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7 Reasons Your Generator Set Won’t Start

What are the reasons why your Generator Set won’t start?

  1. Low fuel level
  2. Oil problems
  3. Not enough coolant
  4. Discharged battery
  5. Broken spark plug
  6. Clogged Genset parts
  7. Wrong choke lever position


During a power outage, countless establishments rely on generator sets to continue running their electrical appliances. That’s why a Genset that fails to start might be problematic. Hospitals won’t be able to provide basic patient care, businesses will lose sales and perishables will start to spoil. To help you, here are some of the most common reasons why a generator set won’t start. Keep on reading!


Low Fuel Level

One of the most common mistakes people do when starting a generator set is failing to check the fuel levels. Without sufficient fuel, your Genset won’t turn on. As a general rule, if you haven’t used it in a few months, you need to replace the old fuel. Otherwise, it will clog your tank or lead to a hard start.

If you filled the fuel tank properly but your Genset starts and then stops, there might be too much air in the fuel. If this happens, drain the air from the fuel system before switching it on again.


Low Oil Level

Low Oil Level

If you have completed your pre-op checklist, you might have already checked the oil level of your Genset. But if the oil isn’t filled properly, your engine won’t start. This is because some generators have a sensor that detects the oil levels and shutdowns automatically if the fluid didn’t reach the minimum requirement.

Because of this, if the generator set is not placed on an even surface, the sensor could be activated—preventing the engine from starting. To keep your Genset in the best condition, make sure to change the oil and oil filter based on your manufacturer’s recommendation.


Not Enough Coolant

The cooling system in your generator set prevents the engine from overheating. Low levels of this fluid can result in engine damage and mechanical breakdown. When this happens, your Genset failing to turn on will be the least of your problems.

But even if you’re filling your Genset with enough coolant, there could be a leak that is causing the overheating. Be alert for pools of liquid and make sure to resolve this problem first before turning on your generator.

When refilling your generator’s coolant, make sure to follow your manufacturer’s recommendations. Normally, it needs to be replaced every six months to maintain cooling performance and reduce the risk of corrosion of the cooling system.


Discharged Battery

Discharged Battery

Check the control panel for the battery voltage of your generator set. If it is less than the manufacturer’s recommendations, the engine won’t start. Inspect your battery after a long period of storage because it could get discharged over time.

If you have a recoil starter, use it to start your generator set temporarily. After that, charge the electric starter battery through the outlet.

For generator sets without a recoil starter, you might need to charge your battery with third-party chargers. You can also jump-start the battery using a jumper cable or call a professional to do it for you.


Broken Spark Plug

The spark plug is a small part of your generator set that ignites the fuel to make it possible for the engine to produce power. That means if you have problems with your spark plug, your Gen-set won’t turn on. For instance, there could be a buildup of debris that is preventing this component from functioning properly.

Try to remove the deposits with a brush as best you can. If it can’t be cleaned completely or have too much damage, a replacement is necessary.


Clogged Genset Parts

Clogged Genset Parts

There are some components of your Genset that can get clogged without proper maintenance. For instance, if the air filter has accumulated too much debris, the carburetor won’t be able to perform its functions for combustion.

But if the carburetor is the one that’s blocked, fuel won’t be able to get through and the generator won’t start. Other than these components, your fuel valve can easily get clogged especially if you left old fuel in your generator set for a long time.


Wrong Choke Lever Position

The choke lever is an important component that must be adjusted when turning on your Genset. It lets in the air to your carburetor so the engine can start. Set it to “closed” when the generator is turned off and to “open” after the warm-up stage.

But if you need to switch on your generator after turning it off a while ago, it might still be a bit warm. In this case, you can move the choke lever halfway when restarting the engine.


Key Takeaway

Lack of maintenance is one of the top reasons why a generator set won’t start. For example, a dirty air filter, carburetor, or fuel valve is easily cleaned but is often neglected by users. If you regularly inspect and replace your oil, fuel, and coolant levels, you can also reduce this problem when using your Genset.

If you’re interested in a generator set for your establishment, you can send us a message here at Multico!

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