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Troubleshooting and Repairing Common Power Generator Issues

Whether you rely on a power generator for emergency backup, recreational activities, or job-site power, experiencing problems can be a real inconvenience. Luckily, many common generator issues can be easily identified and resolved with some basic troubleshooting skills. In this guide, we’ll walk you through common problems with power generators and offer solutions to get them up and running.

1. Failure to Start

One of the most common issues is when a generator simply refuses to start. 

  • Fuel: Check the fuel level. This might seem elementary, but running out of fuel is a common oversight. 
  • Fuel Quality: Stale or contaminated fuel can cause starting issues. If the fuel has been sitting for several months, consider replacing it. 
  • Battery: Ensure that the battery is charged and terminals are clean. 
  • Spark Plug: Check for a worn or dirty spark plug and replace if necessary. 

2. Generator Produces No Power or Insufficient Power

If your generator runs but doesn’t produce electricity, follow these steps: 

  • Breakers: Ensure the circuit breakers are set to the “ON” position. 
  • Connections: Check for loose or damaged connections. 
  • Voltage Regulator: This might be faulty and in need of replacement. 

3. Overheating

Overheating can be dangerous and can damage your generator. 

  • Ventilation: Ensure your generator is in a well-ventilated area and away from obstructions. 
  • Cooling System: Check the cooling system and clean any clogged air filters. 
  • Oil Levels: Make sure oil levels are adequate and consider changing the oil if it’s old. 

4. Noisy Operation

Excessive noise can indicate a problem. 

  • Loose Components: Tighten any loose parts or components. 
  • Exhaust System: Ensure the exhaust system is free from damage or obstructions. 
  • Oil: Low oil can also cause noisy operation, so check oil levels. 

5. Frequent Shut-Offs

If your generator keeps shutting off, consider the following: 

  • Fuel: Low fuel can cause the generator to shut off. 
  • Air Filter: A clogged air filter can cause inefficient operation leading to shut-offs. 
  • Overload: Make sure you’re not trying to power too many devices, leading the generator to trip. 

6. General Maintenance Tips


To avoid many of the aforementioned problems: 

  • Regularly Change Oil: Just like any other engine, your generator requires regular oil changes. 
  • Clean or Replace Air Filters: Dirty air filters can affect the generator’s efficiency. 
  • Inspect Fuel Lines: Look for signs of wear, tear, or damage and replace as necessary. 
  • Test Run: Periodically run your generator (even when not in use) to ensure it’s in good working condition. 

Let the Professionals Lend a Hand 

Generators are invaluable tools, providing power during outages or in places where electricity isn’t available. Regular maintenance, coupled with the ability to troubleshoot and address common issues, will ensure your generator remains reliable. 


In business since 1978, Northside Power has built a reputation for dependability and expertise in the world of standby generators. Offering top-notch generator service, sales, and installation, we are your go-to solution for all generator-related needs. No matter what the circumstances – be it a rainstorm or clear skies – our team of professionals remains steadfast in delivering exceptional service. If you have any generator concerns or are in the market for a new unit, reach out to Northside Power. Give our office a ring at (501) 315-7213 for a no-obligation free quote. Regardless of your generator challenges, we’ve got you covered!