Here’s why your pressure washer only runs on choke

Are you having a hard time keeping your pressure washer running? Will it only run on choke?

If a pressure washer only runs on choke, it means there is too much air in the carburetor. This can be caused by using the wrong type of gas, an air leak in the system, or a dirty fuel system restricting the flow of fuel. Running an engine on choke can cause serious damage and can need repair.

Now that you know why your pressure washer will only run on choke, how do you fix it? Keep reading to find out everything you need to go to get your pressure washer up and running again.

Reasons Your Pressure Washer Only Runs on Choke

There are a few reasons why your pressure washer will only run on choke.

  • Air leak
  • Used the wrong fuel
  • Fuel system contamination

Air Leak

For an engine to properly work, there needs to be the right amount of air in the gas. If there is a poor fuel/air mixture, the engine will stall if not on choke.

If there is an air leak, too much air could be getting into the combustion chamber, which can affect the efficiency of the engine.

Looking for cracks in the fuel lines will help you see where the issue area is, which will allow you to find a solution.

Using the Wrong Fuel

Another reason your pressure washer is only running on choke could be that you used the wrong fuel.

Putting the wrong type of fuel in your pressure washer can cause many issues.

Specific engines require specific fuel. Using the wrong fuel can damage and even break the engine.

If your pressure washer is struggling to run, take a look at what type of fuel you have been using.

Make sure you always check the fuel before putting it into the engine.

Fuel System Contamination

When the fuel system is contaminated, it is usually a mix between using the wrong fuel and having too much air in the fuel.

A fuel system contamination can cause the carburetor to clog, which stops the engine from working.

When the carburetor is clogged, it can cause serious damage to the pressure washer.

To fix a clogged carburetor, you can either get it professionally cleaned or completely replace it.

The video below shows exactly how to replace the carburetor in a pressure washer.

What it boils down to is the proper fuel/air balance. If there is a poor fuel/air mixture, the engine will stall if not on choke.

What is Choke?

A great way to figure out what is wrong with your pressure washer is to understand how it works.

When an engine starts, a choke valve will restrict the flow of oxygen in the carburetor of the engine. This will help the engine start up in low-temperature conditions.

Before an engine is running, it is cool. It can be hard to start the engine when it is at a cool temperature, so a choke valve helps kickstart the engine.

It makes fuel more accessible for the engine to use, making it easier for the engine to start.

The choke valve is only supposed to be on for a few seconds to get the engine started.

If your engine stalls out after turning the choke off, then you have a problem.

You should never run the engine on choke for longer than five minutes. It can cause serious damage to the engine if you do so. You are also just wasting gas since the engine is not working effectively.

Identifying the Correct Type of Gas For Your Pressure Washer

Putting the wrong type of gas in your pressure washer will damage the engine. It is also one of the main reasons your pressure washer will only run on choke.

The gas you use for your car is perfectly fine for your gas pressure washer, but there are some stipulations.

First, the gas should be fresh, meaning it should not be more than 30 days old.

Also, the gas must have an 87-octane rating and have up to 10% ethanol. Gas that does not have an 87-octane rating can damage the engine and cause build-up.

Make sure that you are using the correct gas to ensure your pressure washer will work at its best.

How To Tell If Gas Is Old

It can be hard to remember when you last got gas for your pressure washer, so here are a few things to look out for when it comes to old gas.

  • Darker Coloring
  • Thicker Texture
  • Sour Smell

Darker Coloring

When gas has been out for a while, it can become a darker color.

Fresh gasoline is a yellowish color. As the gas becomes older, it will have a brown coloring to it.

Thicker Texture

As gas ages, it starts to become thicker. One way to think of it is as a “gummy” texture.

You can always compare your gas to fresh gas right out of the tank to know if your gas is old.

Sour Smell

Gas already has an interesting smell, but old gas has a specific smell.

It will have a sour smell, sort of like a varnish.

If your gas smells differently than a normal gas smell, chances are it has probably gone bad.

It is always better to be safe than sorry, so if you have doubts, it is probably best to get fresh gas instead of risking it with your gas.

When to Replace the Whole Thing

When your pressure washer is only running on choke, it can damage your pressure washer.

Depending on the type of damage and how long it has been damaged, you may want to consider buying a new pressure washer.

Fortunately, you should be able to replace the carburetor for less than $20 and it should be fine.

If you have concerns, you can always ask a professional for advice.

We hope that this post has been informative and helpful!

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