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Why Your Emergency Generator Won’t Start In The Winter

If you have tried to live off-grid, you have found out that it is challenging to start your generator’s engine. If you are worried that you might experience this when you need your generator the most, you shouldn’t miss this post. We already covered some common generator problems and their fixes. However, we think that this specific issue requires an individual post. 


Why Your Emergency Generator Won’t Start in the Winter?

When the temperatures drop below zero, the oil in the engine will be cold too. Cold oil is thicker than warm so that it can cause three types of problems:

  • Pulling the cord to start the engine is much more difficult when the oil is thick. 
  • Cold batteries have low cranking power. The battery might run down and won’t be able to start the engine at all.
  • Many generators have a built-in feature that turns the engine off if it doesn’t have enough oil. The cold oil doesn’t flow as well as the warm, and won’t be able to lubricate the engine’s moving parts. This might trigger the low oil shut down sensor and show you that the engine is low on oil, even if it isn’t. 

How to fix the issue?

The user manual has the answers to your questions, so make sure that you always keep it handy. Since all of these problems are caused by cold and thickened oil, look for instructions about your specific generator type. Find the section that describes which viscosity of oil you should use with the current temperature. The manual would advise you to use lower viscosity oil during the winter to avoid any problem with your generator. Using proper oil for the current temperatures will allow for an easy start and reduce the wear due to heavy starts. 

Important note: Make sure that you switch to high viscosity oil when the temperatures rise back up. Otherwise, the engine won’t be properly lubricated and might experience damage from wear and tear. 

After reading this post, you are now familiar with the issue and the fixes. What do you think? Do you have any experience with this issue? Let us know in the comments!

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