Reasons Why Your Paint Sprayer is Losing Pressure and Not Working

Have you found yourself in a pickle with your paint sprayer? Is it losing pressure and not working? 

Then you’ve come to the right place!

We’ll tell you the common reasons why your paint gun won’t build pressure in this article. We’ll also give you helpful tips to figure out which might be your spray gun’s issue.

What causes paint sprayer to lose pressure?

Common causes for pressure loss in paint gun is filter and nozzle clogging, incorrect pressure settings or clutch and valve components in need of replacement. 

Let’s get a deeper understanding of the gear malfunctions that can result in your paint sprayer not spraying:

Nozzle Clogging

The first thing you should check when your spray gun isn’t building pressure is the nozzle. 

Nozzles get blocked easily from the elements as well as paint build-up in the tip. Sand and dirt are the main culprits that clog up the nozzle. If you’ve recently worked with a fast-drying paint, you’ll also find remnants of the substance coating the inner surface. 

Remove the nozzle from the trigger and check if it’s clogged. Then, clean it. If it’s past that point, there’s no other option than getting a replacement.

To avoid this happening in the future, make sure to clean your spray needled tips regularly. Do it after every use to ensure a long-lasting experience.

Unsuitable Nozzle Size or Dilution Ratios

This problem is common when you’re working with new paints. 

The viscosity of paints differs from runny pudding to thickened juice. Imagine someone trying to pipe out pudding from a needle tip. Impossible, right?

Do you see what I’m trying to portray? Thicker paints require a thicker tip.

Newbies might not know the correct dilution ratios for their model of sprayer. Or, their brand of paint. That’s why your paint gun works just fine with other paints but may not with that specific one.

Correct nozzle size and appropriate dilution are two sides of the same coin. Change the needle tip or dilute your paint if you think this is the problem.

Filter Clogging

You’ll find that most sprayers come with filtering systems and tanks. This filters out any solid impurities from your paint mixture. It prevents clogging of the air hose, pump and trigger wand.

This is quite common. Filters need replacing from time to time. And larger systems with backpacks often come with multiple filters. Any of the filters not working will cause an issue in the overall unit.

So, it’s an important component to keep track of. If it’s indeed clogged up, you can start by flushing out the backpack with water. Then move on to cleaning the tanks,

If the issue persists, you might need to remove the filter for a thorough cleaning or you might have to replace it entirely.

Broken or Displaced Clutch

If you’re experiencing a sudden loss in pressure, it may be that your clutch has become displaced or broken. The clutch’s job is to drive the pump. And the pump moves the liquid paint throughout the gun.

In other words. the clutch controls the pump. It allows the engine to rest without overusing the pump. When it’s out of alignment or broken, you may find your gun is not working or the pressure output is lower than normal. This shows your clutch is not engaging with the pump properly.

To check the clutch, you need to disassemble the machine. The clutch needs to be in line with the rest of the components to work smoothly. Use some online tutorials or the instruction manual your manufacture provided to guide you. 

Dirty Valve Balls/Seats

In airless sprayers, a low-pressure output may indicate issues in the valve. Within the valves, you’ll find components like balls and seats. These are responsible for creating a blockade, which allows pressure to build. 

When you’re spraying paint, the balls and seats close on each other to push out the paint. So, when they become worn or dirty, the paint doesn’t come out properly.

In these cases, you have to either replace or clean your valve. First, remove the balls and seats to rid them of any dirt. Then, check if they’ve become worn by placing the ball back against the seat inside the valve and blowing air. If you can blow air past the seat, you need to get them replaced.

Do this for both the upper and lower balls and seats.

Pressure Setting is Wrong

Believe it or not, this is something a lot of first-timers and even experienced home-building enthusiasts get wrong. It seems obvious to fix the paint gun pressure settings, right?

That’s how it eludes us. We get the feeling we’ve already set it correctly the first time. So, we don’t bother to check again. But even if you’re using the same viscosity of paint as always, brands can make a difference in how much pressure is needed for the gun to perform.

Try increasing the pressure settings and see if it resolves the issue. Who knows? You might’ve just missed it.

Troubleshooting A Paint Sprayer That Won’t Build Pressure

Are you not sure which part of your gun is giving you trouble? 

Some of the reasons we gave for low pressure in spray gun is easy for you to check manually. But with others, like problems in the valves, you should assess before taking it apart needlessly.

Try these methods to get an idea:

  • Check the Pump

First, check if you can hear the whirring of the pump when you turn it on. 

If you can, that means the paint sprayer is getting the wrong message about there being enough pressure in the pump. Oftentimes, this issue is a sign that your transducer might have become worn or faulty.

The transducer’s job is to relay signals to the airless pump of when it needs to build pressure. You might need to replace the transducer if it shows signs of wear.

  • Check the Motor

If so far everything is working like it should, you can move on to the motor. 

This is the time to check your clutch and valves.


Like all machinery, spray painting pistons have little bits and pieces that work together to give your DIY project the dazzle it needs. One chink in the armor can shut down the whole machine.

We hope the tips in the article helped you identify why your spray gun stopped working. Let us know in the comments below!

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