What Kind of Oil Does a Pressure Washer Use?

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There are two main types of pressure washer, electric pressure washers and gas power washers. Which one to go for will come down to entirely your needs, you may be happy with one of the best most powerful electric pressure washers… But perhaps you need more power! Maybe you are looking for something that doesn’t need a power cord and in that case, one of the best gasoline pressure washers will suit you best.

Now, if you are reading this article… either you are researching what you’ll need to do once you’ve bought your gas pressure washer or you have got one and are looking to change its oil but are unsure as to what kind of oil does a pressure washer use?

The Different Types of Oils

Like all gasoline engines a pressure washer engine will need oil, it’s the lubricant which protects all the internal components from wearing down as they connect with each other, it also helps manage the internal temperature of the engine, as the oil cycles through the engine it takes away the heat of the components.

So it plays quite a vital role, and it’s very important that you gain a familiarity with the type of oils a pressure washer will use as you need to make sure you get the right one for your engine; otherwise, it won’t be a smooth-running machine. Its lifespan will be drastically shortened!

All-Purpose Engine Oils

An all-purpose engine oil is just that, a nice all-purpose engine oil, there’s nothing special about it and it’s easy to get ahold of.

Now in your pressure washers instruction manual, there will be a section about which oil to use and the “weight” of that oil i.e., 10W-30 which shows the weight of the oil in winter and in summer.

This is important as you want an oil that will suit your engine in your climate if you are in a location where the temperature is constantly 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Then you’ll be looking for a SAE30 type oil”

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If, however you live in a climate where the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit then a 10W-30 oil is best for fuel efficiency”.

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If you are looking for an oil to run down to -20 degrees all the way to 120 degrees, then you’ll want a 5W-30 oil”, which is best usually for those winter months.

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By using the correct power washer oil, you’ll find that your pressure washer will start better. If you end up using the wrong oil, there may be some damage to the engine but you’ll certainly see the oil consumption increased in your pressure washer engine.

I personally advise you to choose a good quality oil, one free from additives and rated for service SF, SG, SH, SJ, or even higher.

Non-Detergent Pump Oils

When considering non-detergent pump oils, Briggs and Stratton’s synthetic oils should be the oils you go for. You can also use a 30W non-detergent oil, these oils are still popular today, though not as needed as we now have oil filters.

Non-detergent pump oils naturally let the contaminants stick to the sidewalls, preventing the dirty oil from damaging the engine. Other types of oils can cause a build-up of sludge in the pressure washer, which is why we have oil filters as that sludge gets caught there.

Choosing the Better Oil

If you want to take the confusion out of deciding which pressure washer oil should I use at what temperature, then get an oil that has low consumption and can work in a wide temperature range.

In this case, your best bet would be a 5W-30” oil, which has a wide working temperature range (-20 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure that the oil is free from all kinds of additives as they also compromise the working and life of a pressure washer.

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Pump Oil Maintenance Tips

You can ensure a longer life for your pressure washer by taking care of the pump and regularly changing the oil. Here are a few quick and easy tips to carry out the maintenance tasks:

  • Check the oil level before starting the pressure washer. This can be done by looking at the oil sight window level without opening the cap. If this is not the case with your pressure washer, then simply use a dipstick to check.
  • After the first run of the machine, you should change the oil every spring or end of the winter. This is an essential task because the oil thickens over the winter and can gradually ruin the working pump.
  • Check the owner’s manual for other small maintenance tasks to ensure the longevity of your pressure washer.

How to Change the Oil?

It’s essential to change the oil in your pressure washer regularly if left too long the oil will degrade and damage will occur to your pressure washed engine or pump.

And let’s be honest… changing the oil is a straightforward task.

  • Before you change the oil, run the pressure washer for a few minutes, this will get the oil nice and warm, and warm oils flow much more quickly, this will reduce the time it takes to drain the pressure washer of oil fully.
  • Once the machine has been on and warmed up, turn it off and disconnect it from your water source.
  • Firstly stick a container directly underneath the machine.
  • Remove the oil cap and tip the pressure washer so that the lowest point of the engine is the oil tank.
  • Some pressure washers have a funnel/tube that may need to be used to remove the oil entirely.
  • Make sure you collect the old oil in a container and dispose of it safely.
  • Once all the oil has been drained out your pressure washer, you can bring it back to upright if you had to tip it.
  • Now fill it up with fresh oil, making sure that you’ve checked your instruction manual to find out how much you need to add in, if you have an oil sight window, add a bit of oil, wait… check the window, keep repeating this until you’ve hit the right amount of oil.
  • Same again, if you have a dipstick, just keep checking the dipstick. Make sure to clean the dipstick before taking a reading.
  • Never overfill your oil tank; if there is too much oil, it can damage your engine.
  • Put the oil cap back on and make sure it’s secured tightly.
  • Wipe away any extra oil that may have spilled or dripped.

When you’ve purchased a new pressure washer, after running for ~24 hours, you should change the oil.

After that first oil change, it will change to ~50 hours of runtime, though that will depend on the climate conditions.

Wrap up

Hopefully, I’ve answered the question of what kind of oil does a pressure washer use? And shown you how to change that oil. There is more faff involved with gas pressure washers, but they are worth that extra effort.

If you have any questions, please put them in the comments section below.