15 Causes of a Craftsmen Generator That Won’t Start

A non-working recoil starter, a clogged air filter, the incorrect choke setting, a malfunctioning spark plug, a blocked fuel filter, a clogged fuel line, a filthy carburetor, a stopped fuel tank vent, or a plugged spark arrestor may prevent a Craftsman generator from starting.

If the model of your Craftsman has an electric start, look for a malfunctioning starting solenoid, a low battery, and an ignition switch that isn’t working properly.

Always make sure that the directions in the Craftsman operator’s manual are being followed by you. In order to proceed with the repairs, you are need to complete this step, which entails taking out the spark plug boot.

outdoorstip Craftsman Generator

The Issues That May Be Causing Your Craftsmen Generator to Fail to Start

1. The Fuel Tank of a Craftsmen Generator Is Empty

When you use a generator, the amount of load that you put on it will decide how long it can run before it has to be refueled, and the fuel tank on a generator is often rather tiny to begin with. There are variations of the Craftsman that have the capacity to function for a few hours without requiring their fuel tanks to be recharged during that time.

It’s possible that you just forgot the last time you refueled the generator, that the fuel gauge is broken, or that you’ve acquired a gasoline leak. All three of these scenarios are possible, however. There’s also the potential that you have a gas leak anywhere in your vehicle. The following are some other options to consider:

In the event that you skipped checking the fuel level and moved on to troubleshooting other components of the generator instead, I want to make sure that you are aware of this apparent possibility for a starting problem. I want to make sure that you are aware of this apparent possibility for a starting problem. In such case, I want to make sure that you are aware of this apparent possibility, which I will explain more below.

SOLUTION: Do a thorough inspection of the fuel system, and either repair or replace any components that are found to be broken or leaking. The fuel tank has to have new gasoline added to it.

2. An issue with stale or contaminated fuel in a Craftsman generator

After being purchased, fuel might start to deteriorate and oxidize as quickly as thirty days later. Since stale fuel might cause a Craftsman generator to malfunction, it is essential to use it up within the first month after purchasing it.

The majority of gasoline contains ethanol, which is a liquid that draws moisture into the fuel system. Not only does the combination of ethanol and water leave behind varnish that reduces the amount of gasoline that can flow through the engine and damaged components, but it also separates from the gas and sinks to the bottom of the storage tank.

The ethanol that is included in the majority of gasoline works as a magnet for moisture, which causes the combination to get very hot when it is burnt in the engine, which might potentially cause damage to the engine.

While acquiring, storing, and using gasoline, it is essential to keep the following points in mind because of the negative impact that ethanol has on a Craftsman generator:

  • You should get new gasoline that has a minimum rating of 87 for its octane.
  • Never use gas that has a higher percentage of ethanol than 10% in it. Fuel that does not include ethanol is optimal.
  • Use the gasoline within the next month.
  • If you will not be able to use the gasoline within the next 30 days, you should add a fuel stabilizer to it in order to make it last a little longer before it degrades. (New gasoline always has to have fuel stabilizer added to it. It will not be possible to undo the impacts of using outdated gasoline.
  • Keep the fuel within an appropriate fuel container and keep it away from any moisture or things that might catch fire.

SOLUTION: Drain the gasoline from your Craftsman generator if you discover that it has stale fuel. A gasoline siphon pump is an effective choice for this purpose.

After that, combine new gasoline with a fuel additive in a fuel container, and then pour the resulting combination into the fuel tank of the vehicle.

When you have successfully started the generator, let it run for about ten minutes so that the combination of gas and fuel additive may make its way through the fuel system.

The product known as Sea Foam Motor Therapy is one that I like using. Every time I fill up my tank with gas, I add this product to assist mitigate the problems that might arise from using gasoline that contains ethanol.

It contributes to the reduction of moisture, the cleaning of the fuel system, and the maintenance of the gas’s stability. STA-BIL is yet another viable alternative to consider.

3. A Fuel Filter on a Craftsmen Generator That Was Plugged In

On certain Craftsman generators, the gasoline tank has a fuel filter, while others have fuel filters fitted in the space between the fuel lines. For certain models, a fuel sediment bowl and screen will be added, both of which will need to be removed, cleaned, and reinstalled.

It is the job of the filter, also known as the sediment bowl and the screen, to prevent debris and other impurities from getting into the fuel system and wearing out the engine.

In the case that the filter or screen becomes clogged, it will prohibit a sufficient amount of gasoline from reaching the engine for combustion.

One of the maintenance tasks that has to be done on a yearly basis is either the replacement of the fuel filter or the cleaning of the fuel bowl.

SOLUTION: Either clean the fuel bowl and the screen on the fuel valve, or replace a fuel filter that is clogged (depending on which type of filter is used on your Craftsman generator).

4. A Craftsmen Generator Suffering from a Clogged Fuel Line

As old gasoline is burned, it typically leaves behind sticky deposits or dirt, both of which have the potential to clog the fuel system, including the fuel line. Do a thorough inspection of the fuel line to identify any potential blockages that may be preventing gasoline from reaching the engine.

SOLUTION: If there is a restriction in the fuel line, you will need to disconnect the line from the generator. Sprinkle carburetor cleaning on the obstruction to help it become more loose, and then direct a stream of compressed air into the line to remove it.

In the event that the fuel restriction cannot be removed, a new fuel line should be installed in its stead.

5. A Craftsmen Generator with a Soiled Carburetor

The carburetor’s job is to control the proportion of fuel to air that is introduced into the cylinder, where it will eventually be burned to produce energy.

Components inside the carburetor can no longer perform their intended functions when the carburetor is unclean and gummed up due to the presence of old gasoline. It’s possible that the carburetor on your Craftsman generator won’t let the gas through that’s needed to get it started.

Examine the carburetor after you have established that fuel is reaching it and after you have confirmed that it is functioning properly. This is a typical component that has the potential to crust over and get clogged with deposits of old gas.

SOLUTION: To get rid of the varnish and deposits that have formed in the carburetor, you will need to remove the carburetor and clean it with a carburetor cleaner. Check the float, the float needle, and the fuel jets in the carburetor to ensure that they are suitably clean and in excellent shape.

If you discover any broken components, you will need to replace them with new ones using either a carburetor repair kit or an entirely new carburetor.

6. An Air Filter that is Connected to a Craftsmen Generator

The air filter serves a similar purpose as the fuel filter in that it prevents dirt and debris from entering the vehicle via the air intake. This is done to protect the engine against harm that may be caused by even a little quantity of dirt, which can be generated by certain types of weather.

I would advise the typical homeowner to clean or replace the air filter a few times each year and to replace it once per year on average. You will need to change the filter if you see that it has become excessively soiled or is broken.

If you do not clean or replace the filter on a regular basis, it is possible for the filter to get clogged with so much dirt that the engine will not receive the necessary amount of air. It is possible for the engine to overheat, which would result in substantial and irreparable damage.

SOLUTION: If you notice that your air filter has become clogged, clean it by following the steps outlined below for the specific kind of air filter that you have. Consult the operator’s handbook if you are unclear about the kind of filter you have and the cleaning technique associated with it, or if you have a different sort of filter altogether.

It’s important to keep the foam-style air filter on your Craftsman generator clean.

  • Take out the air filter and place it somewhere safe.
  • Remove any leftover dirt from the housing and cover of the air filter using a clean cloth. It is important to prevent dirt from getting into the air intake.
  • Examine the foam filter for any signs of wear and tear; if necessary, replace it.
  • If the filter is in excellent condition, wash it in soapy water and rinse it until the water is clear. If the filter is not in good condition, replace it.
  • When you have squeezed the filter, set it aside to dry.
  • Put in place the new air filter.
  • Re-attach the lid to the air filter.

To clean the paper air filter on a Craftsman generator, do the following:

  • Take out the air filter and place it somewhere safe.
  • Remove any leftover dirt from the housing and cover of the air filter using a clean cloth. It is important to prevent dirt from getting into the air intake.
  • Check the paper filter that is in the air. Tap the filter to dislodge dirt, which will then fall out of the filter as a result of your tapping. Replace the filter with a new one if it has a lot of dirt on it, if it is broken, or if it does not seal the air intake properly anymore.
  • Put in place the new air filter.
  • Re-attach the lid to the air filter.

7. The Fuel Vent on a Craftsmen Generator Was Blocked Off

The fuel tank vents out of the gas cap on the majority of portable generators manufactured by Craftsman. It is necessary to have a vent in order to maintain a pressure in the fuel tank that is equivalent to the pressure of the surrounding air.

A vacuum will develop within the gasoline tank if the vent on the gas cap is blocked in any way, preventing air from escaping through the opening in the cap. Because of this, gasoline will not be able to reach the carburetor of your generator, and it will thus be unable to start.

There are certain Craftsman generators in which the vent is not located in the gas cap but rather in a little component that is attached to the top of the fuel tank. This configuration allows the gasoline to vent.

SOLUTION: If you suspect that a clogged fuel tank vent is the source of your starting difficulty, first try to start the generator after removing or removing the cap from the fuel tank to increase the amount of air that may enter the tank.

If it begins running, but then stops again after you put the cap back on the generator and let it run for a bit, the problem may be that the vent is blocked. I would suggest repairing a faulty fuel cap or tank vent if you have one.

8. A Spark Arrestor that Has Been Connected Into a Craftsmen Generator

A spark arrestor screen is a piece of metal that is mounted to the muffler. Its attachment serves the function of stopping sparks and other forms of hot material from being released from the muffler. This screen is necessary since there is a risk of injuries as well as fires.

In the case that it becomes obstructed, the generator will have a tough time starting up and would struggle to continue operating normally.

SOLUTION: Take the spark arrestor screen from the muffler and set it aside. Examine it carefully to see that it hasn’t been ripped and that the screen doesn’t have any holes in it. If it occurs, the screen has to be swapped out for a new one immediately.

If it does not have any damage, you may clean it with a commercial solvent or brush it softly with a tiny metal brush to remove soot deposits. If it does have damage, do not clean it with a commercial solvent. After clean, reinstall the screen back onto the muffler.

9. A Craftsmen Generator with a Malfunctioning Spark Plug

If the tip of the spark plug is dusty, if the porcelain is fractured, or if the electrode is scorched, the spark plug may not function properly. Since there will be no spark produced, your generator will not start as a result of this.

SOLUTION: The deposits on the tip of the spark plug may be removed by cleaning the spark plug. If the tip of your spark plug is broken or seems to be particularly dark in color, you need to replace it with a new one.

Your spark plug must have the appropriate gapping according to the manufacturer’s regulations, which may be found in the owner’s handbook for your vehicle. An improperly gapped spark plug or a spark plug wire that is not securely fastened may both contribute to starting difficulties in an engine.

10. A Craftsmen Generator with an Incorrectly Maintained Engine Oil Level

In the event that the engine oil is not at the appropriate level, the generator will refuse to start. A sensor in the generator may detect whether there is insufficient engine oil in the vehicle.

In order to preserve the engine from damage caused by low oil levels, the sensor will turn off the engine and make it impossible for it to start.

SOLUTION: To begin checking the amount of engine oil, position the generator so that it is flat and level on a surface. To drain the oil from the engine, first remove the oil fill cap and then use a clean cloth to wipe the dipstick clean.

Place the dipstick back into the oil-fill tube, but do not screw the cover back onto the tube. Take it off, and then examine the oil level shown on the dipstick. Check to see if it is within the acceptable range on the dipstick.

If the engine oil level is not at the proper level, adjust it by taking some oil out of the engine or putting some oil back into the engine until it is at the correct level.

If you check the engine oil level and discover that it is at the right level, but the low oil sensor continues to light up, you may have a malfunctioning sensor. It is in everyone’s best interest to get the generator fixed at an authorized service location.

11. Incorrect Choke Setting on a Craftsmen Generator Due to a Defective Choke Dial or Switch

There is a possibility that the OFF-RUN-CHOKE dial on Craftsman models when it is included is broken and does not perform as intended. If the faulty dial on a generator is preventing the choke from being adjusted when the generator is moved between the CHOKE and RUN positions, the generator will not start.

Some variants of the Craftsman may come equipped with a choke lever, which is used to prime a cold engine before starting it. When the engine has reached operating temperature, the choke should be moved to the “off” position so that the engine may receive air and continue to operate.


Take the generator to a service facility if the dial is in the right positions but it still will not start. The technicians there will be able to establish whether the problem is with the dial itself or with another component, such as a choke that is stuck in place.

Before turning on your generator, if it has a manual choke lever, you need to check that it is in the correct position and that it is fully engaged.

12. Problems with the Recoil Start on a Manual Craftsmen Generator

As the starting recoil becomes worn or when elements of the starter recoil break, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to start the generator. Your starting issues might be caused by the rope on the recoil being unstrung, the pulley breaking, the springs breaking, or the clips breaking.


On times, restringing the recoil is the only thing that is necessary to get the job done. On other times, you may be required to repair or replace components of your recoil system that have sustained damage. You should receive an estimate for a total recoil replacement before you start switching out components.

It is feasible that purchasing a whole new Craftsman recoil assembly would be the most cost-effective solution, as opposed to dismantling the existing one, looking for broken components, and then replacing those components.

13. A Craftsmen Generator with a Defective Ignition Switch (Electric Start)

It is conceivable for the switch on a generator that is fitted with an electric start to become faulty, which would prevent the generator from being started. This would be the case if the generator was equipped with an electric start. In the event that the electric start is unable to function correctly, you will need to use the manual recoil to start the generator until the problem can be fixed. In the event that the electric start is unable to operate properly, you will need to use the manual recoil.

SOLUTION: Making use of a multimeter, one should do checks on the switch, and if necessary, one should replace it.

14. An issue with the Craftsman generator’s battery (Electric Start)

Check to see that the battery is fully charged. You may try charging the battery even though it has a low charge if it is available to you. If it is unable to maintain its charge, you should get a replacement battery for it as soon as possible.

Be sure that you have proper continuity and that you are making good connections by checking the cables and the wiring.

SOLUTION: If the battery’s voltage is low, give it a charge; otherwise, check its strength. Whether it’s completely dead or just won’t retain a charge, a battery has to be replaced.

15. A Craftsmen Generator with a Malfunctioning Starter Solenoid (Electric Start)

When you try to start your generator and push the button on the ignition switch or turn the key (depending on your model), you may hear a clicking or buzzing sound. But, your generator will not start. On the other hand, you can discover that the wiring is growing hot and is starting to smoke.

These are warning signs that the solenoid could be defective. When the internal spring of a starting solenoid becomes brittle or when the copper plate starts to corrode, the solenoid will no longer function properly. Failure of the solenoid might also be caused by an ineffective starter, a faulty battery, or an issue with the ground.


By using a screwdriver or pliers to make a connection between the cable coming from the battery and the cable going to the starter, you may make an effort to circumvent the starter.

Be cautious, since it might potentially produce a spark. If the engine can be started even with the solenoid removed, it is probable that the problem is with the starting solenoid.

When you replace the solenoid, you need to make sure there are no wires hanging loose or a problem with the ground. These are some of the things that might result in the solenoid not functioning properly.

The good news is that the majority of portable Craftsman generators that have an electric start also come equipped with a manual starting lever that can be pulled to get the generator started. If you are able to start the vehicle manually, you may determine that the issue is with the vehicle’s electric start system.