Skip to Content

Drain the Oil Out of the Pressure Washer: What Pros Say

To keep your pressure washer well-maintained and ensure its performance stays unaffected, you should replace its oil regularly. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the oil after 50 hours of operation or annually if you don’t use the machine regularly.

Drain the oil out of the pressure washer.

It is critical to replenish the oil from a pressure washer for various reasons. The oil protects the pump and the engine from harm caused by excessive friction and heat and ensures that it runs smoothly. It tends to become stale from dirt, debris, and other impurities over time, decreasing its effectiveness and damaging the engine. Hence, routine oil changes play a key role in preserving the pressure washer’s peak performance and prolonging its life.

If your pressure washer is becoming noisier than usual or isn’t working as effectively as it once did, it’s probably time for an oil change. You need to know how to correctly drain the pressure washer’s oil before changing the oil. This post will examine the need for oil draining, when, and what experts say about the procedure.

How Do You Drain the Oil Out of a Pressure Washer?

Please note that oil is to be changed for both the pump (if it’s a plunger type) and the engine (if it’s a gas pressure washer). Axial and wobble-type pumps do not require oil changes as they are filled with oil permanently during manufacturing. Following these three simple steps, draining oil from a pressure washer can become relatively easy.

1. Check the Oil Levels:

Before you proceed with changing the oil, look at the current oil levels in the engine. Remove the dipstick from the engine and check the oil level. It should be filled to the crosshatch on the dipstick. Also, monitor the oil quality. If it appears dark in color, it most certainly needs to be changed.

While you are changing engine oil, you can also replace the pump oil, if applicable. The frequency of oil changes is roughly the same for the engine and the pump. Doing so ensures that both oil changes are carried out once.

2. Eliminating Contaminants from The Pump:

Clear the pump of pollutants to prepare the pressure washer for oil drainage. Turn on the water supply, and detach the wand from the spray gun. Next, turn the engine on while keeping the spray gun trigger pressed.

Hold the trigger down until there is a constant spray of water for around two minutes before depressing it. This step ensures that the pump gets purged off the contaminants before replenishing the oil.

3. Oil Draining:

After removing the impurities from the pump, you can drain the oil. The oil cap on the water pump must first be removed using a wrench. Pour the used oil into a new container by tilting the pressure washer at a certain angle. You can tilt your pressure washer back into its normal position once you’ve completely removed the oil. A similar procedure is to be followed for the engine.

4. Oil Replacement

After draining the oil, you can move on to the final stage, i.e., replenishing the oil. To fill your pump/engine with oil, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines while selecting the oil grade. Most pumps use synthetic motor oils with 10W30 viscosity. However, if you live in colder areas (less than 50o F), you can use 5W30.

After you’ve selected the oil, use a funnel to fill it inside your pump/engine without causing spills. Make sure you keep a regular check on the dipstick marking and avoid overfilling the engine. After that, set the pressure washer upright. Be cautious to wipe up oil spills, and discard used oil and filthy rags.

Note: Observe the local environmental laws when carrying out the procedure. 

Now that the oil is changed, your pressure washer is set for a test run.

How Often Should You Change the Oil in A Pressure Washer?

Generally, the pump oil should be changed every 200 to 250 working hours, every three months if you use it frequently, or once a year if you don’t. For more specific details, you can also consult the owner’s manual.

The instruction booklet will also specify the oil you should use to replace the old oil in the pump. If you use your pressure washer frequently, it’s safer and better to check the oil level every 50 hours or three months, whichever comes first.

Signs to Watch Out for:

When using a pressure washer, most users report that the water starts to get milky in color. You most likely need to replace the oil in your pump if the water has a lot of distinctly loose particles in it. To do so, you’ll need to buy non-detergent oil. This kind of oil stops foaming and corrosion. Never add used oil to your machine; dump the old oil properly after each refill.

Preventive Maintenance

Make sure you can clean your pump of contaminants before every use. This includes releasing the spray gun’s wand and starting the engine. Allow the water to flow for a while, open the safety lock and reconnect the wand after a few minutes. Doing these steps ensures that the debris deposits from the water do not get stuck in the pump for long.

Also, always ensure your pressure washer has an inlet filter. This filter removes the contaminants that come with water and ensures the supply of clean, filtered water for the pump.

What Happens If You Put Too Much Oil in A Pressure Washer?

Overusing oil in your pressure washer might reduce its performance and lifespan. The following are a few outcomes of overfilling the oil reservoir:

  • Malfunctioning: The pressure washer either malfunctions or stop working entirely.
  • Overheating: If the oil is filled to the brim, the foam may develop inside the crankcase, leading to an overheated and seized engine.
  • Leakage: Foam development may lead to oil leakage, which would be a nuisance and further impair the pressure washer’s effectiveness.
  • Clogged: The pump/engine could become clogged by extra oil, which would cause it to stall or run poorly.
  • Gaskets and seals: Overfilling the oil can harm the gaskets and seals, leading to leaks and other issues.

In the end, this could seriously impact the engine, requiring pricey repairs or purchasing a new pressure washer. Following the manufacturer’s instructions for oil levels and maintenance guarantees that the pressure washer runs smoothly and stays that way.

Does A Pressure Washer Have Oil in The Pump?

Pressure washers require oil in the pump to ensure proper operation and smooth movement of pistons, plungers, and connecting rods.

The oil lubricates and safeguards the pump’s pistons, crankshaft, and bearings. Developing a thin layer also helps reduce friction and wear on these components. Additionally, it helps reduce heat and eliminate dust and dirt, which is essential to prolong the pump’s lifespan.

The type and quantity of oil needed for the pump vary based on the brand and model of the pressure washer. Some pressure washers need specialized pump oil, while others use engine oil. Read the instruction manual to get the right one. Generally, you can always use the same oil for your engine and the pump.

Preventative Maintenance:

Regular upkeep of the pump is critical to ensure the pressure washer’s optimal performance. Over time, the oil may become contaminated or deteriorate, which might decrease its lubricating efficiency. Consequently, inspecting and changing the pump oil regularly is critical, following the manufacturer’s recommended intervals.

Failing to replace the pump oil could result in decreased pump performance, damage to the pump components, costly repairs, or even the need for pump replacement.

How Do You Change the Oil on a Pressure Washer Pump?

Let’s discuss how to replace the pressure washer pump oil correctly.

1. Pump Cleanup:

Turn on the water supply, then remove the sprayer’s wand. Next, turn the engine on and press the trigger of the pressure washer gun for 2 minutes to drain the remaining water and dirt. This also helps warm up the pressure washer.

2. Remove the Oil

Drain out the engine’s oil and fuel. To release the pressure within, you must first turn the knob or loosen it and release the reservoir’s top access bolt. Your wrench will be helpful here if there is a bolt. There are three different methods for disposing of the oil. 

The first method involves using an oil drain plug to remove it from the oil reservoir’s bottom. The second method involves using a suction hose. You can also turn the pressure washer in either direction to drain the used oil into your container. Have a pan or old tray ready to collect any leftover oil if the other options become necessary.

3. Store the Oil

Pour the new fresh into your oil storage container after you’ve emptied the old oil, then put that away for the time being. Reconnect the drain bolt or knob again.

4. Add Fresh Oil:

Pump oil pre-measured bottles are available with some models. Generally, you should choose a non-detergent pump oil with SAE-30 grade. The viscosity can be 10W30 (in summer) or 5W30 (in winter). Take your funnel, and fill the pump with oil until it is about 3/4 full.

5. Close the Pump:

Reconnect the bolt and tighten it securely. If oil has leaked around the cap or in the vicinity, clean it up with a towel. Set your pressure washer in the vertical position. You can start using your pressure washer again after a short while.

How Do I Check the Oil in My Pressure Washer Pump?

If your pressure washer pump is malfunctioning, check its oil levels. If the oil levels are insufficient, you must raise them to ensure your pressure washer pump operates appropriately. Oil levels can affect how the pressure washer pump functions. You can check the oil levels in your pump in two ways:

  • Check the owner’s manual: Find the recommended oil level for your specific pressure washer by consulting the owner’s manual for your pressure washer pump. Depending on the particular type of pump you have, this will vary.
  • Check the Oil Levels: Most pumps have a viewing glass from which the oil levels can be checked. The owner’s manual can help you locate the viewing glass on your pump. It has a red dot or two parallel lines, like those on a spirit level. The oil level in the pump can then be noted with respect to these lines.

Note: Please avoid disassembling your pump or removing any component to check the oil levels. Most pumps come factory assembled and are filled with oil. Hence, it would be best to be cautious not to dislodge any pump parts as they may not be assembled again.

Leave a comment

We try to answer each comment, but please read our comment rules first here. Use an existing and correct email address as you will receive an verification email. Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.

  1. Randall Bishop says:

    What are the consequences of not changing the oil in a pressure washer?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Regular oil changes in your pressure washer are crucial to its performance and longevity. Failure to do so can lead to damage, decreased efficiency, and costly repairs. Drain and replace the oil as recommended by the manufacturer.

  2. Tonya Cook says:

    Thank you for providing step-by-step instructions, very helpful!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Tonya! I’m glad you found the instructions helpful for maintaining your pressure washer. If you have any more questions, feel free to reach out.

  3. Phillip Sanders says:

    Is there a video available showing how to properly check the oil levels in a pressure washer pump?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your query, Phillip. To properly check the oil levels in a pressure washer pump, refer to the owner’s manual for specific instructions.

  4. Renee Duncan says:

    Is it okay to use regular motor oil for the pump?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Regular motor oil is not recommended for the pump. Use pump oil or as recommended by the manufacturer for best performance and longevity.

  5. Caleb Powell says:

    Can you recommend a good brand of oil for pressure washers?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      You can try using a synthetic 10W30 motor oil for your pressure washer. Remember to replace the oil after 50 hours of operation or annually for peak performance.

  6. Ana Thomas says:

    This article has been so informative, thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Ana! Regular oil changes are vital for maintaining your pressure washer’s performance and longevity. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for best results.

  7. Dale Hoffman says:

    I had no idea about the importance of changing the oil regularly, thanks for the information!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for reading! Remember to keep up with regular oil changes to maintain your pressure washer’s performance and longevity. Happy cleaning!

  8. Sebastian Chapman says:

    Do all pressure washers require the same type of oil for the pump?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, all pressure washers require oil in the pump for proper lubrication and maintenance. Make sure to use the correct type and change it regularly for optimal performance.

  9. Joan Reed says:

    Great video demonstrations to help understand the process better.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Joan! I’m glad you found the video demonstrations helpful in understanding the process better. Let me know if you have any further questions!

  10. Melanie Henderson says:

    I appreciate the information on the importance of maintaining a pressure washer, very useful!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      “Thank you, Melanie! It’s great to hear that you found the information helpful. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions about pressure washer maintenance.”

  11. Phyllis Perez says:

    Can you use synthetic oil for the pressure washer pump?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, you can use synthetic oil for the pressure washer pump. It is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for oil grades and specifications. Happy cleaning!

  12. Kim Ruiz says:

    Thanks for breaking down the steps for replacing the oil in a pressure washer pump.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for reading! I’m glad you found the steps helpful for replacing the oil in your pressure washer pump. Your maintenance efforts will keep your pressure washer running smoothly.

  13. Guy Larson says:

    How do I dispose of the old oil properly after changing it?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      To dispose of old oil from changing your pressure washer, take it to a recycling center or auto parts store that accepts used oil. It should never be poured down the drain or in the trash.

  14. Tara Barnes says:

    This article is a lifesaver, I was just about to change the oil in my pressure washer!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Glad the article helped, Tara! Regular oil changes are key to maintaining your pressure washer. Happy cleaning!

  15. Julian Bowman says:

    What happens if the oil in the pressure washer pump isn’t changed regularly?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Regularly changing the oil in your pressure washer pump is crucial to maintaining its efficiency and prolonging its lifespan. Overused oil can lead to decreased performance and potential engine damage.

  16. Madison Hale says:

    Thanks for the detailed explanation on changing the oil in a pressure washer!

  17. Mia Peterson says:

    I feel more confident about maintaining my pressure washer after reading this article.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Mia! I’m glad the article helped you feel more confident in maintaining your pressure washer. Remember to check the oil regularly and replace it as needed for optimal performance.

  18. Jar Hunter says:

    Is there a specific brand of oil you recommend for pressure washers?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Use a synthetic 10W30 motor oil for the pressure washer. Regularly changing the oil is crucial for optimal performance and longevity. Consider replacing the oil after 50 hours of use or annually.

  19. Melinda Gonzalez says:

    Thank you for the detailed information on changing the oil in a pressure washer. I didn’t know how important it was for maintaining its performance. This article was very helpful!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thanks, Melinda! I’m glad you found the information helpful for maintaining your pressure washer. Remember to regularly replace the oil to keep it running smoothly!

  20. Gary White says:

    Do you have any tips for maintaining a pressure washer in general?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Regular oil changes are key to maintaining a pressure washer. Follow these simple steps to drain and replace the oil for optimal performance. Thank you for your interest in keeping your pressure washer in top condition.

  21. Robin Jimenez says:

    I never knew pressure washers needed oil changes, thank you for enlightening me!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      I’m glad you found the information helpful, Robin! Regular oil changes are crucial for maintaining the performance and longevity of pressure washers. Keep up the good work!

  22. Sheila Henry says:

    How often should I check the oil levels in my pressure washer?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Check oil levels every 50 hours of operation or annually if not in regular use. Fresh oil keeps your pressure washer running smoothly and prevents damage.