Pressure washers are the go-to power tools for proper cleaning, but they also need maintaining if you want to get the best from them. In order to help keep your pressure washer firing on all cylinders (so to speak) I have compiled a short guide on how to go about it. In the following few words, I aim to tell you not just about maintenance but how you should store your pressure washer as well.
I’m going to start off by listing some preventative measures you need to know before using your pressure washer. First of all, make sure all the vital components are working properly.
Air filters also need to be checked and washed every four working hours, and changed after 100. Keep in mind that only foam air filters can be washed while paper filters need to be replaced.
If you’re using a gas-powered pressure washer check there is enough fuel in the tank to power it. Also check the oil in the engine. If it’s dark in color this is usually a good indicator the oil needs changing. Another way to keep track of oil changes is to remember it needs changing every 50 working hours.
After checking the engine you need to make sure the pump is functioning properly. As with the engine you need to check the oil level inside the pump, and change it every 50 working hours. Also check the water inlet and the in-line screen to make sure they are clear and nothing is clogging them. Next, check the tire pressure. This has nothing to do with the performance of the washer, but you will have a hard time lugging around a pressure washer with a flat tire!
Now you’ve gotten the crucial components of the unit out of the way, it is time to check the various attachments. Make sure high-pressure hoses don’t have any leaks in them. If they do, replace them immediately with ones that have a higher PSI rating to avoid potential new leaks.
It is also a good idea to check the couplers or connectors on the wand. If there are leaks maybe it is time to install new O-rings. Also, before attaching the hose to the washer run some water through it so it’s free of debris and bugs etc.
As for preventative measures after you have used the unit, always remember to run clean water through the system for two minutes if you have been using detergent. Make sure to relieve the system of any remaining pressure by triggering the gun even after you have turned off the engine. In order to make sure the water pump is clear pull the recoil handle.
As for long-term maintenance measures, they are mostly about keeping the engine and pump working properly. Although you do need to change the oil every 50 working hours (as previously mentioned), if you don’t use it for that long over a 12 month period it should be changed anyway.
The reason I emphasize these oil changes is because it is essential for keeping every component properly lubricated so friction and heat are kept to a minimum. Gas-powered units need to have the spark plugs changed once a year if you want your pressure washer to start up every single time.
As far as long-term maintenance measures of the pump go there really aren’t any. If you change the oil once a year and flush the pump it should be enough.
Pressure Washer Storage
In addition to regular maintenance you should also learn a thing or two about pressure washer storage. This is especially important if you live in an area where you get hard winters with freezing temperatures. If that’s the case remember one of these two things: To either drain the pressure washer of any fuel remaining in the system, or to add a fuel stabilizer into the mixture.
With regards to the water pump you should never forget to add one part antifreeze and one part water into the pump. Otherwise the water could freeze, expand and break the pump.
All of the attachments should be disconnected from the pressure washer before storage. Keep them along with the washer in a cool, dry place until you need to use them again in the spring. Of course if you have it, make use of the onboard storage.
Storing and maintaining a pressure washer only requires a bit of effort and time on your part, some oil and antifreeze and that’s pretty much it. It’s not a big price to pay really if you want to make sure your pressure washer always starts first time, and gives you the results you expect.