Here at Atlantic Outdoor we strongly believe in the need to regularly service all of your gas-powered equipment - so much so that all of our lawn tractors, zero turns and snow blowers come with the first years' tuneup completely free of charge.
With regular maintenance by a certified small engine technician, many problems that you may run into during the life of your equipment can be caught early and treated or corrected, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars down the road.
This series aims to draw back the curtain on what actually goes on when you drop your small engine items off to our technicians and highlight the need for these equipment tune-ups. The next up in this series: Generators.
The Need for Generator Maintenance
Generators are the most abused of all small engine equipment. For the majority of owners, their generators sit in their garage or outside, untouched until needed - usually a dire situation like power outage. When owners need to use their generator, they want it to work well and work right away and having it sit idle for months beforehand creates a perfect storm in the realm of small engine problems.
To keep a small engine healthy, having it run regularly is key. Like a car that stays idle in your driveway a little too long, generators left to sit too long will undoubtedly run into issues if not maintained properly.
WHAT'S INCLUDED IN A GENERATOR SERVICE
Old oil can wreak havoc on an engine. Fresh oil will reduce friction in the engine and regular oil changes will remove the gunk and impurities that sometimes take refuge around the engine.
Oil should be changed every 25 run-hours or at least every year.
SPARK PLUG CHECK
Because 4-stroke engines rarely run into spark plug issues, our technicians simply check the spark plug for fire and re-gap it if necessary. If they believe yours needs replaced they'll call and advise you before changing it.
AIR FILTER CHECKOVER AND CLEANING
Air filters can be a pain. Some years you won't have to replace your air filters, other years you'll go through 2 or 3. A lot has to do with the atmosphere around your generator both while its idle and while in use. Any debris around from bon fires, car exhaust, driveway dust, grass clippings etc can all clog up an air filter.
We always check the air filter and clean it if possible. If it's beyond cleaning and needs replaced we'll call you for authorization.
FUEL FILTER CHANGE
As we've mentioned in previous posts, gas can be a real pain. Changing your fuel filter will ensure that debris that can often come in with bad gas doesn't make it into your machine to cause any damage.
WHAT ELSE THE TECHNICIAN LOOKS FOR
Besides the obvious mechanical steps they take above, there are also a few overarching issues that can plague generators.
A lot of what technicians 'look' for during a generator service doesn't involve looking at all - it all has to do with what they hear.
If a generator engine is surging, indicating engine issues, the technicians will hear it before they notice anything visually. Then the search is on for what may be causing it.
ADDITIONAL SERVICES WE MAY OFFER
Depending on the shape of your generator there are a few other services that may be needed/recommended to you by our techs. We will always call and ask permission before performing any of these services.
Air filter replacement
Carburetor cleaning - in intense strip-down of your carburetor and cleaning session in our ultrasonic cleaner. This is offered if you've had old or bad gas in your generator that has gummed up your carburetor.
Spark plug change
YOUR ROLE AS AN OWNER
The best thing you can do as an owner of a piece of small engine equipment is to use the right fuel and don't let it go stale. We recommend using premium fuel as an close to 0 ethanol as possible.
When you're done for the season you should be using a fuel stabilizer or draining the fuel from your tank to ensure it doesn't go bad.
A FINAL WORD
We whole heartedly believe in maintaining your small engine equipment to reduce the likelihood of a breakdown and save you time, money and heartache in the future.
Don't care to have us work on your unit? Not a problem, we carry all the parts and material here for you to do these maintenance tasks yourself. Just pop by with your model number and we can get you everything you need!