How To Check Your Generator Oil Level

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You check a generator oil level by turning the machine off, removing the maintenance cover, unscrewing the oil filler cap, wiping off the dipstick, putting the dipstick back in without screwing it in, and taking the dipstick back out to see the generator oil level.

The dipstick typically has markings that indicate how full the oil tank is. This allows you to decide whether you need to add engine oil or not.

How to check the oil level of a generator

To check the oil level of a portable generator you:

  1. Make sure the generator is turned off
  2. Remove the maintenance cover of the generator if it has one
  3. Unscrew the oil filler cap
  4. Wipe off the dipstick on the oil filler cap
  5. Put the dipstick in the oil filler neck without screwing it in
  6. Pull the dipstick out and see how much oil is in the generator
  7. Add oil to the generator if necessary. The dipstick typically has indications to see how full it is
  8. Screw the oil filler cap on again
  9. Install the maintenance cover of the generator again if it has one

Fresh generator oil is harder to see but even then the oil level of the generator should be clear with the dipstick.

How do you check the oil level in a Generac generator?

To check the oil level in a standby Generac generator you:

  1. Switch off the main breaker of your house
  2. Open your Generac standby generator
  3. Switch the Generac standby generator circuit breakers off
  4. Switch your Generac generator from auto to off
  5. Wait for the generator to cool down if applicable
  6. Take the dipstick out and clean it with a rag
  7. Put the dipstick back in and out
  8. Check the oil level by seeing to what point there is oil left on the dipstick

How to check a Honda generator’s oil level

To check a Honda generator’s oil level you remove the maintenance cover, unscrew the oil filler cap, wipe off the dipstick, put the dipstick back in without screwing it in, and take the dipstick back out to see the Honda generator’s oil level.

When should you check your generator oil level?

You should check your generator level before each use and in regular periods specified in your user manual after that.

Modern generators often have a built-in low-oil shutdown but checking the level before use will help you avoid the generator shutting down when you don’t want it.

How often you should the generator oil depends on the brand and machine.

For portable generators, this is often around after the first 20 to 30 hours of use and after that, every 50 to 100 hours of operation or 6 to 12 months if this comes first.

However, you want to check your generator manual to make sure you get the most out of your machine.

How do you know if your generator oil is low?

You know if your generator oil is low if the oil dipstick does not have a lot of oil on it, the generator gives a low oil sign, or the generator shuts itself off due to low oil.

Generator brands typically recommend checking your generator oil level before each use so the dipstick method is the most common way to find out your generator oil is low.

How do you top up the oil in a generator?

You top up the oil in a generator by unscrewing the oil cap, putting a funnel in the opening, and adding the right amount of generator oil.

Putting oil in a generator is not necessarily complicated but you do want to pay attention. Overfilling the generator oil tank will make a mess and can cause suboptimal functioning.

Additionally, you need to use the correct generator oil type to avoid damaging the machine. Check your generator manual for this detail.

Also keep in mind that you have to replace your generator oil regularly. Dark engine oil can be a sign this replacement is necessary.

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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.