Skip to Content

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won’t (Start,Stop,Stay On,etc)

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won't (Start,Stop,Stay On,etc)

When your Ryobi pressure washer doesn’t start, stop, or stay on, it could mean several different issues that can be difficult to identify at times. Rather than rushing down to the local hardware store, let us take a quick look at some of the most common reasons why the Ryobi pressure washer won’t function correctly. 

How can I fix my Ryobi Pressure Washer?  You first need to isolate what is causing the problem.  After doing so, you can repair, adjust, or replace parts as needed.  

SymptomPossible Problem
Won’t StartSpark plugs, Carburetor, Ignition Coil, Flywheel Key
Won’t Stay OnCarburetor, Fuel Filter, Fuel Cap, Air Filter
Won’t PressurizeClogged Water Line, Clogged Water Connection, Nozzle, Pressure Adjustment Knob
Won’t StopUnloader Valve, Wand
Won’t SprayClogged hose, Engine Speed, Leaks, Bad Pump
Won’t CrankElectrical Outlets, Fluid Levels, Faulty Engine, Obstructions
Won’t Dispense SoapInlet Hose Filter, Inlet Valve, Bad Parts on the Injector, Think Detergent Mix

Checking the Ryobi pressure washer for the most common scenarios first is always going to be the better option. Some problems are easy to fix and require minimal tools.  Other issues may require some routine maintenance or a complete overhaul/replacement of individual parts. We can pinpoint the problem by looking at the symptoms of the problem and the different components that make up a small engine.

It is easier than it sounds, so let’s get started.

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won’t Start

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won't Start

Why won’t a Ryobi pressure washer start? There are several reasons why a Ryobi pressure washer won’t start and turn on. You will want to check for a faulty spark plug, a clogged carburetor, a faulty ignition coil or a cracked flywheel key. These are the most common problems and are relatively easy to test for and fix.

Defective spark plug

The defective spark plug is an easy fix; you just replace the spark plug to check it. The spark plugs in small engines should be changed annually regardless of use. Carbon can build up tremendously on the electrode and prevent an electrical connection between the electrode and the fuel. You can use a spark plug tester if you want to make sure that the spark plug is the problem. 

Clogged carburetor

A clogged carburetor can occur, especially if the pressure washer has sat for an extended period. Some of the elements in the fuel evaporate and leave behind a substance that is thicker and can clog the carburetor.  Taking the carburetor apart and cleaning it with some carb cleaner will quickly fix this issue. 

Faulty ignition coil

The third most common culprit is that the ignition coil may be faulty. If you have checked the spark plug and ensured that it is in working order, then the ignition coil should be tested. You can quickly test the ignition coil with a tester to determine if it needs replacing. 

Cracked flywheel

If all of those check out, examing the flywheel key is next.  The flywheel key is a safety precaution to protect the engine if the engine stops suddenly because of an opposing force.  It is designed to break in half to protect the engine. The only way to check this is to take the flywheel off and inspect the key. 

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won’t Stay On

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won't Stay on

If you can start your Ryobi, but it won’t stay on, look into the carburetor.  Replacing the spark plugs might get the pressure washer to start, but if the machine stops, then the first place to check is the carburetor. The same cleaning method, as described above, should be used to clean the carburetor as a method of fixing this problem. This is always the first place to look as it is the most common problem. Using a carburetor repair kit can save the carburetor if the O-rings are bad. 

The second most common item to check is the fuel filter itself. The fuel gets clogged for the same reasons that the carburetor becomes clogged. Fuel evaporates over time and can leave gunk on the fuel filter. The recommended fix is to replace the fuel filter with a new hose and filter.  

One area that is hardly ever checked is the vent holes in the fuel cap of the pressure washer. The vent holes can become clogged, limiting the airflow into the fuel tank. The vacuum that is created by the lack of air into the fuel tank causes the engine to stall. Replacing the fuel cap is the only way to fix this problem. 

A dirty air filter can also cause the engine to stall on a pressure washer.  Dirt in the filter keeps enough air from going into the carburetor. We recommend that you replace the air filter annually or when it is visibly dirty. 

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won’t Pressurize

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won't Pressurize

If your Ryobi pressure washer doesn’t build pressure, there could be a clog or, worse, a faulty pump. The first test is to make sure that there is no clog somewhere along the waterline. With your garden hose hooked into the pressure washer and turned on, pull the trigger on the wand to see if the water is coming out of the rod.  The most likely culprit is the nozzle tip–remove it and check for a clog. 

If the clog is not in the hose, then check the connection from the pump to the high-pressure hose. Remove the link carefully so that you don’t lose any small parts inside. Shine a light through the hole on the bottom to see if it is clogged.  (It would be a good idea at this point to replace the O-ring on the plunger inside the pump since it is out and exposed). 

Look for a red knob on the pressure pump. The valve may be loose. The spring inside the casing of the pressure valve can rot and rust away over time and needs to be replaced.  It can also loosen, causing the pressure to be set on low pressure. Unfortunately, the Ryobi Triplex Pump doesn’t have such a knob. In that case, you will need to consult your owner’s manual.

The nozzles can wear out quickly over time, primarily if you use the same nozzle all the time. Test this by using a nozzle that you hardly use to see if there is pressure.  Check to make sure that you have the correct nozzle also installed. The nozzle that is meant for soap mixing is intended to be a low-pressure nozzle. 

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won’t Stop

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won't Stop

The unloader valve is known for regulating the pressure of the water and sending it back into the intake of the pressure washer after the trigger is released on the wand.  At times the water may continue to spray after the wand trigger is released. Most of the time, a little TLC will fix the problem, a few O-rings, and some lubricant. 

Two common issues come to mind when talking about a pressure washer that will not stop spraying water.  The unloader valve is located on top of the pressurizer. It looks like a Spring that is held into the pump by a nut and a bolt. To remove the unloader valve, you must first remove the U-shaped locking mechanism that is holding the plug-in place. 

Be careful not to lose the ball bearing at the bottom of the valve. Check the valve for broken O-rings. If they are okay, then make sure that the spring inside is still working correctly and not stuck. The valve can be disassembled and cleaned or parts replaced as necessary.  A single spring inside the valve controls the pin that holds down the ball bearing. After pulling the valve apart, you want to check the O-rings on the inside plunger by removing the cap and outside spring.  

The wand is a stock item that needs to be replaced after about 250 hours of use.  The switch that blocks the water and triggers the unloader valve can become loose or defective after a time. If water is still flowing out of the tip of the wand, but the unloader valve is in good working order, then the wand needs to be replaced. 

This video shows you how to tear apart and clean an unloader valve. 

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won’t Spray

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won't Spray

Having a pressure washer turn on and build pressure, but not spray can be infuriating. If you have determined that the pressure is okay, or if the above solutions did not work, then there are some extra things to cover if the pressure washer will not spray.  There could be a simple explanation for fixing the issue. 

The engine should be running at full speed to get the maximum pressure build-up to spray.  Make sure that the throttle is in the fast position on your pressure washer if it has that feature.  Also, double-check the oil to make sure that it is full and not low. 

Check to make sure that the inlet hose is not blocked, or that the screen itself is not clogged. Remove the garden hose from the inlet connection and clean it out. Examine the valves and hoses for leaks or kinks in the garden hose and high-pressure hose. Re-connect the garden hose to the pump and turn it back on to check the pump. 

To check the pump, you connect the garden hose to the inlet and remove the hose from the outlet. Turn on the garden hose to see if water comes out of the pump. Water should be flowing from the outlet connection as it flows through the pump. Turn the engine on to see if the pump is working correctly. After the engine cranks over, the water should increase pressure to the water coming out of the outlet hose.   

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won’t Crank

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won't Crank

The electric water pressure systems from Ryobi work slightly differently as far as the starting procedure goes. If your electric engine does not crank over then, you might have a few separate areas to look at before calling the manufacturer. The problem is going to be electrically related.  You must narrow down what part of the current is not connecting with the starter. 

The most common reason why the electric motor will not crank over is a faulty electrical outlet. Checking the main fuse box, or electrical outlet to make sure that the proper voltage is coming from the primary connection is the appropriate response. The only other issue with an electric engine would be that the engine itself is faulty. 

Gas-powered pressure washers have a cord crank on the top of the pressure washer. You pull this cord, and the wheel spins the engine, causing a series of actions–spark plugs sparks, the gas ignites, and the engine is started.  If you have a gas-powered pressure washer

 Check the:

  • Carburetor 
  • Gas level
  • Spark plug
  • Leaks
  • Oil level
  • Obstructions

From time to time, tiny pieces of rock or pebbles can make their way through the pump and onto the screens, or gas can settle onto the filter screen. These types of obstructions can cause the engine not to build enough pressure to start over. Either with a vacuum leak or not getting enough fuel. Check all the systems and screens for any blockages and remove any obstructions you find. 

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won’t Dispense Soap

Ryobi Pressure Washer Won't Dispense Soap

The soap dispenser is an excellent feature of the Ryobi pressure washer. At times the dispenser can stop working and won’t siphon out the soap to mix in with the water. If you are sure that you have the black-tipped nozzle inserted into the tip of the spray wand and it still isn’t working correctly, then the problem may be in the settings. If the pressure washer has a low-pressure setting on it, then make sure that the low-pressure knob is set to low pressure.  

The hose that sits in the soap container may be clogged. The filter inside the tube needs to be cleaned out. It is easy to flush this part out with a little freshwater. The screen should clear up quickly if you can remove it and wash it under a sink. Another method is to just disconnect the hose from the pump and spray water down the tube into an empty soap tank. 

The soap inlet valve may be clogged.  In that case, take the valve apart like the unloader valve.  Then clean and check all the components on the injectors. You may need to replace some O-rings, springs, and pistons using a kit.  The fix is easy as you just swap out the parts that are bad on the injectors. 

The soap mixture may be too thick, and the injector may not be able to siphon the soap mixture into the pressure washer. To check for this problem, open the cap and check the soap mixture. You want the soap mixture to be almost watery. 

Tips and Tricks: Taking Care of Your Ryobi Pressure Washer

Tips and Tricks: Taking Care of Your Ryobi Pressure Washer

It wouldn’t hurt to have some O-rings handy for some ready replacement parts. The O-rings on pressure washers go out frequently due to the high pressure the pieces are always operating under. We all want to have our pressure washer work and last if we can. 

Some quick tips and tricks for prolonging the life of your pressure washer are: 

  • Empty the gas over the winter months when you are storing the pressure washer. The gas that is not in the tank won’t settle and clog the fuel filters. This preventative measure can also help prevent the carburetor from gumming up over the winter season. 
  • Check the oil level every time before starting the pressure washer.  Not only will this help you find an unsuspecting leak, but it can also help prevent some of the issues that cause the water pressure system to fail early on. Checking the oil before using the pressure washer can help you spot a cracked piston or broken seal before engine failure. 
  • Check the water inlets and outlets before turning on the pressure washer. Make sure that the hose is on, and that has the proper nozzle on the end of the wand.  If the water is not on before you crank over the engine, then the pressure washer is working overtime for no reason. 
  • Don’t let the pressure washer idle too long; the longer the pressure washer idles, the faster it will wear out the O-rings inside the pressure washer. You want to turn it off when it is not being used.
  • Keep a set of extra nozzle tips around. The nozzles will wear out and are designed for a specific purpose and spray pattern. Keep an extra one lying around for when the nozzle you use the most goes out.  

Final Thoughts

It can be discouraging to bring out the pressure washer in the spring and have one of these issues stop the afternoon plans. Trying to troubleshoot the issue alone with no guidance can make you want to throw it in the trash and rent one or buy a new one.  First, use our guide to walk you through the process.  

Related Articles

Troubleshooting Your Craftsman Power Washer

Pressure Washer Surface Cleaner Won’t Spin

Troubleshooting a Karcher Pressure Washer