured water makes little work of squeezing through the spacers and wheel nuts and penetrating the axle which is certainly not waterproof. You won’t know anything about this until you send it to the dealer to have new tyres fitted and the dealer has to use sledgehammer, or even an angle grinder, to remove the rusted axle. This results in the need to a buy new axle, new wheel nuts and possibly even new wheel bearings.

The other more immediate problem that can occur is the unceremonious removal of fairing decals that have a tendency to shoot off when hit by stream of water at the right angle. That’s always a shocker, followed by panic and a botched reattachment job.

The best way around this to not use a power washer and embrace the good old bucket, cloth and hosepipe. If you have purchased a gleaming new power washer and the thought of not using it pains you greatly, then rather have it on a less powerful setting so that it sprays rather than blasts.

Performance Technic do not use a power washer when cleaning customer bikes. The only time a power washer is brought out is when their detailer is cleaning individual parts, and he is well versed in what will cause damage and what will not.

Performance Technic Contacts:
Tel: 010 880 2849