Using a leaf blower for car drying might not be the first thing to come to mind, but it’s a great way to finish off a car detail or wash.
Nothing mars the appearance of a car more than seeing deep swirls and micro-scratches in the paint finish. You spend hours polishing and perfecting the paint finish. After waxing or adding sealant you think you are good to go, but weeks later swirls have returned to the car’s finish. Park in the sun or under a bright light and those swirl marks are glaring. Most likely it is your drying regimen that is causing the swirls but there is an easy remedy.
Drying your car is the last step when washing a car and is the most critical part to ensure that the car is left spot-free without swirls or micro-scratches. Without proper care, the drying of a car can induce swirls and water spots to blemish the final look. For years many detailers have used expensive air dryers to dry their customers’ cars, but now you can produce the same results at home, using of all things – an electric leaf blower.
Leaf Blower For Car Drying Method
Generally, when a car is finally rinsed off, despite all the waxes and sealants you may have applied, water will still be left standing. Worse, water tends to seep out over time from collection points, including mirrors and trim pieces.
In the worst case, rust can develop over time. In the past, detailers used chamois to dry off the car and others swore by cloth diapers. When microfibers crashed the scene, various fluffy concoctions became the rage. But despite the best care and precautions, any dirt particle caught in the drying material could produce those ugly swirl marks.
Detailers seeking a better solution migrated to the Metro Vac Air Force Master Blaster as one solution. This blower, generated from two fans, pushed heated air at over 5,000 linear feet per minute to thoroughly dry the car, truck, or motorcycle without ever touching the vehicle. A hose could reach all the nooks and crannies that trapped water and blow them away. The unit could even dry the rims and lug nuts of a car effortlessly.
If you knew where to look, the blower could also push out all those secret pools of water that if left unattended eventually seeped out and left water spots on the sheet metal. But at nearly $400 this “must-have tool” often is left on the wish list.
But don’t despair. The common, ordinary leaf blower can double as your car dryer with a similar effect. Most leaf blowers come with a variety of outputs and many can easily do double duty. But the use of a leaf blower does come with some precautions.
Cautions When Using a Leaf Blower For Car Drying
Many leaf blowers have the option of converting to a leaf vacuum. They suck up the debris and collect it into a cloth bag for disposal. This means there is a slight risk that when reversing the unit to blow instead of vacuum, some remaining debris might dislodge and shoot out onto the car. So I would recommend either having a unit solely dedicated for vehicle use or not use the vacuum option on the leaf blower while landscaping.
Another concern among users is that if you have a gasoline-powered unit, that trace amounts of fuel and oil might get blown onto the car, which of course defeats the purpose of washing the car. For that reason, we only recommend electric leaf blowers, either battery or corded.
Things to Look For in a Leaf Blower For Car Detailing
The blowers produce a lot of air that comes out of a nozzle. The smaller the nozzle the more focused the air is when drying the vehicle. Since these outlets are usually plastic, consider zip-tying a soft, rubber hose around the outside of the nozzle. That way if you accidentally get too close to the car, the rubber hose will cushion the contact and prevent damage to the car.
The use of a blower will speed up your drying time but remember you will still be holding the blower for a few minutes. So look for a unit that is balanced, easy to handle with cushioned grips, and lightweight. Some opt to use ear protection, but since it’s battery-powered, usually have the unit down low and away from your head, and only use it for a limited time it shouldn’t cause any hearing issues.
Generally speaking, the corded leaf blowers will have the more powerful motors and you could use the blower on multiple cars in succession. A battery-operated unit should have sufficient capacity to dry even a large, older station wagon but you might need a spare battery pack if you intend on doing multiple vehicles in a row.
You can also use the blower to blow debris out of the trunk and carpets if you wish. The common electric leaf blower is truly a multi-purpose tool!