Basic Generator Maintenance Guide
Don't get left in the dark this storm season

Extreme and unpredictable weather has become an unfortunate part of life. Being prepared ahead of time helps to ensure you won’t be left in the dark should the power go out. Keeping the components of your generator well maintained will make sure it starts when you need it, and helps to keep it running for the long term. Follow along in our video, and continue reading below.

Check the Battery

If you have a larger generator, you likely have a battery assist to get it started. You’ll want to make sure that your battery is fully charged at all times, and that may involve putting it on a battery charger on a regular basis. To verify that your battery is working properly, a simple way to test is by trying to start your generator. If it doesn’t turn over easily or won’t turn over at all, you’ll want to look at the battery. The first thing we’ll inspect is the cables to make sure that they’re tight, with no signs of damage or corrosion. If they seem to be fine, next is to check with a voltmeter to ensure the proper output of voltage. If you aren’t getting the desired reading, the next step is to try charging the battery. If it is not holding a charge, then it will need to be replaced. This is important to do so that your generator does not let you down when you need it the most.

Generator Maintenance: Check the Battery

Check the Engine Oil

After inspecting the battery, the next area we’re going to look at is the engine oil. Most modern generators now have an oil level sensor. If your oil is too low, the generator won’t start. It's important that the oil level is checked to begin with, especially if you use your generator regularly. You should follow the manufacturer's recommendations on how often you should change the oil, but typically it should be done at least once a year.

Generator Maintenance: Check the Oil

Check the Fuel System

Next, we are going to look over the fuel system. With any gasoline generator, it is critical that you do not store fuel in the tank. You should always keep fresh premium-grade fuel on hand, but never store it in the tank. The fuel tank itself should be inspected to make sure it is in good condition, and that there is no sediment on the bottom. If your model doesn’t have an inline fuel filter, it probably has a filter that fits into the opening, which you’ll want to remove and inspect. With that out of the way, check the inside of the tank for any signs of corrosion. The next area to inspect is the fuel lines going to the carburetor. Ensure that they are in good shape – they aren’t cracked or corroded or leaking. If you see any indication of these, you’ll want to replace the lines.

Generator Maintenance: Check the Fuel System

Check the Air Filter

The air filter protects the engine from dirt and debris, so it is important to ensure that your filter is inspected and cleaned regularly. If the filter needs cleaning, it can simply be washed with warm soapy water, rinsed well, and left to dry. The foam style of filter needs to be saturated with clean engine oil and any excess wrung out before being reinstalled. If the filter is damaged, it will need to be replaced.

Generator Maintenance: Check the Air Filter

Check the Recoil Starter

The next step is to check the recoil started. The cord will need to be inspected to make sure it’s not frayed or damaged, and to make sure the knot at the end is secure. If there is any damage to the cord it will need to be removed from the starter and replaced.

Generator Maintenance: Check the Recoil Starter

Check the Spark Plug

The last thing on the engine to look at is the spark plug. First, locate the spark plug wire and pull that off the end of the plug. The cap will need to be inspected for any signs of corrosion. If there is any, it will have to be serviced. Then inspect the spark plug itself for excessive wear or corrosion, and if there is any it will need to be replaced.

Generator Maintenance: Check the Spark Plug

Check the Electrical Connections

With all the main components of the engine looked over, next is to inspect the electrical connections. Once again, look for any signs of corrosion in the connections going to the fuel solenoid and the starter. They will either need to be repaired or replaced if damaged.

Generator Maintenance: Check Electrical and Test the Generator

Test the Generator

Before finishing up, add a bit of fuel to the generator and start it up to make sure it is running smoothly. Plug something into one of the outlets to verify it’s working fine. Then it can be shut down, the fuel drained, and stored until needed.

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