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running generators at cold temperature


Generator will start to have problems starting a generator in cold weather when temperatures drop, especially when they go below 40°F. When the engine and its components are too frigid to function properly, this occurs. There are a few possible causes for this, and by being aware of the necessary procedures, these can be swiftly addressed to relieve our concerns.

Reasons of engine won’t start while running generators at cold temperature

Due to the cylinders' chilly interiors and frozen exteriors, which prevent the gasoline flowing through them from vaporizing sufficiently for effective combustion, there is no ignition. When these things happen, in addition to other things like a cold battery and thicker oil viscosity, you have a dead generator on your hands.

Low Fuel Level

Your top priority should be to check your fuel. Check the fuel level in the tank, and top it off if required. As for the LPG generator, all valves and tubing connecting the LPG tank to the generator should be open.

Engine Oil Levels Are Low

Your generator's engines depend on oil. It is still crucial to check the oil levels with a dipstick even if the majority of generators feature a sensor to alert you when oil levels are low. If your oil level is low, follow the manufacturer's instructions and top it off with the proper kind of oil.

change the engine oil's viscosity

Since the oil tends to thicken during the colder months, starting the generator by revving the engine will be very challenging. It will be more difficult to pull the recoil cord, and you might even see the "Low Oil" sensor activating. Even while the oil in your engine may not actually be low, the thickness of the oil is causing the sensor to malfunction and act as if there is no oil at all, which results in the engine shutting down on its own.

Defective Battery

Similar to your automobile, a dead battery or defective connections may be at blame if your generator won't start. Try using a 12-volt DC outlet to charge the battery or give it a jump start with your car's battery.


When you get to this stage and the engine still won't start, the spark plug can be filthy. The carburetor may be clogged with old gasoline, making it impossible for fresh fuel to start the combustion process. Of course, the fuel valve is probably clogged. Verify that the fuel and vacuum relief valves are open above the generator's fuel tank.

adjust the choke

The factory settings typically set the choke to work over a wide range of temperatures, but extreme cold or heat can exceed the original settings. Doing this manually will keep the choke open longer, giving the engine the fuel it needs to turn over and start.

Insulate the generator

To help protect the generator from extreme cold temperatures, consider using an insulation blanket or enclosure specifically designed for generators. This will help maintain a warmer environment for the engine and its components, making it easier to start.  If possible, store your generator in a dry, sheltered location away from direct exposure to harsh weather conditions.

block heaters

Installing a block heater can help keep the engine warm during cold weather, reducing the strain on the engine when starting. Block heaters are designed to warm the coolant, which in turn warms the engine block and oil.


In conclusion, running your generator in cold temperatures can present its own set of challenges. By understanding the various reasons why a generator might struggle to start in low temperatures, such as low fuel levels, low engine oil levels, the need to change oil viscosity, defective batteries, clogged components, and the need to adjust the choke, you can address these issues and ensure your generator operates efficiently.

By taking these additional steps and being proactive with generator maintenance, you can increase the likelihood of your generator starting and running smoothly during cold weather conditions. BISON have put together an in-depth article on "How to Winterize a Generator" that covers all the necessary steps and precautions you need to take. By being proactive and following these winterizing guidelines, you can rest assured that your generator will be ready to face harsh winter conditions and provide a reliable power source when you need it most.

So, don't let the cold weather get the better of your generator; instead, keep it in top shape and be ready to face any situation that comes your way.

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