Using Your Generator in Winter

Winter brings more than just snow and cold. It also brings power outages. With a backup generator, you can keep the power running in your home, so you can have a few creature comforts and keep in contact with friends and family. Is your generator ready? Here are some things you should check, so you can be sure you can rely on your generator this season.


Gasoline should only be stored for a month, or up to three months if it’s treated with a stabilizer. Stale fuel is hard to ignite, and it can clog your generator’s fuel system. If you have old gasoline, you can use it in your vehicles. Fuel injectors are less sensitive to stale fuel, and the gas already in your car’s tank dilutes the old fuel.
Propane doesn’t combust easily in extreme cold weather. If you think you’ll see temperatures below -30°F, you may want to keep some gas on hand for your dual fuel generator.


Using oil that’s too thick can lead to hard starting and poor lubrication while the engine is still cold. You may need to switch to a lighter weight oil to combat these problems.
Honda recommends using 10W-30 or 10W-40 oil in most of their engines, if temperatures dip below 14°F. Briggs & Stratton recommends synthetic 5W30 for 100°F and lower, and conventional 5W-30 for 40°F and lower. Vanguard Synthetic 15W-50 can be used in their engines at temperatures as low as 20°F. They also make a 5W-30 oil for temperatures as low as -20°F.

Starting Your Generator

Before you start the engine, remove any ice and snow buildup. This makes it harder for the engine to warm up. It also causes problems when you shut off your generator. Melted water can freeze on linkages and other parts, which can keep your generator from operating correctly.
Engines take more force to turn over in cold weather, while the power from lead acid batteries goes down. Don’t be surprised if you need to use your generator’s recoil starter to get the engine running. Keeping your battery charged can give the starter the power it needs in cold weather.
Wait until the engine runs smoothly with the choke off before you put a load on the generator. This can take several minutes in extreme cold.

We Do More than Just Lawn Care Equipment

Shank’s Lawn Equipment sells and supports all kinds of outdoor equipment, including portable generators. We carry Honda and Briggs & Stratton generators, and we offer the parts and accessories you need to get the most out of them. If you’re looking for a new generator, or you need help with your current one, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. You can also check our current inventory and order parts at We ship across the United States and Canada.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *