How to Break in a Generator? – (Step By Step Guide)

Breaking in a generator is the first and most important step for increasing the longevity of your newly purchased generator. I always cross my all units from the breaking process to make them ready for the extended breakout.

 Also after the break-in process, the efficiency of my unit increased drastically with little to no startup time. Even I don’t need to pull the cord for multiple times in the harsh winters.

In this guide, we are going to provide you with a step-by-step guide about “how to break in a generator?”

What Does Breaking in a Generator Mean?

Breaking a generator is the process of smoothening the engine cylinder, waving off the tiny metal particle, and also increasing the efficiency. In simple words, we follow a breaking process and operate our newly purchased generator a few times by pouring some amount of engine oil.

What Are the Things We Need to Start the Break in Process?

What Are the Things We Need to Start the Break in Process?

An oil conditioner: An oil conditioner plays a vital role to lubricate the cylinder properly; I mostly use Lucas Oil 10001 which is 100% petroleum-based thick oil to prevent a hard start.

Engine oil: You should have recommended engine oil for the breaking process; since I use to drain the engine oil multiple times, I use to purchase at least 3 – 4 liters of 10W30 or 5W30 whatever the manufacturers recommend.

Spark Plug: The spark plug is included in the package you just need to remove it once you start the generator breaking in.

Fuel: High-grade fuel should be added to the fuel tank with a fuel stabilizer (STA-BIL).

Magnetic Oil Dipstick and some tools: A magnetic oil dipstick is used to suck the tiny metal particle available in the crankcase, also we need some tools to get our work done.

How to Break in a Generator? – (Step By Step Guide)

Step 1: Unbox The Generator:

After receiving the unit make sure to unbox it and carefully inspect the whole unit, if you fund any damage make sure to return them. Also, check out the included items.

Step 2: Give a Read to the User Manual:

Most of the manufacturers have provided a step-by-step guide to breaking in their generators, also they have listed the accessories and oils needed for breaking in.

Step 3: Remove the Spark Plug and Lubricate the Chamber:

Carefully remove the spark plug and pour some drops of Lucas oil into the chamber, Make sure to pull the cord slowly about 7 – 8 times, we are just lubricating the spark chamber.

  • Here is the guide to changing or removing the spark plug.

Step 4: Add the Engine Oil as per the Manufacturer’ Instructions:

Add the Engine Oil as per the Manufacturers’ Instructions

Before adding the engine oil make sure to add a few drops of Lucas oil into the crankcase, after that take your oil funnel and add the recommended amount of engine oil. You can find the recommended engine oil levels in the user’s manual.

  • Here is the step-by-step guide for changing the engine oil.

Step 5: Fill up the Fuel:

Let’s fill up the fuel tank of the generator with your desired high-octane fuel so that it can last for the whole breaking process, you can also add a fuel stabilizer to get better performance, however, it is not that important.

Step 6: Start the Generator:

Take your generator to the well-ventilated area and if it has a fuel cap make sure to put it in the ON position. Also, put the engine start button in the ON position and make sure to turn OFF the economy mode.

Now let’s pull the cord for a few times until the machine gets started. You may find white smoke initially which is completely fine. This is just because of the burning of conditioner oil which we have poured earlier.

white smoke emitting from the generator
White smoke emitting from the generator

Turn the switch from choke to run position, Set a timer, and run it for about an hour with no load.

Step 7: Change the Engine Oil:

Remove the spark plug and wait for about 15 – 20 minutes until the engine oil becomes cool, Drain the engine oil by removing the drain plug, you will defiantly notice some dirt and metal chips in the oil.

Take a Magnetic Oil Dipstick and place it in the hole of engine oil make sure to rotate it slowly, this will remove the all-metal particle available in the crankcase.

Pour some drops of Lucas oil into the crankcase and fill up the engine oil again as per the instruction of the manufacturers.

Step 8: Run Again for an Hour With No Load:

Run your unit for an hour again with no load, after the end of one hour, remove the spark plug and wait until the engine oil becomes cool. Drain the engine oil and use a magnetic drip stick to remove any remaining metal residue.

The second run is most important to clean the crankcase perfectly. I mostly found the net and clean crankcase right after the second run.

Step 9: Put Some Load:

Run your generator with 25% to 30% load for about 2.5 to 3 hours, congratulation the break-in process is now completed. Your machine is ready to vanish from the extended blackout.

Do I Need to Break in a Generator?

Breaking the generator is not only prolonging the life of your newly purchased machine but also increases the efficiency and decreases the maintenance cost.

As per my 10 years of experience, I always found a new generator with an extremely dry engine and uneven surface, if we operate it right out of the box we will surely damage the sensitive parts of the engine.

By following the proper breaking process you can lubricate the engine properly, remove the uneven surface in the form of small metal chips, improve efficiency, and also reduce the startup time.

NOTE: Since we run our unit for a longer time during the breaking process the existing metal chips will be removed perfectly.  

How Long Does It Take To Break in a New Generator?

Breaking a new generator needs at least 5 to 6 hours of constant running with no load, ¼ load, etc. since we need to lubricate the piston and other engine parts perfectly by removing all debris, metal chips, and dust particles, we have to follow some specific steps to get our work done.

Can I Start My Generator Without Breaking It In?

Yes, you can start your generator after pouring the engine oil and gasoline but it will shorten the life of your machine since it is not lubricated. Also, you may find lower efficiency and longer startup time as well.

Final Words

I hope you are now able to break in your newly purchased generator safely. Breaking is not only an essential process to extend the life of your machine but also extend its efficiency by reducing maintenance costs.

Unlike maintenance, you just have to do it one time, though it is a bit time-consuming but believe me it is easier than maintenance.

Thanks for reading out!

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Break in a Generator With Synthetic Oil?

Yes, due to the numerous benefits of Synthetic oil like greater cleaning power and heat tolerances.
Synthetic oil is recommended to do the breaking process.

Should I Break in a Generator More Than Once?

If you have break in your unit perfectly there is no need to break it multiple times unless you have done some modification to the engine cylinder or engine in general.

How to Break in a Champion Generator?

The process of breaking a champion generator is the same as others but you have to give a read to the user’s manual to make sure you are going right.

josh Milan


Josh is a highly skilled electrician with specialized expertise in the field of generators. With years of experience under his belt, he has established himself as an expert in all aspects of generators, ranging from installation and maintenance to troubleshooting and repairs. Josh’s in-depth knowledge of electrical systems and his commitment to staying updated with the latest industry advancements make him a reliable and sought-after professional.

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