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generator runs for a few seconds then stops: how to fix it?

you don’t want your generator to fail when you need it most. what if you plug in a light only to find that the generator runs for a few seconds and then stops?

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Portable generators are an increasingly popular source of backup fuel. This is useful if you live in an area with frequent power outages so you can keep your food fresh, lights on, and appliances charged. They’re also a great alternative power source if you want to use power tools with friends or need to use them in the shed.

But you don’t want your generator to fail when you need it most. what if you plug in a light only to find that the generator runs for a few seconds and then stops? Although they can cause a lot of trouble, many of these problems can be solved and repaired, often without expensive calls to experts.

So, read this guide carefully and you will discover how to fix this problem and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

generator runs for a few seconds then stops how to fix it

the generator runs for a few seconds then stops – 13 common causes

#1. Overloading

Without a doubt, the most common reason for a generator to start for a few seconds and then stop is overloading.

This happens when there are too many devices connected to the generator and it becomes difficult for the generator to handle it. This means that when you overload in the past, the generator will continue to work, but each of your appliances will be underpowered. But now, things have changed. Instead of providing less power, the generator shuts down completely.

Solutionunplug some electrical appliances. When you restart it, you can be more careful about what the generator can handle.

If you hear the generator getting louder, you can tell it’s starting to overload, and you should be able to prevent it from happening again.

bison carburettor

#2. Carburetor

The carburetor is the part of the generator that allows air and fuel to enter the engine and mix them to get the correct air-fuel ratio so combustion occurs. The problem is that the carburetor sometimes gets clogged. The main reason for clogged carburetor is that old fuel remains in the engine for a long time.

When old fuel is left in it, it tends to become more viscous, which can clog the nozzles and ports in the carburetor.

SolutionKeep the carburetor clean and drain the oil regularly. Sometimes the damage from old oil is so bad that you have to replace the entire carburetor.

#3. water levels

Water levels in the radiator can also cause the system to shut down after a few seconds. The reason is the improper water level in the radiator causing the temperature to rise. If the generator continues to operate at high temperatures, sensitive components such as the engine, control panel, and voltmeter may fail.

Solution: Make sure there is plenty of water in the radiator. Develop a monthly routine for checking radiator water levels. Also, to improve results, consider mixing coolant with water.

check generator oil level

#4.low oil

Sometimes, even a minor problem, such as a low fuel level in the generator tank, can cause the generator to start briefly and then shut down. While the generator may have enough fuel for a few starts or to run with no load, when you introduce a load it will stop running.
Solution: Make sure to monitor the oil level, as maintaining the oil level at the recommended level can solve this problem and contribute to the efficient operation of the generator.

#5. fuel tank and fuel pipes

A few typical problems that cause a generator to stop running within a short period have to do with the tank or fuel line responsible for delivering gasoline to the engine and carburetor.

Supply problems may occur due to pressure being trapped in the fuel tank. The presence of dirt in the fuel tank and restricted, damaged, bent, or leaking fuel lines can also cause this problem. Any leaks can be easily identified by the presence of gasoline or diesel stains on the pipes or surfaces beneath the generator.

Solution:  Addressing issues with your fuel tank can be accomplished by cleaning it, relieving the pressure, and meticulously inspecting the pipes for any of the previously mentioned problems.

#6. water level

Similar to the oil level, you must also ensure the water level is correct. The water is in the radiator again; the water level is too low, and the temperature will rise too much if there is no water. 

Failure to do so can cause problems with many parts of the generator, including the engine if the generator overheats and can cause the generator to fail. Consider using some coolant in your radiator if you want to be extra careful.

Solution: It’s essential to keep your radiator filled with water and check it monthly.

#7. engine failure

Our seventh suggestion (and probably the one you’re worried about) as to why your generator might stop working is that there is an internal fault with the engine. If this is the case, you’re best off talking to a professional who can diagnose the actual problem with your engine.

SolutionReach out to experts for engine maintenance and problem detection.


#8. Coolant Sensor Failure

Check if the coolant sensor is faulty.If this is the scenario, the display on the control panel will probably show a “low coolant warning“. This may fail without warning.

SolutionAfter replacing the coolant sensor, the engine will start immediately.

#9. Oil Pressure Switch Failure

If this failure occurs, the display on the generator control panel will usually show a “low oil pressure warning“.

It’s worth noting that these switches can malfunction without warning.

SolutionCheck the appearance and shape of the oil pressure sensor. Make sure the connections on the terminals are tight. Check that the thin cable is connected correctly and not damaged.

operating the generator control panel

#10. Control Panel Reprogramming

Most likely, your generator’s control panel needs to be reprogrammed. This will make it accept newly installed parts. This control panel may need to confirm the oil pressure switch and coolant sensor.

One way to solve this problem is to integrate the control panel.

Also, you may need to reset parameters related to newly installed components. Call your control panel specialist if you need more time to get to the job.

Solution:  Ensure that the alerts on the control panel are and swap out any malfunctioning sensor. Don’t forget to reconfigure your generator following the replacement of any sensor or other component.

#11. Electrical Issues

This could also be due to an electrical issue with the generator’s circuitry and wiring.

Solution: If you know the electrical connections in your generator wiring, you can check them. Otherwise, it is best to seek help from the BISON generator manufacturer.

#12. Battery Problem

 The battery powers to start the generator. If your battery is not charged correctly, your generator may shut down after running for a while.

SolutionYou must use an external power source to properly charge the battery or check the alternator‘s charging mechanism.


#13. Spark Plug

The spark plug is one of the essential parts of the generator and plays a vital role in starting the generator. If the spark plugs are bad and fail, your generator will pop right after starting and shut down within seconds.

Solution: Open the spark plug and check and visually inspect its condition. Sometimes you can reinsert the same plug after cleaning; otherwise, you must get a new plug for your generator.


We remain optimistic that by cleverly identifying and solving the problem, you can easily resolve it. If the problem persists, we recommend that you seek help from professional BISON staff to effectively solve and correct the problem. Make sure your generator is in a well-ventilated area.

For more tips on generator repairs, visit Chian BISON.

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One potential cause of intermittent generator shutdown could be a faulty fuel tank or fuel line. These pipes play a vital role in transporting and supplying fuel from the tank to the engine and carburetor. Overpressure occurs when the normal flow of fuel within a pipeline is disrupted, leading to supply-related complications.

While some generator models can run for 8 to 12 hours or even days, it’s critical not to leave your generator running for weeks or months on end. This limitation is mainly due to the engine structure of the generator, which requires not only fuel but also regular lubrication and routine maintenance.

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