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.

SaleBestseller No. 1
DuroMax XP12000EH Generator-12000 Watt Gas or Propane Powered Home Back Up & RV Ready, 50 State Approved Dual Fuel Electric Start Portable Generator, Black and Blue
  • Powerful DuroMax Engine: the XP12000EH is powered by a DuroMax, 457cc OHV engine..With Gasoline : Peak Wattage - 12,000., Running Wattage - 9,500., Running Amperage at 120V - 79.17., Running Amperage at 240V - 39.58., Runtime at 25% Load - 19., Runtime at 50% Load - 8With Propane : Peak Wattage - 11,400., Running Wattage - 9,025., Running Amperage at 120V - 75.21., Running Amperage at 240V - 37.6., Runtime at 25% Load - 14., Runtime at 50% Load - 7Please read the detailed safety instructions in the manual before operating.
  • Dual fuel technology: the ability to run on propane or gasoline allows the freedom and flexibility of fuel choice. Protects your investment by automatically shutting the generator off when it senses that the oil is low
  • Plenty of power: with 12,000 starting watts and 9, 500 running watts, This unit can handle heavy loads from lights and a refrigerator to a home air conditioner and high amperage power tools.
  • Maximum power: with DuroMax MX2 technology, get the maximum power from each of the 120 volt receptacle. Choose between operating the generator at both 120 V and 240 V Simultaneously, or at 120 only with full power.
  • Powering everyone anywhere: like all DuroMax generators, the XP12000EH is EPA and CARB approved For use in all 50 States.

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.

SaleBestseller No. 1
Champion Copper Plus 71 Spark Plug (Carton of 1) - RC12YC for 1984 - 2020 Toyota Corolla
  • Copper Plus - Dependable Performance and Durability
  • Copper core center electrode allows for accurate control of heat range for longer life
  • Inhibits corrosion
  • Built to ISO and SAE standards for proven performance

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.

Bestseller No. 1
Panari 17211-899-000 Air filter for Honda GX390 GX240 GX270 GX340 EB3000 EB3500 EB3800 EM3000 EM3500 EM3800 Generator 2Pack, , GX390 EM6500 Air Filter For Generac Coleman Powermate Generator
  • Replaces part # 17211-899-000, Oregon 30-963, Stens 102-689, Rotary 12801, J. Thomas AF-0026, NHC 261-0748, Prime Line 7-083163, Napa 7-083163
  • Length 6-1/2" x width 4-1/2" x height 1-3/8", Fit for Generac 420cc generator engines
  • For Honda generators equipped with GX240 GX270 GX340 GX390 engine GX240K1 GX240R1 GX240R2 GX240RT1 GX240RT2 GX240U1 GX270 GX270R GX270RT GX270RT2 GX270U GX270UT GX340K1
  • For Honda generator EB3000 EB3500 EB3800 EB4000 EB5000 EB6500 EM3000 EM3500 EM3800 EM4000 EM5000 EM6000 EM6500 EMS4000 EMS4500 EW140 EW170 EW171 EX3300 EX4500 and EXW171
  • You will get: 2 air filter, fit for Honda generator EB3500XK1 AG/C, EB3800X A, EM3500SXK1 A/C, EM6500SXK1 A, EM6500SXK1 AT, EX3300S A, GX240K1 VMT2, GX240U1 ED2, GX240U1 EDN2, GX240U1 EDS2, GX240U1 EDS6, GX240U1 EDT6, GX240U1 EN2, GX270 VPE5, GX270 VPX5, GX270U VPE4, GX270U VPE5, GX270U VPE7, GX270U VPE9, GX270U VPX4, GX270U VPX5, GX270U VPX7, GX270U VPX9, GX270U VSD3, GX340R1 ED6, GX340R1 EDE2, GX340R1 EDN2, GX340R1 EDS2, GX340R1 EN6, GX340R1 ENT

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.

Bestseller No. 1
DH Lifelabs | Aaira Surface Multi-Purpose Cleaner | HOCl Generator | Eliminates 99.9% of Germs Bacteria Viruses | No Harsh Chemicals | Sustainable Cleaning Disinfectant System | Reduce Household Odors
  • Sustainable Cleaning System: Make Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) at home. Produce a never-ending supply of natural ingredients. This non-toxic multi-purpose HOCl cleaner & disinfectant replaces all conventional cleaners with no harsh chemicals.
  • Neutralizes 99.9% of Bacteria & Viruses On Surfaces: Creates HOCl disinfectant from non-iodized salt, water, and vinegar. No ammonia or bleach. Use this multi-purpose cleaner and disinfectant to clean countertops, tabletops, appliances, cabinets, doors, windows, bathtubs, showers, toilets, floors, sinks, and drains.
  • 2 Levels of Clean: Choose between low concentration (100 PPM) for everyday cleaning and high concentration (200 PPM) for disinfecting surfaces.
  • Sustainability: Enjoy the convenience of making your own all purpose cleaner whenever you need it with all-natural ingredients that are proven to clean as effectively as conventional cleaners. Save money, and reduce waste with reusable bottles.
  • What's Included: 1000 ml / 33.81 oz. pitcher capacity, Two 150 ml / 5.07 oz. spray bottles for low (100 PPM), and high (200 PPM) concentration mixtures.

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.

Best Power Generators [2022]

Best Generators Under $1000

Best Generators Under $500

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