What Kind Of Oil Does A Generator Take – Complete Guide

Many people believe that generators are just useful for powering your home in the event that the electricity goes out, but they are capable of much more.

A portable generator allows you to extend the comforts of home outside your house’s power outlets, as well as power tools and gadgets in your yard or at a project.

Most importantly, a generator is dependable. You know that your generator will provide power no matter where you travel.

We’ll go over all you need to know about generators in this guide. We’ve got you covered on everything from selecting the generator that will meet your power and portability needs to set up, the best oil for the generator, and maintaining your generator for peak performance.

Are solar generators any good?

Solar generators may generate off-grid electricity regularly and for long periods of time using nothing but the power of the sun. Solar generators offer a green alternative for power generation that is often as successful as, if not more effective than, propane or gas-powered generators.

Are solar generators any good

What Kind Of Oil Does A Generator Take?

1. Castrol 03084 EDGE 5W-30 Advanced Full Synthetic Motor Oil

Castrol 03084 EDGE is a premium full synthetic motor oil designed for high-pressure applications. It’s one of the most effective synthetic oils on the market. It operates admirably in severe temperatures, considerably decreasing friction between the generator engine’s moving parts.

It possesses all necessary certifications provided by American and worldwide automobile regulatory authorities, such as API SN, ILSAC GF-5, ACEA A1/B1, A5/B5, and so on. Its design utilizes fluid titanium technology, which has a favorable physical influence on how oil responds under extreme pressure. Overall, this is one of the most popular motor oils on the market, and it is, in my opinion, the finest option for portable generators.

2. Shell Rotella 550045348 T5 15W-40

Shell is a well-known automobile brand that produces high-quality fuels and engine oils. Rotella is extremely durable and strong engine oil, outperforming the maximum wear limits specified by API CK-4 testing by 37% on average.

It has Triple Protection Plus technology, which helps to reduce friction within an engine. It also provides further protection against oil breakdown. Overall, this is one of the best engine oils for a common 4 cc generator motor.

3. Generac Full Synthetic Motor Oil 5W-30 SN

Generac is a well-known brand in the generator sector. Their standby and portable generators are among the most popular on the American market. As a result, it should come as no surprise that Generac motor oil is also an excellent choice for use with portable generators.

Generac Full Synthetic Motor Oil 5W-30 SN

It is specially built to function in a wide temperature range, from subzero to tropical hot. It can also be used with standby generators (not only the Generac ones). However, if you intend to use it with larger generators, you should stock up on more in advance (the same can be said about other oils). One quart will almost probably not be enough to power a whole-house generator for an extended period of time.

4. Schaeffer 9003D-012S Supreme 9000

Schaeffer is another well-known name in the automobile business. This reputed manufacturer’s motor oil functions brilliantly in a variety of circumstances, including below-freezing temperatures. It is used with friction modifiers to provide higher resistance to scuffing and abrasion.

It also complies with GM dexos-1. You may expect your generator motor to last for years if you follow the recommendations supplied by the manufacturer and use this oil on a regular basis.

Can You Use Car Oil In A Generator?

However, most cars and generators should be good with 5W30 or 10W30. It is also usual to discover that mineral oil or synthetic oil can be used safely. You may also combine the two.

How Much Oil Does A Generator Take?

Portable generators typically carry 400 to 700 milliliters of oil. Smaller inverter generators, as expected, consume less oil than bigger units.

How Much Oil Does A Generator Take

What to Look for in a Good Engine Oil?

The first step in selecting an oil for your generator is to consult your owner’s handbook for manufacturer recommendations.

To comply with the guarantee, almost every generator will have a preferred oil for its individual engine. If you no longer have the handbook, there are several things you may look for before purchasing.


There are many different types of oils to pick from when shopping for oils for your generator.

Name brand oils are something you should constantly search for. Popular name brand oils are typical of higher quality since they have a reputation to uphold.

Even better if you can obtain the same brand of oil that your generator’s engine uses! When in doubt, read the reviews for the brand.

Check This: What Type of Oil Does a Honda Generator Use?


One of the first things you’ll notice when looking at an oil bottle (or specs online) is the viscosity. The viscosity of an oil is the ease with which it flows at a given temperature.

Thinner oils have lower viscosity and are simpler to pour in cold conditions. In freezing conditions, thicker oils have a higher viscosity and pour more slowly.

For the correct viscosity for your generator’s engine, see your user handbook.


You can also check the legitimacy of engine oil by searching for any form of rating on the bottle. Most oil makers will print any certifications and ratings that the oil has acquired to demonstrate the oil’s quality.

You may also look for reviews of the oil online to see how other consumers feel about it.

Synthetic vs Conventional Oil

Synthetic oil has several benefits over regular oil. To begin with, it resists breakdown for a significantly longer period of time, allowing you to go longer between oil changes. Furthermore, synthetic oils can tolerate greater temperatures, which means they can keep your engine operating better for a longer period of time.

Synthetic vs Conventional Oil

If you operate your generator in cold weather, synthetic oil has additional benefits. In chilly conditions, synthetic oil flows significantly better. When the oil is cold, this implies easier starts and significantly reduced engine wear.

To be sure, synthetic oil is far more costly than normal oil. But, with so many benefits, it’s a price we’re always prepared to pay.

OEM is Always Safe

If you have a big brand generator, you can’t go wrong with the OEM product that is suggested for your generator. In most cases, this will be oil from the same company. While that oil may not give exceptional benefits over other oils, you can’t go wrong with choosing what’s advised for your specific generator.

Furthermore, some manufacturers will only fulfill warranties if their specific oil is used. Other oils, even if they are of the correct weight, will void the guarantee. Certain companies may also employ particular additives to ensure that their oils operate well in certain generators since they know exactly what their machines require to run at top performance.

Ensure You Get the Right Amount

Another critical factor to consider is the amount of oil required. Oil is available in quarts, gallons, five-quart containers, and even five-gallon drums. Of course, five gallons of oil are unlikely to be required to fuel your generator. Still, you should know how much oil you require in order to prevent overbuying and, more critically, overfilling.

Again, finding out this information is straightforward. Locate the maintenance section in your generator’s handbook. It should specify how much oil you’ll be refilling. Alternatively, this information is almost certainly available online.

Read It: How to Change Oil in a Generator

What Kind Of Oil Does A Generator Take – FAQs

Can I use regular motor oil in my generator?
However, most cars and generators should be good with 5W30 or 10W30. It is also usual to discover that mineral oil or synthetic oil can be used safely. You may also combine the two.
Can you use 10W30 oil in a generator?
However, in most circumstances, 5W30 or 10W30 will suffice for most cars and generators. Similarly, using either mineral or synthetic oil is frequently acceptable.
Can I use a different brand oil than my generator’s motor?
There are a few things to look for when combining oil brands and engine brands. First, determine if your generator requires a certain brand of oil or merely a set weight. If it only specifies a weight, you can probably get away with any top-tier brand oil with the viscosity you require. If your generator requires a particular oil, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. When in doubt, contact the generator manufacturer.
How often should I change my generator’s oil?
Changing the oil in your generator guarantees that it will last as long as possible. When it comes to oil change intervals, see your generator’s handbook for the proper maintenance regimen. Plan on changing the oil every 50 hours of operation. Many generators feature a run time meter, but those that don’t will require you to manually keep track of the hours.
When should I change my generator oil?
The usual rule of thumb is to change your generator oil every 100 hours of use. If you only use your generator occasionally, the oil can last up to 150 hours. However, it is strongly advised that you follow the directions in your user manual.
What happens if I put the wrong oil in my generator?
Using the incorrect oil in your generator might be disastrous. Your engine parts may wear out prematurely, resulting in irreversible engine damage or, if left untreated, catastrophic engine failure.
Are SAE 30 and 10W-30 the same?
Absolutely not. Unlike 10W-30, SAE 30 oil does not perform well at low temperatures. It has been designed to perform better at greater temperatures. The 10W-30, on the other hand, will perform like a 30-grade viscous oil at operating temperatures and like a 10-grade oil at lower temperatures.


To Sum Up

The recommended oil for your generator is generally mentioned in the user handbook. If your generator’s manufacturer produces generator oil, that is frequently the finest and most dependable alternative. High-quality semi-synthetic oil is suitable for most generators. It’s inexpensive and can tolerate most temperatures.

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