One of the most common phone calls we get in the Spring is a pressure washer that the engine runs but the pump does not pump correctly or at all. This is the result of the pressure washer not being winterized and left in an area where the water in the pump froze, damaging the pump.

Unfortunately in most of these cases we tell the customer it doesn’t make sense to repair the pressure washer which on typical lower cost, mass market machines involves replacing the pump.  Essentially it makes more sense to throw the machine away than to repair it.  Sad but true.

So how do you avoid ruining your pressure washer?
By properly putting it away for the off season and winterizing the pressure washer pump.

Even if you store your machine in an area which normally does not freeze, you want to properly winterize your power washer to protect the pump and save your valuable pressure washer.

The first step in putting any small engine powered machine away for the off season is to run the machine out of fuel and add a half quart of non-ethanol fuel (we have it available by the quart).  Run the machine for three to five minutes to get the non-ethanol fuel through the fuel system.  Make sure you run water throught the hose and gun while the engine is running, the water prevents the pump from overheating and getting damaged.

We do not recommend “running the tank dry” and leaving it “dry” since you will still leave some residual fuel in the carb which will likely cause a problem.  “Running dry” and leaving it that way also risks drying out O-rings and gaskets.

What’s Next?
Now you have two options, purchase the pressure washer pump saver and antifreeze we sell in our stores or make your own antifeeze delivery system.  Here is a video of how to use the power washer pump saver and antifreeze, below are diections how to make and use your own delivery system.

Do It Yourself
If you prefer to make your own delivery system, you need a five gallon bucket (with a lid if possible), a garden hose spigot and a four foot section of garden hose with fittings on both ends.  All parts are available in our stores.

  1. Drill a hole as low as possible into the side of the five gallon bucket, slide the spigot through and secure to the bucket. 
  2. Place the bucket on a sturdy surface above the pressure washer.  
  3. Connect one end of a hose to the bucket and the other to the water inlet of the pressure washer.   
  4. Connect the pressure washer hose, without the gun to the machine and bring the end into the five gallon bucket. 
  5. Add one gallon of RV Anti-freeze and three quarts of water to the bucket (normally you mix 50/50 but you will be getting water out of the pump to make the other quart)

Okay, that’s done!
Now, open the flow of the anitfreeze (or squeeze the bottle or press the button) into the pressure washer and wait for the anitfreeze to come out of the pressure hose and back into the bucket.  Once this done, your pump hase been winterized and your pressure washer should be safe for the winter.   If you have a lid for the bucket, put it on securely and you can reuse the antifreeze next year.  Note: you do not conenct your pressure washer hose for this step.

In the spring, connect a water hose to the machine and and the pressure hose to the machines outlet.  Put the pressure hose into the bucket and start the machine, letting the antifreeze run into the bucket.  Once you see water coming from the hose, shut down the machine and re-seal your bucket until the fall.

Is that it?
in the Spring, when you put your power washer into service you should run a Pump Saver through it to lubricate the pistons of the pump, the manifold  and the seals.

Since you have read this much about winterizing your power washer, we have one more word of caution for you.  Your pressure washer is NOT intended to run without water flowing through it.  You need to keep the trigger pulled and cool water running through the pump.  If you let it run too long without the trigger pulled, you will damage the pump and turn your pressure washer into an expensive piece of junk.