A petrol-powered electric generator is always a handy thing to own, whether you run a business that requires power in isolated locations or are simply a homeowner looking to protect yourself against the next power outage. However, while these generators are famously reliable, even these redoubtable machines can fall victim to various malfunctions and mechanical problems.
Some of these problems can be little nigglers that do not affect the basic function of your generator -- a generator that fails to start, however, is clearly suffering from more than annoying troubles. Generators that fail to start should always be taken to professional generator repair services to ensure safe, quality repairs, but you can at least attempt to diagnose the problem that is preventing your generator from starting. Here are some of the most common problems that prevent petrol generators from starting:
A generator essentially functions as a portable battery, but it requires a battery of its own to start the electricity generating process -- without a functioning starter battery, the generator's internal combustion engine cannot start, resulting in a thoroughly dead generator that produces no power.
As such, failed batteries are a very common cause of generator failure, and checking your generator's battery should be your first priority if your generator fails to start. Check for accumulation of lead sulfates or crystallised battery acid on and around the battery plates, as these substances indicate that your battery is too old and deeply discharged to function properly. You should also check all wires and connections leading to and from your battery, removing and replacing any damaged or rusty connections.
If replacing damaged wires and aged batteries does not solve the problem, your generator may be suffering from a more involved mechanical fault. Circuit breakers can often become jammed open and prevent battery power from reaching the generator's main engine, while various welds and solders can come loose as a result of excessive heat buildup. In these cases, engaging the services of extra generator repair services is highly recommended.
Failed spark plugs
Even if your generator's starter battery is in tip-top condition, it cannot start your engine without the proper spark plugs. These devices ignite the fuel when your generator's engine is turned on, starting the engine's self-sustaining revolution cycle -- no spark plug means no ignition.
Fortunately, spark plugs are relatively inexpensive, and replacing them frequently is a cheap and easy way to prevent starting troubles. If you suspect damaged or failed spark plugs of being the root source of your generator problems, switch out your spark plugs, checking for any obvious causes of spark plug failure. Most spark plugs fail as a natural consequence of age, but poor generator maintenance practises, such as leaving a generator unused but fuelled for extended periods, can contribute to this problem.
A generator leaking fuel all over the concrete is a dangerous prospect to say the least, but you can suffer far worse mechanical problems if a leak is sucking air in rather than pumping fuel out. Even tiny amounts of air trapped in a fuel line can form bubbles, which prevent fuel cylinders from igniting, therefore preventing an engine from starting. Generators suffering from aerated fuel may tick over for a few revs before losing power but often fail to start entirely.
Replacing your generator's aerated fuel supply with new, uncontaminated fuel generally solves this problem, but only once the leak that allowed the air into the system has been located and sealed. This can be a difficult proposition with air-sucking leaks that do not release tell-tale streams of liquid -- once again, seeking professional assistance is the most efficient approach, allowing professionals to locate and repair your generator's leak(s) quickly.