Marine Motor & Generator Repair Tips

Mythbusting & Maintenance Tips for Boat Generators

It’s a headache scenario for boaters: You’re ready to hit the water on a beautiful day, sunblock on and gear loaded, and your generator fails to start.

If you want to ensure that your generator is always running smoothly, and will never leave you high and dry, then it’s important to understand basic generator care. And you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s start by dispelling a few common myths:

Myth #1: You should be conservative about running your generator.

Though you don’t need to run your generator all the time for no reason, some people are especially conservative about using them at all. Generators don’t have a finite amount of energy, and you don’t need to worry about “wasting” energy when you’re running it. It’s not like a house, where shutting off the lights in an unused room is a good thing—for the environment and for your wallet. There is nothing to be saved up or gained by refusing to run your generator.

Generators are designed to run at 60%-80% load. If you’re in this range, and not heading out with a full load at all times, you won’t have to worry about overwhelming or overusing your generator.

Myth #2: You only need to turn on your generator when it’s needed.

If you only run your generator once in a while, it might not work right when you really need it. But more importantly, generators work best when they run regularly. It doesn’t matter how “like new” they are; that doesn’t mean they’ll perform better. It’s more likely to go in the opposite direction.

You might be thinking about how a car’s value is often associated with its low mileage. You’re not going to bank mileage on your generator. Instead, think about trying to start a car that’s been sitting in the garage for several years: That’s not going to start, either. Much like the advice you’d get on caring for that car, we’d suggest taking your generator out for a spin every now and then to ensure it’s in its best working condition at all times.

And that leads us to our maintenance tips:

Maintenance Tip #1: Run your generator approximately once per week.

As we mentioned above, even if you aren’t using your generator every trip, you should let it run from time to time. Though your needs may vary, we’d recommend doing this roughly once per week. This is best done with a full load, for at least 15 minutes. This will keep the generator lubricated, burn out excess carbon, remove moisture from the windings, and allow you to verify that it’s still working properly—for the next time you do actually need it.

Maintenance Tip #2: Don’t turn your generator off right away.

After a long day of use, don’t just switch off your generator. Much like athletes, you’ll get better performance out of it, every time, if you give it the chance to cool down. We recommend letting the generator run for about 10 minutes after you’ve unloaded. This is very important for longevity.

If you have any questions or want firsthand tips for your specific model, reach out anytime.