Do Pressure Washer Tips Wear Out?

cover image for do pressure washer tips wear out - pressure washer cleaning a bench

Most new and experienced pressure washer owners wonder if their pressure washer tips wear out.  The simple answer is that yes they can and they do over time. Over time and sustained use your pressure washer tips wear down and out just like most tools can and do.  They can also wear out from damage sustained while working or with proper storage.

This post will be focused more on natural wear and tear and what that can do to make your pressure washer tips wear out.  As exterior damage or breakage can happen with anything and there is a wide variety of ways that tips can just be plainly broken.  Below you’ll find out exactly what happens when your tips wear out, why it happens, how to spot it early, and what you can do about it.

How And Why Pressure Washer Nozzle Tips Wear Out

Over time with normal and regular use of your pressure washer system your tips and nozzle can start to degrade.  When this happens it may be a little hard to spot until it gets really bad if you do not know what to look for. A telltale sign of a worn-out pressure washer tip or nozzle is that it is spraying in a wider than normal manner.

This is because over time as the nozzle tip wears out the opening of the tip will widen.  This will cause a less focused spray of water which will not do as good of a job as it used to.  It will have the same level of pressure from the machine but the water spray will not have the same power that it once did.

Think of it this way, each colored tip that you use on your pressure system has a degree associated with it.  We will break down each one individually below, but that degree is in reference to the spray area that nozzle will create while in use.  The wider and less focused a spray is the less power that tip will create. You change these out based on how aggressive of a clean you want and what the surface you are cleaning can withstand. A very small, aggressive tip can be so powerful it can damage wood and other materials. For those jobs, you will want something wider.  

However, the amount of pressure that is pushing the water out of the wand and through the tip will stay the same. Because of this, the openings of the tips over time will widen and will need to be replaced if you want to keep the same amount of power and flow from those tips. 

An Important Note You Should Know About Pressure Washer Tips

To fully understand this you need to consider how exactly your pressure washer system works.  The tip and nozzle of your wand are not what creates the pressure from your machine. That is created internally with the pressure washer pump.  The tips are used so you can adjust the opening that the wand will spray out of the wand with.  

A larger opening will create a larger spray surface and less power to clean with.  The narrower the opening the more power that spray creates in a concentrated stream of water.  This is also why you need to keep your wand a certain amount of distance away from what you are cleaning.  If your wand is too close the stream of water will be more powerful than you want and could end up damaging your surface.

It is because the pressure is created internally from the pump that no matter what tip you are using the pressure stays the same.  Over time that pressure level will cause your pressure washer tips to wear out by expanding the diameter of the opening.

What About Clogged Pressure Washer Tips?

The tips can also become clogged which can also make your pressure washer tips wear out.  Dirt and grime can build up over time as well as minerals within the water that you use which can end up clogging the tips. To check for a clog remove the tip and shine a light in one end and look to see if you can see the light from the other end.  If not, then you know you have a clog. Depending on the tip you have it may be more cost-effective to replace the tip than to unclog it.

Types of Pressure Washer Tips (Nozzles)

Black – Soaping Tip

This tip is used to apply soap and detergent.  It has a wide spray and large opening.

0 degree Red – Power Blasting Clean

This red tip is narrow and creates a small and very strong spray.  It is used to blast clean cracks and other surfaces that need a strong blast.  These surfaces should be tested to ensure they can withstand the strength of this tip.  It can cause damage.

15 degree Yellow – Hard Aggressive Clean

This tip is for a wider but still very strong clean.  Again your surface should be tested to withstand this level of spray.

25 degree Green –  Easy General Clean

The green tip gives you a more basic level of power which is good for a variety of surfaces but may not fully get everything removed if what you are cleaning had hard stuck-on debris and dirt to clean off.

40 degree White – Weaker Mild Clean

This is a very wide spray that is good for the largest variety of surfaces but will not offer as deep a clean as some others.

Turbo Nozzle

This nozzle tip rotates around and has a smaller more focused spray compared to the deck cleaner.  It gets in deep to blast away while rotating. Caution should be used as this nozzle can damage surfaces like wood and paint.

Deck Cleaner

The cleaner rotates as well but with a wider spray.  This still gives you the rotation clean but it is able to be used on more surfaces.

Please keep in mind with any of these tips you should always test them out first to make sure your surface can handle the power behind the tips.  As well as using the smallest tip necessary to get the job done. You can always move up to another tip, but if you start off too powerful you can’t go back with a less powerful one later and undo what the other did. If you aren’t careful then you are wondering if your pressure washer tips wear out will be the least of your concerns.

How To Make Turbo Nozzles Last Longer

Turbo nozzle tips are unique in that they spin and rotate the stream of water while in use. They do this by having a bearing inside the tip that will move around and agitate the water.  To make these last longer always make sure your wand and tip are pointing down when you first squeeze the trigger. This causes the bearing to fall to the end of the tip and be in the right place when you startup.  If you do not do this then as the water shoots out it will force the bearing to the tip with it. Over time this will cause extra wear on the tip. Simply pointing it down to start will extend the life of your turbo nozzle.

In conclusion, yes, pressure washer tips wear out over time.  If you start to notice your spray area is getting larger than it should be, then it is time to look into replacing your pressure washer tips to make sure they are working correctly.

Check out some of our other pressure washer articles like why your pressure washer is hard to pull start and are electric pressure washers safe to use with hot water?

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