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How to maintain an engine-genset ?

Want to know how to maintain an engine-generator set? Then read this guide by BISON. It contains everything you need to know about maintaining an engine-generator set.

Table of Contents

Typical engine-generator sets problems

Failure to maintain the dielse gensets can result in engine failure to start, fuel leaks, dead batteries, or loss of usable output are typical problems with engine-generator sets that are not adequately maintained.

Let’s answer a fundamental question. Will the engine-generator set get wet?

Water and electricity are dangerous for people and animals. So let’s examine this danger.

Never run an engine-generator set indoors, in a garage, or anywhere engine exhaust may accumulate. Engine exhaust gasses are toxic to breathe and can severely threaten your health, leading to unconsciousness and, eventually, death. In short, engine-generator sets must be run outdoors more than 20 feet away from doors, vents, windows, or crawl spaces.

So what happens when it’s exposed to things like rain and snow?

Here are some sound suggestions for avoiding operating engine-generator sets during storms, heavy rain or snow. If you do this, you may be at risk of electric shock.

It is best to provide a cover for the engine-generator set whenever possible. It is advisable to operate the engine-generator set under a canopy structure, covering the top of it from direct exposure. But be aware that an awning doesn’t completely keep out the rain. You must also ensure the tarp allows for adequate airflow and ventilation.

If your engine-generator set gets wet, keep it moist briefly. Use a hot hair dryer or place it in direct sunlight to prevent damage even if submerged in water. Hopefully, only the spark plugs need to be checked, but water in the carburetor can lead to mechanical repairs.

how to maintain an engine-genset

How to maintain an engine-generator set

So first, think about how you treat the diesel gensets. You don’t leave a gensets in the driveway for long periods and expect it to magically start after six months of never opening it. Most condos do not allow gensets storage because the gensets becomes dead over time, and the only way to move it is with a trailer. It’s the simple engine concept; it has to run to keep running.

If you are still reading this, we want you to know that you are on the right path to becoming a happy engine-generator set owner.

Ensure the power switch is in the “OFF” position and disconnect the spark plug wires before working on the engine to prevent accidental starting. Guards are in place to protect users from moving mechanical parts, but care is always taken to protect personnel and equipment from unnecessary damage.

Clean engine-generator set

Like anything you’re proud of, you want to keep it clean. Wipe the exterior surface clean with a damp cloth. Do not allow dust to accumulate on the engine or generator. Check the cooling air slots and openings to ensure they are clean and unobstructed. Do not wash with a garden hose or pressure washer, which may damage electrical components.

Oil change

Oil change intervals vary depending on the age of use or storage. When changing the oil, run the engine-generator set for a few minutes to warm it up and make it easier to clean. Then stop the engine-generator set and wait for the engine to cool down to the touch. Unscrew the drain plug and collect the oil. Motor oil must be disposed of properly at a recycling centre. Replace the drain plug on a level surface, then refill the crankcase to the entire line. Most engine-generator sets require an oil change within the first 30 hours. Smaller engine-generator sets sooner. When filling the crankcase with oil, be sure to fill it appropriately.(Precautions For Oil Used In Diesel Gensets)

Clean air filter

Unscrew and remove the air filter cap to access the air filter. Wash the air filter with soapy water, then rinse with clean water. Squeeze the air filter with a clean cloth, then lay the air filter flat to dry.

The best practice is to run the engine-generator set under load for about 30 minutes monthly. Connect it to the load of equipment that uses the motor in operation, such as a box fan or heater. This practice ensures that both the alternator and the engine get a workout. The prolonged no-load process can cause engine-generator set failure.

If monthly exercise isn’t possible, do the same 30-minute workout at least every three months, longer workouts are not needed to maintain units. If the engine-generator set has not been used for 30 days, apply new oil and a commercial stabilizer before operation or storage.

Charge the battery

How to maintain the generator battery?

Similar to your engine and alternator, you should charge your battery once a month. Charge for a day, but be careful not to overcharge. If the battery cannot power the electric start, the all-power engine-generator set can be manually started using the manual recoil starter. Check the terminals for corrosion, clean them with a wire brush if necessary and inspect the battery.

Fuel tank

Never empty your fuel tank to full of air to prevent rust and many other problems. Fill up the tank.

Spark plug service

Start by cleaning around the spark plug area. Disconnect the spark plug wires. Replace the spark plug if the electrode is pitted or charred or the porcelain is cracked. Check the spark plug gap with a feeler gauge, then install and tighten the spark plug. Connect the spark plug wires.

Engine-generator set storage

When storing an engine block for over three months, always consider removing the spark plug caps, changing the fuel filter, servicing the spark plugs and adjusting the valves. Consult a professional as needed.

Long-term storage

Long-term storage is considered unplanned operations beyond six months. This will focus on hold. Four-stroke engines need only pure gasoline – no oil mixture.

  1. Remove and dispose of the old fuel from the tank.
  2. Fill your tank with high-octane gasoline with a fuel stabilizer (only a tiny amount). Using a stabilizer with fuel system cleaner and cylinder lubricant is best.
  3. Start the engine and let it run for 5-10 minutes. This gives the stabilizer time to work its way through the fuel system.
  4. If you are using a stabilizer with fuel system cleaner, let the engine sit for 20-30 minutes. This will also give it time to clean the fuel system of ethanol residue and any other residual fuel.
  5. Restart the engine and run until completely out of gas.
  6. The next step is to remove any remaining fuel from the carburetor. Depending on your gensets manufacturer, this can be done in several ways. First, you have to find the carburetor’s tank. You can find it along the fuel line from the tank to the engine.

If your fuel bowl has a drain at the bottom, loosen the drain bolt or valve and drain the remaining fuel.

If a large bolt is in the middle of the tank, loosen the bolt and drain the fuel. Then retighten the bolts.

If your tank doesn’t have a drain or bolt in the middle, you must remove the tank. This can be done by removing the two screws on the two corners of the fuel bowl bolted to the carburetor. Remove the bowl and pour out any remaining fuel. Then replace the bowl with the carburetor.

the importance of engine-generator set maintenance

The importance of engine generator set maintenance

Engine-generator set maintenance is critical to the system’s proper functioning while minimizing the risk of accidents, damage and more expensive repairs. Routine maintenance helps keep your engine-generator set running smoothly and efficiently during a power outage.

When you don’t maintain your engine generator set, the system can experience damage and complications that can negatively impact its ability to function correctly. Regular engine-generator set maintenance can help keep engine-generator sets running efficiently and prevent complications or damage to the system.

As with any engine generator set, performing preventive maintenance at least once a year is recommended. Depending on the use and environment the engine-generator set will be in, two or even three preventive maintenance checks per year may be required to ensure the safety and efficiency of the system.

Problems you may have without engine-generator set maintenance

Regularly scheduled preventive maintenance is critical to optimal engine-generator set performance and reduced risks such as:

1. Hazardous situations

If not maintained, engine-generator sets can pose safety risks, such as carbon monoxide leaks. When engine-generator sets operate, they emit carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that poses a severe safety hazard. In addition to maintaining your engine generator set, you should also check that carbon monoxide detectors are working correctly to ensure you are notified of any potential carbon monoxide emissions.

Poorly maintained engine-generator sets can also increase the risk of electrocution, especially if the engine-generator set is wet or may be surrounded by excess moisture or water. Customers who operate engine-generator sets in wet conditions must maintain the set regularly and avoid direct contact with moisture to minimize risk.

Another potential hazard is improperly stored fuel or gasoline, which can splash onto engine components and increase the risk of fire. Regular maintenance also allows technicians to identify any weak or damaged aspects of the engine generator set that may increase the risk of fire or other accidents.

2. Expensive repairs

Postponing scheduled maintenance can lead to more expensive repairs and costly complications. Skipping routine care doesn’t save money; it leads to more expensive repairs that could have been minimized or avoided altogether.

Routine maintenance is critical to spot minor issues early on, preventing them from deteriorating and damaging engine-generator sets over time and providing the opportunity to fix them when they are more cost-effective and easier to repair. Regular maintenance prevents more expensive repair bills and severe and sometimes permanent damage to your engine generator set.

3. Lack of power

One of the most apparent complications an engine generator set can face is the inability to supply power efficiently. If an engine generator set is left unattended for long periods, it may lose efficiency and overall energy capacity. Engine-generator sets require routine maintenance to maintain functionality and provide power during a power outage.

While you may not need engine-generator set power at this time, forgetting to service the system can cause severe problems with its ability to run when needed. During a power outage, you want to know that you can rely on your engine generator set to run efficiently and effectively. Maintenance ensures that your engine-generator sets provide safe, reliable, predictable power during outages.

the importance of industrial engine-generator set maintenance

The importance of industrial engine-generator set maintenance

Regular inspections of industrial engine-generator sets must be scheduled, including fuel, oil and coolant samples. Reasons to complete engine-generator set maintenance include:

a) Maintain power during a power outage

Industrial engine-generator set maintenance helps keep your engine-generator sets ready to run and provides reliable power during a power outage, keeping critical operations up and running.

b) Keeping critical systems online

Engine-generator sets are designed to keep critical systems online and running, providing reliable backup power for necessary equipment that must always be up and running.

c) Extended engine-generator set life

Diesel gensets are known for providing a reliable, long-lasting option. Although they are built to last, routine maintenance helps ensure the longevity of your engine-generator set. Regular inspections and minor corrections can prevent more significant problems and keep the system functioning properly for its expected lifespan.

d) Optimized efficiency

Industrial engine-generator sets that are regularly inspected and maintained are more likely to run smoothly and reduce unforeseen complications or problems. Because routine maintenance promptly takes care of minor complications, engine-generator set owners can be confident that their equipment is well-tuned and reliable.

e) Detect problems early

With any engine-generator set, expect minor problems or complications throughout its life cycle. Preventive measures can surely help minimize the risk of these problems occurring. Routine maintenance can also detect problems at their earliest stages, allowing for more effective adjustments and avoiding the need for more costly repairs.

f) Manage costs

Routine inspections and maintenance of engine-generator sets is cost-effective and can help save money over time. The cost of regular maintenance dramatically outweighs the costs associated with taking the engine-generator set out of service without inspection. Repairs tend to cost more the longer you go without routine inspections.

g) Reduced risk of accidents

Finally, regular maintenance of engine-generator sets can reduce the risk of potential accidents or injuries. Failure mechanisms or poorly maintained engine-generator sets increase the likelihood of accidents, including fires, carbon monoxide leaks and other problems. Ensuring proper ventilation and a functioning engine-generator set can reduce the potential risk of an accident.


Remember, even if the engine-generator set is not used very often, you should perform a monthly general inspection by leaving the engine-generator set running for at least 30 minutes. Remember our safety tip: Disconnect spark plugs and battery cables before servicing or repairing any power equipment. Wear gloves and safety glasses to protect against harmful debris and chemicals.

Maintain An Engine-Genset FAQ

You should check and drain the fuel filter reservoir, record the water in the fuel tank, and check the hoses, connections, and wiring within the fuel system. Once a year, you should change the fuel filter, clean the vent, test the pipes/connections and test the fuel quality. This is the preventive maintenance for engine-generator sets.

The recommended service frequency for a diesel engine-generator set will depend on its usage and how long it has been running. As a rough guide, you should aim to have your engine-generator set fully inspected and serviced every six months or 400 hours of operation.

Battery failure is the most common engine-generator set problem. Batteries wear out over time, providing less power over time. Knowing the lifespan of your engine-generator set battery will ensure you know to replace or change it before it stops working.

Follow the instructions that came with your engine-generator set. To avoid electric shock, please keep the engine-generator set dry and not use it in rain or wet environments. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, like a tarp supported on poles. Do not touch the engine-generator set with wet hands.

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