15 Causes Your RYOBI Generator Won’t Start and How to Fix Them

In the event of a power outage or other emergency, a generator is often brought into action. Let me see if I can help you figure out what the problem is with starting the generator so it can start supplying the necessary energy.

A RYOBI generator won’t turn over if the carburetor is dirty, the fuel filter is clogged, the fuel tank vent is clogged, the spark plug is bad, the air filter is clogged, the throttle is set wrong, there isn’t enough engine oil, or the gasoline is old.

On RYOBI generators that use an electric start, check for a malfunctioning starter solenoid, low battery, or malfunctioning ignition switch.

If the preceding explanations haven’t solved your starting issues, read on. If you need to make repairs to the engine, you should always turn off the engine and wait until the spark plug boot is removed.

If your RYOBI generator won’t start, check these 15 things:

  • Tank is empty
  • Used fuel
  • The Fuel Filter is Clogged
  • Substandard fuel delivery due to clogged fuel line
  • Broken carburetor
  • Air filter obstruction
  • An obstruction in the fuel tank’s ventilation system
  • Spark arrestor with a plug
  • Lack of spark
  • Subpar levels of oil in the engine
  • An incorrectly adjusted choke
  • Due to a faulty recoil starter,
  • Lackluster power source (electric start)
  • Ignition switch failure (electric start)
  • Faulty solenoid that initiates the engine (electric start)

ryobi generator

Possible Causes of Your RYOBI Generator Not Turning On

RYOBI Generator With an Empty Fuel Tank

Why should I bother mentioning the obvious, that a RYOBI generator powered by gasoline needs gasoline to operate? When you’re feeling frustrated, it’s tempting to skip over the obvious, commonsense steps.

If the generator starts leaking gasoline, it could be burning through more of it than usual. You could have forgotten the last time you refueled, or the fuel gauge could be broken.

A fuel leak or faulty fuel gauge could be the cause of this problem. Take care of broken pieces. Refill the gas tank with new gas.

Ryobi Power Equipment Damage Caused by Old or Corroded Fuel

A lot of people don’t know that gas loses some of its effectiveness after only 30 days. Ethanol not only begins to degrade, but it also causes the fuel system to get corroded by attracting moisture.

Ethanol, which is typically produced from maize or another high-starch plant, is a renewable alternative fuel that is gentle on the environment.

varnish and sticky deposits caused by ethanol and the moisture it attracts can lead to component breakdowns and fuel limits.

Some advice on where to buy and how to keep gas for a RYOBI generator:

  • Get some new gas with at least an 87 octane rating (91 RON).
  • Gasoline with an ethanol percentage more than 10% is unsafe to use. For optimal performance, use fuel with no or very little ethanol.
  • All gasoline must be used within 30 days.
  • If you want your gas to last longer without going bad, add a fuel stabilizer to it.
  • Keep gasoline in a certified fuel container, far from anything that could catch fire.

The problem can be fixed by purging the generator of any stale fuel. For this purpose, a fuel siphon pump is ideal. Add a fuel additive to a can of new gas. Put this in the gas tank as fuel.

Turn it on and let it run for around 10 minutes to let the mixture circulate through the engine’s fuel system.

Sea Foam Motor Treatment is a product I find useful. Each time I fill up with gas, I add this product to mitigate any problems caused by ethanol.

In addition to extending the gas’s shelf life, it helps maintain the fuel system clean and dry by removing moisture. STA-BIL is an other viable choice.

***NOTE: A RYOBI generator powered by a 2-cycle engine requires a fuel tank mixture of gas and oil. To avoid damaging your 2-cycle engine, NEVER use regular gas.

RYOBI Generator with Clogged Fuel Filter

It sounds like the generator’s fuel filter needs to be checked. It is important to have this filter set up so that dirt doesn’t get sucked into the fuel system and eventually wear out the engine.

If the filter isn’t changed regularly, it might get so dirty and blocked with deposits that it prevents a sufficient amount of fuel from getting through. The generator won’t start up because of a lack of gasoline.

In general, I advise annual replacement of the gasoline filter for most homeowners. If you frequently use the RYOBI generator, you might need to replace it sooner.

One WAY TO FIX THIS is to get a new RYOBI gasoline filter to put in place of the old one.

Generac RYOBI Fuel Line Clogged Up

Old fuel can leave behind sticky deposits that can clog fuel lines, resulting in a lower fuel supply to the carburetor. Turn off and on the fuel supply to the engine so that you may inspect the fuel output.

After the fuel has been turned off, the end of the fuel line farthest from the tank should be disconnected and stored in a separate container. Turn on the fuel and observe how much flows through the line and into the storage tank.

Remember that fuel can’t flow uphill without a pump, so set the container lower than the fuel tank.

If a blockage is found in the fuel line, the problem can be solved by disconnecting the line from the generator and stopping the fuel flow. To remove the obstruction, spray carburetor cleaning and then use compressed air to blow through the line.

The fuel line should be replaced with a new one of the same diameter and length if the restriction cannot be removed or if the line is dry or broken.

RYOBI Generator with a Faulty Carburetor

The generator’s carburetor controls the ratio of fuel to air during combustion. Inadequate gas supply from the carburetor is a common cause of engine failure due to a failure to start.

An obstruction in the fuel jet or frozen internal parts caused by old fuel can render the engine inoperable. To get the carburetor functional again, it will need to be cleaned and any broken parts replaced.

Be sure the carburetor is getting enough fuel before you start dismantling it to clean it. If you aren’t, perhaps the fuel filter, fuel line, or fuel pump is restricting fuel flow (if your generator uses one).

Following the elimination of all other potential causes of the fuel restriction, the carburetor must be removed and cleaned thoroughly.

Although I’ve read in a few places that you can clean it in place, I’ve found that disassembling it and removing as much residue as possible is the only way to ensure a thorough cleaning.

It’s a good idea to photograph the process as you disassemble it so that you can use the images for putting the parts back together.

Check the float, float needle, and fuel jet in the carburetor to ensure they are clean and in working order. Find a carburetor rebuild kit or a new carburetor to replace any worn or broken components.

RYOBI Generator with a Clogged Air Filter

By screening incoming air, the air filter prevents dirt and debris from damaging the engine by being sucked into the engine during the combustion process.

Air filters need to be cleaned or replaced on a regular basis to prevent buildup that reduces the amount of air available for burning by gas.

If you are using the RYOBI generator in dusty conditions, you should replace the air filter more frequently than once a year. The filter needs to be checked and cleaned on a regular basis in between replacements.

The engine may refuse to turn over if the air filter has grown so clogged with dirt that it has not been cleaned in a long time. Overheating due to a blocked filter can ruin an engine even if it starts.

SOLUTION: If the RYOBI air filter appears to be very dusty or damaged, a replacement filter should be purchased. If it’s not too filthy but still usable, give it a quick wash and put it back into circulation.

It is recommended that you consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to clean your RYOBI air filter, as different generator models employ different air filter types.

Plugged RYOBI Generator Fuel Tank Vent

There should be a hole in the gasoline tank’s lid for air circulation. The fuel tank vent on RYOBI generators is either integrated into the fuel cap or comes as a separate accessory that must be placed atop the tank. The cap is now permeable to air.

When fuel is being added to the tank, air must be allowed to escape. When fuel is used up, the tank’s internal air pressure needs to remain constant by being replaced by air from the surrounding environment.

It is possible for a vacuum to create in the gas tank if the vent on the gas cap is blocked. Your generator won’t start because fuel can’t reach the carburetor.

Use a pressure gauge to detect suction buildup in the fuel tank and see if that explains your starting issue.

In the absence of a pressure gauge, it may be possible to start the generator by first releasing some of the pressure by removing the cap.

If, after tightening the gas cap and letting the engine run for a while, it suddenly shuts off again, the cap may be at fault. Repairing the gasoline tank vent is not an option; replace it immediately.

Spark Arrestor in a RYOBI Generator with a Plug

The RYOBI muffler features a spark arrestor screen to contain any stray sparks or embers that may escape the muffler’s confines. This safety screen is mandatory for fire and injury prevention.

The generator will have trouble starting and running if the exhaust becomes clogged.

Take off the muffler’s spark arrestor screen. Check for holes or tears in the screen and make sure it’s in good working order. When this happens, a new display must be installed.

If it’s in good shape, you can remove carbon deposits by cleaning it with a commercial solvent or brushing it softly with a small metal brush. When finished, replace the screen.

RYOBI generator with a faulty spark plug

Dirty spark plugs, those with cracked porcelain or burned electrodes, and those with any other kind of damage can all cause ignition problems. A RYOBI generator will not start up in this condition.

Cleaning the spark plug helps get rid of the deposits on the electrode. You should get a new spark plug if the tip of your current one is damaged or looks particularly black.

The spark plug gap should be adjusted in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations contained in the user handbook. An improperly gapped spark plug or a disconnected spark plug wire can prevent the engine from starting.

Inadequate Engine Oil in a RYOBI Generator

When the engine oil level becomes too low, some RYOBI generators will automatically turn off. This is done to prevent major engine damage that could result from operating the vehicle with insufficient oil.

Lacking a low engine oil sensor, your generator may be damaged to the point where it will no longer start.

The smooth operation of an engine depends on the lubrication provided by oil. Too little oil in the crankcase causes the oil to thicken, which in turn causes friction and heat.

The solution is to put the generator on a flat, level surface and check the oil level. To get rid of oil, take off the oil fill cap and wipe the dipstick down with a dry cloth.

The dipstick should be reinserted into the oil fill tube, but the lid should be left off. To check the oil level, pull it out and examine the dipstick. Make sure it’s within the full range of the dipstick.

If it isn’t, add or take away some oil to get it to the right level.

If you check your engine oil and find it to be at the proper level, but the low oil sensor continues to light up, you may have a defective sensor. It is recommended that the generator be taken to a service shop for maintenance.

Your RYOBI generator’s engine could be damaged if you discover the oil is low, try to start it after filling it, and then realize the low oil sensor is broken or doesn’t work.

Take it to a shop that specializes in fixing tiny engines so the problem may be properly identified.

RYOBI Generator Choke Not Working

RYOBI generators include a choke that must be used to limit airflow before the cold engine will turn over and start.

The choke lever needs to be moved out of the way once the engine has reached operating temperature so that enough air can flow into the carburetor throat to keep the engine running.

If you have the choke set properly but are still having airflow issues, you should inspect the linkage to ensure it is moving freely and closing and opening properly.

When starting an engine from either a cold or warm state, the choke lever must be in the “on” position. If the choke is stuck, you can apply carburetor cleaner to get it moving freely again.

Ineffective Recoil on a RYOBI Generator with a Handle

When the generator’s starter recoil wears down or pieces of the recoil break, starting the generator might be difficult, if not impossible. Having trouble getting started? It could be because the recoil’s rope has gotten unstrung or because the pulley, springs, or clips have broken.

To fix this, try restringing the recoil. Repairing your recoil occasionally necessitates purchasing and installing new components. Recoil replacement costs should be estimated before individual pieces are replaced.

It may be cheaper to buy a new recoil assembly than to disassemble and fix the one you have.

Exhausted RYOBI Power Equipment Due to a Dead Battery (Electric Start)

Verify that the battery has been charged. You can try charging the battery if it’s low on juice. To fix a battery that won’t stay charged, you need to buy a new one.

Make sure all of the cables and wires are connected properly and that there is good continuity between them.

In this case, the solution is to check the battery’s voltage and charge it if it is low. If your battery isn’t holding a charge or has died, you should replace it.

Incorrect Ignition Switch on a RYOBI Generator (Electric Start)

An electric-start generator’s switch may fail, rendering the unit inoperable.

The solution is to use a multimeter to check the switch, and if it fails, to replace it.

Solenoid Problem with a RYOBI Generator (Electric Start)

If your generator won’t start when you press the button or turn the key (depending on the type), you may hear a clicking or humming noise. The wiring could also be overheating and smoking.

These symptoms point to a damaged solenoid. When the copper plate within the starter solenoid corrodes or the spring inside becomes too weak, the solenoid fails to do its job. The solenoid could have failed due to a poor starter, a dead battery, or an unstable ground.

It is possible to bypass the starter by connecting the battery cable directly to the starter cable with a screwdriver or pliers. Caution is advised, since it could potentially cause a spark.

Bypassing the solenoid to see if the engine will turn over is a good indicator of whether or not the solenoid is broken.

Before you go ahead and replace the solenoid, be sure there are no dangling wires or a lack of ground. These are all potential factors in a solenoid failing to function properly.

Most RYOBI portable generators with an electric start also come with a manual starter recoil, so you can easily pull it to get it going. If you can get it going by hand, you know the issue is with the electric starter.