Troubleshooting a Wagner Sprayer

There is nothing worse than setting up to complete your painting project only to discover that your airless sprayer is not functioning properly. The last time that you used your sprayer it worked just fine and now it will not spray. There are multiple reasons that are common to Wagner paint sprayers that will prevent them from working properly.

Inefficient Cleaning

Paint sprayers must be thoroughly cleaned after every use. Water must be run through the sprayer after you have emptied out your paint. If you do not spray water through your sprayer until it runs clear your pump may be clogged with dry paint. Running hot water through your sprayer will help to loosen any dried paint. Use paint thinner or mineral spirits if you used an oil-based product.

Stuck Bearings

Most all sprayers have a port for oil. Three or four drops of oil are to be placed in the port after the sprayer has been cleaned. The purpose of oil is to keep the pump bearings lubricated. If you do not use oil after each use the bearings can become stuck. If the bearings are stuck your sprayer cannot pump paint products. There are at least three types of Wagner sprayers and your instructions will show you where to put the oil. Put oil in the sprayer pump and turn on your sprayer. This will help to loosen the bearings.


Located inside of the handle to your spray gun is a filter. Your paint passes through the filter as you are spraying. Over time paint residue will dry on the filter and stop the paint from passing through the gun. To fix this problem you will need to purchase a new filter. You will find replacement filters for your sprayer at your home improvement store.


Your spray gun also houses a tip. The paint flows through the gun and out a tip that is inserted into a spray tip guide. If you did not remove the tip and wash it with hot water it could be clogged up. A tip has two holes: a larger hole where the paint enters and a smaller hole where the paint exits. After you have cleaned your tip hold it up to a light source. Look through the larger hole on the tip. If you can see daylight the tip is clean.


Some paint products are thicker than others and it may be possible that your paint is too thick for your sprayer to pump it. Try a different paint that is not as thick as the one that you are using. If your sprayer works you will need to thin the product. Use less than one part water to four parts paint for latex paints, and use less than one part paint thinner to four parts paint for oil base paints. Add small amounts of water or paint thinner until your sprayer will work. You do not want your product too thin.

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