November 1, 2015

Solving pressure washer problems

By Sears PartsDirect staff
Solving pressure washer problems.
Solving pressure washer problems.

Most pressure-washing problems are relatively easy to fix yourself. Here are a few tips to get the pressure washer performing as expected.

Pressure washer pulsates while spraying

A clogged spray tip causes the pump to work harder and can produce a pulsing sensation while you're squeezing the spray gun trigger.

  1. Turn off the engine and the water supply.

  2. Point the spray gun in a safe direction, press the trigger release or safety latch and squeeze the trigger to release the pressure in the system.

  3. Remove the spray tip and use a small paper clip to remove any debris that's clogging the opening.

Pressure washer has low water pressure

If a low volume of water comes out of the pressure washer, a clogged spray tip is one possible cause. Inadequate water flow into the pressure washer can also produce a weak spray.

  1. Shut down the engine and release the trapped pressure from the system.

  2. Disconnect the garden hose from the pressure washer and run water through it to make sure no clogs are present.

  3. Check the water inlet screen and remove any debris.

Tip: If the hose is more than 50 feet long, use a shorter one. A hose that's too long can greatly reduce water pressure. 

Pressure washer detergent doesn't mix with spray

  1. Make sure that the detergent shut-off valve is in the on position.

  2. Confirm that the spray tip is designed for detergent.

  3. Check that the setting you have chosen is a low pressure for detergent dispensing.

Pressure washer causes streaks

Using a too-high nozzle pressure setting for rinsing may damage the surface you’re cleaning. Working too quickly, failing to keep a consistent distance from the cleaning surface and not using a steady, even, overlapping spray pattern can produce uneven cleaning results. To prevent streaking on vertical surfaces, apply the detergent from the ground up and then rinse from the top down before the cleaning solution has a chance to dry.

Symptoms for gas pressure washers

Choose a symptom to see related pressure washer repairs.

Things to do: tune up the engine, inject pump saver into the water pump when storing the pressure washer for the winter
Main causes: broken recoil spring, damaged recoil starter
Main causes: overfilling engine with oil, improper fuel/air mixture, choke system problems, dirty carburetor, engine needs tune up
Main causes: dirty air filter, stale fuel, clogged or dirty carburetor, bad unloader valve
Main causes: pump running for more than 5 minutes when the spray wand isn't being used, faulty pressure relief valve, bad unloader valve
Main causes: damaged recoil starter, oil inside cylinder, locked up engine piston
Main causes: using a high-pressure spray tip when applying detergent, clogged siphon tube, chemical injection system failure
Main causes: stale fuel, gummed up carburetor, engine needs tune up, throttle and choke controls need adjustment, bad recoil starter
Main causes: insufficient water supply, clogged water inlet screen, clogged pressure hose, faulty pump check valves, stuck unloader valve

Repair guides for gas pressure washers

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your pressure washer.

April 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a pressure washer pump

The pump can be damaged by air in the inlet water supply or by chemicals that remain in the pump body after using the chemical injection system. Follow these steps to replace a damaged pump.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
April 1, 2013
By Lyle Weischwill
How to install a pressure washer O-ring kit

O-rings seal fittings on the pressure washer pump. Damaged seals allow water to leak from the pump. Follow these steps to replace the O-rings in a leaking pressure washer pump.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 45 minutes or less
How to install a pressure washer chemical injection kit

The chemical injection valve draws detergent into the pump. If it’s not drawing detergent, use a repair kit to replace the chemical injection valve.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less

Articles and videos for gas pressure washers

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your pressure washer.

January 1, 2016

Choosing the correct spray tip for a pressure washer

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Spray tips vary in pressure and angle of spray. This guide matches the spray tip to the cleaning job.

November 1, 2015

7 steps for winterizing and storing a pressure washer

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Follow this advice to winterize your pressure washer.

April 1, 2015

Pressure washer common questions

By Sears PartsDirect staff

See what you can learn from the questions that people most often ask our experts about their pressure washers.