Breaking in a generator prolongs the life of the engine and its components, ensuring it gives optimum performance. As a generator is often used as a backup in the case of a power failure, the breaking in process must occur first so that the equipment can spring into action when needed. Once you have selected a portable generator for sale and taken delivery, it must go through the break in process before use. What you do to the generator within its first few hours with you will have a major impact on how long it lasts and how well it works in the long term.
What does it mean to ‘break in’ a generator?
Instructions for breaking in a generator will be included in the operator guide of each portable generator for sale. Essentially, breaking in a generator means you make sure that pistons and rings in the engine make grooves in the walls of the generator’s chamber. Oil can then lubricate these components when the generator is in use and creates a seal which prevents by-products from getting into the chamber and causing problems. The process usually involves an ongoing cycle of letting the generator run and changing the oil. During the first operations of a new generator, tiny fragments of metal may break off and move around the engine. Changing the oil frequently will remove these, preventing them from causing irreparable internal wear and tear to the engine.
Five steps for breaking in a generator
Following these five simple steps should ensure your new generator will be well lubricated, broken in and ready to use. The steps below relate to a typical conventional internal combustion-engine generator. Other types will vary.
- Get prepared
Every generator for sale should come with its own handbook and instruction guide. This will often include instructions on breaking in the generator. Read the guide thoroughly to find out what type and amount of oil is needed for the breaking-in process. Get prepared by gathering all the things you need for the break-in, including the correct oil, fuel and two separate funnels for each.
- Lubricate the spark plug chamber
Remove the spark plug and pour a small amount of oil into the chamber. Never start the engine until the spark plug chamber has some lubrication in place. Turn the engine over with the starter about 10 times, moving the piston up and down in the lubricated chamber. Replace the spark plug.
- Fill reservoirs with oil and add fuel
Following instructions in the operator’s manual, pour oil into the reservoir. Allow it to trickle around the system for a while, check the oil dipstick and then top up oil further. Add fuel needed to operate the generator before starting it up for the first time. This may take several attempts on its first start.
- Allow to run then drain
Allow the generator to run on its lowest setting for around 60 minutes without any load. Then, turn it off and drain oil from the tank. This will remove any metal debris that may have been dislodged during the operation. Refill the oil before repeating the process again, running for another hour without any load before draining and refilling.
- Operate it with a load
Finally, operate your generator with a small load (usually around 500W) for one to two hours. Do not break in a generator at peak load. Check your operator’s instructions as some recommend allowing the generator to run until the fuel runs out, while others recommend running at 75% of the generator’s wattage output.
Why every new portable generator for sale needs to be broken in
Instructions for breaking in a generator will vary from machine to machine. The entire process should take on average around six to eight hours and makes sure the engine is correctly lubricated and debris is removed ready for operation. Take your time to do the process properly and you will reap the rewards later.
Failing to break it in properly or at all will limit the lifespan and cause irreparable damage to its parts. You also need to ensure regular maintenance is carried out over the generator’s lifetime, following manufacturer guides and recommendations. A well-maintained, cared for and correctly broken-in generator can last for 10 to 15 years and beyond.