Generator Maintenance Guide

Refilling a generator with oil

While all the generators we stock are built to last with the highest quality material and attention to detail, good maintenance will ensure your generator is as long-lasting as it should be. While your generator takes care that you get the job done or protect your home against a blackout, you also need to care for your generator – it’s a mutual thing!

Many generators come complete with added smart tech designed to make care as easy and low maintenance as possible, but there are some simple things you should be doing. Read on to find out how best to look after your generator for long-lasting power.

How to Maintain & Take Care of a Generator

Good generator care really starts before you even purchase it. The number one thing that will damage your generator is overloading it, so before purchasing you need to ensure the wattage is high enough to run all your electricals. As you use your generator, keep an eye on the wattage you’re using and always check to see if it can handle a new electrical before you plug it in.

In terms of day-to-day care, a generator is a lot like the fuel tank of your car. Simple things are true for both – make sure you only ever use the right fuel, keep your fuel tank clean and monitor your fuel and oil levels. You also want to consider the surface your generator is on as excessive vibration or movement can damage the mechanics – so consider getting a generator with an anti-vibration frame or making sure it's on a flat, sturdy surface before switching it on.

For portable generators especially, you may also want to empty your tank after every use. In the same way that you don’t want to let your levels get too low, leaving old and residual fuel in the tank can cause gum deposits where the oil sticks to the metal and slowly wears away the tank. Regularly emptying the tank will help prevent this and ensure regular cleaning.

Preventative Maintenance of Generators

One of the easiest preventative care tips for your generator is to always keep it covered when you’re not using it. Dust and dirt may seem harmless, but if your generator gets dirty it can wear down the mechanics and end up clogging the tank. A weatherproof cover is ideal for easy storage as well as protecting your generator against the seasons for a longer life.

Another preventative tip is to always have a refill of fuel with you. Letting your generator run with an empty tank puts unnecessary strain and fiction on it and will bring your work or adventures to an abrupt end, so spare fuel will keep you and your generator going.

Exercising your generator is always a good idea. If you use yours simply in emergencies and luckily haven’t had to use it in a while, it’s good to let it run briefly every couple of months to lubricate the machine and ensure everything is still working perfectly for the moment you do need it.

How Often Should You Change Generator Oil?

In general, you should change your generator oil every 50-200 hours, but this will all depend on your make and model. The more frequently you use your generator, the more you need to change the oil. Similarly, if you use your generator in harsher environments at a higher power level, regular oil changes will help maintain your motor.

Newer, state-of-the-art models may require fewer changes, especially dual fuel models that run cleaner than traditional petrol or diesel models – but you should still regularly change the oil for good maintenance patterns.

Generator Maintenance Tips

Most generator maintenance is common sense stuff, focussing on keeping the generator clean and ensuring you’re not overloading it. But here are the essentials:

  • Never overload your generator and monitor the wattage when plugging in anything new.
  • Always carry backup fuel to stop it from burning out.
  • Regularly change your oil.
  • Empty your fuel tank after usage to avoid gum deposits and using old fuel.
  • Cover your generator when not using it.
  • Exercise your generator if you don’t use it regularly.

Generator Maintenance Timeline

For longer-ranging, more in-depth advice here is a handy maintenance timeline for the best generator care. When using your generator ensure you check off the necessary steps.

Before use:

  • Check the oil level.
  • Clean around the air intake and muffler to remove blockages.
  • For dual-fuel models – check the propane hose for leaks.

After the first 5 hours:

  • Change the oil to break the machine in.

Every 50/100 hours or annually:

  • Change the air filter.
  • Change the oil – especially if you’re operating with heavy loads or in hot environments.
  • Clean and adjust the spark plug.
  • Clean the spark arrestor.
  • Clean the fuel valve filter.

Every 250 hours, or bi-annually:

  • Clean the combustion chamber.
  • Check and adjust the valve clearance.

Every three years:

  • Replace the fuel line.
  • (for dual-fuel models) Replace the LPG hose.