How do I fix my portable generator?


Quick Answer

There are many things that can cause a portable generator to break down. Testing it once a month, whether it is being used or not, allows time for troubleshooting problems and repairs. Become familiar with parts that require routine maintenance, replacement or repair. Keep a printed copy of the owner's manual. A digital copy may not help during a power outage.

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Full Answer

  1. Drain and replace the fuel

    Old fuel is the most common portable generator problem. Follow the owner's manual to drain and replace the fuel. Avoid this problem by adding a fuel stabilizer to a fresh fuel supply. Cold fuel and high elevations may make it difficult to start the generator.

  2. Clean or replace the spark plugs

    Dirty spark plugs may keep the generator from starting or staying on. Newer spark plugs can be cleaned and reused. Have replacements on hand in case this does not help.

  3. Replace the air filter

    A dirty air filter may cause the generator to stall. Keep a replacement on hand, and replace it when needed.

  4. Replace the oil filter

    Check and replace worn, dirty oil filters. Just like air filters, keep at least one extra on hand.

  5. Replace the oil

    Drain and replace dirty oil.

  6. Check the battery

    Check the battery level and charge it, if necessary.

  7. Check the valves

    Check and adjust the intake and exhaust valves, if needed. The owner's manual should provide specifics.

  8. Bleed the air in the fuel injector

    Air in the pressurized fuel injector lines causes problems. Follow the manual to bleed the air out.

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