How to Manually Start a Generac Generator

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There may be instances when your Generac generator fails to start automatically when the power goes out.

This can be a frustrating situation, especially when you’re relying on the generator to keep your home or business powered.

Although whenever it fails to start automatically, that’s not the end, because there’s still an opportunity for you to manually start your generator.

Starting your generator manually requires a little effort, but it’s nothing to be worried about. While these generators are designed for automatic operation, there may be instances when you need to start them manually.

Hence, in this guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of manually starting your Generac generator, enabling you to take control and restore power when needed. Additionally, we will also show you how you can reset the generator so you won’t have to manually start it when needed.

Reasons Your Generac Generator Won’t Start Automatically

There are various reasons why your Generac generator won’t start automatically. But to find out, you still need to start it manually to be sure, especially if you aren’t noticing any signs from your generator.

Among the common reasons why your generator would automatically fail to start are:

1. Low Battery Voltage

One of the most common reasons for a Generac generator not starting automatically is low battery voltage. The generator relies on the battery to provide the initial power required for the startup process. If the battery voltage is too low, the generator may not have enough power to start.

To resolve this issue, check the battery voltage using a multimeter and ensure it is within the recommended range. If the voltage is low, consider replacing the battery or charging it to the appropriate level.

Also Read:- Generac Generator Not Charging Battery: Troubleshooting Guide

2. Fuel Supply Issues

Another common reason for generator startup failure is a fuel supply problem. Generac generators typically run on natural gas, propane, or diesel. If there is an issue with the fuel supply, such as low fuel levels, clogged fuel lines, or faulty fuel valves, the generator won’t start automatically.

For you to fix these issues, ensure you inspect the fuel supply system, including fuel lines, filters, and valves, to ensure proper fuel flow. If necessary, refill the fuel tank or clean or replace any clogged components.

Also Read:- Generac Generator Will Not Exercise? Here’s the Cause and How to Fix it

3. Faulty Starter Motor

The starter motor is one of the most important components of Generac generators because it helps initiate the generator’s startup process. If the starter motor is faulty or damaged, it may prevent the generator from starting automatically unless you do so manually, which is still impossible.

Check the starter motor for any signs of wear, damage, or loose connections. If you notice any issues, such as a clicking sound or the motor not engaging, it may be necessary to replace the starter motor.

Also Read:- Generac Starter Solenoid Troubleshooting: Complete Guide

4. Faulty Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS)

The Automatic Transfer Switch is responsible for detecting a power outage and triggering the generator to start automatically. If the ATS is malfunctioning or not properly connected, it can prevent the generator from starting. Inspect the ATS for any visible signs of damage or loose connections. If needed, consult a professional electrician to troubleshoot and repair the ATS.

Also Read:- Troubleshooting Generac Transfer Switches: Why They May Not Switch Back to Utility Power

5. Malfunctioning Control Board

The control board acts as the brain of the generator, managing its various functions and ensuring proper operation. If the control board is defective or malfunctioning, it can disrupt the startup sequence, leading to an automatic startup failure.

To diagnose this issue, consult a professional technician who can perform a thorough inspection of the control board and make any necessary repairs or replacements.

How to Manually Start Generac Generator: A Step-by-Step Guide

To verify what might cause the issue, you still need to manually start it. From there, you will identify whether the ATS fails to trigger the generator or whether the generator battery is low.

Hence, to start your generator manually, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Verify the Issue

Before attempting to manually start your Generac generator, you must first determine whether the problem is specific to automatic operations or if the engine won’t crank manually either.

To do that, there are a few things you should do, which include the following:

  • Firstly, you locate the generator panel and find the AUTO-OFF-MANUAL switch.
  • After you have located the auto-off manual switch, you set the switch to the OFF position.
  • Then, locate the generator main line circuit breaker and ensure it is in the OFF (or open) position.
  • Set the AUTO-OFF-MANUAL switch to MANUAL.

Here’s a picture that verifies what you should do:

How to Manually Start a Generac Generator

Step 2: Crank the Engine

Now that you have prepared the generator for manual operation, it’s time to crank the engine manually.

Cranking the engine would enable you to know whether your Generac generator fails to start automatically because of an engine fault or an electrical fault.

To find out, follow these steps carefully:

  • Locate the engine’s starting controls, typically found near the generator panel.
  • Depending on your Generac generator model, you may need to turn the key to the START position or press and hold the engine start button.
  • As you initiate the starting process, the engine should begin cranking cyclically through its “crank-rest” cycles until it starts.
  • Once the engine starts, allow it to stabilize and warm up for a few minutes before resetting it back to automatic mode.

After Cranking, The Engine Fails to Start

After you have cranked the generator and the engine fails to start, there might be various reasons that might cause it to not start.

One of those reasons includes whether the battery is weak, there’s a low engine oil level, the oil needs changing, or there’s an issue with the starting solenoid.

Whatever the case might be, there’s always a solution. So, to solve this issue, check out our previous article on Generac generators that crank but will not start.

However, if the engine fails to start after multiple attempts, we would prefer you consider seeking professional assistance to help fix this issue.

You can also read on to learn about the best ways you can reset your Generac generator to ensure it starts both automatically and manually when needed.

Final Thought 

Knowing how to manually start your Generac generator can be invaluable during power outages or when automatic operation is not possible.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can take control of your generator’s functionality and restore power to your home or business.

Remember to always prioritize safety, refer to the generator’s manual for specific instructions, and seek professional help if necessary.

With proper maintenance and the ability to manually start your Generac generator, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing you have a reliable backup power source at your disposal.


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