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Why Does My Pressure Washer Only Run On Choke? (Top 3 Causes)

If you use a pressure washer in your home to clean surfaces, you might have one confusing question: Why does my pressure washer only run on choke?

A pressure washer is a high-end machine used to clean hard surfaces outside the home like the patio, decks, terrace, and even cars. It uses water erupting out of the machine with extremely high pressure. In this way, the pressure washer can wipe off any stuck dirt on the surfaces.

However, handling this machine is not an easy task, and you may sometimes run into problems while using it. This is especially true if you don’t have comprehensive knowledge of using it for cleaning purposes. You may mess with the fuel or some parts of the machine.

You could save yourself all the hassle if you knew about some of the reasons that cause the issue with your pressure washer. So, below will discuss some major reasons behind your question – why does my pressure washer only run on choke?

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Pressure Washer – via Wikimedia

Reasons Why Does My Pressure Washer Runs Only on Choke

If your pressure washer is only running on a choke, there are a few possible reasons. You can take a few steps to solve these issues, so your pressure washer won’t face this problem anymore, but we need to get to the root of the problem before solving the issue.

If you are or ever have been in a similar situation, keep reading to know all the answers to your question – why does my pressure washer only run on choke? And solve it in no time.

What Is A Choke?

Before you understand the choke causing issues, you need to understand what it is and how it works.

A choke is a mechanical part that restricts the flow of any fluid, such as gas and a few other materials. They are not just used in pressure washers but in several other types of machinery too.

A choke can work manually or by an automatic part of the machine. The user controls a manual choke.

A choke valve contains oxygen flow to the carburetor when you start the engine. In this way, the engine will be able to start in a low-temperature environment. It is difficult for the engine to start in a low-temperature environment, so the choke valve aids in that.

The choke valve is not supposed to run for more than a few seconds. If it runs for more than five to six minutes, your pressure washer has a problem.

Reasons for the Pressure Washer Running On Choke

There can be limited different reasons for this. Following are some of those reasons explained in detail.

1. Air Leakage

There should be a perfect mixture of air and fuel for the engine to run properly. If more than the required amount of air gets mixed with the fuel, it will not work smoothly without being on choke. Air leakage into the combustion chamber can distort the engine’s efficiency in the pressure washer.

To locate if the issue is caused by air leakage, check for any cracks in the fuel lines and resolve the gas leakage issue.

2. Contamination of Fuel System

The contamination of the fuel system can occur due to several different reasons. You should check your carburetor for any stuck debris or dirt that could contaminate the fuel system. Other than that, contamination could also be due to a clogged fuel filter, a faulty fuel pump, or a sticking fuel.

Using the wrong kind of fuel and air leakage in the fuel or carburetor can also contaminate the internal system. If the fuel system is contaminated in any way, the engine’s working will be affected.

If this is the case, this might be the reason your pressure washer is running on a choke. For that, you will probably have to get it cleaned by a professional.

But, in case of severe damage, you may have to buy a new pressure washer.

3. Usage of the Wrong Fuel

Not all fuels are suitable for all kinds of engines. Engines used in different machines have a different build and will require a fuel that matches their build. If you are using the wrong fuel, it will weaken the engine in your pressure washer, and it might even stop functioning after some time.

Before using the machine, make sure you put in the right kind of fuel required by that specific engine. If not, then you may have to change the fuel being used.

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Yamaha EF3000iSE Pressure Washer – via Wikimedia

How to Repair the Pressure Washer That Only Runs On Choke?

You could take a few steps to repair the pressure washer and ensure it runs efficiently without any hassle for a long time.

First, assess the fuel tank level of the pressure washer. Add fresh fuel into the tank if the fuel is low. Check to make sure the choke of the pressure washer is turned “ON.”

Start the machine and turn the trigger down as you do. After that, pull the lever of the choke in the pressure washer to turn it off. Let go of the trigger, and the engine will run just fine.  

Besides these steps, you should check the air filter for any stuck dirt or debris blocking the pathway. Also, see if there are any cracks in the fuel line and inlets.

You must also clean up the spark plugs and replace those that have become worn out. Check to see whether the ignition coil is damaged or not. Examine the fuel pump and the engine compression as well.

Go over these pointers, and you are all set.


I hope this answers your question of “why does my pressure washer only run on choke.” A pressure washer is an incredibly useful tool for deep cleaning the home.

If you have been facing any issues with your machine, make sure to go over the above points and check the pressure washer for any such disparities. You could always go to a professional to get it checked if you cannot spot the issue yourself.

If you have any experiences with your pressure washer, share them with us in the comment section below.