5 Reasons Your Generator Won’t Start


Has your backup generator ever failed to start when you needed it the most? Backup generators are an integral part of businesses or homes whenever there is a power outage. A backup generator is meant to ensure that your business or home continues to perform since it is an external source of power different from the mains electricity. It is therefore important to ensure that your generator is in tiptop condition at all times so that it can start whenever you need it without any problems.


CAT Generator. Photo courtesy of Cat.com

If your backup generator fails to start, there are 5 areas that may be the source of the problem:


1. Dysfunctional Switches

There are many switches that are meant to make your generator perform at its best including a transfer switch, start switch, stop switch, and a safety switch. You should check all the switches to ensure that they are properly functioning using a multi-meter test as they may be causing your generator to fail to start.


2. Spark Plug Problems

The spark plug is an important component in the starting mechanisms of your backup generator. You should start by checking whether the spark plug has come loose. You should also check for signs of wear and tear on the spark plug, which may indicate that the spark plug requires changing. You should call a qualified service provider to solve more serious issues such as spark plugs drenched in oil.



3. Ignition Coil Issues

The ignition coil is an essential mechanism in starting your backup generator as it is responsible for sending power to the spark plug. After checking whether the spark plug is working, you should check to see the condition of the ignition coil. Fixing an ignition coil is easy and inexpensive.


4. Clogged Carburetor

Backup generators are not used on a daily basis and only run whenever there is a power outage. The carburetor, which is a component part of your generator, can become clogged if your generator sits for an extended period without running. Leftover fuel enters the carburetor and clogs the generator when it is not running. The fuel may evaporate leaving some thicker residue, which may prevent your generator from starting.


5. Dirty Air Filters

Your backup generator engine requires air to combust the fuel and run. If the air filter is dirty, the combustion process will not be smooth, which may prevent the generator from starting. You should check the air filter to ensure that it is clean. If the air filter is clean and does not need replacement, you should check to see whether the choke is in the right position. Having the choke in an improper position may prevent the motor from starting, especially in cold weather. The first thing you should do before committing to buying a used generator is to look at its history. The history of the generator will indicate how many hours it has been used. A generator is similar to a car engine that has an odometer. Other considerations include what the generator was being used for, whether it was used as backup or the primary source of power. A standby or backup generator will probably have a better maintenance record compared to one that was used as a continuous power source.


Preventing Start Failures

There are some preventive maintenance tips that you should follow to ensure that your generator does not have any problems and works optimally including:


~ Ensure that you shut off the gas and allow the engine to stop on its own to avoid clogging of the carburetor.


~ Ensure that you have some small component parts for your backup generator including ignition coils, spark plugs, and fresh fuel. These parts are the most common causes of your generator failing to start and they can be handy in case of emergencies.


~ Test your generator on a monthly basis to ensure that it works properly.


~ Ensure that your generator is professionally serviced every year. In case your backup generator fails to start and you cannot identify the problem, it is best to contact your service provider for assistance.



At Inborn Energy we are committed to ensuring that your generator is in tiptop condition when you need it. We offer preventive maintenance services that are customized for your system. We have expertise in a wide array of generator systems and power backup systems.


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