What To Do If your Generator Won’t Start?

If you are living in an area where light issues are common and you have to use a generator to meet up all your power needs. As we usually depend on generator power, therefore the maintenance of the generator is also important to keep them running for a longer time. But there is a question of what to do if a generator won’t start. We understand that it’s a very frustrating experience when your generator won’t start.

When I was starting my camping adventure the most crucial thing for me was to keep my generators working. But I had come across many tricks and tips over time that helped me figure out instantly why my generator is not working.

What To Do If your Generator Won’t Start?

Therefore, you must have know-how about what you can do if your generator won’t start. For your convenience, we have discussed the reason in this article why your generator won’t start and what you can do to fix these problems to restart your generator again.

Why a generator won’t start

Well, if you are facing a situation where your generator won’t start, the first thing you have to do is not panic and examine your generator properly. The generator won’t start due to a lot of reasons such as dirty spark plug, low oil level, clogged carburetor, etc. You must know about these reasons so that you can fix the problem and start your generator. Let’s check out what are these reasons and how you can fix the problem that occurs in your generator.

common Reasons your generator won’t start

Your generator won’t work properly or even won’t get started due to many reasons. These reasons are given below in this article:

1. Low fuel tank

The first and the most important reason for a non-running generator is its low fuel level in the fuel tank. If your fuel level is low in the tank your generator won’t be able to start.
The solution to this problem is that you can add more fuel into the fuel tank and raise the fuel level in your tank. And your generator starts to work again.

2. Low engine oil

A man checking portable generator's engine oil

The oil level of the engine should be high for better working of the generator. If your generator won’t start, the engine oil level may be low. Most advanced generators have come with oil level sensors that tell you about the level of oil in your generator’s engine.

3. Battery is dead

battery of generator

Another reason that can stop the working of the generator is its battery. If the battery of your generator is dead then you can’t start your generator. For this purpose, you should charge the battery of your generator through a DC source.

4. Plugged cables

One important thing you should care about is that the cables of your generator shouldn’t be plugged in when you start your generator. If your cables are plugged in then no other device can connect to the generator. Therefore, try to plug out all the wires before you start your generator.

5. Choke adjustment

Choke adjustment on a portable generator

Any kind of problem in the choke of the generator also stops the working of your generator. The choke is usually used to maintain the level of air inside the carburetor of the generator. The generator won’t get started if the amount of air is low for combustion. Adjusting the choke of your carburetor can give you a positive response if your generator won’t start.

6. Low air level

If your generator is still not working after you adjust the choke, then another reason for the low air level in your generator would be a clogged air filter. If your air filter is clogged then your generator won’t get enough air for the combustion of fuel and won’t start. To start your generator just replace the old air filter.

7. The spark plug is dirty or damaged

checking the spark plug on a portable generator

A dirty spark plug can also be a reason if your generator won’t start. When your spark plug is dirty or damaged your engine won’t receive enough start for combustion of fuel and won’t start. In this case, you can either clean your spark plug with brushes or remove all the dirt from it. Or you can change the damaged spark plug with the new one. So, that you can start your generator.

8. The carburetor and fuel valves are clogged

Your generator won’t get started if the carburetor and the fuel valve of your generator are clogged. To restart your generator again you simply unplug the valve and check whether the fuel is flowing through the valve or not. Moreover, your carburetor is clogged when you don’t change the fuel for a long time.

carburetor's of portable generator

9. Flooded generator

You can’t start your generator when it gets flooded by the fluid. A flooded generator means when the unburnt fuel of your generator starts collecting inside the generator. You should check the fuel and also change it before you start the generator.

If you’ve never cleaned a flooded generator before, watch a video for the complete process:

YouTube video

10. Malfunctioning of generator

Along with all the above-mentioned reasons, the malfunctioning of the generator can also stop the working of your generator. Maybe the oil sensors in your generator won’t tell you about the low oil levels. Or the on and off switches don’t work properly. Your generator won’t start in these cases.

11. Professional repairing of generator

After checking out your generator completely, if your generator still won’t start then you need to repair your generator. So, in this case, any professional person can repair your generator.

Precautionary measure for better working of your generator

It is a well-known thing that prevention is better than cure. Therefore, you should take some precautionary measures for the maintenance of your generator to keep your generator in a better condition and enhance the running time of your generator. Some important precautionary measures are also listed in this article.

  • Always check the oil level of the engine before use
  • Plug out all the cables before you start the generator
  • Check your spark plug, air filters, and battery over a certain time
  • Keep your spark plug and air filters clean
  • Don’t keep the fuel inside the generator for a long time

If you follow all the above-mentioned precautions then your generator keeps working properly without any problem.


We hope that after reading this article all your confusions and doubts about what to do if a generator won’t start will clear and you can fix any kind of problem you are facing in the working of your generator. To avoid any kind of problem in the working of your generator you should keep your generator in a better condition and check it from time to time. By taking some important precautionary measures you can easily maintain the better working of your generator and can save your money.

Frequently Asked Questions

The generator can turn over but won’t start due to carburetor clogging. The carburetor of the generator gets clogged when you leave the fuel inside it for a long time and won’t change the fuel. The old fuel becomes sticky and clogs the carburetor.

Yes! A generator can be flooded when the unburnt fuel of the generator collects inside the combustion chamber. The wet fuel disturbs the working of spark plugs and stops the working of the generator.

Yes! The rain can ruin the generator. It can damage all the wiring and outlets of your generator. Therefore, we always use the generator at dry places.