8 Reasons Why Your Generator Won’t Start

There is nothing more frustrating thing than a generator not starting.

Well, do not panic as you can fix and prevent such issues from happening again. But what would you need to do if your generator won’t start?

This article will look at the 8 reasons why your generator will not start and list of simple ways to troubleshoot your generator.


Why Won’t My generator start? How to Fix a Generator That Won’t Start…

Here is how to troubleshoot and get it running:

1. Check The Necessities

Investing in generators can be expensive, so you must know the basics of maintaining the equipment well.

Lack of operation data indeed leads to generator letdowns when needed the most.

Today, the systems are complex, and you should get familiar with the simple settings and necessary techniques for regular maintenance.

The understanding of such will help you handle the possible conditions like starting failures or if the generator won’t start after running out of gas.

In addition, equipping yourself with such information enables you to avoid wasting valued resources over generator disappointment.

Some of the common reasons for no start in generators include lack of enough gasoline. The fuel valves could not be on at times, among others.

Before you attempt troubleshooting, check if you have all the basics. Remember, you can quickly forget the details, therefore, ensure all are present before doing something.

2. Change the Fuel

If the generator doesn’t start, then you need to check the gasoline in the fuel tank.

Having fuel that you have used for a long period means quality degradation. The oil level often appears cloudy or divided and turns out to be a culprit to the engine failure.

So, start by carefully siphoning the old fuel into another container. When all gets done, fill up the fuel tank with some fresh fuel.

You can prevent the problem in the future by making the generator run dry once used.

When the fuel tank has a mixture of old and fresh gas, you will still have bad experiences. However, after the thorough draining, the addition of a suitable fuel stabilizer will do you some good work.

The additive is a must-have ingredient for every generator owner. Find out the best oil for your generators.

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3. Low Fuel Levels

The most common reason for generators not to start or run well is running out of fuel. Some generators have the low-level shutdown equipped to protect the air from getting drawn into the fuel.

However, things get worse when you run out of fresh gasoline and have air in the gas tank. The bleeding procedure is complicated and may take you longer.

Engines fitted out with the shutoff need to ever have manual bypasses. But, of course, the capacity of your system tank works differently than the vehicles.

When not used for some time, the fuel remains stagnant. The mechanical gauges also tend to stick in one place, thus losing accuracy.

It is until vibrations come to interrupt the quiet that the low-level gets addressed.

If your fuel filters become plugged, your engine can run out of fuel.

But you can prevent this by checking the tanks and occasionally check for the presence of possible contaminants. Water damages machines since its properties cause pre-ignition and faster detonations.

Fuel polishing is the other way of removing water from your fuel. You can confirm with your retailer if the fuel has chemicals to be safer.

Fresh ultra-low sulfur fuels have extreme detergent levels to clean the lines, thus avoiding filter plugging.

4. Check The Condition of The Spark Plug

The spark plugs may have become contaminated and spoiled. After prolonged use, sludge or carbon layers accumulate around it.

So, remove it and use this time for checking to ensure that the engine sends current to the spark plug.

While pulling out the spark plug, if you see dirt, apply some carb cleaner inside the cylinder to clean it.

In the end, you should be able to see a spark showing that the part has no problem.

If the spark plug looks good, but no spark comes out while performing the test, your generator won’t start due to an electrical issue.

The problem could be a defective switch which needs replacement and has your system ran well. Sometimes the devices look fine and yet gone bad or worn out.

It is possible that after trying such steps, the generator still fails to start. You can then opt for using a spark plug tester to be sure if there is a need to change the spark plug with a new or an appropriate type for your engine.

A faulty ignition coil may be the cause of your generator not starting even after testing the spark plug and there are sparks.

Symptoms of faulty spark plugs include poor starting or performance, hesitation, misfiring, and engine misfiring.

Fortunately, spark plugs are pretty cheap, though having a spare for emergencies is ideal.

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5. Check If The Air Filter is Clean

The generator’s air filter is a useful part that prevents destructive dirt and contaminants from getting into the engine’s combustion space.

The component must be available and clean since you will not have adequate air come in through it when it is filthy.

The lack of an air filter leads to incorrect air to fuel ratio making the mixture rich.

As a result, the carburetor ends up with excess gas and a lesser amount of air.

Some people run the engines without the air filter when it appears very dirty. Such a step can permanently destroy the machine, so avoid it.

You can as well have a lean air/fuel mixture. Generators run well with sufficient airflow, which a dirty air filter prevents.

You can check the manufacturer’s manual if the air filter is the type to clean. When you notice dirt, pull it and clean the air filter appropriately as per the instructions.

For an air filter having paper elements and are never working, opt for a replacement.

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6. Check Your Fuel Lines and Filters

In the event the generator still fails to start, you need to check the fuel valve and the fuel line.

Yes, here, clogs, pinches, cracks, and leaks occur many times. Some of such damages can get repaired, but you need to consider replacing the fuel lines in many situations.

Though not a common issue and not in need of a standby spare fuel line. It never hurts to stay prepared for the bad instances.

Detach your fuel line from the carburetor, and see if gasoline flows through as usual. In case you notice no drains, then some clogging calls for change.

Before you can run your generator, you’ll need to check the fuel lines.

Check the fuel lines for leaks by running your hand over the pipes and looking for dampness or moisture. If you find a leak, replace the pipe.

7. Disassemble and Clean Your Carburetor

The carburetor experiences problems when old and spoiled fuel flows into it. You can clean the clogged carburetor by spraying the jets and orifices with a carb cleaner.

Considering this means you do not eradicate it. Some situations demand removal. Remember that the elements are sensitive and vital when removing and cleaning them.

Clean the interior of the carburetor by using a carburetor cleaner, or by blowing through it with an air compressor or leaf blower. Use a brush to remove any deposits. Unclog the jets, and remove any rust or debris.

Be cautious not to scratch it and carefully track the screws when you are checking if you have a clogged carburetor. The parts are small, and you should not misplace some of them.

You can consult from the internet on the best ways to clean and reassemble it if you have not done the process before.

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8. Practice Correct Care and Maintenance

All people are familiar with the saying that prevention is better than cure. You can avoid the many generator problems listed above through the right upkeep practices.

First, schedule your servicing to get done by certified technicians as per your vendor’s manual.

In the end, the ideal thing to do to ensure your standby power source starts when needed is by carrying out regular maintenance.

After prolonged use of the generator, change oil, check the oil level, fuel valve, and air filters and spark plugs as mentioned. Maintenance activities keep your machine in an ideal functioning condition.

For the generators mostly used during emergencies, it means an extended time of remaining unused.

During such instances, you need to drain the gas tank and leave it without fuel. Should you not opt for this, then adding fuel stabilizers would be essential.

You also need to check the machine and start it often to confirm if it is functioning.

Sometimes the failures on the systems come due to electrical starting failures. Check with the multimeter to confirm that the battery and fuses are in excellent condition.

Should both be dead, go for a replacement where necessary. The terminals as well could be corroded, making your connections tight.

Even when things appear good, unplug and clean the terminals using a brush, then reattach.

Also Read: Best Power Generators [2022]


Generator Won’t Start? Follow These 8 Steps To Start Your Generator

If your generator will not start, please be sure to follow the troubleshooting steps above.

As a reminder the steps to start your generator are…

  1. Check The Necessities
  2. Change the Fuel
  3. Low Fuel Levels
  4. Check The Condition of The Spark Plug
  5. Check If The Air Filter is Clean
  6. Check Your Fuel Lines and Filters
  7. Disassemble and Clean Your Carburetor
  8. Practice Correct Care and Maintenance

If you’re still not able to get the generator to start, please reach out to the manufacturer or a technician for further assistance.

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Last update on 2022-12-31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API