How to Change Oil in A Generator [7 Easy Steps]

Last Updated: September 16, 2022
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Regularly changing the oil in your generator will help it to be more reliable and it will also help you to have a generator that will work efficiently in emergencies. It makes running the generator easier and more pleasant, and it helps to lubricate the engine so that it works more effectively.

Although oil change may seem like a time-intensive process, anyone can perform this task easily from the comfort of their own home. It is as simple as reading the owner’s manual for the product that you are buying, which you should have handy. You need to identify what oil filter to use, the oil capacity, and the recommended oil change intervals.

It’s easy to change the oil and filter in a generator by following these simple steps.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when you are unsure about how often you should change the oil or if you should change the oil filter.

If you plan to start the process of changing the oil in your generator, you will need some of the essential things.

  • Correct oil type
  • Socket wrench
  • Flat and Phillips screwdriver
  • Drain oil can
  • New oil filter
  • Gloves
  • Ratchet
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Funnel

7 Step Guide to Changing Oil in Your Generator

Before you start changing the oil and filter in your generator, you should think about your safety. It’s important to protect your eyes and hands, so please do so by wearing appropriate gear.

Be sure you have everything you need before beginning. Once you’ve taken these measures, you can proceed to the following steps.

Video Guides of Changing Oil in A Generator

We acknowledge that there may be points where following our instructions without visual aid is difficult. Hence, we compiled these videos to help you learn how to change the oil in various generator models and makes.

It is our sincere desire that this information will be useful to you in resolving any outstanding concerns you may have. Please specify the generator’s make and model in the comments if a video tutorial is not available for it. We’ll try to include your video instruction.

Step 1. Place Generator on Even Surface

The first step entails arranging a group of identical blocks on a flat surface. Put the blocks on a large, sturdy table to avoid having to bend over as much.

As soon as that is finished, you can set up your generator on the blocks. This will guarantee that there is sufficient room for the oil to drain from the plug. While doing so, ensure that your machine is securely seated and won’t move around on its blocks.

It’s important to remember that some power generators can weigh a lot. They are too heavy for a single person to move them. If you have access to such a device, it is best to have at least two other individuals assist you.

Start the generator and let it operate for a while. After a few minutes, the generator can be turned off because the oil is hot enough to be drained fast.

Step 2. Unplug the Spark Plug

Your next step, after setting your machine down on solid blocks, is to find the spark plug and pull it out. It will prohibit the engine from starting in case there is no oil in it.

The spark plug is often not hard to find, although some vehicle models and makes have it tucked away under a plastic cover. Check your owner’s manual if you can’t seem to find your spark plug.

It could provide clues as to its possible hiding places and the best way to find it. Multiple spark plugs may be present in higher-powered engines and certain brands. So, always refer to the generator’s manual for guidance.

Finding the spark plug’s location is the first step in disconnecting the wire from it. In order to remove the spark wire boot without damaging the wires inside, you must first grab it firmly, then twist it in either way while pulling it off.

It is easier to disconnect the wire from the spark plug and put less stress on the wire itself if you rotate it. Just don’t pull on the wire, as that is an easy way to break it.

As an added safety measure, make sure your wire is fastened in a location on the generator where it cannot come into touch with the spark plug when the oil is being changed.

Step 3. Drain the Old Oil

Once you have the spark plug disconnected and stored safely, you can go looking for the oil drain plug. Typically, it has a square or hexagonal head and measures 3/8 inches in diameter.

In order to safely identify this nut, it is best to consult the owner’s manual for your specific generator model and make.

If the drain plug and the surrounding components are dirty, you should clean them carefully so that you may inspect them without interference from oil residue and grime.

If you want to collect all of the used oil from your generator, make sure to position the oil pan or canister under the drain plug. You can speed up the process of draining the old oil by removing the oil filler cap.

Step 4. Remove the Oil Drain Plug

Next, remove the oil drain plug from your generator and set the drain pan below it to capture any oil that may leak out. A ratchet and a 3/8″ socket are the two most useful tools you’ll need.

To avoid damaging the plug, the ratchet should only be used to loosen it.

As soon as the nut is loose, you can take out the ratchet and socket and unscrew the remaining threads by hand. A s soon as the plug is removed, the old oil will begin to leak out of the engine.

It’s important to get all of the used oil into the drain pan. Don’t throw this away because it can pollute the ground and water supply. Go instead to the nearest recycling center.

Step 5. Replace the Old Oil Filter

You should also replace the oil filter if your generator has one. In an effort to save money, some people don’t replace the oil filter when they drain the old oil. Running the fresh oil through the old, presumably unclean, filter is, however, not the best plan.

Your generator’s “lifespan” and reliability as a whole will benefit greatly from your replacing both the oil and the filter at the same time.

All you have to do is carefully grab the old filter with your wrench and slowly loosen it.

Once it’s loose, you may take the wrench off and unscrew the rest by hand. Be careful, though; the oil filter gets really hot.

Have a drain pan underneath your filter in case any of the old oil leaks.

To make sure your oil filter adapter is functioning properly, you should check the sealing surface for any debris or gasket material and clean it if necessary. The next step is to grab your brand-new filter and use some fresh engine oil to lightly grease its gasket.

To begin, screw it in by hand until the gasket makes contact with the filter adapter.

You should then use a wrench or pliers to tighten the filter by another half to three-quarters of a turn. Take care not to overtighten the filter, as this could cause it to crack (surprisingly, it is quite fragile).

Toss out your old oil and oil filters at a nearby vehicle parts store or service facility for proper disposal.

Find your local drop-off location for recyclables here. If you want to know if you can bring in your used motor oil and oil filters, you can just give them a call.

Step 6. Reinstall the Oil Drain Plug & Pour New Oil

After the replacement filter has been installed, the oil drain plug must be reinserted. Again, you’ll need to physically screw it in and then use a socket wrench to get it nice and snug.

Once you’ve gotten the oil fill cap off, you can put a funnel in there to help you. You should now slowly add the new oil to your generator.

You should consult the manufacturer’s owner’s manual to determine the sort of oil and how much you should add to your vehicle’s engine.

It’s also important to consider the climate and temperature where you plan to use your generator, as this could dictate which oil is best.

To finish filling the oil, put the funnel away and replace the oil fill lid. In order to prevent costly engine repairs, it’s always a good idea to use high-quality oil.

Step 7. Reconnect Spark Plug

Final assembly is completed by reconnecting the spark plug wire. Take this wire’s protective boot and place it over the top of the plug. Finally, drive it in all the way.

A click can be felt or heard as the connector clicks into place. When you’re finished reconnecting your plug, put back any panels you removed to access to it.

After replacing the dirty oil with clean oil, start your generator and let it run for a few minutes so the new oil can circulate and lubricate the moving parts.

Stop running the generator for a few minutes and then double-check to see if the oil level is where it should be. If not, repeat the process with extra oil until it reaches the specified level.

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Thornton M. School

I am a mechanical engineer with years of experience working on Internal combustion engine and fixing electrical and mechanical systems, generators, transfer switches, and equipment related to storm water and sewage pumping stations.