How to Safely Dry Your Car With a Leaf Blower


Using a leaf blower to dry a car can seem absolutely crazy to one person, but genius to another. Some car owners worry that the leaf blower may actually damage the car, which is a legitimate concern if used improperly.

In this article, I’ll take you through how to safely dry your car using a leaf blower in a few simple steps. So let’s get started.

The Quick Answer

You can definitely use a leaf blower to dry a car. The main advantage, is that you don’t touch the paint, so it reduces the risk of inflicting scratches and swirls. Just remember to use one with an air-filter, and don’t point it directly at the ground or you’ll spray dirt onto the freshly washed paintwork.

Why Use a Leaf Blower to Dry a Car?

First, let’s start off by addressing why using a leaf blower to dry your car is such a great idea. Well, the main aim, is to avoid touching the paintwork.

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably quite concerned about your car’s clear coat, and understand why it’s so important to avoid inflicting swirls and scratches. Otherwise, you’d probably just be letting your car air dry, or worse using a bath towel.

Every time you touch your car’s paintwork, even with a soft and clean microfiber towel, there is an element of risk. Basically, any time you touch your car’s paintwork, you risk damaging the clear coat slightly.

When washing the car, there really isn’t any way you can avoid this. Sure you can use a snow foam cannon at the start, but to actually wash your car, you’ll need to touch it using a wash mitt.

Most people think this about drying too. Generally, most car owners who car about their vehicle, will use a microfiber towel to dry it after washing.

But what if there was a way of removing all forms of contact with the paint when drying the car?

Well, that’s where leaf blowers come in.

Leaf blowers allow you to get your car completely dry, without ever touching the paintwork. So swirling the paint during the drying process is a thing of the past.

There are also a couple of other advantages of using a leaf blower.

  • It’s pretty fast. Or at least as fast as using a microfiber towel safely.
  • You can use the air pressure to reach usually inaccessible spots, like the wing mirrors.

Check out this complete guide to washing your car without causing scratches.

How to Use a Leaf Blower to Dry the Car

Okay, so now you know how great leaf blowers can be at reducing the risk of inflicting clear coat damage, how do you actually use one.

Well, it’s pretty simple. You just use the leaf blower at an angle to push the water off the paintwork.

However, there’s an order you should do it in, to avoid simply pushing the water around the car, rather than onto the ground.

  • Always start at the top of the car using downwards motion to push the water.
  • Next move onto the bonnet. Push the water downwards to the lower sections of the car.
  • Keep an eye for pockets of water accumulating, for example, in the wing mirrors, or door seals.
  • When you get to the lower sections, don’t use a downwards motion, instead point the leaf blower sideways. This way you’re not blowing air directly onto the ground which will cause dust and dirt to fly up onto the paint.

Can you Use Any Leaf Blower?

It’s also really important to consider what types of leaf blowers are suitable for drying a car safely.

You should only use a leaf blower that has an air filter to dry your car.

If you use one that doesn’t, then you risk blowing dust and dirt onto your paintwork. This can actually cause scratches, and at best, makes your freshly washed car look filthy again.

Also, you should only use a gas-powered leaf blower outside. This is because they produce harmful emissions and there is not enough ventilation to use it safely in a garage.

If you want to use a leaf blower indoors, then use an electric powered model instead.

Top Tips for Using a Leaf Blower to Dry Your Car

So now you know the basics, here are a few tips to make sure you’re using the leaf blower safely and effectively.

  • Be mindful of the cord if you’re not using a cord-less model. Make sure it doesn’t touch the paint, or it will scratch it.
  • Always point the leaf blower away from the car when you first turn it on to avoid blowing dust that may have accumulated.
  • Clean the leaf blower before using it to prevent dust and debris flying onto the car.
  • Wear ear protection because leaf blowers are noisy and you don’t want to damage your ear drums drying a car!
  • Don’t use a leaf blower in dusty conditions or you’ll likely get it on your car. Wet the ground with a hose if you need to.
  • Never point the leaf blower at the ground or you’ll kick up dirt all over your car.

They Only Work on Waxed Cars

It’s also really important to note, that drying your car with a leaf blower is only effective if your car has a good layer of paint protection e.g. wax, sealant or ceramic coating.

Essentially, if the paint already beads and repels water, the leaf blower will work. But if water clings to the paint, then the leaf blower won’t be able to push it off effectively.

Disadvantages of Using a Leaf Blower

It’s only fair to consider some of the disadvantages of using a leaf blower to dry the car, as well as talking about all the reasons why it’s a good idea.

So here are some of the cons of using a leaf blower.

  • They can be quite hard to control if you’re pretty small (like me!).
  • If used improperly, then you can spray dust and dirt onto the car and make it dirty again.
  • You can easily scratch your car if the nozzle touches the paintwork.
  • They’re very noisy. So you will definitely annoy your neighbours!

Should I Go and Get a Leaf Blower Then?

To be honest, I’d say, unless you already own an air-filtered leaf blower, then don’t go out and get one just to dry your car with.

There are definitely other more suitable alternatives. You can actually get car dryers, which work pretty similarly, but are a bit more refined for this purpose.

Sure, if you want a leaf blower as well to actually use in your garden, then re-purposing it as a car dryer is a great idea.

Just don’t purchase one specifically for drying your car, get a proper piece of equipment instead.

Final Thoughts

Okay, so what do I think about using a leaf blower to dry a car? Personally, I think it can be a really effective method, so long as it’s used properly and on a car with a hydrophobic wax, sealant or ceramic coating.

But do use a leaf blower every time I dry my car? Honestly, no.

I prefer to use a microfiber towel. I find it kind of annoying having to get the leaf blower setup, and it can be a bit of a pain to carry around the car. Plus you have to be very careful when controlling it to avoid spraying dirt on the car, and hitting it with the nozzle and causing scratches.

I’ve also found that leaf blowers really annoy my neighbours, and I don’t want that hassle in my life!

I only really use a leaf blower when I have some extra time in the middle of the day, and I want a perfect finish. So instead of using the leaf blower to dry the entire car, I just use it in the areas where my microfiber towel can’t reach. Like the wing mirrors, door jambs etc.

This way you don’t get annoying drips of water down the paintwork after it’s already been dried. And I don’t have to turn it on for long (solves the neighbour issue).

In the future, I may invest in a proper car dryer that doesn’t have the drawbacks of a leaf blower. But for now, I find that a microfiber towel, when used patiently and safely, is fine for me.

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve found this article helpful. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the website to learn more about car care!

Heather

I first became interested in car detailing around 3 years ago and learnt all the main techniques on my very first car. I spend a lot of time detailing my current car, and trying to keep my family's cars looking presentable too!

Recent Posts