How To Start A Gas Pressure Washer

How To Start A Gas Pressure Washer

Operating a gas pressure washer requires careful preparation and start-up procedures to ensure safe, effective cleaning performance. By following the proper steps, we can start a gas pressure washer correctly on the first try. In this post, we’ll walk through the complete process from assembly and set-up to starting the engine and adjusting water flow. With the right knowledge, anyone can learn how to start up this type of pressure washer to tackle tough outdoor cleaning jobs.

Assembling The Pressure Washer

The first step in starting any gas pressure washer is proper assembly. Most gas pressure washers arrive in separate component parts that must be put together. Key assembly steps include:

  • Attaching the wheels – Stability comes from wheel placement. Attach two rear wheels and a front swivel wheel so the washer can be easily maneuvered.
  • Mounting the engine – Use bolts to mount the gas engine securely to the washer frame per the manual instructions. Check alignments.
  • Connecting the hose reel – Mount the hose reel assembly onto the washer frame and tighten in place. Make sure the hose can unwind without snagging.
  • Attaching accessories – If accessories like nozzles or brushes are included, attach them to the washer wand or frame per instructions.
  • Checking alignments – Verify all assembled parts are properly aligned and fitted before moving to set-up steps.

Pressure Washer Set-Up

With assembly complete, the washer components must be prepared and connected prior to engine start. Key gas pressure washer set-up steps include:

  • Adding oil – Check the engine oil level and add oil if needed per the manual specifications. Proper oil levels prevent damage.
  • Checking/adding gas – Confirm sufficient gas in the engine tank for start-up. Top off with fresh, clean unleaded gas as required.
  • Connecting water hose – Attach garden hose from the water source to pressure washer water inlet. Turn on water.
  • Selecting nozzle – Choose suitable high-pressure nozzle for the cleaning task and twist into the wand outlet.
  • Uncoiling hose – Unwind high pressure hose completely and untwist to prevent kinks stopping water flow.
  • Applying detergents – If using cleaning solutions, pour detergent into the tank and attach siphon hose to the wand.
  • Confirming alignments – Reconfirm all hose connections are tight with no leaks before attempting start.

Starting The Gas Engine

With assembly and set-up steps complete, we’re ready to start the gas engine. Follow these key steps:

  • Move to a well-ventilated outdoor area – Gas engines produce hazardous fumes.
  • Check oil/gas levels – Reconfirm both oil and gas tanks are filled to proper levels before starting.
  • Position washer – Place pressure washer in an open area and tip back slightly so the high-pressure hose inlet is higher than the pump. This allows water to gravity flow into the pump for priming.
  • Engage choke – Move choke lever to closed “CHOKE” position to enrich fuel mix when starting cold engine.
  • Set throttle – Throttle controls engine speed. Move throttle midway between slowest and fastest settings.
  • Turn fuel valve on – Rotate fuel shut-off valve to the open “ON” position. This lets fuel flow to the carburetor.
  • Switch ignition on – Key start models: Turn key to “ON” position. Recoil start models: Move ignition switch to “ON”.
  • Pull the starter – Grip recoil starter handle firmly and pull slowly several times to prime, then pull rapidly to start. Key start models: Turn key to “START” position.
  • Let engine warm up – Give engine 2-3 minutes to warm up before revving up to full speed.
  • Disengage choke – Once warm, gradually move choke lever to open “RUN” position for optimal airflow.

Adjusting The Pressure Washer

With the gas engine started, the final step is adjusting the pressure washer settings:

  • Confirm engine operation – Listen for smooth engine operation without sputtering or surges.
  • Check for leaks – Scan all hose connections for leaks and tighten fittings if needed. Shut off immediately if uncorrected.
  • Unlock trigger lock – Release trigger lock so water can flow through the wand when trigger is pressed.
  • Activate trigger – Press wand trigger for a few seconds so water flows to purge air from the pump and hose.
  • Adjust throttle – Gradually increase engine throttle to maximum speed for highest pressure.
  • Adjust detergent – If using detergents, turn siphon knob to draw and blend in cleaner.
  • Select nozzle – Twist in suitable high-pressure nozzle for the cleaning task and surface type.
  • Test before use – Spray a test area while adjusting water pressure and angle to optimize cleaning effectiveness.

By completing each step carefully, we can successfully start a gas pressure washer on the first try. With assembly, set-up, start-up and adjustments complete, the pressure washer is ready to tackle tough outdoor cleaning jobs. Follow safe operating practices and perform regular maintenance, and a gas pressure washer will deliver years of durable performance.

Why Won’t My Gas Power Washer Start?

The gas power washer fails to start due to the engine not getting fuel, air, compression, or ignition required to run. This can be caused by an empty fuel tank, clogged fuel filter or carburetor, dirty air filter, low compression from worn piston rings, or a faulty spark plug preventing ignition.

Common Gas Pressure Washer Issues and Solutions

Even when proper start-up procedures are followed, issues can arise when operating a gas pressure washer. Here are some common problems and troubleshooting tips:

Engine won’t start:

  • Check fuel levels – Add gas if tank is empty
  • Inspect/replace spark plug – Ensure spark plug is clean and properly gapped
  • Check oil level – Fill crankcase to proper level if oil is low
  • Clean air filter – Replace dirty air filter so engine gets clean air
  • Adjust choke position – Move to CLOSED position when starting cold engine

No or low pressure:

  • Check water supply – Ensure garden hose has sufficient flow to inlet
  • Examine hoses – Clear any kinks or blocks in high-pressure hose
  • Clean nozzle – Remove obstructions clogging nozzle aperture
  • Adjust throttle – Rev engine to full speed for max pressure
  • Check pump valves – Remove debris blocking inlet/outlet valves

No detergent flow:

  • Add detergent – Refill empty detergent tank with cleaning solution
  • Clean siphon filter – Rinse siphon filter so detergent can flow
  • Tighten siphon connections – Check and tighten leaky fittings
  • Adjust siphon knob – Turn knob to allow more/less detergent flow

Leaking water:

  • Tighten fittings – Use wrenches to tighten loose pump/hose connections
  • Replace worn O-rings – Check and replace worn or cracked O-ring seals
  • Examine hoses – Replace any worn, cracked, or damaged hoses
  • Check pump oil – Maintain proper pump lubrication to prevent leaks

By systematically troubleshooting issues using these tips, we can accurately diagnose and repair common gas pressure washer problems to restore full cleaning functionality.

Safety Tips When Operating Gas Pressure Washers

While incredibly useful for heavy-duty cleaning, gas pressure washers require safe operating practices to prevent injuries or property damage. Here are some key safety tips to follow:

  • Use eye/ear protection – Wear ANSI-rated goggles and earplugs when working to protect from debris.
  • Wear protective clothing – Long sleeves/pants protect against splashback. Waterproof boots improve grip.
  • Check surroundings – Clear area of objects that could create tripping hazards.
  • Retain stable footing – Plant feet firmly and avoid overreaching so you don’t fall.
  • Keep children/pets away – Don’t let children or pets play near a running pressure washer.
  • Check hoses for damage – Don’t use worn or cracked hoses that could burst during use.
  • Maintain safe distances – Keep the high-pressure wand 18+ inches away from cleaning surface.
  • Take breaks – Pressure washing has vibration/kickback. Take regular breaks to prevent fatigue.
  • Avoid chlorine bleach – Never attempt to siphon or pressurize bleach, which creates toxic fumes.
  • Store indoors when not in use – Store washer in a shed or garage protected from weather and unauthorized use.

By making safety a priority, we can operate gas pressure washers effectively while protecting ourselves, others, and property.

Can You Start A Gas Pressure Washer Without Water?

It is not recommended to start a gas pressure washer without a water supply connected, as this can damage the pump. Operating the pressure washer pump without adequate water flowing through it causes cavitation, resulting in overheating, seal damage, and accelerated wear. Proper operation requires connecting the water supply to provide water to cool and lubricate the pump before starting.

Can You Leave A Gas Pressure Washer Running?

Leaving a gas pressure washer running unattended is generally unsafe, as it poses risks of mechanical failure, fuel leakage, and unauthorized use by others. It is recommended to shut off a gas pressure washer when not actively being used, to prevent hazards and properly maintain the equipment.

Are Gas Pressure Washers Hard To Maintain?

Gas pressure washers require more maintenance than electric models, but routine care is straightforward. Following basic maintenance like changing oil, filters, and pump lubricant according to manual intervals, inspecting connections, and cleaning components keeps a gas pressure washer in proper operating condition without being overly difficult.

Gas Pressure Washer Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance keeps a gas pressure washer running smoothly for years. Here are some key maintenance tips:

  • Change oil regularly – Drain and replace engine oil per manual guidelines. Dispose oil properly.
  • Inspect/change filters – Clean or replace air and fuel filters when dirty to prevent engine damage.
  • Check pump oil – Maintain proper oil levels in pump crankcase to reduce wear.
  • Flush chemical injector – Flush injector with fresh water after using chemicals/detergents.
  • Drain water from hoses – Disconnect hoses and drain out all water after use to prevent freezing cracks.
  • Wipe surfaces clean – Wipe down unit and hose exterior after each use to remove dirt, grime, and excess chemicals.
  • Inspect connections – Check connector joints, valves, and pump housing for leaks/cracks and reseal or replace.
  • Test safety valves – Confirm safety release valves are not sticking and release pressure when triggered.
  • Check nozzle clearances – Remove obstructions in nozzle to maintain strong pressure stream.
  • Inspect tires – Ensure tires are properly inflated and have no leaks or damage.
  • Touch up paint – Use touch up paint to cover any scrapes or rust spots on frame or accessories.
  • Check belt tension – Examine drive belt and re-tension per manual if loose to prevent slippage.
  • Spark plug care – Replace worn spark plugs. Set plug gap for optimal ignition.
  • Verify screw tightness – Examine all screws and bolts and tighten any that are loose.
  • Review manual – Re-read manual regularly to reinforce proper use and maintenance.

With regular upkeep and tune-ups, a gas pressure washer will deliver years of reliable service.

Gas vs Electric Pressure Washers

When purchasing a new pressure washer, a key choice is gasoline powered versus electric powered models. What are the differences and how do you choose?

Gas Pressure Washer Advantages:

  • More powerful – Gas engines achieve higher cleaning pressure – up to 4000 PSI
  • No cord limits – Gas models can go anywhere without a power outlet. Better for remote areas.
  • Unlimited runtime – Gas engines don’t run out of charging like batteries. Clean for hours unattended.
  • Higher flow rates – Gas pressure washers typically exceed 2 GPM flow for faster cleaning.
  • Larger capacities – Big detergent tanks, larger hoses, and longer wands equip gas for big jobs.

Electric Pressure Washer Advantages:

  • Lower acquisition cost – Electric pressure washers cost significantly less upfront.
  • Less maintenance – Electric motors have fewer parts and don’t need oil changes like gas engines.
  • Quieter operation – Electric pressure washers run more quietly for less noise disruption.
  • Lower emissions – Electric models don’t emit engine exhaust fumes. More eco-friendly.
  • Compact storage – Electric washers take up less space for indoor storage and transport.
  • Safer around utilities – Electrics reduce spark risk and are safer to use near electricity.

For most homeowners, an electric pressure washer in the 1500-2000 PSI range offers sufficient cleaning power for residential needs at an affordable price point. Gas models are ideal for frequent heavy-duty cleaning in remote areas by professionals and landlords.

By understanding the trade-offs, you can choose between gas vs electric pressure washers based on your specific cleaning requirements.


Operating a gas pressure washer involves careful assembly, start-up, adjustment, operation, maintenance, and technique. By following the steps outlined and making safety a priority, anyone can learn how to effectively start up and control a gas pressure washer for tough outdoor cleaning challenges. Pressure washers allow tackling cleaning jobs that would otherwise require intensive manual scrubbing. With the convenience of a gas powered pressure washer’s cleaning muscle, dirty decks, driveways, equipment, and building exteriors can be renewed to like-new condition.

For professional pressure washing around North and Central Georgia, contact Sullins Suds Pressure Washing today!

Don’t Stop Here

More To Explore
How To Pressure Wash a Rug
How To Pressure Wash a Rug: Washing, Drying, and Maintaining

Pressure washing a rug requires careful attention to detail to avoid damaging delicate fibers. Follow these steps for optimal results:
1. Preparation
2. Choose the Right Pressure Washer
3. Detergent Selection
4. Test Spot
5. Even Application
6. Rinse Thoroughly
7. Allow to Dry

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