One of the most common problems with generators is that they fail to start occasionally. Many business owners keep a generator within premises for emergencies and power failures. As such, the equipment rarely gets used. Infrequent usage may mean that the machine may have issues the operator does not know.
So when your generator does not start, the first thing you should do is check every component that may be causing the problem.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on identifying which part of the generator needs repair, replacement, or a quick fix.
1. Check the gasoline
Know how long the gas has been in the tank. Gasoline goes stale when stored for very long. It oxidizes, giving it an off color, and forms deposits in the fuel. This buildup prevents your generator’s engine from running. Old gas also leaves harmful deposits in the combustion areas of the motor.
Drain the stale gas before putting in a new batch because it will prevent the fresh gas from flowing properly through the carburetor. Then, clean the carburetor to remove any sticky residue that cause clogs. Next, put in some fresh gas in the tank.
If your generator still won’t start after replacing the gasoline, check your oil.
2. Check the oil
Running a generator with insufficient oil causes permanent engine damage. This is why many modern units have a sensor that automatically shuts the engine off if it detects low oil levels. Check the oil level on the dipstick located in the crankcase. Refill the engine oil with a variety suitable for your generator. It’s also good practice to replace the filters before adding oil.
Apart from checking the oil and gas, inspect the choke as well.
3. Make sure the choke lever is fully closed
The choke controls the amount of oxygen that enters the carburetor. When you’re starting your generator cold (i.e., when you haven’t used it in a while), pull the choke all the way closed. The closed position often has a “start” label. This should restrict the engine and give the engine as much gasoline as it needs to power up.
Once it’s warmed up, you can slowly move the choke to the open position, which has the “run” label. The generator might stall if you leave the choker fully closed while it runs. This is because the air-to-gas mixture is too rich, meaning the engine is getting too much gas and not enough air.
On the other hand, the engine may still be warm if you just turned it off briefly. In this case, open the choke fully or halfway to restart the generator.
If the choke isn’t the problem, check if the spark plug is still in good condition.
4. Make sure the spark plug is in good condition
Clean your spark plug if it’s caked with fuel deposits or if it’s too dark in color. The spark plug needs a replacement if a simple scrubbing isn’t enough.
This is also a good time to check if the engine is sending electricity to the spark plug. A working plug produces blue sparks. The problem is likely electrical if you’re plug is in good condition but doesn’t create sparks.
Your generator may be having more complicated issues if it still won’t start after doing these steps. In this case, have a professional examine your unit to pinpoint the root of the problem.
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