Does your pressure washer give out before you have had the chance to get going? Then in this article, I’ll show you 5 ways you can stop it from shutting off.

Here are 5 ways to fix a pressure washer that keeps cutting out:

  1. Clean the carburetor
  2. Repair or replace the carburetor
  3. Replace the fuel filter
  4. Replace the cap
  5. Replace the air filter

A pressure washer is the best solution for cleaning the car, deck, or driveway. To see how these 5 steps can stop your pressure washing from cutting out, take a look at what’s coming up next in this article.

5 Ways to Fix a Pressure Washer That Keeps Shutting Off

You’ve been staring at a pretty mucky-looking driveway for a while now. Cleaning the driveway is always one of those jobs that we don’t really enjoy doing unless the weather is nice and we have something far more interesting to do afterward.

But what happens if you try to start the pressure washer up and it keeps shutting off? It’s not on for more than a couple of seconds before it cuts out. At this rate, it will be next year before you finish the driveway. Before you get discouraged, give up and go back inside, take a look at the following 5 steps that will help you fix this problem and get back on task.

a pressure washer
Follow the steps in this article to get your pressure washing working again.

Fix #1 Clean the Carburetor

One of the main reasons why gas pressure washers shut off is because of a problem with the carburetor. You are likely dealing with a restricted or broken carburetor. In this first fix, we’ll concentrate on clearing a carburetor blockage. This is caused by residue from old fuel in the tank. Here’s what you can do to fix it:

  1. Remove the carburetor from the pressure washer
  2. Attach the nozzle to a can of carburetor cleaner
  3. Use the cleaner to remove residue from the mechanism. You can do this by spraying the fluid out of the bottle onto the problem areas. 
  4. Return the carburetor to the pressure washer
  5. Start the pressure washer up again

I’m sure you’ll agree that preventing a carburetor block is a lot easier than fixing one. So what can you do to stop this from happening again? Here are two tips:

  • Always use fresh fuel to fill the tank. You should always buy good quality, pressure washer fuel.
  • Add a fuel stabilizer in with the fuel. This helps to maintain the quality of the fuel by removing any junk from it. It also keeps your fuel lines lubricated. You should add the stabilizer right before you add the fuel as this will help the two to mix together.

Fix #2 Repair or Replace the Carburetor

Have you already cleaned your pressure washer’s carburetor but still cannot get it to keep running? Then the carburetor might be broken and need replacing or repairing for it to work properly again. Here are your options for replacing and repairing your carburetor:

  1. Buy a carburetor repair kit and replace the faulty parts
  2. Replace the entire carburetor

Once you have completed this, you should test your pressure washer. If it still does not run properly, take a look at some of the following steps in this article.

Fix #3 Replace the Fuel Filter

Does your pressure washer give up the ghost at the mere sight of work? Then we must do something and that is, replace the fuel filter. Your fuel filter may need replacing if old or bad fuel is clogging it. This fuel issue can cause it to stall. 

Not sure how to replace the fuel filter? Then here are all the steps you’ll need:

  1. Remove the cap from the fuel tank
  2. Fish the filter out of the fuel tank. You should be able to use a wire hook to pry it out.
  3. Pull the clamp away that holds the filter to the fuel line. If this is especially tough, you might want to use a screwdriver to tease it away.
  4. Install the new filter by pressing it onto the fuel line
  5. Push the clamp right up to the edge of the filter
  6. Push the new filter back into the tank
  7. Use your wire hook to push the filter back to the bottom of the tank. You can also use a screwdriver to push it back down.
  8. Return the cap to the fuel tank
  9. Start the pressure washer up

Do you fancy following along with these steps with the help of a video? Then check out this awesome step-by-step tutorial.

Replacing the fuel filter is a bit of an awkward and fiddly job. So, what can you do to prevent having to replace your fuel filter? Here are a few tips:

  • Always use fresh fuel to fill the tank. Old fuel will clog the pressure washer unnecessarily. 
  • Use the right fuel. Bad fuel or cheap fuel will not look after your engine, causing it to block.

Fix #4 Replace the Cap

Have you ever wondered what the tiny holes in the cap of your pressure washer are for? They are to ensure that air flows into the tank. But these vent holes can often become obstructed by dirt and debris. What happens then? You’ve guessed it. The pressure cuts out not long after you start it up. 

So, what should you do to fix this problem? Here are a couple of things you can try:

  1. Remove the cap
  2. Use a very small wire to poke into the vent holes. Twist the wire around to loosen the debris from inside the vent holes.
  3. Rinse the fuel cap to try to remove any leftover dirt and grime
  4. Start the pressure washer up

NOTE: These holes are very small and not easy to clean. If you really struggle to get them clean, you will need to replace your pressure washer’s fuel cap. This is as simple as removing the old cap and replacing it with one that is the right size for your pressure washer.

Fix #5 Replace the Air Filter

For your pressure washer to work properly, there needs to be a steady flow of air coming into the carburetor. If the airflow is restricted in some way, the pressure washer will stall and cut out. We have already looked at how to clear a blockage in the pressure washer’s cap. So, let’s discuss clearing the air filter. 

How often should you replace your air filter? Once a year, or when the filter looks soiled. This might be sooner than a year if you use your pressure washer very regularly. And how should you go about replacing it? Here are a couple of steps for you to follow:

  1. Remove the air filter’s cover from the body of the pressure washer
  2. Remove the nut that holds the air filter in place. You should be able to do this by hand.
  3. Tease the filter and pull it away from the pressure washer
  4. Pull the cover off of the old air filter
  5. Slide the new cover onto the air filter
    1. NOTE: If you are replacing the entire filter and not just the cover, proceed to remove the air filter with its cover. You can then replace them both.
  6. Return the air filter to the pressure washer
  7. Return the nut to the unit that holds the air filter in place. Again, you should be able to do this by hand. 
  8. Return the air filter’s cover to the body of the pressure washer
  9. Start the pressure washer up

Would you prefer to follow along and watch these steps as you complete them? Then make sure you take a look at this tutorial video

How can you prevent your pressure washer from shutting off because of a problem with its air filter? Here are two simple and easy ways. 

  • Follow a good air filter replacement schedule. You should replace your air filter once a year.
  • Replace your air filter when it looks soiled. This will prevent you from having problems starting up when you come to use the pressure washer.
man using pressure washer
Now you have all the information you need to fix your pressure washer!

Pressure Washer Still Cutting Out?

If our tips above haven’t helped, it might be worth contacting a professional.

We are fortunate enough to have a lot of readers on this blog – but unfortunately we can’t answer everyone’s requests for help or more information.

Instead, we’ve teamed up with JustAnswer to connect you to local experts that can help solve the issue. You can use the chat box below to get in touch with them, and get detailed answers in return for a small trial fee.


A pressure washer that cuts out as soon as you turn it on is a bit of a pain. You won’t get the job done any time soon at this rate! Thankfully, this article has helped us to see not just one but 5 ways of fixing this problem and get you back on the road to a nice clean car or driveway.

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Thanks for reading, and have a great day!