Do you have to break in a generator?

do you have to break in a generator- solent power

If you have a new portable generator, you may be wondering if you need to break it in before using it. The answer is yes, you should break in your generator before using it for the first few hours.

The generator break in period allows it to “settle” and ensures that it will run properly. By doing the correct break in procedure based on the user manual, you’ll avoid putting a heavy load on new engines and can make sure your generator ready.

In this post we’ll cover what you need to know about breaking in a generator, this can be applied to most generators to make sure they are successfully broken in, the generator properly runs and is safe for use.

This include making sure your portable generator is supplied with the right engine oil, oil conditioner, and fuel so you properly lubricate your generator and ensure it’s ready for use.

How do you start using a brand new generator?

You should always read the user’s manual from the generator’s manufacturer before starting to properly break in a generator engine.

Breaking in a generator can be a bit overwhelming, but by properly breaking it in you’ll ensure it’s ready for use.

It’s really not that difficult once you know what to do and you don’t need to be an expert in generator engines.

This process helps to ensure that the engine cylinders and cylinder walls are properly lubricated, and it also helps to improve the generator’s overall performance.

Make sure you have the right supplies for the job

First, make sure you have all the tools and necessary supplies, including fuel to make your generator run. The user’s manual should tell you how much fuel is needed.

Depending on the model, your generator may require highest octane gasoline, fuel stabilizer, engine oil, oil conditioner, and/or spark plugs.

Failing to use the correct type of fuel can damage the engine and void the warranty. It can also cause low pressure and stop your generator from being able to handle any load whatsoever.

It is important to ensure that the fuel tank is filled to the proper level before starting the generator. If the tank is not full, the engine may overheat and seize up.

Check your levels regularly and use oil conditioner

You’ll need to know how much oil and oil conditioner to add to the oil tank, make sure you put fresh oil in for the first generator run.

It’s good practice to get in the habit of checking the oil level before the engine starts. You’ll need to keep an eye on your oil levels moving forward to check when an oil change is needed.

Locate the starter cord and pull the starter cord slowly.  The engine should start after a few pulls. If it doesn’t, check the user’s manual for troubleshooting tips. 

Let the engine warm up for a few minutes before adding any load. Once the engine is warmed up, slowly add a load to the generator by plugging in devices or turning on lights.

Breaking in a generator

Portable generators are a great way to provide power during a power outage. However, before using portable generators for the first time, it is important to break it in properly.

Following a generator break in process will help to ensure that the generator will run smoothly and efficiently. Make sure you add fuel, all the oil, and have checked the spark plug chamber, and cylinder walls so you can properly break in the generator engine.

Start running your generator slowly

To break in a generator, start by running it at low speed for about one hour. The most important step in breaking in a new generator is to create a cross hatch pattern on the piston rings.

This can be done by running the engine at medium speed for about an hour, then allowing it to cool completely.

After the first hour, increase the speed gradually over the course of the next few hours. It’s important, especially on small engines for the generator not to be too loaded during the first one hour.

Don’t overload the generator too soon

The best way to break in a portable generator is to run it at half-load for at least 20 minutes. This can be done by connecting it to appliances that use a combined total of about 1,500 watts of power.

Once the generator has been running for 20 minutes, it’s important to let it cool down for at least half an hour before shutting it off. This will give the oil time to circulate and lubricate all the engine’s parts.

If you’re using an inverter generator, you can also run it at full power for short periods of time to help break in the engine cylinders.

Clean the spark plug chamber and check the oil

Next, shut off the engine and remove the spark plug. Clean the spark plug chamber and reinstall the spark plug. Finally, add a few drops of oil to the cylinder wall and crank the engine several times.

Once you’re in your third hour of the break in procedure, it’s worth checking the engine oil, oil conditioner, and fuel to make sure all levels are correct before you do a loaded run and final run of your generator.

Instructions may vary so check your user manual on how to break in your generator properly. By following these steps, you can help to ensure that your portable generator will be ready when you need it.

Why is it important to break in a generator?

A generator is a machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.

Portable generators are often used to provide power in remote or portable applications, such as powering a construction site or a camping trip, as well as providing power to equipment such as an air conditioner.

Getting in to good habits and looking after your generator

In order to function properly, it is important to break in a generator before using it for the first time. This process helps to remove any carbon build-up or tiny pieces of metal particles that may have accumulated during transport or storage.

Additionally, breaking in a generator ensures that all of the metal flakes and metal fragments are properly aligned.

It also helps you get familiar with topping up the oil and general maintenance of your generator, especially if you’ve not used one before.

As a result, breaking in a generator is essential for ensuring its longevity and performance. To keep up with your generator health, at Solent Power we provide generator servicing and maintenance.

How long should you run a new generator to break it in?

If you’ve just purchased a generator, you’re probably eager to put it to use. But before you start powering up your home or business, it’s important to take the time to properly break in your generator.

Running a generator for the first time is similar to breaking in a new car engine – it’s important to do it right in order to ensure peak performance and longevity of the generator’s engine.

So how long should you run a generator to break it in?

Most experts recommend running a new generator for at least 20 minutes on economy mode before using it for any extended period of time.

This allows the engine to warm up and ensures that all the parts are properly lubricated. It’s also a good idea to add an oil conditioner to the fuel during the break-in period, as this can help prolong the life of the engine.

Enjoy using your new portable generator

Once your generator has been through a proper break in period, you can start using your generator as needed.

Just be sure to keep an eye on the oil level and change the oil according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.


Portable generators are a convenient way to have backup power in case of an emergency, but they also require some preventative maintenance.

Make sure you break your generator in before using it for the first time by running it for a few hours. This will help ensure that your generator is running smoothly and doesn’t have any problems.

Remember to regularly check your oil levels and keep the oil topped up so your generator stays in good condition. Make sure to follow the instructions in your owner’s manual when breaking in your generator. And don’t forget to always use the proper type of oil!

If you have any questions about how to break in a generator contact Solent Power, we’ll be happy to help.

Paul Phelps
Paul Phelps

Paul is the MD of Solent Power and specialises in emergency power solutions, helping to protecting your facilities from power loss. Get in touch with us today to discuss the different power brands that we can offer and how they can suit your needs.

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