Portable Generator Power when off grid or emergencies

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Is synthetic oil good for generators?

Generators require oil to keep the components working without undue wear and tear. 

Synthetic oil can be used in generators. Synthetic oil can withstand greater temperature fluctuations and may extend the life of older generators. Be sure to read the manual of your generator to purchase the correct oil weight for your generator. 

Most generators use 10W-30 oil and accept regular or synthetic. 

The biggest advantage for generators when choosing synthetic is the wider temperature operation range. 

Generators used for occasional power outages may be used in extreme cold and synthetic is likely to perform better in this situation. 

When switching from regular to synthetic oil be sure to change the air and oil filters required by your generator as well. 

These filters should be replaced regularly as a part of normal operation, but if you are changing oil types, it should be changed no matter how many hours you have logged on the generator. 

Is synthetic oil good for generators?

Can you use synthetic oil in a generator?

Synthetic oil can be used in generators. It is recommended that you do not mix regular and synthetic oil, so be sure to drain any regular motor oil before adding synthetic oil to your generator. 

Synthetic oil blends are often recommended for high mileage vehicles, so they may help extend the life of your generator if it is used heavily. 

After reading several generator user manuals and consulting an electrician familiar with off-grid power, I learned that most generators require 10W-30.

10W-30 works best in temperatures between -10 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, while synthetic 5W-30 has a range of below -20 and above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Most generator manuals will show you a wide range of oil weights that are acceptable to use in your generator. You should match your oil choice to your local temperature range. 

If your generator requires small engine oil, synthetic varieties are available. 

Synthetic Oil Vs. Regular Motor Oil

Regular motor oil is refined from naturally occurring crude oil. Motor oil breaks down with heat and age. Synthetic oil is a man-made product designed to lubricate mechanical components of engines. 

Synthetic oil is formulated to last longer and extend the life of engines. 

One advantage of synthetic oil is that it is free of many naturally occurring contaminants in refined crude oil. 

Synthetic oil can withstand higher and lower temperatures while still flowing freely to all components in your engine. 

It is generally recommended that synthetic oil can be changed less frequently as it is less prone to breaking down. In your generator, you should monitor the color and viscosity of your oil. 

Mobile recommends synthetic for all engine types, but they warn that holder or high use engines may still need the frequent change intervals required by regular motor oil. 

To ensure the best performance of your generator, change oil at the intervals recommended by your manufacturer. 

Using old or dirty oil will shorten the life of your engine. 

How Long Does Synthetic Oil Last In a Generator?

Generator manufacturers recommend that you change the oil every 20 hours of use or every three months of occasional use. Check the oil before each use and monitor the oil every 24 hours during heavy use. 

Synthetic oil can generally be changed less frequently in cars, so you may be wondering if you can change the oil less frequently in a generator. 

Oil change recommendations for gas generators vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but as a general rule the oil should be changed every 20 hours of use.  

Generac 7000 EXLPredator 8750 WattDeWalt DXGN
Every 20 Hours or Monthly  Every three months or 20 hoursEvery 20 Hours of use or at 3 and 6 months
Replace filter every 50 Hours No Oil FilterNo Oil Filter

Older generators that use regular motor oil may be switched to synthetic, but it should be changed more frequently. 

The synthetic oil is formulated to clean the engine and a generator that has used regular motor oil will have a lot of sediment and contaminants that will be mixed into the synthetic oil. 

When you continue to use synthetic oil your engine will be cleaner and you can extend the time between oil changes. 

Which Oil is Best for Generators?

As a general rule, 10W-30 will suit most climates. Generators can operate with a variety of oil weights in most models, but the oil choice should be suited to your maintenance schedule, climate, and anticipated use. Synthetic 5W-30 is also appropriate for most generators, but be careful not to mix oil types. 

If you are unsure what oil is in your generator, start by draining any oil and replacing it with your preferred oil. 

Oil should be changed in your generator every 20-100 hours of operation and should be checked every 24 hours with heavy use. 

The recommended oil change interval varies widely between manufacturers, so for optimal use, be sure to check your manual for maintenance recommendations. 

The oil you choose should be based on the temperatures in which you will be operating the generator. 10W-30 is good for temperatures between -10 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, while a synthetic 5W-30 can operate in temperatures between -20 and above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

10W-30 is the generally recommended oil for most generators.   

How To Check the Oil In a Generator

Check the oil at least every 24 hours when you are running your generator. 

When you check the oil in your generator be sure that the generator is as level as possible to get an accurate oil level. 


Check the oil by pulling the pull ring, wiping off any oil that is present, reinserting the dipstick, and checking the level and color of the oil. 

The oil level should be within the operating range marked on the dipstick. 

Oil should be replaced every 20-100 operating hours or more frequently as indicated by your operating manual. 


The recommendations vary widely, so pay attention to the appearance of the oil in your generator and change it when you notice the color changing. 

How To Change The Oil In A Generator

Gas generators are just small engines. The process for changing the oil is very similar to that of changing the oil in a car. 

Drain the Oil

Put a foil pan or other container under the generator to catch the oil. 

Find the drain cap for the oil and open the cap. You can also open the fill cap to increase the speed that which the oil empties. 

You will notice that the oil has a muddy appearance. 

Check the Filters and Replace Regularly

Some generators use oil and air filters that should be replaced regularly. Not all models have these filters. 


Generac Generators generally have the filters and Predator generators generally do not, you will have to read your specific model to ensure you are following maintenance directions for your generator. 

Generators with oil filters tend to recommend changing the filter every 2 years or 200 hours. 

Replace the Oil

You can read the specifications of your generator to determine the best oil and the amount needed for your specific generator. 

There will be traditional and synthetic options available and you may need to use specially formulated oil for small engines. 

Close the drain cap for the oil reservoir and pour the new oil into the fill cap. 

You may need a funnel. 

Pour slowly and be sure the generator is level to avoid overfilling.

Check Fill Level

Your generator will have a dipstick with a pull ring. 

Check the oil when the engine is not running. 

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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.