How and Why To Winterize a Pressure Washer
Winterizing a pressure washer is one of the most important maintenance tasks you can do. As with other types of equipment, winterizing before storage helps protect the engine. With pressure washers, taking the time to winterize before storage is even more important because of the pump.
If you don't take the time to get the engine and pump ready for winter they can both be damaged during storage. Follow these steps before storing your pressure washer for the winter and it'll run reliably the next time you need to use it. If you have an electric powered model, you'll only need to do steps 3, 4, and 5 on this list.
1) Drain or Stabilize Gasoline
Gasoline containing ethanol goes stale in about 30 days. Leaving fuel in the engine longer than that can cause rust, corrosion, and build-up. This isn't as much of a concern if you're able to find ethanol-free fuel, but that's not always an option.
To prevent problems that come from storing the washer with ethanol-containing fuel, you can either drain or stabilize the fuel before storage. If you're going to use a fuel stabilizer, add the stabilizer to fresh gasoline and then use that to fill the tank. Finally, run the engine for a couple minutes so the stabilized fuel can circulate.
2) Change Oil
Vortex recommends changing the oil in their washers, like the ones we sell here at Richardson Saw & Lawnmower, once a year. You don't have to change the oil as part of winterizing your pressure washer, but now's as good a time as any to do it.
3) Flush and Drain Water
Run your pressure washer for about 2 minutes with clean water to clear out any debris in the pump, hose, and gun. Next, turn off the engine and water supply. Then squeeze the trigger of the spray gun to relieve the pressure.
Wait until the engine cools down, then disconnect any attached hoses. Drain all the water from the hose, gun, and attachments. Wipe them off with a rag and then let them air dry before storing.
4) Add Pump Saver
Vortex offers a product called Pump Saver for their pressure washers. To use Pump Saver, you screw the bottle into where your hose assembly goes. Then you squeeze the bottle and pull the starting cord about 4 or 5 times (until you use 1/3 of the bottle) to pull the liquid into the pump.
5) Store Safely
Now that you've finished winterizing your pressure washer, store it in a cool, dry place that is clear of dirt, grime, and moisture. If you follow all 5 of these steps for winterizing and storing your pressure washer, it'll keep running good as new for years to come.