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Troubleshooting Most Common Problems with Your Generator

How To Troubleshoot A Generator

You have a generator and still don’t know how to troubleshoot your generator? In this article, we talked about Troubleshooting the most common generator problems. You will find it very useful.

I have mentioned FIVE COMMON PROBLEMS for every generator.

Especially, I talked about Duromax and Westinghouse generator’s problems and gave you a 100% perfect solution. Let’s try our GUIDES and let me know your FEEDBACK.

Usually, we like to have a portable generator as our home power backup. Then an emergency situation is waiting for you with malfunction of the generator. No one likes to get stuck with “No power” situation.

Especially during any disaster, an alternative source of power is your reliance. The generator is the most common alternative power source and it has some common problems that you may face. Simply you can solve then if you have a pre-knowledge.

You need the alternative power to keep cooking, the lights, entertainment, heat blower, and other electronic device going in an emergency moment. So, you can feel now why it’s important for you and your family.

The most serious thing is without proper knowledge you won’t able to find out the problem. So, the solution is so far for you. I think you will agree with me at the point where I like to say,

It's a dangerous thing to use a machine like a generator without basic knowledge. 

Don’t forget to keep “Some Important Preventative Maintenance” in mind which is described at the bottom of this content.

generator problem solution

What Need Most to Troubleshoot your Generator?

It’s the most important things to find out the problem first. It will help you to detect possible causes to fix the problem. So, we need to go through these 3 steps:

  1. Mark the problem
  2. Detecting Possible Cause
  3. Applying Proper Correction Method

Common Problems and Troubleshooting:

Here are 5 common problems/issues that can happen with your generator, and how to fix them. At the bottom here are a few guidelines for a generator user that described how you can do proper maintenance of your generator over the year. Not only learn then you got stuck, but you learn that before you are in an emergency situation.

Check for a Spark

It’s not running properly or you can’t start the generator? Maybe you missed the spark plug. Make sure that the wire is securely connected to the spark plug. It will also give you a nice idea about how the generator is doing.

If the plug has covered with a thick oily liquid, which means it’s getting oxygen at a little amount, but too much fuel. If it looks tan or white in color, then maybe it is getting not enough fuel but too much oxygen.

Any of them can cause of run improperly and will not give your generator a spark. Actually, it needs a little bit of experience to replace it. Remember that, don’t replace it with a used one.

Please replace it with a fresh new one.

On the other hand, if you guess it’s not serious something like that, simply some deposit and nothing serious then clean it with a clean wire brush.

If you like to fix the problem with your own hand, I will suggest you “DO NOT ATTEMPT” if you are not enough to handle this situation. Because there may be an electric shock is waiting for you.

Without a spark plug when you will try to start it, you will hear air escaping. If anyone puts his finger over the spark plug hole, will feel a suction. Then pushing as the motor turns.

Now, If there is no spark seems, then it may be a problem with the spark plug or the ignition system. Maybe this is beyond what you were able to fix it swiftly. If you feel (or hear) no air or suction, this is also a major problem.

If you already have proper tools, now check the spark plug gap. And put your spark plug back into your engine and must reconnect the wire properly.

Now, try to start your engine again. Experience says that, in most cases, the simple test discussed above is able to get your generator started and working properly. Most of the time, usually it is a fuel problem.

How To Troubleshoot Your Generator

Check the Fuel: If your home generator is a gas generator, then make sure that all time you have the proper oil levels to run your generator. Every time change it on a regular basis with fresh oil.

If you don’t forget to re-fill your fuel tank and still now your generator isn’t working, then the question is, is the fuel really turned on?

Well, there is a valve to turn on or shut off the fuel flow to the carburetor. It is near the carburetor or usually under the fuel tank. Simply make sure that it is turned on.

Now you found both of them fuel and valve are turned on, but not working. It may be because of bad fuel. Use a flashlight to check the tank. Are there any globs floating inside, around the fuel? If yes, that means there is condensation in the fuel tank. Your fuel is contaminated.

If there is fuel in the tank and the valve is turned on, the fuel may be bad. Shine a flashlight in the tank and see if you see “globs” floating around inside the fuel.

If you do, this means there was condensation in the tank and the fuel is contaminated. Change your fuel or pour dry gas into the fuel.

It’s easy to check the fuel lines of the generator. If you see they are massively full of junk or clogged up then you must need to replace them.

Don’t worry! It’s an inexpensive and quick fix.

You can get them at the auto parts stores or the hardware stores for replacement.

It’s the similar problem to the fuel lines. If your fuel filter is junked up then it is going to make a problem to work your generator properly. The inline filter is common in most generators. You can check this by disconnecting your fuel line at the carburetor.

Now, look, if there is no gas draining out of your fuel line when it’s held over the container. Then your fuel filter needs to replace. It’s also an easy and cheap fixing. You should worry about how to replace it”. There are many useful and nicely described videos on YouTube. Just watch them before doing it.

Read our Best Home Generator Article To know More.

This problem happens rarely, but when it does, nothing hard works here to fix this. Replacing the pull cord is an easy task but your need to be careful and make sure that, you wind the spring entirely just before you put the brand new cord around your starter mechanism. If not, your generator will not work at all what you don’t like to face.

Lack of Air

Your engine needs pure air for the burning of the supplied fuel from the tank. This process is nicely accomplished by the air filter and the choke on your engine. You need to make sure that the position of the choke is in the proper place for starting the motor. It’s a common issue that, not having your choke in the right position can simply prevent your engine from starting; especially in a colder weather.

So, find out the air cleaner on your engine. Keep in mind that, it is usually a plastic or metal can be attached to the carburetor with some holes on the sides or bottom and a single latch or screw to hold it on. And, it will either have a paper or foam filter.

Now, remove the air filter from its place and try to start your generator several times to eliminate the lack of air. Don’t forget to make sure that the choke is in the right position also. After checking, if the filter found as dirty, then try clean it with carburetor cleaner. Now, try to start your engine again.

It is also an easy fixing on a generator to replace the breakers. The important things you need to keep in mind that, always use manufacturer’s parts, don’t try generics. Here another thing is to mark your wires properly with electrical tape so that would help you to know where to reattach them exactly to the new equipment.

Here are some quick checks. It would be better if I have mentioned them at the top of the writing. The troubleshooting is actually a process of elimination. Here each step you take will eliminate one of your possible problems at a time.

Sometimes you will need few simple hand tools to complete the process. So, don’t try to buy them or to collect them after having a problem with the generator. Just buy some simple tools at the same time when you willing to purchase the generator.

Sometimes quick checks work simply to get a generator running again without hard work. I think, everyone should do few quick check as the first opportunity of troubleshooting. Don’t forget to do them even in an ‘oh crap’ moment!

Have some starting fluid, and spray them a little amount into the air filter then try to start your engine. Very simple task but sometimes it is just. Check, if your engine starts and dies quickly after that, then go and continue troubleshooting.

– In the case of electric start and it won’t do anything then need to jump your battery like what you do with a car. First check deeply, for sure you should replace them and then put red (+) to read, and black (-) to black. Now try again to start the engine. Mind it that, the battery is needed for only to start your engine. So not required anymore, once it is running.

Complete these quick checks before you start troubleshooting. If it works, then OK. If not, then continue with troubleshooting.

Duromax generator problems and Solutions

Let’s face the possible generator problems of the DuroMax brand and its solutions.

DuroMax generator stops working due to unclean carburetor ?

Has your DuroMax generator suddenly stopped working? It is one of the most common duromax generator problems and is mainly caused by a dirty carburetor. Fixing it is quite simple, but before that, let’s understand why this problem happens.

Every generator, including DuroMax generators, have carburetors. The carburetor mixes the air and fuel in the right ratio for the generator to function well.

Over time, the carburetor can get dirty. An unclean carburetor fails to function well and causes the engine to stop working.

Solution: Clean the carburetor

You can solve this problem by cleaning the carburetor. All DuroMax generators have similar functions, and you can use this solution to fix any DuroMax generator, regardless of the model.

Follow the steps below to clean the DuroMax generator carburetor to fix the engine not starting problem:

Step 1: Locate the carburetor

The carburetor is usually fixed on one corner of the generator. You will find it beside the fuel tank as fuel goes to the carburetor through the fuel valve. 

Most DuroMax generator carburetors look the same. They are small in size and will fit on your palm. The shape of the carburetor is circular and like a cylinder upside down.

A metal lid may cover it on DuroMax generators. Unscrew the lid with the help of a screwdriver or pliers and remove it.

Step 2: How to Release stuck fuel

Don’t go into removing the carburetor yet. First, turn off the fuel valve, or the fuel starts flowing outside as soon as you remove the carburetor.

The carburetor itself also stores a small quantity of fuel inside it. There is a nut down the carburetor. Place a cup below it and remove the nut. The fuel will start to come out; store them in the cup. 

Step 3: How to Remove the carburetor

As you already have removed the metal lid in step 1, now you have access to the carburetor. There is a fuel hose connected to the carburetor. Remove the fuel hose with your hands.

Although you have turned off the fuel valve, a little bit of fuel is stored in the pipe, which will come out as soon as you remove the hose connection. Then slide the carburetor to separate it from the DuroMax generator. 

Step 4: How to Clean the carburetor

It is best to use a carburetor cleaner to clean the carburetor properly. You will find a lot of options in automotive stores. We like Gumout Carb and Choke Cleaner, because its spray nozzle is quite convenient for cleaning.

The carburetor is a combination of many small parts. You need to separate them one by one to clean them well. Most parts will come out as you slide or remove the nuts. 

When you disassemble the carburetor, remember which parts belong where. Use the spray carburetor cleaner to clean all the parts well. 

Step 5: How to Reset the carburetor and test the generator

After you have cleaned all the parts, reassemble the carburetor in the way you disassembled it. Then slide it to the generator, followed by screwing the metal lid. Connect the fuel hose to the carburetor. 

This should fix duromax generator problems of not starting. Turn on the generator after fixing it to check if it is working properly. 

Westinghouse generator troubleshooting:

Westinghouse WH4500 engine will not start

Westinghouse WH4500 is an excellent generator to support you during electricity outages. But sometimes, the generator’s engine may not start.

You do not need to take the generator to any professionals if that happens. A  DIY Westinghouse generator troubleshooting can help you a lot and save your time and investment.

First, you need to identify the problem, and then you can proceed to solve it. The common reasons why a Westinghouse WH4500 won’t start includes insufficient fuel or charge, a dirty air filter, and a faulty spark plug.

Solution: Troubleshooting Westinghouse WH4500 Portable Generator

Troubleshooting WH4500 is quite simple, and you can do it without any prior knowledge of doing electrical projects. Follow the steps below to find and fix the Westinghouse WH4500 generator:

Step 1: How to Turn on the fuel shutoff valve

The fuel shutoff valve controls the transmission of fuel within the generator. When it is on, fuel will go to the fuel hose. But when the valve is off, it will block the transmission of fuel.

You may haven’t noticed that the fuel shutoff valve is off, and that is why the generator is not starting. It’s a small lever-like component, which you will find around the fuel tank.

If you see that the valve is in the off position, turn the lever to on position. Then try to turn on the Westinghouse generator.

Step 2: How to Add gasoline

If turning on the shutoff valve doesn’t fix the problem, maybe the generator is low on fuel. Westinghouse WH4500 runs on gasoline, and lack of gas will cause the engine not to start.

Get some gasoline and fill the gas tank to fix this problem. Turn off the generator while adding fuel and never try to add gasoline to a running generator. Try to start the generator after you have filled it with gasoline.

Step 3: How to Clean fuel system

If your Westinghouse WH4500 is full of gas but still not starting, then maybe the fuel system is dirty. The fuel system in the generator mainly consists of the fuel delivery passage and the air filter.

You need to clean both the air filter and delivery passage to start the generator. Check the fuel delivery passage if it’s clean or dirty and clean it. You can use the FineGood Fuel Line Cleaner Set for cleaning purposes.

Then locate and remove the air filter from the generator. Clean it with a clean rag or towel, and then rinse the air filter with fresh water. Place the air filter in its place after cleaning and try to turn on the generator.

Step 4: How to Change gasoline

Another problem that can cause an engine not to start is dirty fuel. It happens when there is some gasoline stored in the generator, but you haven’t used the machine for a long time. Dirty air filters can also cause this problem, in which only cleaning the filter won’t solve your problem.

You need to replace the gasoline to fix the engine problem. Eliminate the dirty gasoline first, and then fill it with fresh gasoline.

Step 5: How to Replace spark plug 

If you still fail to fix Westinghouse generator problems, then there may be something wrong with the spark plug. Replacing the spark plug can fix the problem for you.

Remove the spark plug using a socket wrench. Before you install a new spark plug, clean the area well. Then install the plug and try to start your Westinghouse WH4500 generator.
These Westinghouse generator troubleshooting steps should solve the WH4500 model engine not starting problem.

Some Important Preventative Maintenance

Here is a few preventive maintenances that could help you to prevent your machine from getting any trouble. Don’t forget to do maintenance with a regular routine. It would also reduce the risk of your generator. So why not you care about that?

  • Don’t forget to have a fresh supply of gas every time.
  • Don’t forget to keep a new spark plug with the simple proper tools that you need to repair your generator. You can buy a small cheap toolbox available in the market.
  • Every time must shut off the gas properly and let your engine die on its own. It could prevent the gas completely from going bad in your carburetor.
  • Always test run your generator properly and besides this test the electric every month.
  • Every time use a good fuel stabilizer in your tank or in the spare gas can. Both can sit for several months completely without being used anymore and go bad.
  • Every time have a spare air filter or cleaning chemicals that recommended by manufacturers for your air filter.
  • Don’t forget to have a good can of carburetor cleaner, starting fluid, and dry gas handy.
  • You should check and service the generator by professionals at least once a year and have your oil changed.

Maybe you are thinking, it’s huge! You should keep in mind that, this generator can save your life and works for you in an emergency situation. Someone who takes cares you in an emergency, why not you should care him properly too? If you are careful to keep the generator well maintained properly and check these things often, you will be able to encounter the problems when it matters most.


Actually, I mentioned a few but mostly happened issues that may come up anytime with the generator over the years. However, it is important for you to get as much necessary information as you can especially for the troubling situation.

You will find nothing to help you but these tips help you most to get rid of the emergency situation. It’s not a wise thing to use any critical machine like a generator and no knowledge about troubleshooting. So, Now you know how to troubleshoot your generator.

At the end of this writing, I like to say that, it is most important to know the problem before you start troubleshooting. Only getting your problems resolved by a post is not sufficient for you to overcome the emergency situation. Learn more and keep safe yourself.

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