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What oil is used in a pressure washer?

Fact Checked By Daniel Wood | Post Updated On: May 11, 2023

Pressure washers require oil. This oil depends on the type of engine they have. Most pressure washer manuals recommend using pressure washer oil that contains rust inhibitors and an anti-foaming agent. This oil doesn’t allow the build-up of rust and dirt particles inside the pressure washer engines. 

But what oil is used in pressure washers? Let’s find this out in more detail. 


To understand what oil pressure washers use, we must first understand why pressure washers use oil in the first place. 

Pressure washers need oil for smooth running. The start-up performance of the pressure washer is directly related to its oil consumption. The type of oil that the pressure uses can determine how well-protected the inside of the pressure washer pump is. In short, pressure washers need oil for lubrication and protection against harsh conditions. 

A general 4-cycle pressure washer usually takes a 10W30 oil like that of Honda. It dramatically reduces friction and enhances engine life. 10W40 is also an option for the most commonly used motor oils.

Many people get confused when it comes to deciding between the two previously mentioned oils. There is not much difference between these two oils except regarding high-heat conditions, which is a separate subject.

What can you use instead of oil in a pressure washer?

The better the oil used, the lower the consumption of the pressure washer is going to be. But is there an alternative to oil? The answer is: Yes, there is an alternative in the form of synthetic oil. However, it’s best to refer to your manufacturer’s manual before taking any step, as oil is a crucial factor in determining a pressure washer’s performance.

Other practical alternatives include Sta-bil pump protector and Generac pressure washer pump oil. These alternatives can come in handy in situations when your pressure washer’s oil can’t be found elsewhere in the market. 

Can we use oil additives in pressure washers?

Only when it’s explicitly stated in the owner’s manual. Detergents and oil additives can wear a pressure washer down. They can profoundly affect the performance of a pressure washer. 

If you’re looking for a lubricant that doesn’t wash off and is compatible with many O-ring materials, I’d recommend using a silicone plumber’s grease. But that’s only when we’re talking about a lubricant. 

What oil do pressure washers use for a car wash?

A high-pressure pump can tolerate a variety of oils. But the most popular options include the SAE10W-30 or SAE10W-40. These two oil varieties can tolerate temperatures of up to 40 degrees (F). You would want to remember that too much oil can damage a pressure washer. Air filter can get oil saturated if the administered oil exceeds the required levels. Similarly, spark plug sparkling and smoking are just a few of the many problems that too much oil levels can cause.

About Daniel Wood

Daniel has completed his graduation mechanical engineering from a reputed university in US. He worked as a technical engineer in a pressure washer manufacturing plant for four years. He has a great passion for mechanical devices and has opened a workshop where he does research on various machines in his leisure time. His high interest in technology made him an expert in commercial and residential pressure washers.

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