How To Break In An Inverter Generator

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Find out how to break in an inverter generator so you can get the most out of your brand new investment.

The first thing to note is that the recommended break in steps can vary a lot between different inverter generator brands.

Ideally, you want to check the manual to avoid damage and/or warranty voids.

That aside, breaking in an inverter generator often involves letting it run for an hour or so under no load and an early oil change.

Additionally, some brands also recommend changing up the load (but keeping it under 50% capacity) for the first 5 hours or so of run time.

Typical steps to break in your inverter generator

Before going into some typical steps, it is worth noting that different generator brands can vary in their manuals when it comes to break-in sequences.

In simpler words, you generally want to follow the break in guidelines mentioned in your inverter generator manual.

That being said, here is what a relatively standard inverter generator break in looks like:

  1. Move your inverter generator outside and far enough away from houses and other things that can make the break in process unsafe.
  2. Remove the control panel and fill your inverter generator with the recommended oil type. At regular temperatures, petroleum-based SAE 10W-30 often works but you want to check this detail in the manual.
  3. Fill the inverter generator with gasoline.
  4. Follow the other steps involved in starting an inverter generator.
  5. The recommendations for break in procedures after that can vary. However, a decent number of brands recommend keeping the inverter generator running for an hour or so without load.
  6. Some manuals also recommend keeping the load under 50% capacity of the inverter generator for the first few hours. In some cases, the generator brand also recommends switching up the load within this time period (while still staying under 50% capacity).
  7. Replace the engine oil after this break in sequence. Some brands like Honda only mention to change the oil after the first 20 hours (or first month if this is sooner). Others recommend changing the oil after the first 5 hours. As you can see, recommendations can vary a lot between inverter generators.

While generator manuals typically don’t mention these, some people also recommend a few extra steps before starting the machine.

For example, one somewhat common recommendation is removing the spark plug, adding some oil conditioner, slowly pulling the starter cord a few times, and putting the spark plug back in (all before the first start).

Do you need to break in an inverter generator?

The “break in” sequence of some inverter generators like the ones from Honda only involves replacing the oil early after the first few hours.

Because of this, you may wonder whether breaking in your machine in more complicated ways is really necessary.

Properly breaking in your inverter generator gives you the best chance of lubricating engine parts like the piston and cylinder walls as well as possible.

Additionally, it helps flush out any metal contamination that results from the production process.

In turn, these things can help increase the life span of your inverter generator.

And even if you are not convinced about the engine benefits of breaking in your inverter generator, simply not voiding your warranty can be enough motivation to do this anyway.


How long is an inverter generator break in period?

The exact duration of an inverter generator break in period can vary from brand to brand.

Some manuals only recommend changing the oil after the first 20 hours of use whereas other manuals specify something like a 5-hour break-in period where you want to stay under 50% load.

In simpler words, you want to check your inverter generator manual to see the break in recommendations for your machine.

What should I do with a brand new inverter generator?

Besides following some of the more typical starting steps, you often want to follow the specified break-in sequence when first getting an inverter generator.

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Mats is the founder and head editor of Generator Decision. With a combination of critical thinking, tireless research, and a healthy interest in electronics he helps people find the right generators and how to use these. At this point in the journey, Mats has done research on hundreds of portable generators.