About eleven years ago, I bought a gasoline-powered pressure washer, and used it for some days to clean the driveway and house walls. Then it sat for 10 years, unused, unmaintained.
What are the chances of it still working ( or being revived)?

  • I let it run dry when I last used it
  • it is stored inside a garage (so no exposure to the elements)
  • it looks fine from the outside
  • I didn't yet try to use it - for some years I thought it's beyond help anyway, but now somebody told me it might be just fine.
  • I'm afraid that simply trying to start it might damage it, so I'm asking first
  • I'm not a handy-man - changing spark plugs might just be outside my skill set, but I could try.

What should I do before adding gas and trying it, if anything?

  • If you do not try then you do not know. If you try and fail then you are no worse off then before you tried. We do not know your mechanical aptitude so we can not say what YOUR chances are. TRY.
    – Alaska Man
    Dec 23, 2019 at 21:24
  • So did it live?
    – isherwood
    Jul 11, 2022 at 13:07
  • Yes, and it's still fine.
    – Aganju
    Jul 11, 2022 at 14:11

2 Answers 2


You let it run dry, which was key. This means you don't have smelly, gooey, inflammable fuel dried in and clogging the small carburetor passages.

Check the oil level and fire it up. If it's lubricated, it's probably just fine. If there's moisture in the oil it'll evaporate when the engine comes up to normal operating temperature.

There's no reason to change the plug unless you have reason to believe that it's fouled, but storage doesn't do that.

  • Wow, so ten years are not a problem? I'll try tomorrow morning.
    – Aganju
    Dec 23, 2019 at 19:34
  • Well, if the cylinder is rusty (possible depending on storage conditions) there's not much you can do to fix it anyway without overhaul. That seems unnecessary.
    – isherwood
    Dec 23, 2019 at 19:35

I would largely agree with isherwood's answer, but personally I would be tempted to pull the spark plug and put a few mls of oil in the spark plug hole, then crank it over a few times to make sure the rings were well oiled. Then add gas and start it. I've had a couple older engines that had sat dormant - although they were not literally rusted or seized, the the rings were so dry that there was some damage from starting up the first time.

Also, it may be worthwhile to put some oil in the water pump itself (you could even use the purpose-designed oil meant for winterizing pressure washers). Again, just to make sure parts aren't totally dry when you start it.

Old gas is the #1 enemy of unused power equipment, so you're definitely one step ahead from having run it dry.

  • 1
    This is good advice. Fogging oil might be better than pouring, though, to avoid plug fouling and get better coverage.
    – isherwood
    Dec 25, 2019 at 17:32
  • Agreed, if you have a way to fog the oil (or an actual can of fogging oil) - and I guess this wasn't clear, but after oiling, I would pull it over without the plug in place. No need to push the oil out the exhaust, you just want to get the rings wet.
    – dwizum
    Dec 27, 2019 at 13:41

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