Pressure Washer: Recoil starter not engaging engine

If the engine doesn’t spin as you pull out the recoil starter rope, then you’ll likely need to replace the recoil starter because it isn’t spinning the flywheel.

If the starter rope won’t budge when you try to pull it, the engine may be locked up or the recoil starter may have failed. If you tipped the pressure washer on its side recently, oil may have filled the cylinder, preventing the engine from spinning. Remove the spark plug and then pull the starter rope to see if the engine spins. If it does, pull the starter rope a few more times to clear oil out of the cylinder through the spark plug hole. Then reinstall the spark plug and try to start the engine. The engine may sputter and smoke when starting. If the engine starts, then it will likely run smoothly once it burns off oil inside the cylinder.

If the engine won’t spin with the spark plug removed, then the piston may be bound up inside the cylinder or the recoil starter may have frozen up. Pull the recoil starter off the engine and replace the recoil starter if you can’t pull the starter rope with the recoil starter off the engine.

If the recoil starter spins after removing it from the engine, then the engine is locked up. You’ll likely need to have a service technician examine and repair the locked-up engine.

These repairs may help solve your Pressure Washer problem:

Repair or replace the pressure washer recoil starter

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.

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