Pressure washers deliver up to 75 times the power of an ordinary garden hose, blasting mould, mildew, dirt, oil, grease and grime from cars, trucks, motor mowers and tillage machinery as easily as from garage floors and driveways, garden decks, outdoor furniture, roofs and guttering. They are an essential accessory for professional as well as DIY mechanics.
However, good-quality washers are not cheap and require some maintenance, so here are six tips to extend their lifespan and keep them running smoothly.
Connectors contain O-rings that can twist or fail if not lubricated. Since oil gets washed off, use silicone plumber’s grease.
Empty After Use
Water catalyses corrosion and leaves behind mineral deposits. In winter it may even freeze. Pump seals and pistons are particularly vulnerable. To avoid damaging these expensive parts, flush your washer with pump lube or antifreeze after each use. Motor parts companies supplying Briggs and Stratton parts will also stock “Pump Saver”, which screws easily on to the pump inlet using a hose adapter. Briggs and Stratton parts and consumables can be found at https://diyengineparts.com/. A two-second burst is all that’s needed.
Use the right nozzle for the job. Not only can you damage surfaces by using a high-pressure nozzle, but you won’t be able to flush soap through the system if you have a narrow nozzle fitted. (See a nozzle guide here https://tenbuyerguide.com/pressure-washer-nozzles/)
Putting ordinary household detergents, bleach or other domestic products into a pressure washer is asking for trouble. You need to buy pressure washer soap designed for the job you have in mind: vehicle soaps won’t clean oily concrete, and concrete soaps can discolour vehicle trims and alloy wheels.
If you know you may not need your washer for a few months, protect the engine before you put it away by draining the crankcase and refilling it with fresh oil. Run the engine for a minute to circulate it. Do the same with the gas tank. Add fresh gas treated with fuel stabilisers and run for a couple of minutes to make sure it reaches the carburettor.
Quite a few knocks and dents are caused by lugging washers around. A good-quality washer still delivers a good pressure through a 25’ hose extension, meaning you can leave it safely in one place.