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Tips to Maintain Diesel Generators Properly


Tips to Maintain Diesel Generators Properly

Diesel generator generates electrical energy using diesel engine. Basically diesel generators are highly preferred because it is highly durable, simple to maintain, can withstand heavy load for long hours, can start off the power supply with full load within minutes and also liked by most for its low operating cost compared to other types.


Having a well maintained standby power system is always a reliable protection against power outage. To ensure maximum service time and proper operations it is always good to follow certain steps at right intervals to maintain the diesel generators in high quality for long.


An under maintained or never maintained generators could occasional fail to start or respond when needed. This could be life threatening at hospitals & health care facilities and it could lead to huge losses at business centres, data centres, industrial sectors that majorly account on generators during general power failures.


Listed are few diesel generator preventive maintenance tips that could guarantee uninterrupted power supply whenever needed.


  1.     General Inspection – It is a must to monitor the exhaust system, fuel system, DC electrical system and engine closely for any leakages while the diesel generator is running.Checking the coolant level, oil level, fuel system, and starting system should be included in the general monitoring. The charge-air cooler piping and hoses should be inspected regularly for leaks, holes, cracks, dirt and debris that may be blocking the fins or loose connections.
  2.       Lubrication Service – The engine oil must be checked while shutting down the generator at regular intervals using a dipstick. Always keep the oil level to the full mark on the dipstick. Add the same quality and brand of oil as and when the level reduces. The oil and filter must be changed at right time intervals. Never forget to replace the oil filter and the disposal is to be done carefully and appropriately to avoid environmental damage or liability.
  3.       Cooling Systems – Do Check the coolant level even during shutdown periods at the specified interval. Heavy-duty diesel engines require a balanced coolant mixture of water, antifreeze, and coolant additives. Remove the radiator cap after allowing the engine to cool, and, if necessary, add coolant until the level is about 3/4 in. Without fail inspect the exterior of the radiator for obstructions and remove all dirt or foreign material with a soft brush or cloth with caution to avoid damaging the fins. If available, use low-pressure compressed air or a stream of water in the opposite direction of normal air flow to clean the radiator.
  4.       Fuel System – It is highly important to use up stored fuel before it degrades. The fuel filters should also be drained at stipulated intervals as the water vapour that accumulates inside could condense in the fuel tank. If the fuel is not used it is right to replace it in three to six months. The chemical make-up of diesel fuel has changed in recent years; a certain percentage of biodiesel at low or high temperatures releases impurities, while a certain percentage of biodiesel at warm temperatures mixed with water (condensation). Besides, the reduction of Sulphur reduces lubrication and this could eventually block the fuel-injection pumps. it is important to know that a wide range of optional accessories are available that allows the extended maintenance intervals and ensures quality power throughout the genset’s life.
  5.       Testing Batteries – Undercharged or week batteries are a common cause for failures of standby system. The battery must be kept fully charged and well-maintained to avoid any start-up hitches of the generator. As batteries age, their internal resistance to current flow goes up.  An indicative test should be done each time the generator is started. Keep the batteries clean by wiping them with a damp cloth whenever dirt appears excessive. If corrosion is present around the terminals, remove the battery cables and wash the terminals with a solution of baking soda and water (¼ lb baking soda to 1 quart of water). Be careful to prevent the solution from entering the battery cells, and flush the batteries with clean water when finished. After replacing the connections, coat the terminals with a light application of petroleum jelly.

In open-cell lead-acid batteries, use a battery hydrometer to check the specific gravity of the electrolyte in each battery cell. A fully charged battery will have a specific gravity of 1.260. Charge the battery if the specific gravity reading is below 1.215.

In open-cell lead-acid batteries, verify the level of the electrolyte at least every 200 hr of operation. If low, fill the battery cells to the bottom of the filler neck with distilled water

  1.       Exhaust System – In case there are leaks along the exhaust line which usually occurs at the connection points, the welds and the gaskets; they should be repaired immediately by a qualified technician.
  2.       Routine Engine Exercise – Engine exercise should be executed at least once a month for a minimum of 30 minutes loaded to no less than one-third of the nameplate rating. It is good to follow designated service procedures critically in proper intervals.
  3.       Clean Habits – When the engine is clean and neat, oil drips and other issues are easy to spot. This will help to visually inspect if the hoses and belts are in good condition.

For standby generators you need to have your units serviced 150hrs on average. However if the generator is used constantly the hours go up much quicker and in more regular intervals.

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