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Important maintenance tips to keep your generators working at maximum performance
As an essential power equipment item, it is important your generator is working smoothly and reliably to provide power when, and where, you need it the most! Whether you are using it in the great outdoors, as a source of back-up power for your home or in agricultural purposes such as powering welders and machinery, generators are heavily relied upon in daily use.
It is crucial that you look after your generator with regular maintenance for best performance and productivity, maximum service time and minimal downtime. Periodic maintenance also allows you to detect and resolve any potential issues early on – the last thing you want is for your generator to fail when you need it most.
Aside from scheduled oil changes and air filter replacements, typically required two times a year, there are a range of additional general maintenance checks that you can complete periodically to ensure maximum performance from your generator.
As a Kohler distributor since 1980, EPG Engines have demonstrated expertise in providing their dealers with product information and technical advice on Kohler Portable Generators. Used extensively throughout Australia, Kohler Portable Generators are easy to operate with no installation required, just add some fuel and plug in your items for instant power on the go.
Maintenance tasks that can be undertaken with every use include general inspection, testing the battery, checking intake and exhaust, manual start and adjustments. Maintenance to be completed as needed include tasks such as repairs, filter replacement, lubrication, cleaning and system servicing.
Keeping it clean
Cleaning the engine prevents dirt and debris from damaging the generator and gives you a clearer view of any service concerns, oil leakages and damaged or loose parts. Use an air supply and clean rag with degreaser to blow off any dust and wipe off any excess grease. Pressure washers are not recommended, as the excess pressure may cause damage to the generator. Once the generator has been cleaned, it is good to check for any leakages and tighten any loose parts causing a leak. Replace any parts immediately if they are damaged.
Checking and changing engine oil
It is important to make sure the engine oil in a generator is in a good condition. Oil will generally need to be changed out at least every six months – and more regularly if the generator is used often.
To change out the oil, you will need to drain the old oil completely. Refill the engine oil to the indicated full mark on the dipstick, being careful not to overfill the engine. Make sure the engine has cooled before you check oil levels or refill the oil. Please refer to your engine manual for oil recommendations.
Check the spark plug
Similar to the engine oil, the spark plug generally should also be changed every six months, or roughly after 100 hours of use. Issues with the spark plug are a common source of generator starting problems, whether it is because the plug is dirty, worn out or not connecting properly.
Make sure the engine has cooled down completely before you remove the plug. Keep an eye out for any discolouration of the spark plug. The normal colour should be a medium to light tan. If it has discoloured, it should be replaced immediately.
Any cracks or worn out sparkplugs may also need to be replaced. To check this, disconnect the wire, clean around the old sparkplug to avoid debris falling in and use the spark plug socket to remove the old plug. Clear the plug with a spark plug cleaner or wire brush. If there are any notable deposits or cracks, the plug will need to be replaced.
Check the air filter and clean it lightly if necessary. Use soapy water to wash the filter and dry gently before inserting it back into your unit, taking care not to tear the filter. It is recommended that air filters should be replaced every 200 hours. Make sure you replace the air filter if it looks dirty, torn or damaged to avoid it from causing damage to your generator. Air filters can vary for different engines – check the generator manual for detailed instructions about replacing your air filter.
Fuel filters may vary by manufacturer, but most inline fuel filters only require you to close the fuel valve, remove the filter clamps and pull off the old filter. The filter should be replaced if you are unable to see light shining through it. Replace the fuel filter and tighten the clamps, making sure to keep the inside of the filter clean.
Running a petrol generator is a simple but important part of preventative maintenance, just like how it isn’t good to leave a car sitting idle for extended periods of time. Running your generator periodically charges the electric starter’s battery and allows the lubricating oil to heat up to operating temperature and circulate in the engine.
It is good to run the generator with a load occasionally, and running it once a month will prevent petrol from producing a gum on the carburettor. Before running your portable generator, make sure it is situated outside in a well-ventilated area.
Do not leave any old fuel sitting in the generator’s fuel tank. Adding a fuel stabiliser into the tank or emptying remaining petrol at least once a year will prevent it from going stale.
Ensure the fuel tap is closed whenever the genset is getting transported or being carried around to avoid flooding of the carburettor and consequential hard starting and fuel dilution in the oil. Additionally, another simple but important maintenance tip is to check there is sufficient fuel in the generator before use each time.
Checking fuel lines
Fuel lines may become cracked, worn, torn or clogged over time. This may lead to inefficient operations or cause your generator to not start properly. Instead of clearing a clogged fuel line, it is often simpler and more beneficial to simply replace the worn or damaged fuel line.
Quick visual inspection
After completing general maintenance tasks, it is always a good idea to check again for any leaks – particularly once the machine has been cleaned and dried. Check the case, fuel system, exhaust system and engine for cracks and/or leaks. Make sure the oil level is sufficient, the battery is not corroded and that there are no loose or damaged wires.
A properly cared for Kohler Generator provides uninterrupted power supply and peace of mind for all of your power needs. Before using the generator and carrying out any servicing, it is important that you read the generator manual and familiarise yourself on how to use the generator safely. Be sure to read the ratings and specifications to make sure that the generator is running at the correct capacity for your specific application.
Small investments made in periodic and preventative maintenance can save you expensive and unnecessary equipment upgrades or repairs in the future.