honda generator only runs with choke on

Honda Generator Only Runs With Choke On: Solved!

A choke is important for starting a cold generator. In contrast, if you have to keep the choke on the entire time your generator runs, this is not a normal circumstance.

So, why Honda generator only runs with choke on? 

Honda generators will run with the choke on if it has stale or low fuel, the carburetor is dirty or faulty or there is an air leak in the system. It can also happen due to a clogged main jet, a worn-out gasket, and a bad diaphragm. To fix this issue, refill the fuel tank with fresh fuel, and clean or fix the carburetor. Also, Make sure there is no air leak and the gasket is properly sealed. 

To know the reasons and solutions in detail, keep reading!

Honda Generator Only Runs With Choke On: Reasons & Solutions 

Honda is one of the best generators for tailgate, household, or every other use. But it can still cause problems sometimes.  

Here are all the reasons why the Honda generator only runs on a choke-on. These reasons and solutions are applicable to all Honda generators including eu2000i, 3000, and 1000

Reason 1: Stale Or Low Fuel

When the fuel level of your generator is low or the fuel is stale, your generator only runs on a choke. Because the stale fuel is not entirely combustible. When the oil level is low, the engine doesn’t get enough fuel during combustion. 

So, while the combustion process, to increase the fuel ratio to air, the generator needs the choke to run. Turning on the choke ensures the combustion is getting more fuel than air. 


Check the fuel level on your Honda generator. Turn on the fuel filter cap and check the red-marked upper and lower levels. If the fuel is on the lower level, refuel the tank.

Low Fuel Level

Honda recommends changing the fuel after every 1 year. So, if you haven’t used the generator much and there is still fuel after 1 year, change it.

Reason 2: Dirty Carburetor

The carburetor is responsible for mixing air and fuel in the engine. When the carburetor of your Honda generator is dirty, it can cause too much air to enter the engine. And on top of that, there is not enough fuel for proper combustion. 

As a result, the Honda generator won’t run without a choke. 


You have to clean the carburetor of your Honda generator properly. The cleaning of the carburetor is a long process. You have to remove the air filter, float bowl, and carburetor to clean it properly. Here’s a video that demonstrates the whole process in detail. 

You can also clean the carburetor without removing it. But may not be as efficient as removing the whole thing. 

Reason 3: Clogged Main Jet

When the main jet is clogged, it causes the fuel flow to the carburetor to decrease. It can be clogged due to dirt or debris.


First, find out if the main jet is clogged. If something is restricting the main jet, you will also face the following problem. 

  • Unstable idling
  • Poor high-speed performance
  • The engine bogs down when throttling up

If you are facing these issues, you have to clean the main jet in your Honda generator. For this, take out the main jet like in the following video. 

After that, take a carburetor cleaner with a long straw nozzle and spray it inside the main jet. The dirt and debris should come out from the opposite side of the jet. Wait for a while and let the carburetor dry before you reinstall it.

Clogged Main Jet

Reason 4: Intake Air Leak

If somehow there is an air leak around the intake or carburetor area, it can cause excessive air to mix during combustion. And to keep the air-fuel ratio proper, the generator requires the choke to be on while running. 

If there is an air leak, you will hear a high-pitched hissing sound from your generator engine.


To resolve the air leaking issue in your carburetor, you have to troubleshoot the following things. 

  • Check the float needle beneath your carburetor bowl. If there is any debris between the float needle and the seat, clean them. 
  • If the float needle is deformed or worn out, replace it. 
  • Check the welds for small pinholes. This will only happen if your generator has a brass float. In this case, the float needs to be replaced.

Reason 5: Worn-Out Gaskets

If the gasket that seals the carburetor in place is damaged, it will make the carburetor too loosely mounted. As a result, the carburetor won’t work effectively and there will be a chance of air leaking.


You have to check and replace the gasket to fix this problem. To replace the gasket, you have to remove the carburetor, so it is a long process. The following video might help. 

Reason 6: Faulty Carburetor

When the carburetor of your Honda generator is faulty, it can now properly regulate the air-fuel ratio. As a result, to balance the ratio, the choke needs to be turned on while running the generator. 


Look for the following symptoms to identify if the carburetor of your generator is faulty or not. 

  • Sluggish acceleration
  • Engine power is reduced
  • Black smoke coming out of the exhaustion 
  • Overheated engine
  • Engine backfires
  • The engine is difficult to start

If you notice these symptoms, you need to replace the carburetor of your Honda generator. The following video might help you with the process. 

During the process, inspect the air filter as well. If it’s dirty, replace it too. 

Reason 7: Bad Diaphragm

When the engine diaphragm is faulty, it can not draw enough fuel for combustion. As a result, the generator needs the choke to be on while running. 


You need to replace the engine diaphragm of your Honda generator. It is similar to the diaphragm changing process of Briggs and Stratton, so the following video might help.

Also, for an efficient combustion process, having compatible spark plugs is also important. Because, although from the same brand, RC12YC, VRC14YC and XC12YC are quite different


Here are all the reasons and solutions for the Honda generator only running with choke on issues. I hope you could find out the problem with your generator and solve it. If you are still confused or can diagnose the problem, consult with a professional mechanic.

That’s all for today. Best of luck with your generator. goodbye!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Should The Choke Be On Or Off When Running A Generator?

The choke should be on while starting the generator as while turning on the engine is cold. Once the engine is warm after running for a while, you should turn off the choke. If there is any issue with the fuel or airflow, the generator may need the choke to be turned on while running.  

Does Choke Control Air Or Fuel?

The choke controls the airflow to the carburetor. During combustion, there can be less fuel than air in the mixture for different reasons. To correct the air-fuel ratio, the choke is turned on, it restricts the air to flow to the carburetor and balances the ratio. 

What Happens If The Choke Is Always On?

If the choke is always on, it will keep drawing excessive levels of fuel. Eventually, it will lead the engine to perform poorly and get damaged. You should only keep the choke on only for around 5 minutes after starting the generator. 

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