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How to Fix Generators Hard Starting Issues

Hard starting issues of generators have become one of the major problems over time and been one of the common problems everyone experiences whenever they try starting their gasoline generator.

How do you fix a generator that won’t start? What is the common problem of gasoline generator sets? And how do you start a generator that refuses to start? In this review on how to fix generators hard starting issues, we’re going to give you a clear view on how to fix generators hard starting issues.

This guide will also give you an insight into the following question “why does my generator start then stop”?

In fixing generator hard starting issues, the following processes must be followed and if the process doesn’t work out for you after implementing them, seek the attention of a good generator technician or better still a generator mechanic to help you in servicing and fixing your generator properly.

Note: Always make sure you disconnect, unplugged, and off all electrical devices that have been plugged before starting the generator. Don’t plug anything into the generator during startups, including vacant extension cords and others.

Make This a Practice to do

Common Problems of Gasoline Generators

  • Hard Starting when trying to ON the generator
  • Over Flowing of fuel (petrol) from the carburetor
  • Generator starting and stop
  • Smoking seriously and polluting the environment
  • Generator producing a low current (i.e can’t power even a light bulb).

Fixing a Generators Hard Starting Issues

Below are going to digest you with the common things people get wrong when trying to start the generator sets especially those that hardly make use of them frequently:

Is the Generator ON and OFF

Telling you the truth most people don’t know how to ON and OFF the generator. This happens right in front of my eyes when a new apprentice learning in a workshop was asked to switch OFF the generator during operation, he started looking for where to switch OFF the generator not until one of the other trainees came and show him the process.

If this is your first time to switch ON the generator, and in playing smart you quickly surf the web and come across this article, you’re on the right place. To check if the generator is ON/OFF, in the control panel section, you’ll see a button or ignition (key) that indicates ON/OFF. Put it in the ON mode before starting the generator else put it in OFF mode if you’re to switch OFF the generator.

Generator starting and stop

Is not a new thing anymore. To answer the question that indicated above in the introduction that says “Why does my generator start then stop”. If your generator starts then stop after some time, the first thing to check is if the fuel tank/pump is ON or OFF.

If ON, is the generator overloaded with many loads when starting immediately? This is because overloading the generator might also cause it to stop running after some time when start.

If not overloaded, jump to the heading below that says “Spark plug needs to be cleaned or replaced” to get the solution else you required the service of a qualified technician or generator mechanic.

Note, always load your generator with sequence following a gradual process to avoid break down the generator’s engine or stopping in operation suddenly.

Very Important To Know!

Check to See if the Choke is Position Right or Wrongly

Putting the choke in the right place matters, if the generator choke is placed wrongly, some time will be difficult to start. Therefore, check to see if the generator choke lever is position on the right or wrong place for the choke of any generator engine should be set to “closed” during startups and then moved back to “open” once the generator engine warms up.

This depends on the style of generator you are using, for small generators like Tiger TG950, small Yamaha generators etc, the choke lever may be pushed lift or right while for bigger generators like Lutian, Sumec Firman, Elemax, Elepaq and other, the choke is pushed front or back.

For small generators, the choke is been positioned on the generator control panel while for the bigger generators, it’s been found and positioned directly above the air filter on the side of the generator unit.

When starting the generator, the choke should be position left for a small generator and back (i.e close to you) for bigger generators. Once the engine ignites, move the choke to the ON/RUN/OPEN position for full operation.

The reverse may be the case if the engine is already warm (for instance, if it was running for a while and suddenly stop or when you stop it yourself due to some reasons like refueling the generator before starting it again), then the choke lever should be set to the RUN (open) position for re-starting when the generator is warm.

Is There Fuel in the Fuel Tank

Is there fuel in the fuel tank? If yes, is it enough to run through the carburetor so as to power the generator? If the fuel is not enough, ensure to add more fuel because sometime when the fuel in the fuel tank is not enough, it will be difficult to start the generator as it’s not properly flowing from the fuel pump down to the fuel valve then to the carburetor.

Fuel Pump is it ON or OFF

When you have checked and there is enough fuel in the fuel tank, check to see if the fuel pump is open (ON) and properly flowing through the fuel valve (i.e the passage through which fuel flows from the fuel tank to the carburetor). If the fuel pump is close (OFF), open it (switch is ON).

Check the Oil Level

Most generators come with an oil sensor that triggers the generator to OFF when there is low oil in the generator. Check your generator oil level to see if the oil level is low or if the oil has been used for long. Add oil if the level is low or replace the old oil by adding a new one. Note, attempting to run the generator on a rough surface might cause the low-oil sensor to trigger the generator OFF despite if there is no low oil.

Spark plug needs to be Cleaned or Replaced

Over time, what causes the generator not to start is the spark plug. For expects, how to fix generator hard starting issues is by checking the spark plug in order to see if it’s dirty and needed to be cleaned or replaced as the case may be. Remove the spark plug from the engine block and ensure you clean it properly using a small knife, fuel or using a similar tool as needed.

Some generator mechanics normally test the plug, by pulling the recoil starter while holding the spark plug’s body to the engine block or the generator body itself. When the sparks strongly come with a blue color, then the ignition coil is super good but when there is no spark or if the spark appears to be weak or little, remove the spark plug and the cap.

Put the end of the spark plug wire near the engine’s body and try pulling the recoil starter to check the ignition coil. If there are now sparks appearing between the spark plug and engine, then the spark plug needs to be replaced. When there are no sparks, the ignition coil may need to be replaced.

Check the Carburetor

The generator carburetor might be clogged. When a generator carburetor is clogged, it may be difficult to start, this is most commonly caused when you store your generator leaving fuel in the generator carburetor without first draining it for a long period of time.

It may cause some of the particles in the fuel to evaporate, leaving behind a thicker, stickier particle or substance. When this is done, it causes the clog up to the generator carburetor and prevents the engine from starting. The advantages of been clogged are high, especially by old gasoline generators.

To fix the carburetor clogged issue, close the fuel pump so as not to allow the flow of fuel through the fuel valve, then open the generator carburetor drain found at the bottom of the carburetor’s bowl. If this still doesn’t work, you can still remove the entire bowl from the bottom of the carburetor and clean out any old fuel. Ensure you clean out the main jet (i.e the brass nozzle found in the central stem) with a needle.

Note: To avoid your generator been clogged in the future, try to run your generator at least once a month, drain the generator carburetor first before draining the fuel tank so as to store it for long periods of time. And if cleaning the carburetor isn’t effective, rebuild or replace the entire carburetor.

Check the Battery to see if is dead

For generators that feature an electric starting system (key starter), the battery may lose its charge over time due to a lack of use. When this happens, simply start the generator using the recoil starting system to add juice back into the battery. And if the recoil starter isn’t available on the generator, you may need to try alternative methods, such as a third-party battery charger or taking your battery out for charging.

Clean the Air Filter

The air filter may require cleaning or replacement as the case may be. This is done to let the necessary amount of air into the carburetor for ignition. To do this, open up the air filter house on the side of the generator and check the soft air filter element inside it, clean or replace it.

Smoking seriously and polluting the environment

In most cases, when one starts the generator, it started smoking and as such happens to pollute the environment. This frequently happens both in small generators as well as bigger generators.

In small generators, this is caused when the engine oil mixed with the fuel is much. To solve this problem, add additional fuel to it.

For the bigger generator set, when you newly change the engine oil will experience smoking issues for a while, this is a normal process. But if the process exceed 1-2 days of use, that means the rings and the piston needs to be changed. So seek for the service of a generator mechanic.

Generator producing a low current and can’t even power a light bulb

In this situation, try tuning and increasing the generator from the carburetor and below the fuel tank section. If insist, seek the service of a qualified generator mechanic to help in service.


We all can contribute to the general well been of our generators by taking those steps started above to help prolong our generator maintenance. Have it in mind that this is a general review for generators of all kinds, shapes, styles, and sizes that run on gasoline fuel type.

More information on how to fix generators hard starting issues and troubleshooting guidelines, refer to your generator manual for more information.

And after all the following indications above, if you are still having trouble fixing your generator hard starting issues, refer to a good generator technician or mechanic.

Also, feel free to contact us or drop us a message below for more assistance. We will answer you ASAP! Thanks.

2 thoughts on “How to Fix Generators Hard Starting Issues

  • Lauro

    You did not mention the most important thing. the ignition coil. This is one of the main problems why generators won’t start. I bet you’re just a blogger and not really a mechanic.


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