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How to Break in Your New Generator

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A generator can provide the electricity needed by anyone, whether they are a homeowner seeking backup power during power outages, a camper seeking to power their RV, or a professional seeking power tools on a building site. 

It doesn't matter if you're a professional, a camper, or a homeowner; this holds true. Proper care and cleaning will extend the life of your generator and ensure that it continues to function consistently and efficiently for years to come.

Among the most crucial things to do before you start using your generator is something called "breaking it in." A well-broken-in generator won't just perform better and be more reliable; it'll also endure for a lot longer. 

In this article, we will walk you through the process of breaking in your new generator so that you can get the most out of it and avoid any costly mistakes.

Before we begin, it is important to remember that each generator is unique in its own ways. 

When in doubt, refer to the generator's user handbook for advice. 

So, let's get this party rolling, shall we? 

Why you should break in a generator

Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment 12500 Peak Watt Dual Fuel Home Backup Portable Generator, Remote Electric Start, Transfer Switch Ready, Gas and Propane Powered, CARB Compliant

Any device that can transform mechanical energy into electrical energy is technically a generator.

When electricity is not readily available, such as on a construction site or during a camping trip, people often resort to portable generators to power electronics like air conditioners. 

In order for a generator to work properly when put to use for the first time, it must go through its "breaking in" period first. This approach aids in the removal of carbon buildup or minute metal particles that may have accumulated during transport or storage.

In order to ensure that all of the metal flakes and fragments are dispersed uniformly, it is required to break in a new generator.

Also if you've never used a generator before, this will help you get acquainted with basic maintenance tasks like adding oil and checking the voltage.

How to Break in Your New Generator

Honda 664280 EU7000ISNAN 120V/240V 7000-Watt 389cc 5.1 Gallon Inverter Generator with Co-Minder

The entire process does require a total of three hours to finish. However, there is no need for alarm because starting the engine is not very difficult. If you've been in this position previously, that's fantastic. In the event that this is not the case, carefully follow these important steps to break in your brand new generator.

Invest in premium grades of fuel and oil

Get some gasoline or whatever fuel the generator takes. 

Purchase the type of engine oil that is recommended by the manufacturer of the generator. 

If you bought your generator through an online retailer, you can call the customer support number shown on the website to find out which oil brands are recommended by the company that made your generator.

Because they make it simpler for oil to attach to engine cylinders, oil conditioners are a product that you should also look into purchasing. Even if you don't use your generator for a lengthy period of time, doing this will ensure that the engine stays well-greased.

It is possible to avoid dry starts by using the oil conditioner. When it comes to folks who are doing this for the first time, especially with brand new engines, a dry start is one of the most common causes of damage that can occur.


XADO Engine Oil Additive - Protection For Engines - Additive For Wear Protection & Rebuilding Of Worn Metal Surfaces - Metal Conditioner With Revitalizant 1 Stage Maximum (Up To 5qt Of Oil Capacity)

If you want to avoid starting the engine dry, the cylinders need to be oiled first. Spark plug removal is the first thing you need to do.

Following this step, use a funnel to introduce a trace amount of oil conditioner into the chamber containing the spark plug. Before pulling the wire for the generator's starter, you may be sure that the cylinders of the engine have been suitably lubricated if you follow these steps first.

It is important to keep in mind that you SHOULD NOT pull on the starter cord if you have not yet poured the oil conditioner. 

After putting in a tiny bit of oil conditioner, the subsequent step is to VERY SLOWLY pull on the starter cord. It is recommended that this be done about ten times. This makes it possible for the piston in the lubricated cylinder to move up and down. After that, the spark plug can be put back into place.

Now it's time for the engine oil

Generac 5-Pack Full Synthetic Motor Oil 5W-30 SN Quart Bottle Part# 0J5140

Using a funnel, measure out the exact quantity of engine oil that has to go into your generator. If you placed your order online, you should call the customer service department of the manufacturer or review the user's handbook in advance to determine the appropriate amount of oil to apply.

Add fuel

After that, the gas container for the generator needs to be filled. Anytime you can, use high-octane fuel, do so.

After you have ensured that there is sufficient fuel in the gasoline generator, you can then switch it on. It is important to keep in mind that it is normal for the generator to require some additional time to begin operating after the first or second pull of the cord. Simply keep trying until the automobile starts working properly.


Start your generator and let it run for one hour. Choose the setting that provides the slowest speed. For example I recommend economy mode.  Your generator shouldn't have anything attached to it just yet, just let it run idly. 

It is imperative that you do not neglect to operate the engine for a full sixty minutes with no load at all.

New oil change

After an hour, you should turn off the generator. First, the oil should be drained and then replaced. It is essential to change the oil since doing so removes any microscopic shards of metal that may have become dislodged during the first hour of the machine's operation.

It is important to keep in mind that removing these fragments from the engine of your generator is essential in order to prevent serious harm from occurring. When the old oil has been entirely used, you should replace it with new motor oil and add a little bit of oil conditioner.

Turn the engine back on

Allow the engine to continue running for another hour. Absolutely nothing ought to be plugged into the generator. Just let it continue to run without any load for another hour.

Another replacement of the oil

After the next hour of operation, the generator should be turned off again, and another oil change should be performed. This might seem like overkill but it is very important. You will now notice that the oil coming out of the engine is cleaner than it was before. The amount of metal fragments that can be seen should be reduced.

After all of the oil has been removed, you should not forget to apply a tiny bit of oil conditioner when you put the new freshly purchased engine oil into the funnel.

Last run

This is the third run through, so just like before, start your generator. For this last hour's run, you can load the generator with between 500W and 1000W, and you should leave it running for the full hour.

More considerations

Sea Foam SF128 Motor Treatment, 1 Gallon

Sea Foam Motor Treatment is an option to explore if you reside in a region where it is difficult to find gasoline that does not include any ethanol.

This serves multiple purposes, including cleaning and stabilizing the fuel.

To maximize the effects of the addition, it is suggested that you use between 1 and 2 ounces per gallon of fuel.

Using a solution like Sea Foam helps reduce the risk of harm that ethanol brings to the generator's parts.

Even though the first few hours of running time are crucial, regular maintenance on the generator should be a priority at all times.

Follow the manufacturer's and the manual's recommended maintenance schedules at all times.

It's easy to put off doing regular maintenance, much like with a car, even though you know it's important.

Portable generators, on the other hand, often require minimal attention and time for upkeep. 

Why is it critical that you perform regular maintenance on your generator?

Maintaining a high level of functionality for your generator through regular upkeep is crucial. You can count on a well-maintained generator to fire up and keep running smoothly whenever you need it. It also has a lower failure rate, which is especially useful for backup power sources.

Further, the lifespan of your generator can be extended by preventative maintenance. If you make sure the generator is in good shape, you won't have to worry about any malfunctions that could lead to expensive repairs.

Having your generator maintained could improve its performance. Regular preventative maintenance will keep the engine in top shape and clean all of its moving parts.

This could help guarantee that your generator is ready to supply power whenever you need it.

If you want to make sure your generator is ready to power your house or company in the case of an electrical power outage, it's important to keep up with basic maintenance.

Approximately how long should I wait before having it serviced?

Generac Generator 14kW - 17kW SM Maintenance Kit - Evolution Series 0J932200SM

As with any other mechanical device, regular maintenance is essential to ensuring that your generator continues to perform effectively and lasts for a long period.

However, as a general rule, maintenance should be done every six months to a year, or after 500 operating hours, whichever comes first. The manufacturer and model of your generator are key factors in establishing the intervals between servicing.

After 100 to 150 hours of use, the spark plugs in a portable generator should be swapped out.

By doing so, you can help guarantee that everything is in fine functioning order and that no dust or debris has settled on any of the parts or in any of the areas where they could be located.

The frequency of generator maintenance may need to be increased, though, if you happen to reside in a region that frequently suffers severe weather.


In conclusion, a new generator requires adequate "breaking in" before it can function reliably and effectively for many years after it has been purchased.

By ensuring that all of the generator's internal parts are appropriately maintained and that all of the engine parts are worn down during the breaking-in process, performance and longevity are increased. By adhering to the guidelines provided in this article, you can ensure that your new generator is ready for use and will last for years to come.

You can keep your generator in top shape by doing things like reading the owner's manual, adding oil and fuel, starting with a modest load and gradually increasing it, performing routine maintenance, etc.

The documentation that comes with your generator is your best source for the detailed instructions and recommendations it requires to function properly.

Keep in mind that maintaining your generator on a regular basis is essential to ensuring its long life and optimal performance. This is another crucial consideration. This entails the usual servicing procedures, such as cleaning the air filter, replacing the spark plugs, and altering the oil.

Furthermore, you should make sure the generator is working properly and monitor the oil and fuel levels. Check the owner's manual or get in touch with the manufacturer if the generator is giving you trouble or won't start.

Last but not least, by following these guidelines and doing the necessary maintenance, you may extend the life of your new generator and keep it running smoothly and efficiently for many years to come.

Use caution at all times, and if you want the greatest results, be sure to read and follow the manual's guidelines. I hope you have success in your energy production!

About Tom Bell

Hey, I’m Tom, the owner of Generator Reviews! I built this website to help you get the very most out of your generator and select the correct one for your personal circumstances. This site contains reviews of virtually every generator, detailed buying guides, as well as maintenance advice to help you keep yours in tip-top shape!


Generator.Reviews is an independent review business. I am not affiliated with any manufacturers and do not accept paid reviews. When you buy through my links, I may earn a commission which helps me to maintain this website and keep the reviews coming your way!

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