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How to Fix RYOBI Pressure Washer Problems

A collage of different types of pressure washer.

RYOBI has been manufacturing various power tools since 1968, including pressure washers. Pressure washers are available in electric, gas-engine, and recently introduced battery-powered varieties.

RYOBI offers affordably priced high-quality tools that generally last a long time. However, some common problems do arise, specifically with the gasoline and electric RYOBI pressure washers that account for most RYOBI pressure washers doing duty across the globe:

Related To: How to Fix RYOBI Backpack Blower Problems | How to Fix RYOBI Nailer Problems | How to Fix RYOBI Pole Saw Problems

RYOBI gasoline and electric pressure washer problems:

  1. Ground fault circuit interrupter won’t work
  2. The nozzle becomes blocked and won’t spray
  3. Electric pressure washer doesn’t start
  4. Pressure washer won’t build pressure
  5. Pressure switch is problematic
  6. And more …

RYOBI Electric Pressure Washer

A man cleaning a concrete road using a pressure washer.

RYOBIs electric or corded pressure washers are found in many homes worldwide as they work exceptionally well, are environmentally friendly and quieter than their gas-operated counterparts, and are very portable.

1. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Doesn’t Work

The GFCI is a safety cut-off switch attached to the appliance’s cord and monitors the flow of electricity between the hot and neutral wires. GFCIs are installed onto various types of electrical devices, including pressure washers. Over time the GFCI can become faulty and cause the pressure washer to stop working.

Solution 1: Is the GFCI Receiving Power From the Outlet?

GFCI safety switches are attached to the power cord and incorporate the pins (terminals) that plug into the power outlet. Not all countries make use of GFCI technology, but where used, the GFCI isolates or cuts the power to the appliance if a significant voltage difference is detected between the hot and neutral.

When your RYOBI pressure washer doesn’t turn on, check the GFCI indicator light. If illuminated, the unit receives power from the outlet and shows that the outlet is working. And that the GFCI is correctly inserted into the outlet.

Solution 2: Press the Test Button Located on the GFCI

Secondly, the GFCI is fitted with a test button which, when pressed, will cut the power supply to the Ryobi pressure washer and turns off the indicator light. If the indicator light had been off already, the test button might have been pressed accidentally, causing the power washer not to work.

To clear the test fault and restore the power to the RYOBI pressure washer, press the reset button on the GFCI. Once pressed, the power supply to the GFCI is restored, the indicator light will illuminate, and the pressure washer will start when turned on.

Solution 3: Test the GFCI Using A Multimeter

It is possible for the GFCI to develop a fault but still illuminate the indicator light. As such, the only way to isolate the fault in the GFCI is to test the power output coming from the unit.

Ensure that the GFCI is removed from the power outlet; remove the cover by removing the four retaining screws. Removing the cover will expose the hot, neutral, and ground terminal wires. Carefully re-insert the GFCI into the power outlet making sure not to touch the exposed connections.

Using a multimeter, test for voltage between the hot and neutral terminals. If a voltage of between one hundred and ten and two hundred and forty volts is detected, the GFCI is working, and the problem lies with the pressure washer.

If zero voltage is read, the GFCI is faulty and must be replaced. Replacement of the GFCI is simple as replacing an outlet plug. Remove the GFCI cover, unscrew the hot (live), neutral and ground wire screws and attach the wires to the replacement GFCI, ensuring the wires are correctly connected or won’t work.

2. The Nozzle Becomes Blocked and Won’t Spray

A man cleaning a garage door using a pressure washer.

All RYOBI pressure washers spray water through a nozzle attached to the end of the wand. As the system is pressurized, the water does an excellent job of keeping the nozzle clear of debris; however, larger debris may still cause the nozzle to get blocked.

Solution

A fully or partially blocked jet located inside the nozzle of all RYOBI pressure washers can cause the pressure washer to stop working. As the jet becomes obstructed, the flow of water will be restricted, reducing the cleaning ability of the pressure washer.

Every RYOBI pressure washer comes with an instruction manual. Pasted onto the back of the manual is a cleaning tool designed specifically to clear obstructions from the jet.

RYOBI knows that the water quality worldwide is not the same and that the washers will sometimes be used where the water may contain debris, such as tanked water. The debris is sucked through the washer only to become lodged inside the tiny opening in the jet.

Clearing the blockage using the supplied tool is a simple process. With the pressure washer turned off, insert the cleaning tool into the opening or hole in the front of the nozzle and rotate the device in a circular motion without bending the wire.

Inserting the tool into the jet will force the obstruction out of the jet while the rotating action will break down the obstruction so it can be blown out through the jet and nozzle, clearing the obstruction.

3. Pressure Washer Doesn’t Start

A man cleaning a car using a pressure washer.

The RYOBI model 1700 corded Pressure washer is a great pressure washer capable of generating a jet of water propelled by 1700 PSI of Pressure. The high operating pressure makes the pressure washer well-suited to cleaning more extensive areas. Sometimes, however, the pressure washer won’t start.

Solution

The cause of the washer not starting up is a faulty pressure switch valve that gets stuck due to a build-up of sediment or impurities in the valve housing. The impurities prevent the valve from moving up and down to activate the water pump’s switch.

It needs to be removed from its housing located on top of the RYOBI pressure washers water pump to clean the valve.

Should you be DIY-inclined, the brass connector on top of the valve is held in place by a retaining clip that must to removed to disassemble the valve assembly.

Once removed, the valve assembly and its housing in which it fits must be cleaned of all debris and reassembled. Removing the debris will allow the valve to move freely up and down to activate the pressure switch.

The below YouTube video shows how to disassemble and clean the valve. Alternatively, professional assistance may be needed.

4. The Pressure Washer Won’t Build Pressure

A man cleaning a concrete brick wall.

Cutting The disappointment is palatable when you connect your brand-new Ryobi 2000 pressure washer to the hose, press the trigger, and nothing. The washer motor runs, but a weak stream of water runs out of the nozzle. What’s gone wrong?

Solution

Although you may fear the worst, the reality is that all that’s needed is to give the water time to circulate all the air out of the hose and pressure washer. A word of warning, running the pressure washer without water leaking through the pump can cause damage to the water pump.

Before turning on your pressure washer, you need to bleed the air trapped in the hose and the washer and replace it with water.

The solution is thus to connect the water hose to the pressure cleaner without turning on the pressure washer. Connect the wand without a nozzle to the pressure washer and press and hold the trigger. A trickle of water and bubbles will run out through the wand. The water will expel trapped air.

Once a constant stream of water is flowing from the wand and the bubbles have stopped, release the trigger, which will prevent the water from flowing. Next, fit the desired nozzle onto the wand and turn on the pressure washer at the power button. Now you’re good to go! The system is now filled with water.

5. Pressure Switch Is Problematic

A person turning on the pressure washer switch.

The RYOBI models 1700 and 2000 are excellent corded pressure washers that fall into the mid to high-pressure category. The pressure makes them ideal for use in light commercial and domestic applications, occasionally though they suffer pressure loss, resulting in the washer not working.

Solution

The pressure switch is an electrical device that activates and turns off the water pump. The switch is inside a black casing directly above the pressure valve in the 1700 and 2000 PSI RYOBI pressure washers.

Water flowing through the washer causes the valve to move, activating the switch. The switch is a mechanical device that opens and frequently closes, so it is prone to wear and eventual failure.

The switch must be replaced to resolve this problem, as it’s not a repairable part. The soap dispensing bottle and cover must be removed to access the switch. Both items are held in place with screws that are easily accessible.

Once the main cover is removed, the water pump and electric motor are exposed. The switch is inside the black cover or box on the water pump. Removing the screws from the cover will reveal the switch.

A soldering iron is required to remove the solder attaching the wires to the pressure switch. Once the wires are removed, the switch can be detached from its housing.

To insert the replacement switch is soldering the power wires onto the new switch and replacing its cover, the washer’s cover, and the soap dispensing bottle.

The below YouTube video shows the pressure switch replacement process.

6. Pressure Washer Hose Doesn’t Work Well

A pressure washer on a swimming pool.

The RYOBI 2300 electric power washer is a great product, well suited to getting the tough grime, such as mud, off your favorite off-road vehicle. One problem, however, is the standard hose with which the washer is supplied. It’s so springy and stiff that the hose is inconvenient to use.

Solution

RYOBI has recently released a replacement hose suited to use with several of their pressure washers. The replacement hose is yellow as opposed to the original grey.

The standard RYOBI 2300 PSI electric washers hose measures twenty-five (7.6m) feet, whereas the replacement hose is thirty-five feet (10.6m) long and has the standard quarter-inch diameter. The hose is rated up to 3300 PSI.

So, if you’re done with struggling with a hose that kinks, doesn’t lay flat on the ground during use, and is hard to roll up and store, the new RYOBI 3300 35ft x ¼ inch hose is what you need.

Replacement of the old hose is as simple as disconnecting the hose from the washer and the wand on the other end and clipping the new hose into place.

The thirty-five-foot hose ensures that the washer doesn’t need to move around due to a short hose constantly. The hose material is more flexible than the older hose, which ensures the hose lies flat on the ground and doesn’t coil. The additional length of the hose comes in handy when cleaning a driveway or vehicle.

Lastly, the replacement hose is easier to roll up and attach to the washer for storage due to its greater limpness and improved flexibility.

RYOBI Gas-Powered Pressure Washer

A pressure washer left on a pavement.

The RYOBI gas-powered pressure washers have an avid following due to their higher operating pressure, generally more so than their electric counterparts, and most importantly, the cordless washer’s portability.

Despite the ever-increasing demand for more environmentally friendly washers, such as those powered with electricity and battery power, the gas-powered versions are better suited to applications where large areas need cleaning.

Being gas-powered also means that the RYOBI pressure washers are prone to the common faults associated with internal combustion engines.

1. Pressure Washer Doesn’t Start

A man fixing the nozzle of pressure washer.

Seeing the difference that a pressure washer can make to a driveway, wall, or even when admiring the gleaming car after giving it a once over with your favorite gas-powered RYOBI 2800 pressure washer is a wonderful feeling. Not so great is when you’re trying to start the washer, and it just won’t work.

Solution

Storing a gas-powered tool such as an RYOBI pressure washer for a few months can often result in the engine not wanting to start up or, when it does, might be running rough or only running when the choke is engaged.

Although several issues may prevent the engine from running, the most common is fuel starvation.

Fuel starvation results from the gas not reaching the combustion chamber, preventing the engine from running.

The RYOBI 2800 PSI Pressure cleaner is fitted with the excellent Honda 160 engine that is usually very reliable but, like all gas-powered engines, relies on fresh, clean gas to run correctly.

Assuming that the gas in the tank has been replaced with fresh gas and the fuel filter and gas line are in good condition, the only remaining problem area is the carburetor. Carburetor jets are prone to becoming blocked as sediment and dust settle and hardens inside the jets as the gas evaporates.

The only reliable way to clean the jets is to remove the carburetor and to remove and clean the jets. Performing this task is very simple and only requires a few essential tools and a little DIY skill. The below YouTube video demonstrates the disassembly, jet cleaning, and reassembly process.

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