9+1 Reasons why your generator won’t start

9+1 Reasons why your generator won’t start

Today! Here I am explaining the most important thing you should know as a generator user, so please read this post to get all 9+1 reasons why your generator won't start.

When you pull your generator out of the garage and it doesn't start, it can be frustrating. Most of the time, a generator that won't start is simply a minor inconvenience rather than an indication of a major problem.

If your generator fails to start, it is best to begin by identifying the most common causes. The goal of today's article is to help you identify the top 9+1 reasons why your generator won't start and how to fix those problems.

9+1 Reasons Why Your Generator Won't Start

  • Fuel is running low
  • Low oil level
  • Dead battery
  • The cables are plugged in
  • There is an open/closed choke
  • Having dirty air filters
  • Plug with a bad spark
  • Clogged carburetor
  • Clogged fuel valve or line
  • Oil sensor malfunctions

Fuel is running low :

There's no need to get too worried about this, but make sure your generator has gasoline in its fuel tank. You will have trouble starting your engine if you do not have fuel in the tank. If you intend to use propane for fueling your generator, make sure that its tank has an adequate amount of gas and all the valves are open.

The generator engine will suffer major damage if it is fueled with old gasoline, typically gasoline older than two months. You need to empty the fuel tank and carburetor if you have stale gas in the tank, and then fill it up with fresh gas. Using a fuel removal kit will allow you to safely remove all of the bad fuel.

Low oil level: 

The oil on your generator is just as important as the fuel. When the oil level in your generator drops too low, most modern generators are equipped with a sensor that shuts down the engine automatically and protects from any damage. If your generator has not been serviced after 50 hours of use (or after 20 hours, if it's a new generator) or you suspect there may be a leak, low oil may be responsible for your generator’s starting problems.

Your generator's oil level can be checked by inserting the dipstick inside the crankcase. In case the oil is low, check with the manufacturer about what engine oil is appropriate for your generator. If you are adding a larger amount of oil to your generator, replace the filter after each oil change, even if it's not necessary to start the generator. If you want to bypass your generator's low oil sensor, there's been a helpful guide written for you.

Dead battery:

If your generator is powered by the push-button or remote starter, the first thing you should check is whether the battery for the starter is dead. In the same way as a car, your generator's electric starter cannot work if the battery has run out.

Depending on your generator, the easiest way to fix this would be to use the auxiliary recoil starter. When your generator is running, you can simply charge up the starter battery by connecting it to a 12-volt outlet.

If your generator isn't equipped with a recoil starter, you'll need to charge its battery. By using a converter with a home AC outlet, or by using a 12-volt DC outlet like in your car, you can do this.

If your generator battery runs out of power, you can jump-start it using your car battery instead. You set up the cables the same way as you would to jump-start another car's battery: using the metal frame of your generator as the fourth connection point, plug in your car, then turn on the generator.

You can try these methods if your generator still doesn't start. If they don't work, the problem is probably not a dead battery.

The cables are plugged in:

You may also have to fix an easy problem that prevents your generator from starting: having cords plugged into outlets on your generator. It is recommended that you do not plug anything in when you start the generator - this includes extension cords that do not have appliances connected to them at the other end.

There is an open/closed choke: 

During startup, the choke controls how much air goes into the carburetor, and During combustion, if your generator is unable to start, it may be because too much air or not enough air is mixing with your fuel.

Whenever a generator is starting cold - that is, if it has not run for at least the previous few hours - the choke should be completely closed. Because of this, the closed position is often referred to as the "start" position on generator chokes. During operation, the choke can be gradually opened to fully open or "run" as the generator begins to warm up.

For instance, if you run your generator continuously and then briefly turn it off, the engine will still be warm. In this situation, a choke opening halfway to fully open is required to start the generator.

Having dirty air filters:

In cases where adjusting the choke didn't resolve the problem, it's possible that your air filter is to blame. When the air filter is clogged with dust and debris, it won't allow enough air to enter the carburetor.

Most air filters are readily accessible and easy to inspect visually. It is advisable to replace it if it is dirty or clogged, or to move the choke back to its starting position.

You can fix your generator's problem by properly cleaning it.

Plug with a bad spark:

When your engine won't turn over during startup, there may be a problem with the spark plug. Spark plugs should be removed from the engine with a spark plug socket in order to be checked. Mostly, spark plugs need to be replaced if they have deposits that can't be brushed away by a brush, cracks in the porcelain, or broken electrodes.

As a replacement, clean any debris from the spark plug and adjust the electrode gap according to the instructions in your owner's manual. 

Using the recoil starter on your generator, you can check the spark plug by holding it against the engine's crankcase and pulling on the spark plug to see if it's working - a working spark plug will produce blue sparks. Replacing the spark plug in the engine will allow you to restart the generator if everything checks out.

Clogged carburetor:

Putting your generator into storage for a month or more without draining the carburetor may have caused this problem. Whenever gasoline gets old, it clogs the carburetor, making it impossible for new gas to pass through.

The carburetor needs to be cleaned by closing the fuel valve, followed by removing the bowl at the bottom. Using a toothbrush and towels, clean any fuel debris out of the chamber, and use a safety pin or sewing needle to clean out the brass jet nozzle. Don't forget to turn on the fuel valve before trying to start the generator again.

Clogged fuel valve or line:

Leaving fuel in the carburetor or tank before storage can clog up the fuel valve as well as the carburetor. The first thing you should do is to make sure that the fuel valve is open and the vacuum relief valve above the gas tank is also open.

It may still not work. You can unplug the hose and check whether gasoline can flow freely through the fuel line - just keep an empty bucket nearby so you can collect the fuel flowing out. It's also a good idea to pull the in-line filter between the fuel valve and the carburetor and inspect it for obstructions.

Oil sensor malfunctions:

When the oil level in your generator is low, the low oil sensor prevents it from starting - but if it malfunctions, your generator will not start no matter how much oil you have in it. In some cases, running your generator on an uneven surface may result in the low oil sensor misreading oil levels, so simply leveling the generator has the ability to fix this issue.

If you are experiencing starting problems, you can check whether the low oil sensor is the cause. Simply disconnect the wire running from the crankcase to the sensor. Once this is disconnected and the generator starts, the low oil sensor is very likely to be the culprit. The sensor usually works when the generator is run for a few minutes after plugging it back in, although if this doesn't work the sensor needs to be replaced - which involves disassembling your engine.

The low oil sensor should never be removed to mask low oil issues. It is dangerous to run your generator with low oil levels because the engine can be damaged and pose a substantial threat. Check that your oil is topped up and that your oil filters are not clogged before disconnecting the low oil sensor.

Wrap up

In this post, I have listed all 9+1 reasons why your generator won't start, and I hope you got all the answers which you are looking for. In the comments, you can ask any additional questions. We will get back to you as soon as possible. 

9+1 reasons why your generator won't run.

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