How To Fix Craftsman Pressure Washer That Won’t Start

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Craftsman pressure washers are pretty powerful, thanks to their onboard engine. However, you might encounter moments when you can’t start the engine. So, why won’t a Craftsman pressure washer start?

A Craftsman pressure washer won’t start if its spark plug is worn out. The same is true if the ignition coil is damaged and can’t deliver power to that spark plug. The carburetor could also have sticky buildup inside, preventing the engine from running. Lastly, its flywheel key might have broken during the last use, and now prevents the engine from starting.

This problem is frustrating, but it’s nothing a little troubleshooting can’t fix. Read this guide to the end to know why these problems happen and what you can do to resolve them.

Why Won’t My Craftsman Pressure Washer Start?

The way Craftsman pressure washers are built isn’t too complex. So, troubleshooting them is pretty straightforward.

When yours won’t start, here’s what you want to look out for:

Worn-Out Spark Plug

About this: Gas-powered Craftsman pressure washers rely on spark plugs. These plugs have the same function in a car engine: they deliver sparks necessary for the pressure cleaner’s internal combustion engine to operate.

More specifically, a spark plug has a small gap at its tip where the spark happens. The electricity supplied to the plug will trigger that spark to occur. That is enough to ignite the air and fuel mixture inside the chamber, causing the explosion that produces power.

That process happens continuously as long as you keep the pressure cleaner running.

What went wrong: Your Craftsman pressure washer won’t start or stay running because its spark plug is worn-out. This is one of the most crucial components of your pressure washer, so when it wears out, everything stops working.

Remember: spark plugs continuously deliver a strong electrical spark that ignites the air and gas around it. That means they experience plenty of wear every time they’re in use.

As the spark plug wears out, generating sparks will become increasingly challenging. That continues until one day when the plug can’t create any spark at all, and the pressure washer’s engine won’t start.

How to fix it: Firstly, you can try to clean your existing spark plugs as a short-term fix. That might get your Craftsman pressure washer to start again once or twice.

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However, you must still replace the worn-out spark plug with an identical one to ensure your pressure washer can work normally the next time you need it.

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Clogged Carburetor

About this: The carburettor is another crucial component in your Craftsman pressure washer. It’s responsible for ensuring the air and fuel mix at the ideal ratio so the engine can perform optimally.

When the carburetor is in excellent working condition, the fuel used by the engine will not burn too rich (too much fuel but not enough air) or too lean (too much air but not enough fuel).

What went wrong: Another common reason why a Craftsman pressure washer won’t start is its carburetor is clogged. That will happen when the fuel mixture is too lean for too long.

The excessive air will dry out the fuel and result in a sticky residue getting stuck inside the carburetor. That residue will build up with time until it starts to clog the carburetor.

At that point, the engine can’t get the air and fuel mixture it needs to work, so it doesn’t start.

How to fix it: Thankfully, you can fix a clogged carburetor without replacing anything. Instead, you’ll have to clean it thoroughly to remove any buildups inside the component.

The most effective way to do that is by removing the carburetor and applying a carburetor cleaning product. Those products are readily available at your local hardware store and will get rid of any buildups inside quickly.

You can also prevent this from happening again by always using fresh fuel in your Craftsman pressure washer (instead of letting the fuel sit unused for extended periods) and also including a fuel stabilizer in the mix.

Worn-Out Ignition Coil

About this: The combustion engine in your Craftsman pressure washer also has another critical component called the ignition coil. This coil continuously delivers strong electrical currents to the spark plug, allowing it to ignite the fuel and air mixture.

What went wrong: Once you rule out the carburetor and spark plug, you must inspect the ignition coil next. The coil is likely worn out or damaged, especially from long-term use.

When the coil no longer works, it can’t send the strong electrical currents needed by the spark plug. As a result, the entire combustion process doesn’t work, and you can’t start the Craftsman pressure washer.

How to fix it: The ignition coil is a high-voltage electrical component. In this case, it can’t be fixed, and you shouldn’t attempt to do it for safety reasons.

Instead, you can solve this problem by replacing the ignition coil with a new one. A new coil will be reliable and last you a very long time to come.

Broken Flywheel Key

About this: The flywheel key is a safety feature inside your Craftsman pressure washer. It connects the engine’s crankshaft to the flywheel, enabling both parts to work together.

More importantly, the flywheel key is designed to break (or ‘shear’) under certain conditions, causing the engine to stop.

For example, the flywheel key will break when something jams the pressure washer’s engine. Doing so forces the engine to stop running, preventing it from further damaging itself.

What went wrong: The engine in your Craftsman pressure washer won’t start because the flywheel key has broken. As you read above, that likely happened because something caused the engine to stop, like a jammed part.

So, the flywheel key brakes to prevent any further damage.

How to fix it: A broken flywheel key can’t be saved. After all, it did exactly what it was designed to do: breaking so the engine stops and preventing any additional damage.

So, the only solution here is to replace the broken flywheel key.

However, you must ensure that you’ve fixed whatever caused it to break in the first place. If you don’t, the new flywheel key will break for the same reason as the old one.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are a few more questions and answers to help you troubleshoot your Craftsman pressure washer that won’t start:

Does A Power Washer Need Fuel Stabilizer?

You can use a power washer without a fuel stabilizer. However, it’s better to add that stabilizer as it prevents moisture from mixing in with the fuel.

What Gas To Use For A Pressure Washer?

You can use regular 87-octane gas for your pressure washer in most cases. However, it’s always best to refer to the fuel recommended by the manufacturer, as stated in the user manual.

How Often Should I Service My Pressure Washer?

The servicing schedule for a power washer is measured according to total hours of usage. So, you should maintain it before each use and after every 5 hours of usage. Again, the user manual is the best reference to use, as it shows the manufacturer’s recommendations.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Pressure Washer?

With regular maintenance, you can expect your Craftsman pressure washer to last anywhere from 5 to 10 years.

Can I Use WD-40 Instead Of Carburetor Cleaner?

You will not get the results you expect using WD-40. It’s best to use purpose-built carburetor cleaners, as they have the necessary solvents to clean a carburetor effectively.

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