When you purchase a Craftsman power washer, you can rest easy knowing you have a quality piece of equipment you can depend on. The reliable Briggs & Stratton engine makes everyday home cleaning tasks easy. Your equipment is backed by a three-year limited frame warranty and a two-year limited engine warranty, but many issues require just a little troubleshooting, followed by an easy fix.
Within this guide, you’ll find solutions to the following common issues:
- How to start your power washer
- What do if your power washer won’t start
- What to do if you can’t pull the cord
- How to dispense soap
- What to do when the soap won’t dispense
- How to keep your power washer running
- How to pressurize your power washer correctly
- How to effectively stop your power washer
- Troubleshooting common spray issues
We’ve put together a simple to understand comprehensive guide of the most common issues and how to fix them. Keep in mind that if these issues can’t be easily fixed at home, the warranty only requires you to bring it to an authorized service center for more help.
How To Start Your Craftsman Power Washer
There are certain steps you need to take each time you start your power washer due to the gas-powered engine. Below is a step by step guide to starting your power washer.
- Make sure your power washer is on a flat surface.
- Attach one end of a common garden hose to your outside water supply
- Check the high-pressure hose connecting the water pump and the spray handle with a combination wrench to make sure it is tightened correctly. If it feels loose, tighten it as needed.
- Using your hand, attach the hose tightly to the pressure by way of the water inlet., which is clearly labeled. Turn the water supply on, starting the flow of water into your washer.
- Press and hold the trigger on the sprayer gun to clear any air or debris. Continue pressing until water begins to flow freely.
- Screw the nozzle extension (just hand-tight) to the end of the spray gun
- Slide the nozzle extension to its low-pressure position.
- Pull the trigger lock (the small spring-loaded tab located on the bottom of the trigger) downward. This locks the trigger in the off position.
- Push the throttle lever (this is located on the right side of the engine), to its “Fast” setting.
- If the engine is hot, put the choke in the “run” position.
- If the engine is cold, put it in the “choke” position.
- Grab the rubber handle attached to the pull-string on top of the engine firmly and continue to do so until there is light resistance.
- Move the engine choke to the ‘run’ position once the engine warms up.
If followed correctly, your power washer should start right up. If you are having issues, you can begin to troubleshoot it with the techniques listed in the next section.
What to Do if Your Craftsman Power Washer Won’t Start
If, after pulling the cord, your power washer won’t start, there are several possible reasons why. We will go through the possible issues and fixes for them.
- Spark plug issues – take a look at your spark plug for wear or damage. If your plug is cracked, the electrode is burned up, or you find a heavy carbon buildup, you need to replace the spark plug. If it appears to be in good working order, you can test the plug using the process in this video.
- Sputtering engine – if after pulling the cord, the engine starts to sputter, it’s usually because there is too much water pressure built up. Simply squeeze the trigger on the sprayer gun. This will help relieve some of the water pressure.
- Not enough gas getting to the carburetor – if your engine is hesitating when you move the choke to the ‘run’ position, just return the knob to the ‘choke’ position to allow for it to warm up a bit longer. Keep repeating this step until the engine runs smoothly in the ‘run’ position.
What to Do if You Can’t Pull the Cord
If the starter cord won’t move when you try to start your power washer, you may have a locked up engine, or the recoil starter may have failed.
More often than not, this occurs after the unit has been tipped on its side. When the unit has tipped, the oil may have spilled into the cylinder, keeping it the engine from spinning. If this is the case, try taking out the spark plug and see if the cord will pull then.
If it does, keep pulling the cord a few times to clear the excess oil out through the spark plug hole. Once you’ve done this, replace the plug and start your unit. If this doesn’t fix the problem, we suggest taking your unit to a service center for more assistance.
Dispensing Soap in Your Pressure Washer
Now that you’ve got your unit running, it’s time to give it a try. There are few things as satisfying as watching a concrete driveway come clean! Follow these steps to get spraying:
- Mix the soap solution following the product instructions. Most soaps require water dilution. Failure to properly dilute the soap will cause clogs.
- Push the small end of the filter siphon tube into the detergent container, so it touches the bottom.
- Holding the pressure washer nozzle in one hand, push the nozzle forward with the other. This puts the setting on low-pressure mode for dispensing soap.
- Pull the quick connect hose nozzle backward and push a garden hose into the opening, then the quick connecter to fasten the hose.
- Turn the water faucet clockwise to turn the water flow on.
- Press the toggle switch to the ‘on’ position to turn the power washer on.
- Point the wand at the surface you intend to clean and spray the soap from the bottom upward.
What To Do If Pressure Washer Soap Won’t Dispense
If you’ve mixed the soap solution correctly but still can’t get it to dispense, there are a couple of things you can try. We’ll go through them to troubleshoot the issue.
Check the Pressure Nozzle
Sometimes the back pressure from the water gets a little too high, keeping the soap from dispensing from the port. If that’s the issue, you need to check the nozzle.
Are you using a high-pressure nozzle? If that’s the case, you’ve found your problem. High-pressure nozzles tend to block the soap injector’s port. Switch to a lower pressure nozzle and see if that solves the problem. We recommend using a nozzle between sizes 30 to 50 when dealing with low pressure.
Check For Blockages
It’s not unusual for the injector port to become clogged by dirt entering the chemical tube. You can easily clean this out by checking the tube, nozzle, and valve to determine which is blocked. Using a chemical filter in the future will prevent dirt from getting clogged in your chemical tube.
Check For Clogging
If you have a chemical filter already in place, it may just be time to change it. It’s wise to do a little troubleshooting first to determine if other parts are at fault.
To start, remove the hose and other accessories from the pump. If the unit siphons the detergent, then you can narrow down your problem to the hose and accessories.To pin it down further, start adding parts back one at a time: the nozze, soap injector and valve. The one that stops the soap from siphoning is your problem!
How to Keep Your Pressure Washer Running
In order to keep your power washer running well, you’ll have to perform routine maintenance on it. I’ve compiled instructions on performing these routine tasks yourself.
Checking for Leaks
Before you start your unit up, it’s important to do a quick inspection to be sure there are no leaks. By identifying these issues early on, you’ll be saving yourself lots of money on bigger repairs. It helps to establish an order to be followed each time – this way you won’t miss anything
- Fuel and oil leaks – before turning the unit and the water on, look around closely for fuel and oil leaks. Check out the fuel lines, inspect the frame for drips, and check the engine and the underside of the pump. Be sure to wipe away even the smallest leaks and take it to a service center to have them check it out.
- Water leaks – after turning on the water supply, you’ll want to check for water leaks. Be sure to check again once you begin spraying to identify any high-pressure leaking.
- Nozzles – the nozzles tend to get dirt and debris built up in them after usage. Fixing them is easy – just poke a paperclip through the hole to dislodge the blockage and flush with water.
- Spray gun – the two most important parts to maintain are the gun trigger and the hose itself. Take a good look at the hose to check for any cracking or breakage. Also, check for a secure connection. Pulling the trigger once or twice is the best way to make sure you have proper spring function in the gun. This is a heavy wear and tear item, so be prepared to replace it eventually.
- Water inlet screen – when you attach the hose, take a look at the water inlet screen. Make sure there isn’t any buildup. This is also a frequently replaced part.
Checking Fluid Levels
- Fuel – In order to keep air out of the fuel lines, it’s recommended that you fill the fuel tank after each use. To check your levels, open the cap and look inside. If you can’t see any fuel, you should fill it.
- Oil – Find the dipstick and pull it out, wiping it clean with a cloth or paper towel. Insert the clean dipstick back, but don’t screw it in. Remove the dipstick once more. Using the markers on the stick as a guide, determine if you have a low level of oil and fill appropriately.
Caring For Your Air Filter
You can clean the filter pretty simply – remove it from its case and tap against a hard surface a few times to get rid of excess dirty. You can also use a wet cloth to wipe it down as well.
Being another wear and tear item, you’ll have to change the air filter out occasionally. Just go to a local auto parts store and look for an air filter for a small engine. All you need to do is pop out the old one and pop the new one right in.
Changing the Engine Oil
The best time to change the oil in your engine is right after use. A warm engine ensures warm oil, which flows better and makes sure you get it all out.
Remove the spigot and then locate the drain spout. Placing a pan or other container beneath the drain, unscrew the bolt to allow the oil to drain. Using a funnel, replace the oil with the correct oil for your Craftsman model.
Adjusting the Pressure on Your Power Washer
Some models have a pressure regulating control. But you can adjust the pressure by way of the fan width on any model. The most important pressure adjustment is how much space you have between the nozzle and the space you are cleaning.
The higher the pressure of the unit you have, the more likely it is to have a regulating control. It’s usually attached to the water output port. Pressure can be reduced by turning it clockwise. Reducing the pressure also reduces the volume of water, making it safer to use on windows and other fragile surfaces.
How to Effectively Stop Your Power Washer
It’s important to properly shut down your power washer after each use, storing it safely away. Running through a few simple steps, make it easy to be sure that the pump and lines are free of detergent and debris.
- If you used soap, remove soap nozzle and replace it with the spray tip. Run the water through for about a minute to flush out all the remaining detergent.
- After turning off the engine, pull the trigger for about 10 seconds to remove any pressure left in the system.
- Disconnect the hoses from the pump, the sprayer, and the main water supply. Drain and roll up the pressure hose and hang up to store. Put the nozzle and the gun into the storage compartments on the machine.
- After everything is disconnected, pull the cord a few times to drain any remaining fluid from the pump
After you’ve run through and finished all of these steps, it’s time to put your power washer away. The best storage areas are clean and dry, away from and furnaces, and out of walkways to avoid having anyone tripping over it or damaging it. A cover will also protect it from dust.
Before Storing Your Craftsman Power Washer
For long-term storage, additional steps should be taken to make sure your unit will be in top working condition the next season. Let’s take a look at those:
Fuel – There are two ways to protect the fuel system:
- Use a Fuel Stabilizer – If you plan on leaving fuel in your tank during storage, you’ll need to add a stabilizer to prevent acid and gum buildup. Simply add the stabilizer and run the engine for a few minutes to help it circulate.
- Remove Fuel – Tip your pressure washer over to drain the fuel into a container, then run the unit until it stops.
Troubleshooting Common Pressure Washer Spray Issues
Your nozzle and spray gun are the two most important parts of your power washer, delivering a high powered water spray. If your unit is not functioning properly, there are a couple of things you can do to get it back on track.
- Inspect the parts of your sparyer: the nozzle, gun, O-rings and connections. Make sure it’s all tight.
- Check the nozzle, spray gun, and inlet screens for blockages. Wash out any you discover.
- Replace the O-ring if it is dirty or damaged.
- Inspect the hoses for any twits, dents, cracks, or bends.
- Check all parts for dirt, debris or other clogs.
- Flush out and replace parts as needed.
Take Advantage of Craftsman’s Warranty Programs
Craftsman’s ReadyStart Engine Starting System guarantees that your unit will start in two pulls, or an authorized Briggs & Stratton service center will fix it for free. This is just one of the perks of owning a Craftsman Power Washer.
For full details on the warranty program and to find an authorized service center near you, check out the official product warranty page. With proper care and maintenance, you’ll be able to enjoy your Craftsman Power Washer for years to come.