How to Fix a Pressure Washer: Identifying and Fixing

Anyone who owns a pressure washer knows how useful this machine can be. It allows you to clean your car, driveway, garage, or backyard pretty easily. Like any machine, though, pressure washers need maintenance too. For that reason, knowing how to fix a pressure washer is a must-have skill.

If you know to repair common pressure washer problems, then it will save you not just a trip to the store to get it fixed but also money for the service. Even though it consists of several parts, pressure washers are quite simple in terms of their construction and use. If one part is not working, the washer will not work as it should.

In this article, we will take a look at the most common repairs that pressure washers often encounter. We will also provide you with some basic troubleshooting tricks and tips to solve these problems.

How to Fix a Pressure Washer

Any hardworking machine such as a pressure washer will encounter problems once in a while. Luckily, there are minor repairs that you can do to have it running again. Here are some common pressure washer issues and how you can repair them:

Pressure Washer is Not Starting

Do not freak out if your pressure washer does not start. There could be several reasons behind this. It could be a problematic or broken spark plug, carburetor, or ignition coil.

  • Spark Plug

The first order of diagnosis is to inspect if the spark plug has worn out. You may need to replace it if there is carbon build-up, the porcelain insulator has cracks, or the electrode has burnt. There are spark plug testing kits that can easily indicate if the spark plug is still working fine.

  • Ignition Coil

If you find no problems in the spark plug, then the issue may be with the ignition coil. The ignition coil is responsible for sending the voltage to the spark plug. If it is defective, then the engine will not run, and the pressure washer would not start. If it is defective, simply get it replaced.

  • Carburetor

Most of the time, the problem is in the carburetor as it often gets clogged. This happens when the fuel is left in the pressure washer for a long time. Although the fuel evaporates, some of it is left behind and becomes sticky. The solution is to clean the carburetor using a carburetor cleaner. In some instances, you may have to replace it entirely.

Pressure Washer Has No or Low Pressure

This is the most common problem people face when working with a pressure washer. In this situation, you should first check if the water supply in the hose is fine. There are also numerous reasons as to why a pressure washer has no or low pressure.

  • Blockage

Obviously, a pressure washer needs a continuous supply of water to work best. So, if it has no or low pressure, then there may be something blocking the flow of water in the hose. To solve this, you will need to detach it from the inlet and check for debris, especially in the inlet filter screen.

  • Unloader Valve

If the hose is all clear and the pressure washer still has no or low pressure, then the problem could be the unloader valve. This component of the washer is mainly responsible for bypassing the water flow when the nozzle is not engaged. However, it can also adjust the pressure from the nozzle.

To solve this problem, you may need to adjust the unloader valve, which is a whole process on its own but not difficult to do at all. You will also need to use a pressure gauge for this.

Before adjusting the unloader valve, check the trigger-wand is worn out. If adjusting it does not work you may have to replace the unloader valve, which can be bought online for your specific model.

  • Regulator

Note that some models have pressure regulators for this. They work in a different mechanism but are there for the same purpose as an unloader valve. You have to see if the regulator is in need of replacement. It can get worn out fairly sooner than an unloader valve.

Pressure Washer Leaking Water

This is never good and can render the pressure washer useless. In most cases, you can diagnose what is causing it and fix it by yourself. Before you can do that, though, you would need to identify the cause of the problem first. There are several possibilities:

  • Pump Assembly

The first thing to inspect is the pump assembly. This is most likely to happen over the time, especially if you use the washer frequently. You can replace the pump seals or replace the entire assembly if you have the time or will to do that.

If the water is leaking from the pump, it could be that the pump’s internal piston seals are worn out, or the pump itself has cracks. The latter is quite obvious, but if you cannot see any cracks in the pump, it is most likely that the problem is in the piston.

  • Pistons

The pistons actually allow the pump to draw out the water from the inlet. They have seals that pressurize the water, and if those seals are broken, then they would need to be replaced in order for the pressure washer to work.

Simply remove the pump and open it to see the piston and the O-rings. If any of these O-rings is broken, you can just get a new one and replace the broken one.

  • Thermal Release Valve

Actually, there may not even be a problem at all, and the water might just be leaking through the thermal release valve. The water can get heated up when the pressure washer is not used for a while.

As a result, the water can heat up the pressure washer. Therefore, many pressure washer models feature a thermal release valve that releases the hot water and bring the temperature of the pressure washer down.

Pressure Washer Soap Injector Does Not Work

If the soap injector on your pressure washer does not work, all you need to do is replace the chemical injection kit. Doing that should deal with any problem occurring in injecting soap into the water stream inside the pressure washer.

You can search online for the chemical injection kit for your particular model. It is best to use the one made for that model so as to ensure that it would work.

Pressure Washer Does Not Shut Off

There may also be instances that you pressure washer won’t shut off even when you have already turned it off. There are many possible reasons as to why this happens. Some of these reasons include:

  • Faulty Unloader Valve

All pressure-related problems may be the result of a faulty unloader valve or the trigger-wand. First, check the unloader valve and if it has worn out and did not bypass water to stop the pressure, it needs to be replaced immediately.

  • Trigger-Wand

If you are sure that the unloader valve is not the problem, then definitely the trigger-wand is. Most likely, the seal that halts the water is broken. Unfortunately, it cannot be replaced, and you must replace the entire trigger-wand.

Wands normally do need to get replaced after a few hundred hours of use so as to ensure that your pressure washer works perfectly. If you use bleach or soap quite often, that can also cause the seal to dry out and crack.

The Final Words

Now that you know how to fix a pressure washer you can make sure that the one you have lasts for years to come. In fact, you can even use this skill to help your friends and family members with their pressure washer problems!

In most cases, you can fix a pressure washer on your own and can save some money. All it needs is basic do-it-yourself skills. However, if you find that the problem is way too big for you to handle, then you can always call a professional to help you out.