Generator Won’t Start: How To Fix It In 3 Steps

plugging a generator

No matter how big, expensive, or powerful your generator is, you need to understand that if it does not start when it is supposed to, all these features will be rendered useless. This is why generator owners need to know how to maintain their machines and of course, how to fix them in case problems arise.

Without proper maintenance, generators can easily have starting problems and they can easily fail when you least expect it. Once this happens, you will have to take the unit to a service center or ask a technician for help, in most cases, these can be quite costly especially if the generator needs new parts.

But what about when you are out camping, when you are on a remote location or in an emergency? This is why owners should also know exactly what to do in case generator won’t start. To help you make the generator run again, you can follow these simple steps:

Things You Need To Prepare

1. A Proper Work Area

A Work Station

You need to have a flat surface to work on. You might want to use a work bench or a sturdy table. Just make sure that there are no kids or pets around and there is proper ventilation in the area. You should also have enough space to maneuver or work around the generator.

2. Tools


Depending on the generator model that you have, you might need to use wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers and other common tools so you can easily open the housing or unscrew the different parts of the generator if necessary.

3. Work Gloves

work gloves

You will need to wear work gloves to protect your hands from injuries, the fuel or the oil in the generator. You might be able to use rubber gloves if you do not have the proper work gloves available.

4. Clean Rags


This will be used to clean up any fuel or oil spills. You can use old newspapers or old clothes if you do not have clean rags to keep the mess under control.

5. Disposable Plastic Containers


This will be used to hold the old fuel or oil that has to be drained out of the generator. These containers must be disposed of properly after it has been used.

You might also need the following items:

  • Fresh gasoline or fuel
  • New oil
  • A new spark plug
  • Carburetor cleaner or a new carburetor
  • A new air filter

How To Fix A Generator That Won’t Start In 3 Steps

Step 1: Do The Routine Maintenance Checks

Check The Amperage And The Plug Type Of Your Generator

When it comes to starting problems of generators that are not brand new, most experts recommend that you try to see if the unit has been properly maintained. You need to understand the fact that in most cases, these problematic units have been stored for months without proper care and attention.

To help you fix this problem, you will have to check the generator’s fuel, oil, spark plug, air filter and carburetor. The first thing you need to do is to put the generator on a flat surface, wear work gloves and place clean rags near the generator. Take a look at the fuel tank so you can see if it still has any fuel in it.

If it does have old fuel, you have to drain the generator and put the old fuel in a disposable plastic container. You should then put in new fuel. The second thing you need to do is to check the oil level so you can add more oil or drain and replace it. Next, you will have to check the generator’s spark plug.

You can clean the spark plug and then test to see if it is still capable of providing a spark. If it no longer works, you will have to replace it with a new one. Check the air filter and replace it with a new one if it is no longer clean. You should also clean and replace the carburetor if necessary.

Step 2: Try To Start It Properly

checking generator

There are cases where the generator does not start because the owner does not know how to perform the techniques properly. To start the generator, you might have to prime it first. To do this, you need to push the red button several times until you feel the pressure increase under the bulb.

Make sure that the generator’s start button is switched on if the unit has one. The choke option must be on start or on full. Pull the rope until it starts temporarily or until you can do five pulls. You should then put it on half choke. Pull several times until it starts and move the choke to run or off if it does.

Step 3: Using Replacement Parts

A Carburetor Repair Kit

If none of the two previous steps worked, you might have to replace some parts of the generator so that it can start properly. If the unit is still under warranty, you need to take it to a service center. But if not, you might have to look at the ignition coil, the safety switch, the fly wheel and recoil starter of the unit.

You can also look for signs of wear and tear. If you think that any of the unit’s parts have been damaged, you might want to replace them with new ones. You can do it yourself if you have the skills, but you will have to hire an expert if replacing old parts with new ones is too difficult for you.


Knowing how to fix a generator that won’t start is a very important skill that owners need to have. In most cases, the generator is not starting anymore because it lacks proper maintenance and is not primed or choked properly. Always seek professional help if these steps are too difficult for you.

About the Author Emily Taylor

My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.

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