Why Is Your Pressure Washer Smoking And How Do You Fix It?

Approx Reading Time: 9 minutes

If you are a homeowner and your home has a driveway, a walkway or a patio that is festering with unpleasant green mold or algae, a pressure washer can be a lifesaver as it can easily spruce up your drive. Trust me, it can be the perfect cleaning solution that you need, as it is versatile enough to clean driveways, windows, vehicles, drains, roofs, and even gutters. There is just a lot of things you can do with a working pressure washer. It can wash that motor oil or other automotive fluids off your driveway, blast those bird droppings off your car, or clean off the paint or stains on that old glass.

If your pressure washer is smoking use the following steps to fix this:

  • Step 1: Turn off Your Appliance
  • Step 2 – Disintegrate the Pressure Washer
  • Step 3 – Take Out The Motor and Casing
  • Step 4 – Separate The Two Parts Of The Motor Cover
  • Step 5 – Replace the Switch and its Lever
  • Step 6 – Replace the Motor Carbon Brushes
  • Step 7 – Place The Motor Back Into the Case
  • Step 8 – Replace the Motor and the Motor Case Back In The Pressure Washer Body
Why Is Your Pressure Washer Smoking And How Do You Fix It? 1

A working pressure washer is an amazing piece of equipment, not only can it revitalize those dull outdoor areas into a pleasant view, but it can also get rid of molds and bacteria giving your environment a clean and pleasant look. However, if your pressure washer is suddenly developing a burning smell and is greeting you with a smoky look during operation, then something is definitely wrong. Is your pressure washer smoking unnecessarily? Do you wish to know why, and how to fix it? Don’t look too far. The rest of this article focuses on the answers that you need to set everything right.

Causes of Smoking in a Pressure Washer

If you notice an unexpected smoke accompanying your pressure washer during usage, there might be a couple of reasons behind it. A common cause for unexpected smoke coming out from your pressure washer during use can be due to an overheated motor. Overheating can cause the motor windings insulation to melt, hence leading to a partial shut out of the motor. This can produce an extra current which could result in smoke. Now if this happens, it may need repair.

Before you begin any repair, please ensure that you disconnect your appliance from the main source to avoid any accident.  First of all, remove the plastic cover housing the appliance, then visually inspect the motor for traces of burns or damages caused by heat or smoke.  If the motor does not show any sign of deterioration, go ahead to check the power switches and the motor run capacitor. After checking the power switches and the motor run capacitor, if you notice that they are functioning properly, then the motor is most likely the problem and will need fixing.

How to Fix a smoking pressure washer:

Here is some step by step instructions on how to fix the motor of your pressure washer:

Step 1: Turn off Your Appliance

Before you begin any repair procedure, please ensure that your appliance has been switched off or disconnected at the mains.

Step 2 – Disintegrate the Pressure Washer

Remove the hoses and any other accessories that may be attached to the body of your pressure washer. After that, proceed to separate the body parts by unscrewing the bolts that are holding them together.

Step 3 – Take Out The Motor and Casing

Now that you have gained access to the inside of your pressure washer, take out the detergent hose and release the mains lead grommet from the motor casing. Once you have done this, you will be able to bring out the motor and its cover.

Step 4 – Separate The Two Parts Of The Motor Cover

To separate the parts of the motor cover, you would need a flathead screwdriver in order to remove the clips that hold it in place. There’s a little black clip that keeps the other end of the case on, you can give that clip a little press. That would release the bottom part of the cover.

Step 5 – Replace the Switch and its Lever

To remove the switch from the motor assembly it is quite easy. Just twist it a little bit to work it away from the assembly, and then remove the switch lever by twisting the lever 180 degrees. When you do that, you would see it come off from the switch assembly. Now take the new switch and place it in its space, then replace the switch lever. Once done, begin to reattach the electrical connectors. Fit the switch properly and ensure it engages with the pump control valve.

Step 6 – Replace the Motor Carbon Brushes

Normally the motor carbon brushes are held to the motor with a spring. You would need to move the spring to a side, which would enable you to take the carbon brushes out. Once done, you would also need to disconnect the electrical connectors, which should normally come right off but if they don’t, try to give them a little pinch to get them out of the way. You can now take the new carbon brushes and proceed to install them in, but don’t forget to check the spring. It must be out of the way first.  When you have positioned the brushes correctly, the spring will hold it in place. Proceed to reattach the electrical connectors.

Step 7 – Place The Motor Back Into the Case

After replacing all the carbon brushes on your pressure washer and the switch, you can then proceed to place the motor back in the motor case, ensuring that the switch fits into its place and that the capacitor is right next to it. Push down the capacitor right into its compartment and be sure to push the wires in the groove at the side to make sure that they are not pinched by the motor case. Also, make sure that the mains cable does not get caught in the case when fitting it back over the motor.

Step 8 – Replace the Motor and the Motor Case Back In The Pressure Washer Body

Place the motor and the case back into the body of your pressure washer, ensuring that the mains grommet fits right back in the right place. Reattach the detergent hose that you removed before you re-screw the two parts of the body together.

Once you have followed each step carefully and correctly, you can then go ahead to enjoy a smoke-free pressure washer. However, if the smoking persists, there could be another reason for a smoking pressure washer and that is the motor capacitor.

How to Replace The Motor Capacitor

This repair is quite easy, but before you begin this repair, you need to complete the actions that are noted in Step 2 above, which is to separate the Pressure Washer. Once you have removed all the screws, turn over the chassis and lift off the corroded parts of the body(usually yellow), while making sure that the mains lead is out of the way. After doing this, lift out the motor and the pump assembly from the chassis and set it in an upright position on a work surface.

Step 1 – Remove The Old Capacitor

Depending on the kind of model, the capacitor is usually held in place by the housing but it can also be pinched at the bottom and top by the pump and the motor respectively. Now you need to remove all four screws at the top, but make sure you completely remove the two screws that are close to the capacitor first before slightly releasing the two screws at the back as loose as you can. Then you can simply take the capacitor out.

Step 2 – Place in the New Capacitor

Once you have taken out the damaged capacitor, line up the connectors in a straight and nice way, fill it carefully into the two slots in the housing. You can also push it up by some millimeters to secure it in place – and then push it over the lip. Once done, you can then screw back the four screws to keep it in place. But be careful enough to ensure that the space in the motor housing has closed and that your capacitor is in the right position. Also, make sure that the water seal is securing the joint that lies between the capacitor and its housing. As you tighten the bolts, the springs would also be compressing within the assembly, so you might want to use a ratchet for this just for some added force.

Step 3 – Place the Motor and the Pump Back in the Chassis

Once you have placed in the capacitor, you can now return the motor and the pump assembly into the bottom of the case.  While doing this, note that the case has a hole that is meant for mounting. This hole relates to a specific part of the motor and pump, so you need to make sure that each part is placed correctly to fit into the mounting hole.

Finally, You can go ahead to reconnect the detergent hose. While doing this, make sure that the mains cable grommet is well placed in the right position. Be sure to tuck the mains cables under the capacitor. Then you can proceed to join the two parts of the chassis back together.  Once you have attached them, you can go ahead to enjoy your pressure washer.


Whatever you do, just make sure that you are getting the most out of your pressure washer. Therefore, whenever you notice a glitch or any sign of a malfunction, do not wait until it breaks down before troubleshooting. Good luck!