how to service a pressure washer

If your pressure washer is a key component of your business, you need to learn how to service a pressure washer the right way. This will protect your investment for the long haul and ensure you keep your power washer running in tip-top shape. But let’s face it – your expertise lies in your business – not in servicing or maintaining a pressure washer!

That’s where we come in. You can find a Hotsy near you and enjoy a professional pressure washer service or get any routine repairs done. We’re the #1 choice in all things commercial pressure washers – and servicing is no exception. But if you’re looking to go the DIY route, we can lend some advice to help you understand:

  1. What goes into servicing a pressure washer
  2. General maintenance with each use
  3. The ideal pressure washer maintenance schedule
  4. And much, much more.

As you can see, we’ve got quite a bit to cover in this article. Let’s start by addressing the question so many business owners ask us – do you really need to service a pressure washer professionally, or can you do this yourself?

Do You Need To Service A Pressure Washer Professionally?

We know you like to get things done yourself. So this begs the question – can you learn how to service a pressure washer yourself, or do you need to bring your unit in for professional maintenance on a routine basis? This sort of depends on a few factors:

  1. Is your time worth being spent on pressure washer maintenance?
  2. Do you have the expertise to service and maintain your pressure washer?
  3. Are you conducting routine maintenance like changing the oil or replacing nozzles, or is there something more serious wrong?

In our opinion, business owners and their employees should work on what they do best – and chances are, that is not servicing a pressure washer (unless you work at Hotsy – this is what we do best!). You should request professional service so that you can continue to allocate your time and energy toward more important areas.

Now, that’s not to say you can’t conduct routine maintenance here and there if it’s something simple – like changing the pressure washer pump oil, replacing filters or nozzles, etc. But if your pressure washer isn’t working as well as you’d like, and you’re not sure why, don’t even bother trying to diagnose the machine yourself. These units – especially commercial pressure washers – can be very complex. You may end up doing more harm than good trying to rectify the issue if you aren’t sure what you’re doing.

All of this is to say that when it comes to servicing your unit, you are far better off bringing it into a licensed Hotsy location. We can conduct the service fast and repair any issues that are holding it back from peak performance. Typically, we can get parts in just a day or two and have your machine back up and running in no time. If need be, we may even be able to get you a pressure washer rental in the meantime!

Having said all this, we know many of our readers are the DIY type and just want to handle this themselves. If you have the know-how, it is totally possible to service your unit yourself. And we’ll walk you through the basics. First – let’s talk about the ideal pressure washer maintenance schedule.

Pressure Washer Maintenance Schedule

Think of your commercial pressure washer like a vehicle. Just as your car needs to be brought in for routine maintenance, so too does your pressure washer. From oil changes to filter replacements, there are varying timelines for when you need to conduct this routine maintenance.

But, just as recommendations vary within cars from make to make, model to model, trim to trim, so too do recommendations vary across pressure washers. That means in order to develop your ideal pressure washer maintenance schedule, you need to consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for your unique make and model. This type of information will likely be readily available in the user manual you received. It’s important to find a user manual for your specific unit because you’ll find different protocols in terms of frequency (along with the type of maintenance) from gas vs electric pressure washers, hot vs cold water pressure washers, etc.

With all this said, we have a few recommendations you can use as a general guideline. Keep reading the next section to discover how to service a pressure washer on the ideal maintenance schedule.

How To Service A Pressure Washer Yourself

This section is not going to be a universal guide on how to service a pressure washer because as we just discussed – recommendations vary from unit to unit. With that said, this section will guide you through the different types of maintenance procedures you should take care to implement – and when you need to do them.

When in doubt, consult your manufacturer directly to determine what exactly servicing your unit entails, along with the ideal frequency. We’ll start by talking about what to do before each use:

Before Each Use:

There are a few things you should do before each use of your pressure washer. Get in the habit of doing these and you’ll eventually start doing the pre-use procedures on autopilot. To make sure you don’t miss any steps, it’s not a bad idea to keep a checklist attached to your unit (or nearby where you store it). Here are some of the crucial steps to follow before operating your unit:

  • General Inspection: quickly look over the unit and identify any leaks. This includes oil, fuel, or water. If there is a leak, there is a problem – and you’ll need to conduct further analysis to determine the source and cause.
  • Check Fuel & Oil Levels: This one is important to prevent you from running your unit dry. But it’s also important to prevent downtime from your unit dying in the middle of a project because you run out of fuel. If you operate an electric pressure washer, there won’t be any fuel to check. But a gas pressure washer needs to have both the fuel and oil levels checked prior to use.
  • Check Screens, Filters, & The High-Pressure Hose: the final steps in your pre-use maintenance are to double-check that your screens, filters, and high-pressure hose are all in order. If you see any issues, you’ll want to remedy them before attempting to operate your unit.

After Each Use

Just as you’ll need to follow a strict pre-use regimen, you should conduct a post-use regimen as well. This will prolong the life of your unit while ensuring it’s ready for the next task when the time comes. This type of maintenance is pretty simple. There are just a few things you need to do before putting your unit away for the day:

  • Empty Detergent & Water Tanks: you don’t want to store your unit full of pressure washer soap or even water, for that matter. You want to fill up your unit with fresh soap and water prior to each use. So, use the remaining detergent and water to clean off the area you’ve been working in. Then, run clean water through your high-pressure hose and spray gun for a few minutes to fully purge the unit.
  • Relieve Pressure In The Unit: as you can imagine, pressure washers generate a good deal of pressure. It’s your job to relieve that pressure after each use. Turn off the pressure washer and disconnect from the water supply. Simply point the spray gun in a safe direction and hold the trigger until nothing comes out.

Routine Maintenance & Servicing Procedures

Along with quick maintenance before each use, there are other forms of maintenance you’ll need to conduct on a set schedule. From changing the engine oil out altogether to cleaning your air filter, replacing spark plugs, and much, much more – here are some recommendations:

  • Change Engine Oil: When you first get your pressure washer, you’ll want to change the engine oil after the first 5 hours of use (depending on your specific brand and unit). You also must regularly change engine oil after 50 hours of use or once a year – whichever comes first.
  • Clean Air Filter: To help prevent your unit from overheating and damaging itself, while also preventing contaminants from entering the motor, you need to regularly clean your air filter. This will vary depending on the conditions you work in. However, recommendations are to clean or outright replace your air filter every 25 hours of use – or, once a year.
  • Inspect and Clean Spark Arrestor and Muffler: Every 75 hours (or once a year) you should do an inspection of the spark arrestors and muffler. Look for cracks, residue, and other signs of damage. Similarly, you’ll want to check, clean, adjust, and replace spark plugs every 100 hours of use or once a year.
  • Replace Air Filter Fuel Filter: Even if you do a great job cleaning your air filter, you should change it altogether every 200 hours or every 2 years. The same goes for your fuel filter. This is also a good time to check your fuel lines and ensure they’re clog-free and undamaged.

To Be Safe, Get Your Pressure Washer Serviced At Hotsy

Well, there you have it – all you need to know about pressure washer maintenance. One final piece of advice we want to leave you with is that if you’re putting your unit away for an extended period, you need to learn how to winterize a pressure washer. We wrote a complete guide to help you prepare for prolonged storage and keep your unit in tip-top shape for when it comes out of hibernation.

This has been just a short introduction to how to service a pressure washer. Because remember – our best advice is to only perform routine maintenance yourself. For more serious servicing and repairs, allow a professional like Hotsy to handle everything for you. The last thing you want is to do more harm than good – contributing to more expensive repairs down the line.

Spend your time on more important work while the fine folks at Hotsy get your gas pressure washer or electric pressure washer serviced fast and back up and running. We’ll have your unit cleaning as good as it did when you first got it!