Generator Won’t Start – What to Do

One of the most trying and pretty much inevitable things is experiencing a setback when you least expect it. This can be true in most applications of life but in this case it’s when your old faithful generator that you have always been able to count on, fails you. That same generator that got you through a power outage in the big storm, or ran great for you on the family camping trip, now suddenly your generator won’t start up.

Most people don’t use their generators on a regular basis but are confident that whenever they do need it, they can count on it. Unfortunately even the most faithful machines can set you back occasionally and you will want to know what to do when that event happens. Good news for you is that if your generator has been performing at a consistent level and suddenly stops, there is most likely a reasonable explanation and solution to your problem.

Check the Basics First

Often the best solution is the simplest one. That’s not to say that you can’t be stumped by an easier problem, because sometimes it isn’t that obvious. It just means that you should start with inspecting the basics before assuming something detrimental has happened to your machine.

Ensure the gasoline is clean in the fuel tank

We said start with the basics and that is making sure the generator is fueled with fresh gas. You can tell the gasoline is too old when it appears to be separated or foggy. If your gasoline is not clean you will need to drain it and refuel. Keep track of when you last fueled the generator because if it has been sitting with half a tank of gas for the last few months then your best bet is to go ahead and refuel. You can also add a fuel stabilizer to the tank to help settle things off. Running your generator dry after every use also ensures your fuel tank remains clean. You have to take care of the fuel storage in your machine because if the gasoline is dirty, your generator may not run.

Inspect the oil levels

Another simple potential problem for your generator start-up issues is that your machine is low on oil. Just like any other type of engine, your generator requires clean oil to run properly. Without it you run the risk of damaging the engine. Some generators come with a low-oil sensor that will be able to directly tell you that you need to add oil for proper use.

Check the choke

The third most common explanation is that there is an issue with the choke. Inspect the choke and reposition it if needed. Make sure it is in the closed position when starting up the generator. After you have allowed the motor to warm up, you can position it open/on/run.

Next, After the Basics if Your Generator Won’t Start Still

If you have checked all the basics of generator and your generator still won’t start then you will need to move on to the more technical possible issues. These issues may be more technical but most are still a simple fix to get your generator running again.

Check the Spark Plug

Checking the spark plug is easy to do if you are familiar with the engine setup. The spark plug terminal should be in good condition, clean, and clear of any debris. You should get in the habit of checking the spark plug regularly to make sure it is in good working order. By examining the spark plug you will easily be able to determine if it needs replacing. Spark plugs are inexpensive and incredibly easy to replace.

Clean the Carburetor

After extended use of a motor the carburetor may endure some build-up that could cause it to not work properly. This can also happen when you use dirty gasoline. Check the carburetor and ensure that it is free of any blockages. You can clean it with a carb cleaner spray and maintaining proper care. If you are unfamiliar with the mechanical aspects of a motor you can find tutorials on YouTube to walk you through taking it apart and putting it back together again.

Check the Battery

Obviously if you have a dead battery you won’t be getting any use out of your generator. If the generator won’t start-up, test the battery to see if it needs replacing. This is a simple fix and won’t set you back with an expensive bill.

Check the Fuel Line and Valve

Verify the valve is set to open and the fuel line is free of any obstructions. The fuel line may need replacing after a lot of use.

Check the Air Filter

In order to run properly the motor needs clean air flow. Make sure you check the air filter frequently and clean it when needed. After some time you will need to replace it. Check your specific make and model of generator to find the appropriate air filter for it.

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