Pressure Washer Pump Oil Type
1. Detergent Motor Oil versus Non-Detergent oil
What kind of oil does a pressure washer use?
Instead of the detergent motor oil that is commonly used in engines, you should use non-detergent pump oil. Modern engines use detergent oils to help keep contaminants from sticking to surfaces. The dirt and debris then pass through an oil filter. As pumps don’t have an oil filter, therefore, using detergent motor oil causes the oil to become dirty very quickly. The contaminants build up in the oil, turning it to black sludge.
Most manufacturers recommend non-detergent oils designed specifically for pressure washer pumps. These products typically include “pump oil” directly on the label. However, some people prefer to simply use all-purpose motor oil. If choosing an all-purpose motor oil, ensure that you use a non-detergent oil. These products should include “non-detergent” or “ND” on the label.
The power washer oil type that you use may also depend on the climate. All-purpose motor oils contain various designations describing the viscosity of the oil at different temperatures. The label may include “SAE 30” or “SAE 5W-30”. SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers.
The “W” stands for winter. The numbers represent the viscosity of the oil. The viscosity is the ability of a liquid to resist flow. With a high viscosity, the oil resists flow and remains thick and syrupy. With low viscosity, the oil flows more easily. Most pumps work fine with SAE 30 non-detergent oil. However, colder temperatures can cause the oil to remain thick, requiring a lower viscosity.
SAE 30 oil works best in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a region where temperatures drop below 40 degrees, you may benefit from a multi-viscosity oil such as an SAE 5W-30 or 10W-40 oil. During the winter, the oil performs as an SAE 5 or SAE 10 oil. In normal temperatures, the oil performs as an SAE 30 or SAE 40 oil.
2. Synthetic oil Versus Conventional Oil
The next consideration is synthetic oil versus conventional oil. Both types of oil undergo a refinement process that includes the addition of additives. However, synthetic oil includes additional refinement. With synthetic oils, manufacturers can control the purity and molecular size of each ingredient, resulting in oils that provide better performance. Conventional oils tend to break down faster, allowing contaminants to potentially damage the pump. With fewer impurities, synthetic oil offers longer-lasting protection.
Unfortunately, synthetic oil also costs more due to the additional refinement and inclusion of additives. If you maintain a regular oil change schedule, you should not need to worry about the buildup of debris. Overall, the choice between conventional and synthetic depends on your own preferences. Synthetic oil performs better but costs more.
So Which Oil Should You Use? The Top Recommendations Come Down To The Following:
While these three options should work in any pump, always check the user manual for the manufacturer’s recommended pressure washer pump oil.