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Generator runs for a few seconds then stop (How to fix?)


How to Fix

How To fix

Generators are an increasingly popular source of backup power. This is perfect if you reside in an area where power outages are common. So you can turn on lights, keep food fresh, and charge appliances. Additionally, if you want to hang out with your friends or if you need to power your tools in your shed, they might be a fantastic alternate power source.

But you don’t need the generator to fail when you need it most. You need your generator to be reliable. You don’t want a storm coming, and you go to power the light only to find it doesn’t work.

So what should you do if the generator runs for a few seconds then stops? Well, there could be many things, but luckily most of them are easy to fix.

In fact, most of them can be prevented more easily with just a little care. So, please read this guide carefully, and you’ll not only find a solution to the problem but also learn how to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place.

The generator runs for a few seconds then stops - Reasons and solutions

1. Overload

Engine Outside

Engine Outside

Overload is the most common reason for a generator to start for a few seconds and then stop. This happens when you have too many devices connected to the generator, and it is struggling to handle it. In the past, generators were much simpler than they are now.

This means that when you were overloaded in the past, the generator would continue to run, but each of your devices would be underpowered. However, things have now changed. Instead of delivering less power, the generator shuts down completely.

This is a great safety feature, keeping your generator and equipment in better shape. It also means a straightforward solution - unplug some appliances. When you restart it, you can be more careful about what the generator can handle.

If you hear the generator getting louder and louder, you can tell it’s starting to overload, and you should be able to avoid it happening again.

2. Carburetor

The generator’s carburetor is the component that allows fuel and air to enter the engine and mixes them into the correct air-fuel ratio for combustion. The issue is that the carburetor might occasionally become clogged. The main reason for a clogged carburetor is that old fuel stays in the engine for a long time.

This is especially common if you use it one summer and then keep it the following year. When old fuel is left there, it tends to get stickier and thicker, which in turn clogs the nozzles and ports in the carburetor. Again, this has a fairly simple solution: you have to empty the old fuel and clean the carburetor.

Note, however, that this is best dealt with in advance by keeping the carburetor clean and emptying the oil regularly. Sometimes the damage from old oil is so great that it will force you to replace the entire carburetor.

3. Fuel is low

 Refill Fuel

Refill Fuel

Without a doubt, you pay attention to the gasoline gauge when you are driving and make sure to refill your tank regularly, especially on long drives. This is also what you need to do with your generator.

You may have enough fuel to start the engine, but once it starts, you don’t have more fuel in the tank. Many more modern generators will have some kind of fuel gauge and usually a fuel indicator, so it should be fairly easy to keep on top of this.

4. Fuel pipes

It’s not just fuel shortages that can cause problems with generators. One of the reasons your generator might start and run for a few seconds but then stop could have something to do with the fuel in the pipes or tanks.

Pipes can eventually bend or become damaged, including leaks, which can cause problems. Leaks are probably one of the easiest places to spot, as traces of gasoline or diesel can be seen even on the pipes themselves when you move the generator.

It’s also common for dust to build up in the tank or pipes, which obviously creates many problems with fuel flow. Or your generator could also be bogged down by the pressure in the tank, which could again cause your generator to stall.

The last problem is easy to fix because you just need to make sure to release the pressure. This is something you should check regularly to keep your generator healthy. Likewise, for tanks and pipes, you need to keep them clean, including regular active cleaning. Also, remember to check the pipes for any damage or leaks.

5. Oil level too high or too low

You need to ensure the oil level is neither too high nor too low.

When the oil level gets too high, it drives the sensors crazy, so they shut down. This is especially true of modern generators. But more dangerous is the low levels of oil. When the oil level is too low, the temperature rises too fast.

It starts up fine because it’s not running yet, but once it does, it gets hotter, and the low oil level exacerbates this, shutting it down. Most generators have an auto shut-off built in to ensure the generator doesn’t catch fire, so you shouldn’t have any major issues. But it’s also worth keeping an eye on the oil level.

6. Water level is low

Similar to the oil level, you must also ensure the water level is correct. The water is in the radiator, and the temperature will rise too much if the water level is too low. It is important to keep the radiator full of water and check it monthly.

Failure to do so, and if the generator overheats, can cause problems with various parts of the generator, including the engine, and possibly cause the generator to fail. Also, consider using a little coolant in the radiator if you want to be extra careful.

7. Engine failure

Another reason your generator may stop working, probably the one you’re afraid of, is an internal engine failure. If this is the case, you may be best off talking to a professional who can diagnose the actual problem with the engine.

Likewise, if there are electrical problems with circuits or wiring, it’s better to have them checked by a professional electrician than to run your fingers around the wires unless you know what you’re doing.

8. Battery problem

The battery powers to start the generator. Your generator may shut down after running for a while if your battery is not charged properly,

You need to charge the battery properly from an external power source or check the battery charging mechanism of the generator.

9. Choke

A choke may open, and it may cause your generator to stop running after some time.

Turn off the choke and restart the generator.

10. Spark plug

The spark plug is one of the most important parts of the generator and plays a vital role in starting the generator. If the spark plugs are dirty and fail, your generator will stop right after starting and shut down within seconds.

Open the spark plug and check its condition. Sometimes you can replug the same plug after cleaning, or you have to replace it with a new one.

11. Sensor failure

There are many sensors in the latest model generators. These sensors can sometimes fail and cause your generator to stop right after running.

Examine the control panel notification and replace any defective sensors. Remember to reprogram your generator after replacing any sensors or any other parts.

12. Air filter

A clogged air filter can also cause this issue. If the engine is not getting air from its surroundings, it will automatically shut down within a few seconds.

Clean or replace the air filter. The easiest method to handle such issues with air filters is to replace them on time.

13. Exhaust system

If your exhaust system fails, your generator will not run for more than a few seconds. It can’t release exhaust gas, so it shuts down.

Make sure the exhaust system is up and running.

14. Oil pressure switch failure

A faulty oil pressure switch will cause the warning light for this function to stay on. It may also not work and may result in inaccurate operation. This failure stops the function of the engine, causing it to stop.

To prevent this problem, always use oil with the correct viscosity grade. select the one recommended by the distributor.

15. Control panel reprogramming

If you have recently replaced any parts, the generator’s control panel may be faulty and need reprogrammed. If this happens, your generator will start but will soon shut down.

Resetting the parameters related to the changed parts is one way to integrate the control panel.

Safety Tips

 Keep it Properly

keep it Properly

Choosing a generator with overload protection is always recommended to prevent overheating and fire outbreaks.

Also, choose a low-oil shutdown generator to protect the engine in low-oil conditions.

It would be best if you also stored the generator properly, especially when not in use.

In any case, it’s best to ensure the generator has good warranty coverage before purchasing in case the problem doesn’t disappear. The most well-known manufacturers usually offer about 3 years of warranty on their products.


1) Will the generator run without an air filter?

While running a generator without an air filter attached may be tempting, it should never be attempted. Doing so may cause permanent damage to the engine.

2) What is the most common fault of generators?

Battery failure is the most common generator problem. Batteries wear out over time, providing less and less power over time. Knowing the lifespan of a generator battery will ensure you know to replace it before it stops working.

3) What’s keeping a generator in trouble?

When a residential standby generator starts to struggle, the most likely cause is a clogged carburetor. When you leave the fuel in the generator for a long time, the carburetor can clog. The fuel evaporates over time and leaves a sticky residue afterward.

4) What happens if you overfill your generator with gas?

If the fuel tank is overfilled, fuel can spill onto a hot engine and cause a fire or explosion. Do not fill up the gas tank. Always leave room for fuel expansion. Never add fuel to equipment that is running or hot.

5) What happens when the generator runs out of oil?

It will stop. Today, even small portable units have low oil shutdowns built into their protection systems.

6) Why is my generator not taking load?

Mechanical problems, such as clogged fuel injection or clogged fuel filters, result in insufficient fuel supply to the generator to handle the load and can cause the generator to stop.


So now you know all the reasons why your generator runs for a few seconds then stops. We’ve also mentioned the solutions. To summarize, this could happen because of something as simple as the battery not charging, or there could be a problem with the spark plugs that could cause the generator to shut down.

You can also check the exhaust system or air filter for blockages. But as you might have guessed by now, the main way to deal with these is to look properly and make sure there are no obvious blockages or issues.

Another easiest way to ensure your generator doesn’t run into problems is to keep it clean. Regularly clean, empty, change fuel, and check oil and water levels.

If the problem persists, you can rely on BISON to guide you. We invite you to contact us at (+86) 13625767514 for more information; if your generator runs for a few seconds then stop.

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I am a dedicated and enthusiastic salesperson from BISON, and I am here to share my vast experience. Enabling you to receive our expert advice and unparalleled customer service.

BISON business
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