How to Change Generator Oil?

To keep your generator running at peak performance, regular oil changes are a must. This guide is designed to help those who may not be familiar with the steps involved in changing generator oil. Two key considerations when changing the oil on your generator include determining the specific brand of your generator and being aware of the location and model of the oil check. It’s worth noting that maintenance for generators from Honda may have unique requirements compared to other brands.

How to Change Generator Oil

In addition to identifying your generator’s brand and the location of the oil check, the frequency of use is another crucial factor to consider when changing the oil. Regardless of whether your generator is in constant operation or only used occasionally, replacing old oil with new is essential to maintain the proper functioning of the engine’s key components. This guide provides step-by-step instructions on determining the appropriate time for an oil change and how to perform it effectively.

With the right guidance, you can easily change the oil and oil filter on your generator, but if you’re unsure of any of the instructions provided in this guide, it’s best to call in the pros. By following our step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to handle the oil change process on most generators, but if you encounter any confusion, it’s recommended to leave the task to the experts.

How Often Should The Oil Be Changed and What To Check For?

When it comes to maintaining your generator, one of the most important steps is changing the oil. Whether you’ve just purchased your generator or have been using it for a while, it’s a good idea to check and change the oil regardless of its make or model. It’s possible that the manufacturer may have forgotten to add oil before shipping.

When checking the oil level, make sure the engine is cool and turn it off. Use the dipstick located on the back of the engine, cleaning it with a cloth first, before inserting and removing it from the dipstick tube. Based on the reading, you can determine if you need to change the oil. It’s important to keep in mind that the frequency of oil change can vary depending on factors such as the generator’s age, brand, and location.

Experts generally recommend changing the oil in a generator every 50 to 200 hours, however, if you live in an area with high levels of dust or contaminants, you may need to change the oil more frequently as it can get mixed with the oil and affect the engine performance. Regular maintenance of your generator will make the process much easier and ensure your generator runs smoothly for a long time.

How to Change Generator Oil?

Prioritize your well-being before proceeding with the task of changing the oil or oil filter on the generator. It would be wise to don protective gear such as goggles and gloves while completing this task. Additionally, gather all the required materials before starting to avoid any interruptions.

Step 1. Warming Up Old Oil

The process of draining the aged oil from the engine can be made more efficient by warming it up before draining. The hot oil will flow more easily through the pipeline. To achieve this, start the generator and allow it to run for a few minutes. This will quickly bring the oil to an appropriate temperature. Then, turn off the generator before draining the oil out.

Step 2. Lift and Place Generator on Blocks

To minimize strain on your back and ensure stability, place the least number of identical blocks possible on a level surface. This will create a sturdy base for your generator. Additionally, by elevating the generator on blocks, you will create ample space for accessing the oil drain plug.

Step 3. Disconnect the spark plug

When setting up your machine on sturdy blocks, one of the most important steps is to locate and unplug the spark plug. This will prevent the engine from starting accidentally while it is not lubricated.

The spark plug can usually be found on most engine models and makes, but sometimes it may be hidden by plastic covers. If you find it difficult to locate the spark plug, refer to the manufacturer’s manual for guidance. It’s worth noting that some models and brands have multiple spark plugs.

Before using your generator, it is important to read the instructions carefully. Once you have located the spark plug, remove the spark plug wire by firmly grasping both ends and simultaneously twisting and pulling. This method is effective even if the wire is slightly corroded.

The rotational motion also helps in unclipping the connections from the spark plug, reducing the strain on the wire. Be cautious not to damage the wire by pulling too hard, and keep the wire away from the spark plug while changing the oil. Make sure the wire is secured safely and the generator is ready for use.

Step 4. Get ready for draining the old oil

After disconnecting the spark wire, pinpoint the location of the oil drain plug. While most drain plugs feature a square or hexagonal head, with a 3/8″ diameter, it’s essential to note that the size and shape of the drain plug may vary based on the generator’s brand and model. Therefore, it’s advisable to refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific information.

It’s important to ensure that the area surrounding the drain plug is clean and free of oil residue and grime. This will give you a clear view of the drain plug and ensure a smooth oil-draining process. To catch any oil leaks, place an oil pan underneath the generator’s drain plug.

Step 5. Take out the oil plug

Once the drain pan is in place, it is time to remove the oil drain plug to collect the oil. The task is most commonly accomplished using a ratchet and a 3/8″ socket. Use the ratchet to loosen the plug and then remove it manually along with the socket. Keep in mind that as soon as the plug is removed, the old oil will begin to drain out of the engine.

It is important to ensure that the drain pan is emptied completely. Improper disposal of used oil can have negative environmental impacts, such as soil and water contamination. To prevent this, it’s best to recycle the used oil.

Step 6. Replacing the old oil filter

When changing the oil on your generator, it is important to not only drain the old oil, but also replace the oil filter. Neglecting to replace the filter can lead to engine malfunction. It is recommended to change both the oil and filter together at regular intervals. An oil filter wrench is required to accomplish this. Using the wrench, gently remove the old filter while holding it at the bottom. Be sure to

wear protective gloves as oil filters can become quite hot. Once the old filter is removed, remove any remaining screws and place a drain pan underneath to catch any oil that may come out of the opening or filter. Clean any debris or gasket material from the sealing surface of the oil filter adapter if necessary, and coat the gasket of the new filter with engine oil.

Screw the filter into place by hand and then tighten it with the wrench or pliers, an additional 1/2 to 3/4 turn. It is crucial not to overtighten the filter. To dispose of used oil and oil filters, visit a local auto parts store or service station that specializes in handling used oil disposal.

Step 7. Put new oil in and tighten plug

When the new oil filter is installed, the next step is to reattach the oil drain plug. Use a socket wrench to securely tighten it in place after screwing it in manually. Before adding new oil, remove the oil fill cap and insert a funnel to make the pouring process easier.

The amount of oil required may vary based on your generator model and the climate conditions where you are using it, so it is important to consult the manufacturer’s manual for the correct quantity. In addition, different types of oil may be recommended for different temperatures and regions. Once you have added the new oil, remove the funnel and replace the oil fill cap securely.

Step 8. Reconnect Spark Plug Wire

As a final step, reattach the spark plug wire and ensure it is properly connected. Carefully snap the boot of the wire back over the top of the plug, making sure it is securely in place. In most cases, you will feel a satisfying click or hear a distinct sound when the connector is in the correct position.

After ensuring the wire is properly connected, put back the covers that were removed to access the spark plug. Then, turn on the generator and let it run for a few minutes to allow the oil to fully circulate through the engine. Once it has been running for a few minutes, turn it off and check the oil level.

If necessary, add more oil until it reaches the recommended level on the dipstick. Regularly changing the oil and oil filter is crucial for ensuring that your generator is dependable and ready to use during critical times, such as during hurricane season.


While a professional may be able to change the oil in your generator, it is a task that can easily be done by yourself with the proper guidance. To ensure optimal performance and longevity of your generator, it is important to regularly check and maintain the oil levels. Taking the time to learn how to change the oil yourself can save you both time and money in the long run and prevent disappointment in the event of an emergency power outage.

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