How to Bypass Low Oil Sensor on Generator

Why does an oil sensor shut off even when there is fuel in there?

The low oil sensor and automatic shutdown is an excellent feature of many generators. It shuts down the machine if the fuel gets low so that the generator does not overwork itself and risks causing severe damage to the generator and anything running on there. 

As helpful, and indeed, necessary, as it is, there are times where it might be necessary to bypass this sensor. It is possible that sometimes the sensor might be actioned when there is enough fuel in your generator.

For example, a defective switch may persistently show that there is no oil when you know that you have only just refueled. It can get stuck on and not allow the generator to start up at all. The shutoff sensor can sometimes stick to the bottom of the crankcase.

This means that the sensor will read ‘low oil’ and refuse to start up. This can cause huge issues in times of emergency where you need a backup generator to kick in immediately.  

In this article, we are going to be telling you exactly how to safely bypass the low oil sensor on your generator to ensure that it doesn’t shut down unnecessarily. 

How to bypass low oil sensor on generator

Before we begin…. 

Before we tell you how to bypass your low oil sensor on your generator, we want to make it clear that this should only be done in circumstances where the sensor is being triggered unnecessarily.

Machinery does fail sometimes, and having a defective low oil sensor can certainly happen. You should not use this as a way to make your generator run constantly. 

If you have found that any part of your generator is faulty or defective, we would suggest calling up the manufacturer directly before proceeding with our tips. This is to ensure that the manufacturer is made aware.

They may also have tips for you regarding the issue, or may even suggest that the generator needs to be returned. You should always read the owner’s manual and follow any instructions on there first. However, we know that sometimes it will be a matter of urgency.

You may not have time for a lengthy call to a manufacturer. In this case, follow our safety instructions before proceeding with our bypassing guidelines. 

Safety instructions 

  • In order to reduce the risk of injury when bypassing the low oil sensor, you should first ensure that the generator is turned off. To not attempt to do anything whilst it is still running or when the power is on. 
  • Beware of any moving parts. If the generator is in use or has only just been turned off, parts of the engine may still be moving. It is best to wait for 5 or 10 minutes after killing the power before touching anything.
  • In the same vein, you should also ensure that the generator has had a chance to cool down if it has been in use. Parts of the generator will likely be hot enough to burn you. 
  • Remember that the fuel inside is likely to be very flammable, especially if it is gasoline or propane. Ensure no cigarettes, electrical sparks, and open flames are near the fuel and any part of the engine that has touched the fuel.

Bypassing low oil sensor on generator: a step by step guide 

If you are experiencing problems such as those we have detailed in this article with a generator that has stopped running because the oil sensor has registered ‘low’ oil when there is a full tank, then a temporary fix should be sought.

Sometimes the sensor could be stuck at the bottom of the tank, directly touching the surface rather than measuring the oil in there. When this happens, you can temporarily disconnect your sensor and start the engine up. We have a step by step guide below telling you how to do this safely:

  1. First, ensure you have read the safety instructions above and follow them exactly. Then you should locate the low oil pressure switch. On here you should find a wire. 
  2. The wire can be removed from the switch easily. Tape the wire so that it cannot touch the ground. 
  3. With this wire removed, the switch can not be activated to disable the ignition. You will be able to start up the generator without the low oil sensor switch stopping it. 
  4. When the generator has started, the oil will get warmer and the viscosity will change, causing the previously stuck sensor at the bottom of the crankcase to come unstuck. 
  5. When you are sure the sensor is unstuck it is vital that you reattach the wire onto the switch for future use. 

If you find that the problem still continues after following this step, then it may be that the low oil sensor or switch is faulty and may need replacing completely. We advise getting in touch with the manufacturer for advice on this.

Alternatively, you can look on the website or in the store where you bought your generator and see if they sell replacement equipment. It is vital that you get the problem fixed or else you risk damaging the generator and anything that is running on it. 

Final word 

If your generator is showing ‘low oil’ and refusing to start up even though you know it is full of fuel, then there are certain steps that you can take to bypass this, overriding the sensor to get the generator running again.

This may fix the problem completely, but sometimes it may be necessary to seek further help and perhaps replacement parts if needed.

Remember, if you are unsure you should always consult a professional, either through the manufacturer or an engineer that is familiar with the workings of generators. 

Always follow the safety instructions set out in your owner’s manual, and practice the safety precautions listed in our article. We hope this has proved helpful and you now know how to bypass a low oil sensor on a generator. 


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