What Kind Of Oil Does A Generator Use

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Generators are one of the most important inventions in the history of inventions. With generators, people now have the ease of having electricity without fully relying on traditional ways of getting electricity, i.e. through a power line. However, a majority of people don’t know What Kind Of Oil Does A Generator Use? Worry not, we’ll tell you.

Like any other machinery, generators also require a lot of care and maintenance; otherwise, they’ll start malfunctioning. Especially if your generator runs for long hours. Therefore, it is important for you to be consistent with the maintenance. 

Weather also has an impact on how often you should carry out your generator’s maintenance. During extreme weather conditions, you might have to change your maintenance times from annually to weekly.  

One of the most important parts of a generator’s maintenance is its oil change. Like any other engine, generator engines also require oil to run. 

Oil is important because it keeps the engine going and working smoothly. It also helps in lubricating the insides of the engine so that there are no issues. In simple words, oil for an engine is what water is for humans. 

When it comes to generators, you need to be very mindful of the type of oil you’re using otherwise you might end up damaging the engine. To know exactly what oil you should use, you must refer to the user manual. 

Furthermore, in this article, we will be talking about what kind of oil a generator uses and we’ll be getting into all the details of that, so read further. 

Why Choosing The Right Oil Is So Important?

Some might not pay much attention to this. But, choosing the right type of oil for your engine is very important; especially in the long run. The oils that we use and put in our generator’s engine are used to cool and to lubricate the insides of our generator engine; allowing it to run smoothly and functioning appropriately for longer periods of time. 

Therefore, it becomes very important when it comes to how well your generator might last and perform efficiently, for your oil to be the right fit for your generator’s engine. 

The oil that is of low quality, cheap or has contaminants and impurities, much like conventional oils, will not lubricate all the moving parts inside your engine as effectively as good quality, synthetic oil. This can cause overheating, scaling, engine breakdown, and other big problems. 

Therefore, it is very important that you choose the right oil for your generator, which is of good quality and doesn’t cause problems. You also need to make sure that you change the oil frequently otherwise it will get dirty and start causing problems, just like cheap oil. 

Types Of Oil

There are two main types of oil that we will be discussing in this article. Both of these oils have different constituents and their own benefits and drawbacks.

Conventional Oil

Conventional oil is a type of oil that is produced by being extracted from the ground, using traditional methods of oil drilling. It is in a liquid state in normal atmospheric conditions therefore, it flows easily without any external stimulus. 

Conventional oil is basically a lubricant that comes directly from the ground extracted crude oil. Although not preferred to be used as engine oil, it does have some amazing properties, making it able to provide lubrication even at high temperatures. Furthermore, it also is very capable of maintaining its stable form, for quite long periods of time. 

But however, there are a few downsides attached to the usage and properties of conventional oils. This includes the fact that firstly, they’re not chemically as stable as synthetic oils. 

Moreover, conventional oils tend to oxidize and get acidified far more easily than synthetic oils. Conventional oils also break down far more easily and quickly, leaving out lumps and deposits of oil and impurities on the inner body of the engine, and they also end up losing their protective qualities. 

Synthetic Oil

Synthetic oil, just like conventional oil, comes from the same source, crude oil, from the ground. But synthetic oil is man-made. It contains the best constituents of crude oil, some power additives, and also a carrier oil. These ingredients make sure that all the additives are uniformly and evenly mixed into the compound. 

There are many varieties when it comes to synthetic oils, for example, some synthetic oils are specifically designed to increase the performance and the life of cars. Others are made specifically for high-performance engines, used in generators, etc. 

Here’s a guide on how to change your generator oil.

Synthetic Vs Conventional Oil For Generators – Which One?

Although Conventional oil is rich in constituents and has some really great properties, it still isn’t preferred due to its lack of refinement. In fact, the most major defining difference between synthetic and conventional oil is the level of refinement. 

Synthetic oil is way more refined compared to Conventional oil since it’s man-made, it contains fewer contaminants, and that ultimately means that your generator or car engine will be free from impurities building up and choking it, for a longer period of time. Since it’s cleaner, synthetic oil also flows faster and more easily, regardless of the temperature of your engine. 

Below are a few major advantages and reasons why you should pick out Synthetic oil for your generator:

Great Lubrication

We know that synthetic oils are man-made. There are many lubricants and additives in them that make sure that the oil flow is good. Moreover, it should also keep the engine clean and smooth. 

This works best at high temperatures where easy flowing oil is a necessity. Good lubrication also means a healthier engine, which will ultimately make your engine last longer. 

More Stable

Synthetic oils are such that they manage to maintain their viscosity (thickness) for extended periods of time. In fact, even at quite high temperatures. 

This helps your engine in a number of ways. Firstly, this allows the oil to stick to your engine more easily, meaning more protection of the engine from wearing out and also preventing it from dry starts. 

Lesser Breakdowns

Since synthetic oils are well treated with additional lubricants, they’re less likely to break down. This means that you’ll have to change synthetic oils quite less frequently, compared to conventional oils. 

This also means that they have the property of keeping your engines protected for longer periods of time, during each service interval. 

No Deposits

Due to the comparatively impure nature of conventional oils, they tend to leave back, what mechanics call as ‘sludge’ or ‘scaling’, when they break down. This usually happens if the engine runs under tough conditions or for long hours. 

The sludge sticks on to the insides of the engine and gets baked with the heat, making the engine choke out and causing a lot of problems. This phenomenon, however, doesn’t happen at all when it comes to Synthetic oils, due to their pure and refined nature. 

Oil Change Intervals

There is obviously, quite a major difference in oil change intervals for synthetic oils, compared to conventional oils. Generally, synthetic oils, due to their far better properties, provide longer oil change intervals compared to conventional oils. 

But oil change intervals also depend on the usage and the brand of oil that you’re using. For example, if you are running your generator for 12 hours in a day compared to someone running it for 6 hours, it will automatically mean that the former will have to change the oil much sooner than the latter. 

This also comes down to the running conditions of the generator. If you’re keeping it under the scorching sun, it will heat a lot. And, running it will further increase the engine heat. This will result in more oil usage. 

Lastly, it also comes down to the brand of the oil that you’re using. Some brands, which are not that expensive, might have a cheaper quality. They might lack all the strong lubricants and additives that make a good synthetic oil. Hence, this obviously means that you need to change the oil at a much faster rate; compared to someone who is using a premium quality branded oil for their generator. 

So all in all, it comes down to how much you’re running your generator. And, in what type of weather and environmental conditions your generator is kept in. Lastly, the type of brand that you’re using as your generator oil. 


Taking care of your generator is a key part that you have to play. Especially, if you want to ensure its long, efficient life. There are many other factors that you need to be careful of such as change of the oil filter, monthly service, outer body oiling, etc. 

But one of the most important ones is changing its oil and using a good one. 

We hope that this article made you understand what the right type of oil is. And more importantly, what type of oil should you use for your generator. So, your generator remains operational for many years.