The Pressure Washer Won’t Start With Water On – Causes & How to Fix

A pressure washer at home is a suitable device that people use for cleaning the house and making it look marvelous. However, you only need to use the pressure cooker since it is dangerous when you know how to use it. The most common problem with pressure washers is that sometimes it does not start with water on.

There are two different types of pressure washers: gas-powered power washers and electric powered washers. There are reasons why pressure cookers behave in such a manner and how to fix the issues with the problem.

The article below describes the problems with the washer and the steps of fixing them. There are the frequently asked questions and lastly, the conclusion, which summarizes the article. Do not worry if you experience the problem since there is a solution for it.

Table of Contents

Reasons why pressure washer won’t start with water on

How to fix the issues that result

Reasons why pressure washer won’t start with water on

Technique used;

TechniqueFunctionsEssential products
Fixing faulty parts like the carburetor, spark plugs, ignition coil etc spark plug, check Amazon for the best carburetors

1. Faulty spark plug

pressure washer wont start with water on

The gas-powered pressure washer uses spark plugs that emit a spark in most cases. The spark ignites the gas and makes the motor start running. After some time the motor will degrade. The degradation is where the tip burns and cannot emit a spark anymore. When the pressure is not starting, then the problem could be the spark plug that fails to cause the spark.

How to fix the spark plug issues;

i. The first step with fixing the spark plug issues is testing it first to know if it has the issue you are expecting before trying to fix it. The spark plugs location is at the front area of the pressure washer under the motor carriage.

ii. Pull the spark plug freely and inspect the tip end of the plug. If the tip is burnt or some of the tips are missing, the spark plug is old and needs a replacement.

iii. In some cases, the plug will have the tip, or it looks okay, but you need to test it before concluding.

iv. To test the spark plug, consider using an ignition tester and hook it up to the spark plug. Ensure you activate the tester such that you need to see a tiny spark emitting from the tip of the plug.

v. If the plug is working, the issue is not with it but if it is not working, consider replacing the spark plug.

2. Restricted carburetor

Restricted carburetor

Another problem with pressure washers that are not starting with water is the restricted carburetor. A carburetor in the engine’s fuel system helps draw up air that allows fuel to get to the engine and enables it to ignite. Their issue comes in since they contact fuel, making them messy and failing to work correctly.

A carburetor has a sludge that is the most common problem with them. Sludge experiences some issues since the washer stays in the garage without being in use for months, that the gas stains it. After some time the gas then turns to be sludge. The sludge blocks the air that goes into the carburetor, which causes fuel away from entering the engine and ignites.

How to fix the carburetor

The only solution with the carburetor is to clean it. Below are the steps to follow:

i. Check for the position of the carburetor on the pressure washer

ii. In most cases, check at the front of the machine to check it.

iii. When you open ensure you find that it contains a filter

iv. The issue can be with the filter that you need to replace. In some cases, you can clean the filter and leave the carburetor to remove the sludge.

3. Defective ignition coil

Defective ignition coil

The ignition coil works by helping the pressure washer’s engine start. You can check on it when you are testing the spark plug. When the ignition coil has any issue, it sends a spark to the spark plug, igniting the gas to start the engine. Therefore, if the ignition coil is not working, the spark plug will never receive the spark that needs to start the motor. Below are some of the reasons why the ignition coil will not work:

  • Old wires
  • Bent terminal pins
  • Poor connections
  • Availability of water in the coil

How to fix the problem

Fixing the problem with the ignition coil depends on the effect of the issue on the machine since some can be good for repair. Below are the steps to follow:

i. Test the ignition coil

ii. As the spark plug, use the ignition tester to test the ignition coil if it is working.

iii. If it is not working, you need to check on the reason behind the issue. Consider checking its wires if you tested it and it is not working.

iv. If the wires are old, consider replacing them.

v. Check the terminal pins that if they are not straight, you can replace them.

vi. Check the connection of the parts within the pressure washer so that if they are loose, you will reconnect them.

vii. Check for any water damages, mainly with the coil that must not get in touch with water. If there are any damages, replace the coil.

4. Broken flywheel key

The flywheel key is a small part that attaches to the crankshaft.Therefore, when the engine faces a threat, the flywheel key becomes loose from the crankshaft. The flywheel key automatically switches off the engine to protect anyone using the machine. The only issue with the flywheel key is that they break on their own, making the pressure washer not work.

How to fix the broken flywheel key

The only solution with the broken flywheel key is replacing it. However, finding the part in the crankshaft is sometimes tricky since it is a small piece of metal that sticks out at the base of the shaft. The key can fall and get lost or damaged since any damage to the part can interfere with the crankshaft operation.

5. Broken fuel pump

Broken fuel pump

The fuel pump is the essential part of the pressure washer since it provides fuel from the tank to the fuel rail when washing the house. The rail then provides fuel to different injectors and the engine combustion chamber. Therefore, if the pump is not working, the fuel will not get to the engine to start. There are several reasons why the fuel pump breaks:

  • Overheating
  • Contamination

How to fix the problem

The only solution to the broken fuel pump is replacing the pump, but you may need to clean it in some cases. Below are some of the steps of cleaning the fuel pump:

i. Remove the fuel pump from the pressure washer and check on it carefully.

ii. Check for a sludge, rust, or any damage causing the problem

iii. Clean the parts or replace them if necessary.

iv. If you try all this, but it does not solve your problem, check on some other problems like the gears.

v. If you clean the parts and find the pump is okay, you are good to go, but if there is nothing with it, you need to replace the fuel pump.

6. hot engine

When the engine is hot, some gas-powered pressure washers cannot start again until the engine is excellent. The pressure washer with such issues is good since it protects the engine from overheating, deteriorating its health, thus getting old quickly.

How to fix the issue

i. place the pressure washer in an open area since open areas speed up the process of cooling the engine

ii. give the engine some minutes to cool during the winter seasons, but during the summer season, it may take longer.

7. Clogged fuel filter

 Clogged fuel filter

The fuel filter is an integral part of the pressure washer since it helps in filtering the dirty particles that go into the engine. If you lack the fuel filter, the dirty particles can get to the combustion chamber and harm it. A clogged fuel filter causes the fuel to have difficulty passing through it.

When you have such an issue, consider cleaning the filter to remove the dirty particles. Follow the steps below:

i. Remove the air unit and put it down

ii. Give it time to dry and place to its proper place

iii. Wipe the dirt around the fuel filter

Frequently asked questions;

  • What are the issues with an electric-powered pressure washer?

Some of the issues with the electric-powered pressure washer include wrong connection type to the outlet, faulty capacitor, issues with the breaker, wrong extension cord, clogged airline, etc.; all the problems have a solution too, and the machine works as usual.


There are many reasons why your pressure washer can fail to work with water on it. Water in the pressure washer is not always the matter since it does not change anything. Check on the issues above and use them to fix your problems with the pressure washer.

Ensure you get all the tools you need to carry out the processes and read the manual book for the pressure washer to get how you need to handle the machine. Choose to consult a technician to help you fix any problem you encounter. 

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