You just bought your first residential standby generator. What do you do now? You shouldn’t just let it sit until the next time the power goes out. There are certain break-in procedures that you can follow to ensure that you get the most use out of your fancy new generator. Your friends at Suncoast Power Solutions want you to know how to properly care for your new toy so you can enjoy it for a lifetime to come.


Why Should I Break in My Generator?

Breaking in a new generator greatly prolongs its lifespan by keeping it in top shape through regular use even when it’s not needed. Just like how a car can die out after sitting in the driveway for months or years at a time, a generator can get clunky and even break if not used for long periods of time.


Keeping the inner parts moving regularly also helps your generator run efficiently. When those inner parts start working for the first time, the act of everything brushing together literally paves the way for lubricant to properly slip its way in and coat the entirety of the generator for smooth sailing.


How do I Break in My Generator?

While you can refer to this guide for a general idea of how you can break in your generator, the truth is each model comes with its own specific set of instructions. In that case, it’s best to refer to your manual or talk to the people who installed it for you. But for the most part, the overall concept is the same for every generator.


Identify the Oil Type

First and foremost, you should find out what type of oil your generator uses. You can find this information in your manual, or again, you can ask the ones who set it up. You may also want to consider using oil conditioner for added protection.


Some models may require you to use petroleum oil during the break-in period before switching to synthetic oil. If you’re lucky, some models already come with break-in oil ready to go in the tank. Or if you’re extra lucky, some generators already come broken-in and no further action is necessary. Always refer to your manual to see what you’re dealing with.


Maintain Oil During Break-in

Fill your generator with oil per the instructions in your manual. More oil is consumed than usual during the break-in period, so it’s important to check the tank frequently and replace the fluid as needed. Changing out the oil will also flush out all of the metal shavings that are created when the parts function for the first time, as well as any other debris that may find its way in.


Test the Engine at Various Power Loads

Let the engine run for as long as the instructions say. For Generac generators, the average break-in time is around 25 hours. The generator needs to run for a while since underuse during the break-in period can cause oil buildup which can, in turn, cause larger problems later on. You may need to run the power at various loads to ensure that the pistons are set in properly.


Check up After Break-in Period

One thing to keep in mind after the break-in period is to avoid running your generator at under 50%. Doing this can cause your pistons to get off track and cause a new mess of issues. Other than that, review this checklist straight out of a Generac manual regarding check-ups after breaking in:

  • Change engine crankcase oil and oil filter
  • Check all cooling system ventilation openings on the vehi­cle
  • Check engine ignition system
  • Inspect the entire electrical system
  • Inspect the engine exhaust system


Who Can I Ask For Help?

If you’re still unsure of how to break in your generator, the friendly experts at Suncoast Power Solutions can lend you a hand! Just give us a call at (813) 829-0037 and we’ll answer any questions you may have.