How to Change Oil in a Generator - Step By Step Guide

Ready to change your generator oil? It’s a pretty easy process, but there are a few things you need to know before getting started. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to change your generator oil properly. We’ll also give you some tips on what kind of oil to use and how often to change it and service a generator. So read on for all the information you need to get the job done right!

What type of oil does a generator take?

A generator removes the oil during the combustion process of its internal engine. It recirculates this oil back into the engine to provide lubrication. The type of oil you put back into your generator is equally important, and there are two different types of generator oils that meet this requirement:

  • Specially formulated 4-stroke engine oils designed for use in generators
  • Regular 4-stroke engine oil that is formulated for outdoor use

What type of oil does a generator take

In most cases, a regular 4-stroke engine oil designed for outdoor use works just as well as a specially formulated one. But it’s important to check the owner’s manual of your generator before using anything other than a generator-specific oil.

If you can’t find the manual, take a look at our blog post here to make sure you’re using the right kind. And don’t worry – it will say in your owner’s manual what size oil filter you need and how much oil your generator needs for an oil change.

Read More: How to Flash a Generator?

How to change generator oil – Step By Step Guide

Put your generator in an open space where it will be easy to clean up any spilled oil. You don’t want this stuff spilling out on your garage floor or driveway!

Place a drip pan under the generator to catch dripping oil before it reaches the ground. If you’re using regular 4-stroke engine oil, look for one that comes with a spout or a funnel.

Make sure the engine is completely cool before attempting to change your oil. If you’re not going to service your generator right after running it, make sure you let the engine fully cool down. This will keep you from heating up the oil and burning yourself when adding new oil!

Loosen up the drain bolt inside the filter cover with a wrench. Oil will start dripping out of it at this point, so have your drip pan ready!

Once you’re done removing the drain bolt, close the bolt by turning it counterclockwise until it’s tight against the generator. If you’re replacing an oil filter instead of draining the whole tank, remove each filter seal with a small wrench.

Replace the old filter, making sure to tighten each seal by hand until it can no longer be tightened any further by hand. Clean off your drain bolt (and the generator) when you’re done to make it easier when reassembling everything later on.

Reopen the drain bolt and let all of the oil drains into your drip pan. You’ll want to leave the drain bolt open until most of the oil has emptied out, then clean up any spilled oil with a shop towel. This will keep you from gumming up your generator!

Once the oil has stopped dripping, close the drain bolt by turning it clockwise with your wrench. If you’re refilling your generator with oil, use a funnel to pour it in. Be sure to fill it up to the recommended level before you start your engine back up again!

That’s all there is to changing your generator oil! Once you’re done, be sure to let the generator cool off for about an hour before starting it back up again.

Check More: How to Reset The Generac Generator After an Oil Change?

How often should you change the oil in a generator?

You’ll want to change your generator’s oil after every 50 hours of use. Every 25 hours is acceptable in a pinch, but remember that you need to add more oil when changing the filter instead.

How often should you change the oil in a generator

It might take some time for you to reach the 50-hour mark if you only use your generator for emergencies or power outages, so you’ll want to keep an eye on your oil and change it when you hit the mark. This will help keep your generator running in tip-top shape for as long as possible!

How to drain oil from the generator?

You’ll need the following items to drain the oil from your generator:

  • Wrench (the size depends on your specific generator)
  • Flathead screwdriver (optional)
  • Funnel (optional)
  • Container to catch oil

How to service a generator

  • Remove the oil filler cap and wipe it clean with a clean rag or paper towel. If your generator didn’t come with an oil filler cap, you’ll be unscrewing the dipstick from its housing instead.
  • Open up the drain bolt by turning it counterclockwise using a wrench (or socket if you’re using a larger generator).
  • Place the drain pan underneath the drain bolt to catch any oil that drips out of it (most generators will beep when they’re done draining, but keep an eye on it just in case!).
  • Open up your filter cover using a flathead screwdriver if necessary and remove the old filter by hand (replace it if you can, or make sure to clean the old one off before throwing it away).
  • Place a funnel in the filler hole and start slowly pouring your new oil into your generator using a container to catch any excess that comes out of the funnel.
  • Once you’ve filled up your generator, replace the plugin with the filler hole by screwing it in clockwise. Be sure to clean off your new filter if you got a replacement, and add any included oil before putting it back into its housing.
  • If you removed the drain bolt instead of just opening it up with a wrench, close it by screwing it in counterclockwise until tight.
  • That’s it! Let your generator cool off for at least an hour before starting it back up to let the oil settle into all of its nooks and crannies.

Check Also: How to Hook Up a Generator to Your House?

How to Change Oil in a Generator – FAQs

How long can a generator run before changing the oil?
It’s a good idea to change your generator oil after every 25 hours of use, though you might have to change it sooner depending on the type of oil you’re using.
What happens when you run a generator out of oil?
Running your generator out of oil can cause it to seize up and burn the engine, though this only really happens in large commercial generators. Generally speaking, smaller generators will shut down before they completely run out of oil.
What is an acceptable level for a generator's dipstick?
Many manufacturers recommend filling your generator’s dipstick up to the “COLD OIL” line, though you’ll want to look at your owner’s manual before doing this yourself! If you’re using a smaller generator (5-10kW), chances are that filling it up to the “FULL HOT” line will be perfectly fine.
Which oil is best for generators?
Generators can use a variety of different oils with different viscosities, though if you’re having issues choosing the right oil for your generator a good rule of thumb is to stick with 30W non-detergent oil. Remember that you’ll need to add more when changing the filter instead.


Our Verdict

Generator Maintenance- changing oil is an essential part of any generator’s upkeep. Make sure to change your oil after every 25 hours of use, and keep an eye on the level as you do (if you’re using a small enough generator). Never run your generator dry! Ideally, only store gasoline that does not exceed a year old. As always, be sure to check your generator’s owner’s manual for specific instructions before changing the oil yourself.

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