Pressure washer pumps require very little maintenance, but the small amounts of preventative checking can mean significant dollars in the long run. Inside the pressure washer, an engine is connected to the pump by two parallel belts. As the engine runs, the pump is activated to pressurize water out the hose and nozzle. Maintaining the pump also maintains the engine in order to keep the entire machine running smoothly and effectively.
Keeping Contaminants Out
Contaminants clog the pump valves, hoses, or nozzles which can create overwhelming pressure inside the pump. Such pressure can become highly dangerous. To remove contaminants from the water tank, prepare the tank for use. Remove any attachments and wands from the spray gun. Turn on the water supply and hold the spray gun trigger until the water forms a steady stream. Continue the stream for at least 2 minutes of continuous water flow. Engage the trigger safety latch and attach the spray wand.
Change the Oil Regularly
The oil within the pressure washer should be regularly changed in order to keep the pump running smoothly. Much like the oil within a car, the oil within the pressure washer pump keeps the parts moving without friction. While doing this, the circulated oil picks up debris which thickens the oil and makes usage more labored. Change the oil of the pressure washer every month.
To change the oil, drain all oil and fuel from the engine by using an Allen wrench to remove the oil cap. Tilt the washer forward and collect all used oil in a plastic container. Check the oil for bubbles or an off-whitish color. The presence of either can mean a blown seal and water leaking into the oil. Tilt the washer back up and refill the oil. Pre-measured oil can be purchased for washers without a dipstick.
Never Run Dry
Be sure not to starve the pump of water. Water needs to be able to make a complete cycle through the pump in order to cool the engine from overheating. Starving the pump by running the pressure washer when dry will burn out the pump in 35 minutes. Before operating, check the tank to be sure it is full of water.
A pin point hole in either the hose or at the inlet to the pump can cause a reaction much like the pump is starving for water. Once the water level within the tank falls below the hole, it will begin sucking in air instead of water. Check the hoses if there are cleaning issues that appear to be related to the water supply. Patching the hole can be an easy fix with a patch kit and save the pump from burning up.
Check Belts and Drips
Two belts run parallel from the pump to the engine. Check to make sure these belts are tight, unworn, and running smoothly. While checking the belts, look for any water dripping. Leaks can cause major PSI issues at the nozzle. When fixing leaks, use Teflon tape amply around all fittings to keep rust minimal and allow for easier separation in the future.