Last Updated on July 5, 2023 by Chase Manhattan
If you’re anything like me, then you’ve had your fair share of water spots riddling your car’s paintwork.
Frustrating isn’t it? Even when you prepare the car to let it dry naturally, you still wind up with water stains. The right time of day, the right temperature, even the right technique, and yet it’s still a struggle.
Naturally, you begin to wonder about alternatives since every time you’re at the car wash, you notice they have a dedicated car dryer at the end of the process.
So as far as car dryers, what do you think most people have at home? That’s right, a leaf blower.
Then that’s where we pick up, because if you’re here, you’re probably wondering if using a leaf blower to dry your car is safe. We’ll cover that in this article; we’ll also cover some of the best dedicated car dryers, the best leaf blower to dry your car with, and how to properly dry your car with a leaf blower. Heck, we’ll even show you how to remove leaf stains from your car’s paint. Lets get going.
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Dry Car with Leaf Blower Is it Safe?
Oddly enough, there are different schools of thought in the car detailing community; professional detailers are required to have this extreme attention to detail after all.
Some believe that the car drying process is best performed with a dedicated car dryer; while others believe that leaf blowers are a perfectly acceptable alternative and completely safe for any vehicle.
From my experience, the truth is somewhere in between. In other words, it all depends.
Leaf blowers are not inherently unsafe for a car’s paintwork, but there are some things to be aware of before doing so and it all comes down to making sure the vehicle is properly washed.
If neglected, your car’s paint can develop:
clear coat scratches
That being said, we’ll next walk you through our top tips – briefly – for washing a car and then how we use a leaf blower to safely dry our clients’ cars.
First – why don’t we recap some of the benefits of using a leaf blower to get the car dry.
Benefits of Using a Leaf Blower to Dry The Car
We covered it briefly, but it’s important for you to understand why it’s best to blow dry your car in the first place.
Using a leaf blower, or dedicated car dryer, is incredibly more efficient than drying your car by hand. With enough power, the whole job can be done in a matter of minutes.
2. Paint Safety
Professional detailers across the world will tell you that the whole detailing process revolves around the preservation of paint. Paint preservation essentially comes down to eliminate excess contact with the paint, and removing any dirt, dust, or debris, that may call the surface home. By doing this, you’re eliminating the chance of accruing different types of scratches that develop in car paint.
When using leaf blowers, you’re eliminating the longest period of direct paint contact – when drying the car by hand. Even when using high quality microfiber towels, there’s always a risk when directly rubbing drying paint.
This may fall somewhat under our efficiency category, but I believe it’s important to mention separately.
When drying cars by hand, it can be extremely difficult to reach tight spaces. If you let these areas dry naturally, they will often retain water that will run over your paint at the next opportunity – which defeats the whole purpose of drying your car, because it opens your car up to the chance of water spots accumulating on the paint.
With a leaf blower however, air is blown directly into these crevices which expels the water easily.
So now that you understand the benefits of using leaf blowers to dry a car, lets cover some of the drawbacks of using a leaf blower.
Cons of using a Leaf Blower to Dry Your Car
We’ll go over some more specific warnings later on in the article, but there a few small points to note before hand.
A leaf blower can retain dust and debris that will get blown onto your car
The large blower nozzle does not focus the air at one point, it is a wide surface area which can make it hard to control.
Leaf blowers can be extremely noisy if using a gas powered model.
We all know that noise leaf blowers make, sometimes it’s unacceptable to use a leaf blower because of this.
Anyways, on to the part where I show you how to do it.
Using A Leaf Blower to Dry Your Car
So with all things in the car detailing world, preparation is key. This is why we’re going to assume that you have a freshly washed vehicle before following the car drying guidelines to follow.
To briefly recap proper steps leading up to drying your car safely:
When possible, position your car In a cool shaded area.
Rinse your car with a garden hose, or a pressure washer.
Apply soap to your car using the two bucket method, or a foam cannon.
Wash the car using a high quality wash mitt.
Rinse again until clean. Be sure to pay attention to small tight spaces like the engine bay or around the door handles.
So now that we have a clean car – with standing water – what do we do next?
It’s pretty straight forward right? you’ll want to take a powerful blower that can maintain its air speed for long periods of time.
If it was that easy, we wouldn’t be reading this? So pay close attention to my car drying tips below, but also my words of caution for things to look out for.
What Not to Do When Drying Your Car with A Leaf Blower
As I mentioned, leaf blowers aren’t inherently dangerous when used as a car dryer but there are certain things that can cause issues down the line, if not addressed properly. When drying your car, you’ll want to watch out for:
Make sure that the leaf blower isn’t blowing dust.
Since most leaf blowers do not have an air filter, they will be blowing un filtered air directly at droplets of water that will hold onto the dust. To check this, you can grab a wet paper towel and place it over the leaf blowers outlet. If there’s dust stuck to the paper towel, you may want to consider another leaf blower – or take some time to clean out the inside. If you’re starting the leaf blower for the first time, it’s best to point it away from the paint so that any accumulated dust will be blown elsewhere.
If you’re drying your car with a gas powered leaf blower, be sure not to touch the paint with the hot parts. I would also recommend you wear ear protection when using gas powered leaf blowers.
Naturally, a gas powered leaf blower will get hot since it has a small combustion engine inside of it. If hot areas touch your paint, it has a high chance of damaging the clear coat – in a best case scenario.
If you’re using an electric leaf blower, make sure the power cord is not rubbing up against the paint.
A power cord can cause unwanted abrasions on your paint, which is why we recommend using battery powered leaf blowers when possible. Without having to worry about a power cord, or any kind of extension cord, it will be easy walking around the car without getting tangled up.
Don’t use a leaf blower in dusty conditions
If you’re moving air in dusty conditions, you’re naturally going to pick up dust and debris that will then get stuck to the paint. If you plan on applying wax, this dirt and debris could cause swirl marks in your paint; even when using microfiber towels.
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How to Use a Leaf Blower to Dry Your Car Properly (Step-By-Step)
It can be a bit difficult to control the air flow from a high powered leaf blower, so we’re going to employ a concept I call “directional control”.
In other words, when using a leaf blower, always blow dry from a 45 degree angle above the car. If you stay in the same spot, or blow air directly at the car, you’re going to wind up blowing water around endlessly without really making any progress.
We’ll cover it some more as we get through the article, but this is a big reason that we recommend using a light weight electric leaf blower because using a leaf blower can tire out your arms if you’re taking the time to dry your car completely.
Anyways, back to the guide. When the blower is pointed at a 45 degree angle above the car, the flow of air will be pushing the water down toward the ground by default which leads us to the next general concept: always work from the top of the car to the bottom. When washing your car, you work from the top to the bottom because cars are typically dirtiest at the bottom. When drying your car, however, we do this because it will help us dry our car efficiently without blowing water around needlessly. Be sure to pay extra attention to crevices around the engine bay and door handles.
So that’s that really. Not too complicated? Still have some questions don’t you? How about…
What’s Best the Best Car Dryer Out There?
It’s a leaf blower focused article right? That’s not going to stop us here. While it’s a good idea to use a leaf blower instead of hand drying your car, there are some other options that are available to you.
We’re going to cover a few things:
What’s the Best Leaf Blower to Dry A Car
What Are Dedicated Car Dryers
Other Car Drying Alternatives
Best Electric Leaf Blowers
1. EGO Power+ Leaf Blower
The EGO Power+ is a premium option priced at $199.99 when purchased through Amazon.
It is a premium, light weight, electric leaf blower with variable air speed. It is a battery powered model so it is absent from harmful emissions found in gas powered alternatives.
EGO is a brand that is chosen by many landscaping professionals, the primary market for most leaf blowers.
2.0 Black+Decker Electric Leaf Blower
This Black+Decker Electric Leaf Blower has the benefit of being produced by a long standing, reputable, company while also being the more economical option. It is priced at $64 via Amazon when not on sale.
It also has a nice feature found in it’s 3-in-1 capability of being a leaf blower, a vacuum, and a mulcher. It’s a great idea to choose this option if you plan on doing other yardwork with your blower.
What About Dedicated Car Dryers
A dedicated car dryer is a product designed specifically for the purpose of drying cars. Typically, they will have a compact, light weight, size and a small concentrated nozzle that will concentrate the flow of air. You will find these in the hands of most car care professionals as they greatly accelerate the drying process.
Whats the best dedicated car dryer
I believe it’s important to understand why dedicated car dryers are preferential to other electric leaf blowers, so before covering our recommended option lets take a second to make a few points.
Dedicated car dryers will:
Provide a lightweight, compact size, alternative to leaf blowers that provides a higher level of directional control
Use compressed, concentrated, or heated air to leave your car dry
Work best in tight spaces
Produced by one of the most reputable companies in the car care industry, the best car drying product is made by none other than…
Chemical guys problow professional dryer & Blower
This car dryer is an electric leaf blower on steroids. The ProBlow by Chemical Guys is priced at an extremely competitive $89.99 whilst offering a light weight handheld alternative to other electric leaf blowers. Its pointed nozzle provides for concentrated air speed that will dry a car completely in a matter of minutes.
Other Car Drying Alternatives
There are two alternatives left to discuss. One involves air, and the other involves a microfiber towel. First, we’ll cover our air focused option since that’s largely the theme of the article.
If you’re someone who works on their own vehicle, or other vehicles entirely, there’s a high likelihood that you have access to an air compressor.
An air compressor is actually a great option for drying a car. They are absent from harmful emissions, they don’t require gas or a charge, but they can be somewhat limited in terms of mobility. If you choose to use compressed air instead of a leaf blower to dry your car, I recommend you use an air filter when possible.
In my experience, air compressors tend to develop moisture both in the tank, and throughout the air lines. If you’re not careful with the un filtered air, you’ll end up blowing water onto your car instead of removing it.
Hand Drying with a microfiber towel
If you absolutely insist on not using a leaf blower to dry your car, then the old hand drying method is always available to you. Just make sure that you have a high quality microfiber towel.
Benefits of Battery Powered Leaf Blowers
I prefer battery powered, cordless leaf blowers whenever they’re available to me. Most often, an electric leaf blower like this is a powerful leaf blower that’s quiet and lightweight when compared to other gas powered blowers.
With their lightweight nature, they allow you to easily remove water droplets from hard to reach areas like door jambs and underneath the car.
Additionally, you can raise them over your head without worrying about ear protection since they’re so quiet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Fastest Way to Dry Your Car
The fastest way to dry your car will be with a dedicated car dryer. These items are designed specifically to blow dry your car with concentrated air. Additionally the concentrated air speed is particularly good at removing moisture from tight spaces.
Are Car Air Blowers Worth It
Absolutely, a car air blower is designed specifically to dry your car in the most efficient manner possible. These days, there are many affordable options for under $100.