Pressure Washer Keeps Dying When I Pull the Trigger – Anyone Else? Solutions Needed!

Recently, my pressure washer has been acting up. Every time I pull the trigger, it just dies on me. I’ve tried a few things, but I’m still struggling. Has anyone else faced this issue?



I’ve had the same issue with my pressure washer. After some digging around and trying out various solutions, I found a few that worked for me and others. From unloader valve issues to carburetor problems, there are several potential culprits. Let’s dive into the details.

Solutions that Worked

Solution Users Who Found Success Personal Experience Estimated Cost (USD) Time Needed (Minutes)
Clean/Replace Unloader Valve 5 Cleaned the unloader and it worked like a charm $10-$50 15-30
Clean/Replace Carburetor 4 Swapped out the carburetor and the washer ran smoothly $20-$100 30-60
Adjust Pressure Relief Valve 3 Adjusted the valve and the stalling stopped $0 5-10
Use Fresh Fuel 1 Drained old fuel, refilled with fresh gas, and the washer stopped stalling Cost of fuel 10-15



  • Pressure washer stalls immediately after pulling the trigger.
  • Engine labors or sounds strained before shutting off.
  • Washer works fine until the trigger is released.

Possible Causes

  • Malfunctioning unloader valve.
  • Carburetor issues.
  • Faulty pressure relief valve.
  • Contaminated fuel.


Solutions that Worked

1. Clean/Replace Unloader Valve

  • What I Did: Checked the unloader valve and found it to be corroded. Cleaned it thoroughly.
  • Outcome: The pressure washer stopped stalling.
  • Personal Experience: After cleaning the unloader, the washer’s performance improved significantly.
  • Estimated Cost: $10-$50
  • Time Needed: 15-30 minutes


  1. Turn off and disconnect the pressure washer.
  2. Locate the unloader valve, usually found on the side of the pump.
  3. Remove the valve using appropriate tools.
  4. Clean the valve thoroughly using a brush and soapy water.
  5. Reassemble and reattach the valve.
  6. Test the pressure washer to see if the issue is resolved.

Expert Tip: Regularly inspect the unloader valve to ensure its optimal functioning. If cleaning doesn’t help, consider replacing the valve.


2. Clean/Replace Carburetor

  • What I Did: Replaced the old carburetor with a new one.
  • Outcome: The pressure washer ran smoothly without stalling.
  • Personal Experience: Swapping out the carburetor made a noticeable difference.
  • Estimated Cost: $20-$100
  • Time Needed: 30-60 minutes


  1. Turn off the pressure washer and disconnect it from any power source.
  2. Locate the carburetor, typically found near the engine.
  3. Remove the carburetor using the appropriate tools.
  4. Clean the carburetor with a carburetor cleaner or replace it with a new one.
  5. Reattach the cleaned or new carburetor.
  6. Test the pressure washer.

Expert Tip: A clean carburetor ensures efficient fuel combustion. If you’re frequently facing issues, consider investing in a carburetor cleaning kit.


3. Adjust Pressure Relief Valve

  • What I Did: Adjusted the pressure relief valve settings.
  • Outcome: The washer stopped stalling.
  • Personal Experience: A simple adjustment can sometimes make all the difference.
  • Estimated Cost: $0
  • Time Needed: 5-10 minutes


  1. Locate the pressure relief valve on your pressure washer.
  2. Using a wrench, gently turn the valve to adjust the pressure settings.
  3. Test the pressure washer after each adjustment to find the optimal setting.

Expert Tip: Ensure the valve is set to the recommended pressure levels. Over-tightening can cause damage.


4. Use Fresh Fuel

  • What I Did: Drained the old fuel and refilled with fresh gasoline.
  • Outcome: The stalling issue was resolved.
  • Personal Experience: Fresh fuel can significantly improve the washer’s performance.
  • Estimated Cost: Cost of fuel
  • Time Needed: 10-15 minutes


  1. Locate the fuel tank on your pressure washer.
  2. Drain any old or contaminated fuel.
  3. Refill the tank with fresh gasoline.
  4. Test the pressure washer to see if the stalling issue is resolved.

Expert Tip: Always store your pressure washer in a cool, dry place to prevent fuel contamination.


Pressure Washer Models Where This Worked

  • Honda GC160
  • Briggs & Stratton Model 020228

I hope these solutions help anyone facing similar issues with their pressure washers. Regular maintenance and timely repairs can ensure your equipment runs smoothly for years to come.