Generator won't start? Follow these tips to get it going again!

The most common causes of generator failure are simple and avoidable. The majority of generator failures happen due to human error or negligence.

In some cases, the problem is more serious and you may need a professional engineer to survey your site. However, in most cases, you can troubleshoot and repair the generator yourself.

Improper maintenance, lack of fuel monitoring, poor site conditions, and bad weather are all valid reasons why your generator will not start—and they’re all preventable.

What causes a generator to stop working?

Some common generator starting problems are:

  • Maybe it just needs some new fuel
  • Dead battery could leave you powerless
  • Clogged air filter might be stopping your generator from starting up
  • Generator be jammed because of a clogged fuel valve
  • Oil sensor malfunctioning
  • The carburetor is clogged
  • The air filter is clogged
  • The engine oil level is low
  • Short Circuit
  • Choke lever might be in the wrong position!

Read on to know more about the reasons why your generator won’t start and how to fix generator not producing power:

1. Maybe it just needs some new fuel

Your generator can run out of fuel at any time. If you rely on a gravity-fed fuel tank, make sure you keep an eye on the level. If your fuel tank runs out, you’ll be in trouble.

If you have a manual pump-fed tank, you can check the level regularly. Make sure the fuel level is at least 25% higher than the minimum level marked on the fuel tank.

If the fuel level is too low, add fuel to the tank. If the fuel pump is not working, you can use a clean bucket to transfer fuel into the tank of the generator.

2. Dead battery could leave you powerless

The battery powers the start-up of the generator. If the battery is dead or charging is not taking place at all, the generator will not start.

When the battery is new, it is normal for it to take a few hours to charge fully. You can keep an eye on the charging process and check if the voltage is dropping.

If the battery is old, it may not hold a charge at all, or it may not be able to produce enough voltage to start the generator.

If you have a maintenance-free battery, you can’t check the level of charge. In this case, you can get your battery tested to know the condition and if it can be charged.

3. Clogged air filter might be stopping your generator from starting up

Air is needed to start the engine and run the generator. The air filter prevents the dust and dirt from entering the engine and damages the moving parts.

If the air filter is clogged, the engine may not start or it may be noisy while running. You can check if the air filter is clogged.

Make sure the filter is not filled with too much dust and dirt. If it is, clean it with a clean cloth and replace it.

4. Generator be jammed because of a clogged fuel valve

The fuel valve is used to add fuel to the carburetor. If the valve is clogged, it may not be able to add fuel to the carburetor. This may cause a rich fuel mixture and the engine may not start. Make sure the fuel valve is not clogged. If the valve is clogged, clean it with a clean cloth.

5. Oil sensor malfunctioning

If the oil level sensor is faulty, it may not be able to detect the right amount of oil in the engine. This may lead to excessive wear and tear of the engine. Make sure the oil level sensor is working properly and is not faulty. If not, replace it with a new one.

6. The carburetor is clogged

The carburetor is responsible for mixing the fuel with the air. If the carburetor is clogged, it will not be able to mix the fuel efficiently.

This may lead to a rich fuel mixture.

Make sure the carburetor is clean and clear from any dirt or grime. If there is too much fuel in the carburetor, it may lead to an air lock. Make sure you run the engine with a clean carburetor to avoid these issues.

7. The air filter is clogged

Air is needed to start the engine and run the generator. The air filter prevents the dust and dirt from entering the engine and damages the moving parts.

If the air filter is clogged, the engine may not start or it may be noisy while running. You can check if the air filter is clogged.

Make sure the filter is not filled with too much dust and dirt. If it is, clean it with a clean cloth and replace it.

8. The engine oil level is low

Engine oil lubricates the engine and keeps it running smoothly. It also keeps the engine components from getting damaged due to excessive heat and friction.

A low oil level in the engine can cause a host of issues, including excessive wear and tear of the engine, reduction in fuel economy, and premature failure of the generator. If your generator is running loud or there is a burning smell coming from the engine, chances are that the oil level is too low.

To fix this issue, add oil to the engine. Make sure you use the recommended type and quantity of oil. Do not forget to check the oil level every few hours and add more oil, as needed.

9. Short Circuit

If the cables are plugged into the generator, they may cause a short-circuit that leads to a fire. Make sure you are not plugging in any cables when the generator is running.

To check whether the cables are plugged into the generator, make sure the engine is not running and there is no sound or vibration coming from it.

If the cables are plugged into the generator, unplug the cables and plug them back only when the generator is off.

10. Choke lever might be in the wrong position

If you’re using a manually-operated generator, make sure the choke control is in the correct position. If the choke control is in the wrong position, it may cause the engine to overheat.

The engine may also fail to start. If the choke control is open too far, the engine may not start at all. If it is closed too far, the engine may overheat.

What to do when generator ready light on but no power

The Ready light is a simple indicator that tells you when it’s time to start up your generator. It will come on when the engine is running and will go off as soon as it starts shutting down.

There are a number of reasons why you may see the generator ready light on but not have any power coming through. 

The most common reason is that your battery or inverter is low on charge. If this is the case, start by checking your battery and charging it up if necessary.

The other reason you may be seeing the generator ready light on but not have any power is that there is an issue with your inverter. Inverters vary in quality, and some are more reliable than others. 

If you’re unsure about the quality of your inverter, it’s best to check with a professional before using it for backup power.

If none of these things are the problem, you may be experiencing a problem with your wiring or extension cord. To ensure that all cords are working properly, connect them one at a time to make sure they are working.

Conclusion

A generator is a mechanical device, and as such it is prone to failure. However, most generator failures can be avoided with proper maintenance.

When you approach it with the right attitude, troubleshooting can be a fun and rewarding experience. While it’s always good to have an idea of how things work, it’s even better to have the confidence to figure things out when things go wrong.

So if you’re having a problem with your generator, don’t fret. With these 10 reasons why your generator won’t start and how to solve them, you’ll be up and running in no time.

FAQs

No, a generator does not need a battery to run. The battery is used to start the engine, which then powers the generator.

If you have ever experienced a flooded generator, you know it can be a pain to start. The good news is that there are some things you can do to try and get it going again. The first thing you should do is check the fuel level. If the generator is low on fuel, adding more may be all it takes to get it running again. You should also check the oil level. If the oil is low, add more before trying to start the generator.

If the generator still won t start, you may need to clean out the carburetor. You can do this by using a carburetor cleaner or compressed air. Be sure to follow the manufacturer s instructions when doing this. Once the carburetor is clean, try starting the generator again. If it still doesn’t start, it may be time to call a technician.