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Generator Won’t Stay Running [5 Causes & Fixes]

It is quite frustrating if you see that your generator turns off immediately after starting. Because it is the only source of relief when the power is out. 

But why exactly is your generator won’t stay running?

There can be many reasons behind your generator not running properly. Overloading is a really common cause behind this issue. Even clogged carburetors can be held responsible. Sometimes battery issues, sensor failure, or bad exhaust cause this too. But you can fix this. 

To fix the generator, you’ll need to know more. That’s why we’ve explained each cause with their respective fix. 

Let’s start reading! 

5 Reasons Why Your Generator Shuts Off

A generator that is portable is a really important device. Most homeowners use this to generate electricity when there is a power outage. A normal generator should start quickly, run smoothly when you turn it on. You can look into Honda generators for better understanding of good products.

But in some cases, a generator may not run properly. There can be multiple reasons behind this. We have mentioned 5 causes responsible for this along with solutions. 

Let’s check them out quickly to save the generator!

Reason 1: Overloading

Overloading is one of the most typical reasons behind a generator not starting. This even causes a ceiling fan’s breaker to trip.  

Power overload usually happens in the newer generators. Because old generators don’t have the necessary gadgets to detect overload and cut off the power. That’s why with the new generator when it detects an overload, the generator shuts down for safety. 

But what causes this overload? 

Plugging too many appliances into the generator causes it to overload. This leads the generator to exceed its designed wattage. To protect the generator from an overload circuit breaker cuts off the power from it. As a result, your generator turns off.


Separate some gadgets from the power, then, attempt once more. This should fix the issue. 

You might want to avoid this irritating problem from taking place again. In that case, when purchasing a generator, always calculate the required power amount. 

Once you’re sure about the amount, purchase around 1.5 times the output. This way you won’t be facing the problem even when you use more power.

Reason 2: Clogged Carburetor 

Blockage or clogging is an annoying issue. Whether it’s in the drain line of your humidifier or generator’s carburetor, it’s a headache. 

The main purpose of a gasoline carburetor is to convert fuel into power. Gasoline-like ethanol attracts moisture. This results in corrosion inside your carburetor and fuel tank. 

It evaporates eventually and leaves a gluey varnish behind. As a result, you’ll face the clogging issue. When your carburetor gets clogged your generator will make cranky noise while running. And eventually it will not properly work (Stop working). 


This problem can be mostly dealt with by thoroughly cleaning the carburetor. Drain out all the stale fuel. Add fresh fuel and try running your engine. This should do the work. 

To prevent this, always run the generator once a month. This way the stale oil will be used up by you. This will also increase your generator’s shelf life. 

But if the above solution doesn’t work, you will need to replace your carburetor. Take professional help for this. 

Here are some carburetor suggestions:

Product 1
Product 2

Reason 3: Generator Battery Problem

A lot of generator services report a very typical thing. That’s- the failed battery is the most common and major cause behind generator failure.  This can even happen with 3000 Watt generators.

The main role of your generator battery is to power some important parts. These are the generator engine, small motors that operate on DC, and DC-supplied devices within the enclosure. 

When you use a faulty charger it will overload the battery. As a result, the battery component will die. Plus if your battery keeps dying frequently, the battery itself might be defective.


You need to get your battery charged properly. But this time it should be from an external source. But before that, check the battery charging mechanism of your generator. 

You need to know the circuit and wiring of your generator. This way you can replace or recharge your battery. 

For example, you need to know whether the common wire is hot or not. You also should have other necessary electrical knowledge for charging the battery.

Reason 4: Bad Exhaust

There might be a defect in your exhaust pipe. This happens in a car as well. In this situation, you will not get the same power from your generator. 

Bad exhaust also decreases the longevity of your generator. 


Ensure that your exhaust system is up and running. Check that the amount of smoke is less than usual or not. In most cases, it’s just a blockage in the system.

But if the smoke is way too much, consult a professional right away. Because you might not know that generator smoke causes serious health hazards

Reason 5: Sensor Failure

This problem can be found in only the newer models of generators. In some cases, a faulty sensor can behave inappropriately. As a result, it can turn off your generator even though it has no problem at all.


If you have any prior knowledge of your generator, you can fix this issue easily. Just find out the faulty sensor and replace it immediately.

If you are inexperienced, you can always take the help of a professional.


Question: What might be the cause for 3 cranks in a diesel generator to not start?

Answer: There might be multiple reasons behind this issue. But lack of fuel is probably the main cause. This makes your generator crank. In this case, it won’t start as well. Refueling your generator should solve the problem.

Question: Why is it not recommended to operate a diesel generator at a low load?

Answer: At light load, there can be poor combustion. This leads to unburnt fuel residue. As a result, your generator will suffer from clogs & gums up piston.

Question: Why do we use diesel generators?

Answer: With diesel generators you can generate electric energy. This is of course with the help of using a diesel engine and an electric generator. Diesel generators are fuel efficient, even more than petrol generators. It can be used when there is no power. Or it can be even used in areas where you won’t find connections with your power grid. That’s why diesel generators are a big deal.

End Note

We are now at the end of our discussion. Hope this solves your issue on why the generator won’t stay running. If you need any further help you can always call a professional. 

Another piece of advice- never try to fix the generator if it’s overheating. Stay as far as you can from it until it cools down.

Until next time, see you!