Troubleshooting a Honda Pressure Washer

Updated February 21, 2017

Pressure washers equipped with Honda engines are a good choice for homeowners and professionals alike. Now that the quality of equipment has improved along with price reductions, many homeowners have purchased their own pressure washers rather than renting them, and Honda-powered models are among the most popular. Yet like with all power equipment, things can go wrong. The majority of problems are readily identifiable and easily fixed.

Engine Will Not Start

Before starting your Honda-equipped pressure washer, make sure the intake water hose is connected and turned on. Release the trigger on the wand and run water through the machine until all air is purged from the system. Many pressure washers will not allow the engine to run if water is not free to move through the unit.

The most common problem with gas-powered equipment is trouble starting the engine. Check to ensure proper fuel has been added. If the fuel is more than 30 days old, it may need to be replaced.

Locate the fuel switch on the engine, and turn it to the "on" position. The fuel switch, choke and throttle lever are located on the engine opposite the water hose connections. If you're starting a cold engine, move the choke lever out to the midway point. Open the throttle to one-third. If the starter cord will not move after a couple of pulls, pull the trigger on the gun to release water pressure. Once the engine starts, return the choke to the "off" position after a few seconds.

On models with an oil alert system, the engine will not start if engine oil level is low. Check and fill if necessary.

If the engine still will not start and the smell of gas is present, close the choke valve and wait a few minutes, as the engine could be flooded. Try starting the engine again, this time with the choke off, and the throttle opened all the way. You may need to remove and dry the spark plug and try starting again. A fouled or improperly gapped spark plug could also be a problem, and should be replaced.

Engine Lacks Power

If the exhaust contains a lot of smoke, check to see if the choke is on and return it to the off position. If fuel is oxidised or has water present, replace with fresh fuel. Ensure there is an unrestricted air supply to the engine and that the air filter is clean. Other problems, such as carburettor or ignition malfunction or stuck valves, will require taking the unit to an authorised Honda dealer.

Low or No Water Pressure, Leaky Hose or Wand

Check to see if the water source is fully turned on, and if pressure is adequate. If leaks are spotted, tighten connections. If they persist, new O-rings or washers may be needed. Make sure all quick connects are tight and locked and that there are no crimps or bends in the hoses. Check to ensure the proper wand nozzle tip is locked in place and is clean and not worn or damaged. Follow the manufacturer's instructions when changing tips on the wand. Clean filter screens on the water intakes if they are clogged. If the water supply fails, turn off the engine until the problem is fixed.

Storage and Maintenance

Always follow all manufacturer-recommended maintenance, such as changing the engine and pump oil, and keep your unit clean to ensure easy starting and use. Store the unit in a clean, dry place to avoid getting water or debris in the fuel filter and air intake. Check the oil levels on the engine and pump before every use. After use, drain the water from the hoses and pressure washer, and disconnect the hoses and trigger gun.

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About the Author

Based in the bayou country of Louisiana, Robert Fergeson has been writing about psychology since 2000. His articles have appeared in the "TAT Forum", and in the book "Beyond Mind, Beyond Death". He is an avid photographer and owns a cleaning business. Fergeson attended Louisiana State University.