Gas Pressure Washer: Engine won't start

When the engine doesn't start, first make sure the rocker switch that controls the engine is in the On position. Next, check the fuel; the engine won't start if the engine is out of fuel or if the fuel is stale or contaminated with water. Replace the fuel in the gas tank if the fuel is older than 3 months.

Bad fuel can contaminate the carburetor. Clean or replace the carburetor if it's gummed up from using stale fuel.

The engine may also need a good tune-up so it will start easily. A tune-up includes changing the oil, changing the spark plug, replacing the air filter, checking the ignition system and adjusting the throttle and choke controls.

A bad recoil starter can prevent the engine from starting. If the engine doesn't spin when you pull the starter rope, you'll likely need to replace the recoil starter.

gas pressure washer

These repairs may help solve your gas pressure washer problem

Tune up the pressure washer engine

Tune up the pressure washer engine

A tune-up restores the pressure washer's engine to its peak operating condition. A tune-up includes changing the oil, cleaning the engine, replacing the air filter, checking the ignition system, inspecting the carburetor, adjusting the throttle and choke controls, and adjusting and lubricating all moving parts.

Replace the pressure washer carburetor

Replace the pressure washer carburetor

Over time, varnish from stale gasoline builds up in the carburetor, decreasing the amount of air/fuel mixture reaching the engine. Replace the carburetor if it's severely clogged with varnish or if the orifices are clogged with debris and can't be cleared using carburetor cleaner and compressed air.

Clean and rebuild the pressure washer carburetor

Clean and rebuild the pressure washer carburetor

Rebuild kits are available for most carburetors. The kit contains essential components such as jets, pins, seals and gaskets for overhauling the carburetor. You can sometimes fix a fuel supply problem by disassembling, cleaning and rebuilding the carburetor.

Repair or replace the pressure washer recoil starter

Repair or replace the pressure washer recoil starter

If the pull rope doesn't retract, it's likely that the spring inside the recoil starter is broken. The recoil starter can also fail to engage the engine when the rope is pulled. Replace the recoil starter if the spring breaks or if the recoil starter won't engage the engine.

Symptoms for gas pressure washers

Choose a symptom to see related pressure washer repairs.

Main causes: damaged recoil starter, oil inside cylinder, locked up engine piston
Things to do: tune up the engine, inject pump saver into the water pump when storing the pressure washer for the winter
Main causes: stale fuel, gummed up carburetor, engine needs tune up, throttle and choke controls need adjustment, bad recoil starter
Main causes: dirty air filter, stale fuel, clogged or dirty carburetor, bad unloader valve
Main causes: overfilling engine with oil, improper fuel/air mixture, choke system problems, dirty carburetor, engine needs tune up
Main causes: faulty unloader valve, bad pressure regulator
Main causes: broken recoil spring, damaged recoil starter
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: 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.

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
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
How to install a pressure washer check valve kit

Air in the inlet water supply can damage the check valves. If the pump won’t build up pressure due to damaged check valves, follow these steps to replace the check valves.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 120 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.

March 1, 2016
Getting the most from a pressure washer
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn how to get the best results when using a 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.