Portable Generator Power when off grid or emergencies

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Can I use 5w30 Oil in my Generator?

When it comes to finding a suitable oil for your portable generator there is a massive variety of options. After some browsing of different stores maybe you’ve narrowed the options down and found an affordable and convenient oil that you could use, like a 5w30 motor oil; now you’re wondering if this will be the right choice for your generator.

In this article, we will answer this very question for you to help you get your generator up and running.

Synthetic 5w30 motor oil will make an excellent choice and can be used used in portable generators. It will work in very low temperatures from -20°F to around 100°F making it a popular choice. There are some instances where another oil may prove more beneficial like running heavy loads on the generator. Then you may be best going for thicker oil like 10w30.

When should I use 5w30 Oil?

You can use 5w30 oil in most circumstances. In a temperate environment, it will allow your generator to start up and remain operational as long as you need it to.

It’s also a good oil to use in the winter as it remains fluid enough that your generator can start-up in the cold; another oil may not give you this option due to it being too viscous in the cold weather.

If you were to use a different kind of oil, say a 10w30, you may have some trouble starting up in the winter and, if you rely on your generator, this is most likely something you’ll want to avoid.

In the best-case scenario, it may start up but only every now and then which will prove to be annoying when such cases can be avoided with a change to a more appropriate oil type.

In general, though, most applications for your use of your generator will be suited to 5w30 Oil just fine and you shouldn’t usually see any problems.

5w30 Oil will work in temperatures from around -20°F to around 100°F, although it would be more efficient for another oil to be used if you are going to be seeing high temperatures regularly.

As 5w30 is quite a thin oil, it is usually better used by machines with a relatively light load. If you are using your generator for work that doesn’t require a lot of load then this oil would work well. You may want to consider another oil if you are going to be running at a high load though.

Read our complete guide on oil for portable generators here!

When Shouldn’t I use 5w30 Oil?

There are times when another type of oil may end up being more appropriate for your generator. One of the times that this could be the case would be in hot summer months, where you don’t have to worry about starting your generator in cold conditions.

Instead, your worry may be that if the temperatures begin to get hot enough your 5w30 oil could break down to quickly and become inefficient.

motor oil mechanic

A 10w30 oil would be a more appropriate oil in these conditions because, while at lower temperatures it may be too viscous for reliable starting, at higher temperatures it will hold up better and allow for your generator to run reliably.

If you are going to be running your generator with quite a high load you may also want to consider a switch to a 10w30 oil as this will keep up with your requirements better than a 5w30 type oil.

The 10w30 is a thicker oil and gives better sealing action for the engine and will keep working adequately in a high load and high-temperature environment.

Disclaimer: You should always consult your user manual before adding any oil to your generator.


In summary, you can use a 5w30 oil in most circumstances and it will not harm your generator. It is especially useful when you need a reliable start in colder temperatures but will also work well in temperate weather.

If you need something that can support a heavier load and/or you will be running your generator in hot summer months or your generator just runs quite hot, then you may find a 10w30 more suited to your needs.

Take into account the factors that may affect the oil you will choose to use and then make an informed decision on what it is you need and you should be running your generator perfectly fine.

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All the article on Oofgrid offer help and practical advice for using and purchasing a portable generator. However, We are enthusiasts and not qualified electricians. Always seek professional advice when working with electrical or Petrol appliances.