How to Break in a Generator? – [9 Easy Steps]

Investing a few hours for breaking a generator wouldn’t only save your ongoing cost of repairing and maintenance but also increase the longevity and efficiency of the newly purchased machine.

As per my 5 years of experience in the power industry, Breaking a Generator should be the first step before even putting a small load.

Without further wasting time let’s break in the generator;

How to Break in a Generator?

What Does It Mean to Break in a Generator?

The breaking of the generator is a process of smoothening the engine cylinders of a newly purchased machine by operating it periodically with a bit of engine oil. The process mainly adopts to smooth the cylinder walls by shaving off the unnecessary metal chips and lubricating each corner of the engine properly.

Things We Need Before Starting the Break in Process?

The following tools and materials should be purchased before starting the process.

Engine oil: Skim the user manual and look for the recommended engine oil, purchase at least 3 – 4 liters of engine oil as we need to drain the fuel about 2 – 3 times.

Oil Conditioner: Oil conditioners like Lukas Heavy Duty, Marvel Mystery, and Lucas 10001 play a vital role to lubricate the crankcase or spark plug’s chambers properly.

Spark Plug: Mostly the spark plug is included in the package hence you don’t need to purchase a separate one.

Fuel: High-octane gasoline would be best, however normal fuel with a decent fuel stabilizer like STA-BIL would work fine or even you can use raw fuel or low-octane fuel as well.

Magnetic Dipstick: Magnetic oil dipstick will attract the tiny metal chips available in the crankcase

How to Break in a Generator?

1. Unbox the Generator:

Unbox the machine and make sure to inspect the casing and other important parts of the generator if you found something broken or damaged, return it.

2. Read the User Manual:

Read the user manual first, if they have provided a guide to breaking in the generator, make sure to follow it.

3. Lubricate the Spark Plug Chamber:

Spark Plug Chamber

Remove the spark plug and pour a few drops of Lucas oil into the spark plug’s chamber with the help of an oil funnel, pull the cord slowly about 6 – 10 times to lubricate the chamber properly.

The Lucas oil will ensure that the cylinder shouldn’t dry and allows the piston to move freely once you pull the cord.

Replace the spark plug.

Recommended Read: How to safely Change the generator’s spark plug?

4. Add the Engine Oil as per the Manufacturer’s Instructions:

add the Engine Oil

Add a few drops of oil conditioner into the oil chamber and pour the engine oil as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

You can find the recommended engine oil levels in the user manual.

5. Fill The Fuel Tank:

Fill the fuel tank with gasoline, high-octane fuel would be preferable, however normal fuel will also work fine.

6. Fire Up The Generator:

Keep the generator in a well-ventilated area and place the start button in the “ON” position.

Pull the cord for a few times till the generator fire up, once the generator starts you will find white smoke releasing from the exhaust which is completely fine because we have poured the conditioner oil into the oil chamber.

White Smoke Emitting from the generator's exhaust
White Smoke Emitting from the generator’s exhaust

Turn the switch from the choke to the run position and keep the machine in the running state for 1 hour with no load.

NOTE: If you are new to the generator and don’t know to start it properly, I recommend skimming the user manual first.

7. Change the Engine Oil:

Before the intake of fresh engine oil make sure to remove the spark plug and leave the machine for at least 15 – 20 minutes until the engine oil becomes cool.

Drain the old engine oil and place a Magnetic Oil Dipstick into the hole of the oil chamber, make sure to rotate the dipstick slowly, it will attract the reaming metal chips and dirt available in the crankcase.

Pour some drops of Lucas oil again into the crankcase and fill it with the fresh engine oil.

NOTE: The old engine oil may contain lots of metal chips and dirt, don’t be confused it’s the part of process.

Metal chips and dirt in the engine oil
Metal chips and dirt in the engine oil

Recommended Read: How to Change the generator’s enggine oil?

8. Run The Gen-set Again For An Hour with No Load:

Run the generator again for an hour with no load to make sure there will not be a rough spot on the crankcase.

Off the machine, Remove the spark plug, and leave it for about 15 – 20 minutes until the engine oil comes to room temperature.

Drain the engine oil again and use the magnetic drip stick to remove the remaining metal chips or residue from the oil chamber.

NOTE: The second run shouldn’t be ignored at any cost if you want to properly smooth the engine cylinders. Also, you will find much cleaner engine oil as compared to the 1st run.

9. Put Some Load (Final Run):

Fire up the generator and put some load, 25% to 30% or 500W is recommended.

Run it for 1 hour, congratulations the generator has crossed the 3-hour of mark and is ready for extended blackout, camping, tailgating, etc.

Why Do I Need to Break in My New Generator?

Breaking will not only prolong the life of the machine but also enhance its efficiency and reduce maintenance and repairs costs down the road.

Since a brand-new generator mostly has an extremely dry engine with uneven surfaces, operating it right out of the box may damage the sensitive parts of the engine.

We break the generator to smoothen the cylinder walls and other uneven surfaces and also lubricant the whole engine so that the generator could withstand the load efficiently without wearing down.

How Long Should You Run a Generator to Break It In?

Breaking a generator at least requires 5 – 6 hours as we need to change the engine oil multiple times and operate the generator for about 3 hours.

Also, the collection of resides and metal chips from the crankcase would need 30 – 40 minutes as well.

Final Words

Generator break-in is the only process to smooth the cylinder walls and lubricate each corner of the engine and as a result, the generator starts quickly and provides decent efficiency and longevity even in harsh weather.

I hope we have delivered what we have promised, please let us know in the comment section if we are missing something;

Frequently Asked Questions – [FAQs]

Should I Break in a Generator More Than Once?

No, there is no need to break in the generator again.

Can I Start My Generator Without Breaking It In?

Yes, you can fire up the generator right out of the box; however, it isn’t recommended as a newly purchased machine isn’t lubricated properly and may harm the machine even with lower loads. Additionally, an unbroken generator tends to provide lower efficiency with longer startup times as well.

Can You Break in a Generator With Synthetic Oil?

Yes, in fact, synthetic oil is recommended by the experts because of the numerous benefit like cleaner power, heat tolerances, etc.

How to Break in a Champion Generator?

We recommend giving a read to the user manual first, however, the breaking process is same for the all generators. Follow this section of the article to break in the champion generator.



Kashif has been a valuable asset to the electric generator industry for over 5 years. Now, As a skilled energy engineer, he’s been on the front lines of diagnosing problems, fixing broken parts, and performing routine maintenance tasks to keep generators running smoothly.

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