Starting Your Diesel Generator In Cold Weather. 8 Useful Tips

Starting Your Diesel Generator In Cold Weather. 8 Useful Tips
  1. Replacing/Changing The Oil:

Due to extremely cold weather conditions, the thickness (viscosity index) of the lubricating oil may change, and this increase in oil thickness can lead to resistance from the internal parts of the generator during starting. Even a diesel generator in mint condition is thrice as likely to suffer from starting issues when exposed to temperature of 0 degrees Celsius or below.

As a result, replacing the oil might just do the trick, since a fresh lubricating fluid with perfect chemical grade and thickness is just the thing that can kick-off the bearings back into life.

  1. Installing Another Generator Battery:

If the generator during starting gives an absolute dead response, i.e., no response at all as if it were turned off, then perhaps your first battery has run its course. That’s an easy issue to deal with provided you have a second battery lying around. When the atmospheric temperature drops too low, so does the capacity of the battery to hold its charge, since the chemical composition and the balance of compound within the battery might alter.

Also, make sure that the secondary/spare battery you have is kept at 100% charge so that it may be ready to use right then and there, or else you might have to wait for the secondary battery to reach its maximum charge capacity.

  1. Insert Fuel Additives To The Generator:

If you have a gas or service station near your area, it’s more than likely that they keep a winter blend diesel fuel additive at their place. Waste no time in buying one for your Genset and introduce that fuel additive into the engine during chilly weather conditions. To determine the fuel quality at lower temperatures you may carry out the pour test, and if the diesel fuel doesn’t meet the required standards, then you may feel free to add these fuel additives but only above the Cold Filter Plugging Point (CFPP).

Make sure that you don’t add fuel additives to the winterized diesel fuel, and wait until the CFPP is reached.

  1. Properly Storing Your Diesel Fuel and Generator:

While the suggestion of storing your diesel generator and fuel at a warmer place might seem like the biggest no brainer kind of statement, yet it’s crucial to remember that even a few degrees Celsius of difference can make a huge difference.

With that said, keep your diesel and the generator set at a comparatively warmer place than where it currently rests. For that, you must store your Genset in your garage, or sheds (if you can) or any other confined space where the overall temperature is generally a bit higher than the surroundings.

  1. Keep the Generator Engine Running Before Putting Load:

During cold weather, it’s rather smart to keep the engine running at zero loads for around 5-10 minutes, so as to gradually warm it up for action. During the winter season, the internal parts of the machinery are likely to suffer more stress even under similar load conditions, and as a result, some key internal elements (such as crankshaft, bearings, connecting rod, etc) might get damaged.

Just like with the human body, letting the engine get warm first before any major action during winters is rather advisable, as it diminishes the chances of starting issues by preventing internal damage.

  1. Turn Off Excessive Equipment:

Sometimes during adverse conditions it’s better you get your priorities straight, and so it’s time to make the hard choices when you are facing starting issues with your generator during a frosty season. Now, you can consume only so much battery charge on a cold night before even the dependable generator gives in to the bone-chilling weather.

So, it’s time to turn off your iPod charger so that you may instead continue to use your room heater for a longer period. Similarly, while the music speakers might keep your spirits up, replacing it with your phone charger might come in handy during a critical situation.

  1. Use Glow Plugs:

Glow plugs under most circumstances will rive up any diesel generator on a cold day and are most efficient than most other starting methods. Via Glow plugs the internal combustion chamber of the Genset heats up to a sufficient degree and then the engine can be brought back to life as if it were erupting on a tropical day.

Also, you can introduce block heaters as well so as to bring the internal temperature of the engine up by a few degrees, which is really all you need to start the generator in no time.

  1. Inspect The Engine For Debris/Leaks:

It’s possible that the biggest of problems are a consequence of some really basic negligence. If your diesel generator shows no sign of internal damage and yet doesn’t start, perhaps the solution lies in taking a round of your Genset and checking it for possible leaks and dust/dirt and debris. Your generator won’t fire up if it’s akin to a garbage can from the inside.

To prevent such a situation, scheduled maintenance of the generator, that too from a professional is an absolute must. You must leave the DIY tasks to something other than generator servicing.


Consider diesel generators as similar to any human being. Proper upkeep of the body is a surefire gateway towards longevity and efficient performance for years to come.

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