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What Kind Of Oil Do I Need To Use For My Pressure Washer?

A gas or electric pressure washer is a sound investment. Not only will they keep your property spick and span, but they’ll also make your cleaning life more manageable.

Also, according to experts, buying the best pressure washer on the market is cost-effective. They have a good point, especially if you plan to give your outdoor space some tender loving care often.

Most pressure washers are ready to tackle the job upon purchase. However, you’ll need to change or top up your unit’s oil over time to ensure optimum performance.

Usually, the oil you’ll use on the pump of your gas pressure washer is the same as the one used on its engine. Still, make sure to check with your manual first, as it may need a non-detergent oil.

I, Mschel / CC BY-SA

On the other hand, an electric pressure washer often uses Automatic Transmission Fluid or ATF. Again, it’s always best to go through the manual before anything else so that you know the right type and amount of oil your equipment needs.

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Different Types Of Pressure Washer Pump Oil

All-Purpose Engine Oil

All-purpose engine oil is a great choice if you’ll mostly use your pressure washer in temperature conditions above 40F. The recommended one for this is the SAE30 oil. But if the temperature falls under 40 F, your machine will start better using the 10W-30 type.

For this reason, it’s important to know your area’s temperature before applying any specific type of oil. Keep in mind that using the wrong oil can result in too much oil consumption. Also, don’t forget to review the owner’s manual, which will provide you with guidance on which oil is right depending on the temperature.

Non-Detergent Pump Oil

Some washers can perform much better with pump oil. Nonetheless, you may also want to consider applying a 30W non-detergent oil. This type of oil can prevent filth from damaging the bearing’s surfaces.

Non-detergent oils stick the contaminants to the valleys or sidewalls of your unit’s engine. Therefore, it’ll prevent residue from building up on working surfaces of the mechanism and from hindering its functions. Non-detergent oils are widely used even before oil filters grew popular. They were mostly favored before oil filters became rampant. If you are looking for this kind of pump oil, there are a few.

Pump Oil Vs. Engine Oil

The main difference between a pump and engine oil lies in their additives. While the motor’s oil detergent additive contains magnesium sulfonate, pump oil has PDMS or other silicone compounds that serve as a non-foaming agent.

Modern engines come with an oil filter that’s why they utilize detergent oil. The main purpose of a detergent oil is to get rid of the contaminants from the engine’s surface. Then, these are filtered by the oil filter to prevent them from penetrating the bearings.

If you don’t use an oil filter together with a detergent oil, both the oil and the impurities that have built up will dry pretty quickly. This means that you have to do oil changes often to prevent the engine from breaking down or acquiring excess wear.

Meanwhile, the reason why it’s advisable to apply non-detergent oil in a pump is that the component does not come with an oil filter. Using detergent oil will result in all the impurities it washes from the surfaces to flow through the oil. This can lead to the insides of the pump becoming more prone to wear.

Why Should I Change My Pressure Washer’s Pump Oil?

Just like with all the mechanical components in your vehicle, the pump of your pressure washer requires oil. This will help lubricate various parts to reduce wear and friction.

Metal components tend to heat up. When this happens these parts will expand, which, in turn, makes them more prone to damages like cracking. Hence, by reducing friction through lubrication, it’ll also help reduce heat.

Moreover, the pump oil will start to break down in time. Likewise, it’ll get contaminated with debris and other filth, which can affect the oil’s effectiveness at lubricating the power washer’s pump.

So when you avoid changing the pump oil, you’re shortening its service. Additionally, protecting the pump can help avoid repairing or replacing it, which in some cases, is more expensive than getting a new machine.

On top of that, some unit’s warranty may require you to perform this maintenance. And skipping this can result in voiding the warranty of your power washer.

Nevertheless, some pressure washers do not need oil changes. Most models for residential use often have sealed pumps. This means that the manufacturer fills the pump with oil and seals it. So that’s one job you can cross out of your upkeep list.

For this type of washer, you only need to replace the pump once it breaks or notices some leaks. If you don’t know whether the pump of your equipment needs oil changes, it’s best to read its manual, where you’ll also see how often you need to do it.

Typically, the recommendation for an oil change is after every 3 months of use or 200 to 250 hours. Even if you don’t use your unit often, you still need to change its oil annually.

Changing The Oil Of Your New Pressure Washer

Don’t assume that just because your pressure washer is new its pump or engine contains enough oil. Even if its dipstick has traces of oil, that’s not a guarantee that it’s full.

After assembly and testing, manufacturers frequently remove the oil from the pressure washer pump and engine. So carefully check the oil level of your power washer and change it at least 10 to 15 hours before the operation.

Doing so will remove any leftover macro debris within it from the manufacturing process. Also, you will have trouble claiming a warranty if you run its pump without lubrication or oil. After this, you only need to do it as mentioned earlier or if it seems like the oil is dirty or has changed its color.

How To Change Your Pump’s Oil

The first thing you need to do when changing your pressure washer’s pump oil is to place a proper drainage container below your unit. Make sure it is directly under the outlet of the pump oil.

Then, remove its oil cup and drain plug if there’s any. Some models may have both of these. Next, check if your unit needs a tubing or funnel to aid in draining the oil.

Once you’re done draining your machine fully, pour fresh oil in it. And then put the oil cap back, and revert your power washer to an upright position. See this video if you never changed oils by yourself.

The last thing you need to do is to safely and properly dispose of all the old fluid you removed from your equipment. Never pour it down on any natural surfaces or pour it down the storm drain.

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