Honda generator starting problems: Won’t Start?

Honda Generator Starting Problems

Last updated on August 29th, 2023 at 10:07 am

When there is an emergency and the power fails, you need to generator. In most situations, you will want to start the generator quickly. But a common problem many people face is that the generator does not start. This can be very frustrating, and the problem can occur frequently if you have an old generator.

This guide has solutions for all your Honda generator starting problems. If your Honda generator does not start, refer to this guide to get the right solution. The tips given will help you fix your old generator and make it start fine.

Solutions to try when the generator does not start

1) Drain the old gas

When you fill the generator with gasoline, you must use it up within a month. In any circumstances, you should not keep it for more than 6 months. You should remove all the old gasoline from the tank and also from the sediment cup and carburetor bowl. Here is how you can do it:

  • First ensure the fuel switch is in the ‘off’ position. Then remove the sediment cup by using a 10 mm socket.
  • Keep a container for the fuel and turn the switch to ‘on’. Use a container to collect the gas. Remember to discard the old gas in a responsible way.
  • Next, remove the side drain plug and then the bottom plug. You can use the 10 mm socket to remove them both.
  • You must know there would be a small rubber ring seal (‘O’ shape) in the carburetor bowl. Take care not to lose it.

2) Clean the sediment cup

Once the sediment cup is removed, check the rubber ‘O’ ring. It is possible the ring is worn out due to wear & tear. In such a case, you need to replace the ring. Then clean the sediment cup to remove grime and gasoline. You can use a carb cleaner for this. Make sure you do this outside (or in a place with lot of ventilation), since the carb cleaner has chemicals that are potentially dangerous. Once the cleaning is done, fix the sediment cup back to the generator.

3) Clean the carburetor

A dirty carburetor would prevent the generator from starting. Cleaning the carburetor should usually solve the problem. Here again, use the carb cleaner to spray and clear all the grime and oil. Check out the center pin. This is where the gas actually moves through the carburetor. If it is blocked, the generation won’t start, so ensure it is cleaned. On completion of cleaning, fix the carburetor bowl back.

4) Check working of the air filter

You need to check the air filter to find out if it is working fine. Open the wing nut and the cover of the air cleaner. You need to remove the air filter parts carefully and check for wear & tear. If there is wear and tear, it needs replacement. There are two parts and both need to be cleaned in different ways:

  • The foam part should be cleaned using warm soap water. Rinse with clean water and dry well before fitting again.
  • For the paper part, tap it on a hard surface, so that dirt is removed. Don’t try to brush off the dirt since dirt would enter the fibers. You can also blow compressed air from inside out to clean it.

There is a possibility of mice building nest on the air filter. Keep a check on it frequently and don’t forget that our best camping generators are listed below so you won’t run into any of these problems in the future..

5) Replace the air filter

Pt 4) explained how to clean the filter. Before doing it, you need to inspect the air filter first. If you find it in a bad condition, then it makes no sense cleaning it. Check if the foam is in good condition or breaking down. It is not very expensive to buy a new air filter. So, go ahead and get a new one. It will allow your generator to get clean air, so it works well.

To replace the air filter, unscrew the wing nut. Remove the old air filter and fit the new one. Screw back the wing nut tightly once you are done.

6) Replace spark plug

The spark plug plays an important role in the working of the generator. It ignites air and gas in the combustion chamber. This is what makes the generator start. Visually inspect the spark plug, and you will know if it needs replacement. If it looks worn out, replace it – won’t cost much.

The spark plug boot has to be removed to gain access to the spark plug. You need a deep well socket to take out the spark plug and then replace it.

7) Change the oil

Changing the generator oil is a solution to explore, since old oil affects the smooth working of the generator. You need to access the drain plug and remove it. While doing so, keep the oil drain pan below to catch the oil that comes out. Use good quality synthetic motor oil to replace the old oil. Choose an oil from a reputed brand for the best results.

8) Consider using Seafoam

Using Seafoam is a good idea for many reasons. It is a fuel additive and helps to stabilize the fuel. It can help in cleaning deposits and the carburetor jets. Seafoam also helps in controlling moisture in the gasoline. You can use 1 ounce of Seafoam for every gallon of gas. While its price is a bit high, it is worth it. Using it will ensure you are unlikely to face generator starting problems. You can use Seafoam with non-Ethanol gasoline for the best results.


Go through all the steps given above you so overhaul your generator. This should solve the problem and make your generator start easily. Of the various steps listed, cleaning the carburetor is very important. It ensures smooth flow as all blockages would be removed. It is also advisable to go through the user manual, since the manual will have solutions specific to the model of the Honda generator you are using.