How do you Fix a Gas Pressure Washer that won’t Start?

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By Kirsi Jansa

Your gas pressure washer won’t start due to a variety of reasons. Let’s read about the 8 common reasons why your pressure washer won’t start and how to fix them.

Also check our guide on how to start & use a gas-powered washer!

8 Common Reasons why a Pressure Washer won’t Start [Solutions Included] 

Wrong Settings 

There are 4 steps you need to do before starting a pressure washer. Ensure that you have done the following.

  • Move the fuel lever to the on position.
  • Turn the choke to the left or the on position.
  • Move the throttle to the left or on position.
  • Turn the engine switch to the on position.

engine switch to the on position

Check Fuel Levels 

Don’t forget to check that there is enough fuel in your gas tank to start the engine. Sometimes the gauge stops working, and it is important to check the fuel level by opening the tank cap.

Another problem related to fuel is its quality. Gas that sits unused for more than a month degrades due to oxidation and evaporation. It is difficult to start a pressure washer with stale gas in it.

Similar Topic: What Kind of Gas does a Pressure Washer Use?

Faulty Spark Plug

Inspect the spark plug for any damages. The common indicators for a damaged spark plug include a cracked porcelain insulator, burned or damaged electrode, heavy carbon buildup, or a burning smell. Replace the spark plug if it is defective. You can use a spark plug tester to see if it is working all right.

Blocked Carburetor

Your carburetor may be blocked due to leftover fuel in it. Gas starts to degrade due to oxidation and evaporation, leaving a thick, sticky tar-like substance behind. It clogs the carburetor and prevents the engine from starting up.

Clean the carburetor with a carburetor cleaner to fix it. You may also need to rebuild or replace the entire carburetor if cleaning doesn’t work.

Are you using the right oil in your pressure washer? Read more on this here.

Clogged Air Filter

Inspect the air filter to see if it is clogged with dust and debris. Replace the air filter if it is damaged beyond repair. You can use compressed air to clean the air filter. 

Bad Ignition Coil

The ignition coil sends a voltage surge to the spark plug to ignite the air and fuel mixture. Check the spark plug for spark using a spark tester. No spark means that you need to replace the ignition coil. You can do it yourself if you are handy with such tasks. Here’s how you can do it.

  • Remove the coil from the spark plug.
  • Take off the engine cover. Follow your washer’s user manual to see how your engine’s cover hooks up.
  • Remove the wires, unbolt the coil, and install the new coil assembly.
  • Set the air gap between the coil and the flywheel using a feeler gauge or a business card.
  • Refer to the inside of the engine cover or your washer’s user manual to check the air gap specifications. It is usually between 0.010 and 0.014 inches.

Is your gas pressure washer running loud? Click here to find out ways to quiet your gas pressure washer!

Damaged Flywheel Key

The flywheel key connects the crankshaft to the flywheel. It can break during normal use or if your pressure washer hits a hard object. You may need to contact a professional for this task.

Pump Pressure

It is recommended to purge the unit of excessive pressure before starting. You can do this by pulling the trigger on the spray gun. Make sure you point it in a safe direction, away from all the objects.

The Pressure Washer won’t start after Running out of Gas

It is a common issue with gas pressure washers. A gas pressure washer won’t start after running out of gas due to the following reasons.

Air-locked fuel system: The fuel pipes suck air when the washer runs out of gas. The air bubbles get trapped inside the fuel lines and prevent fuel from reaching the carburetor. You can fix it by simply filling the gas tank with gas and tapping the gas bowl with the back of a screwdriver. The tapping will move the bubbles toward the carburetor. Please note that the engine may sputter for a couple of minutes until all the air is removed.

Dirt in carburetor: You can use a carburetor cleaner to remove dirt from the carburetor. You may need to rebuild or repair the carburetor if it doesn’t work.

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