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Can I Use Car Engine Oil For Generator? 

Can car engine oil can use for generator?

No, it’s not a good idea to use car engine oil for your generator. Car engine oils are manufactured only for car engines. But in most cases, you can use car engine oils if you use a bigger generator, such as a standby generator.

However, if you are looking for an oil to buy or use for your generator, in this article, we will show you how to choose the best engine oil for your generator and our top pick generator oil you can use instead of using a car engine oil.

How to Pick the Best Oil For Your Generator

How to Pick the Best Oil For Your Generator, Best Oil Generators, generator oil, best generator oil,
How to Pick the Best Oil For Your Generator

To avoid your generator from developing faults, you need generator oil. Having oil in your generator engine is important; it serves as a lubricant for the generator and helps prevent your generator from seizing.  But how can you choose the right oil for your generator to prevent it from seizing?

Here are a few ways to get the best oils for your generator.

Step 1: Check Your Generator’s Manual/User Guide

The first step in picking the best generator for your generator is to check your generator’s manual or user guide. All generators have a preferred oil for usage naturally recommended by the manufacturing company. Perhaps, keeping a manual guide isn’t that necessary, and I guessed you might not know where to find it. In this case, you can search the internet for the best oil for a generator with your generator’s name.

Step 2: Consider the Operating Temperature

When you set out to pick oil for your generator, you should consider the temperature of when your generator will be used. For a higher temperature, you might consider using Synthetic 5W-30. According to Total Energies, The “W” stands for “winter,” the number preceding it indicates the oil’s viscosity (or thickness) at low temperatures (hence the W), and the number after it indicates viscosity at higher temperatures when the engine is running. Another phrase is the SAE. The SAE stands for the society of automotive engineers. It is a  group that gives velocity ratings for oils. 

Step 3: Check Our the Oil Viscosity

After knowing your operating temperature, you check out the oil viscosity that can work for your generator, depending on your generator’s operating temperature. Choosing the wrong oil viscosity for your generator can damage your generator’s engine. So, when choosing oil for your generator, check the oil viscosity properly to prevent damaging your generator.  

Step 4: Know Your Engine Type

There are different types of generators with different engines. You can find a two-stroke generator and four-stroke generator. All these generator engines have a specific type of engine oil recommended for usage. Before picking an oil for your generator, always consider your engine rule by checking if it’s a two-stroke generator or a four-stroke generator.

Step 5: Choose from Reliable Oil Brands

Many brands produce oil; while some are reliable, some aren’t. A lot of brands aren’t reliable and have low-quality oil. But due to their low turnout price, many pick their oil and later complain it makes their generator seized. Hence, choosing a reliable brand would prevent you from worrying about your generator seizing.

However, here are some of the top reliable oil brands for generators:

  1. Shell Rotella
  2. Brigg & Stratton
  3. Onan
  4. Generac 
  5. Honda 

Now that you know how to pick the best oil for your generator, let’s review our top-picked generator oils.

Best Oil Generators: Our Top 5

Can I Use Car Engine Oil For Generator, Best Oil Generators, best generator oil,
Best Oil Generators: Our Top 5

Shell Rotella T5 Synthetic Blend 15W-40 Diesel Engine Oil


If you have a diesel or gasoline generator with a heavy-duty engine, shell Rotella t5 synthetic blend 15w-40 diesel engine oil is the best choice. You can use it for your truck, car, and generator. Also, 90% of buyers testify to how good the oil is in 4000+ Amazon reviews. 

The shell Rotella t5 synthetic blend 15W-40 diesel engine oil improves oil breakdown resistance and high-temperature oxidation protection for longer oil life in your generator. 

It provides all the protection you’d expect from an SAE 15W-40 but in a synthetic blend of heavy-duty engine oil. Multiple deposit control tests also show that it has 55% better deposit control than CK-4 15W-40 oil, which helps engines maintain efficient combustion. 

Additionally, it is an excellent choice for on-highway fleets, construction, agriculture, and diesel pick-up trucks, including high-power vehicles, due to its wide range of specifications and approvals from many leading engine manufacturers.

Honda 08207-10W30 Motor Oil


 If you’d own a honda generator, mower, or anything related, the honda 08207-10W30 Motor Oil is a good pick for you. It is good for all new Honda power equipment and also serves as a lubricant in helping generator engines from wearing out. The Honda motor oil is not as synthetic as other brand oil, and the price is a bit high because of how popular and reliable they are. But if you own a honda generator or mower, you might be thinking of trying them out. 

Briggs & Stratton 100028 Engine Oil


Earlier, we mentioned some of the most reliable oil brands for generators, and Briggs & Stratton is among them. The brand is popularly known for making small gas engines. The Briggs & Stratton 100028 engine oil is used for four stroke engines, and if you own a two-stroke engine, it’s not recommended. It has an affordable price, and the oils aren’t warranted to be used only for their products. You can also use it for any other brand engine like Honda.

Cummins 3265336 Onan SAE 15W-40 Oil


The Cummins 3265336 Onan SAE 15W-40 oil is a reliable oil you can use for your generator. The oil is the best used lubricant for Onan generators in order to protect the generators from warning out. However, as much as it’s best, if you use the product for their generators, you can also use the oil for another brand of generator. The pricing is a bit expensive, but if you own an Onan generator, you might go for the oil. But if you don’t, you can find other affordable oil.

Generac 0J5140 Full Synthetic Motor Oil


The generac 0j5140 full synthetic motor oil is a product of the generator brand GENERAC. Like Onan, they also produce various generators ranging from whole-house generators to portable generators. Additionally, if you own a Generac generator, you might consider going for this oil. Although not only for Generac generator users.

Final Thoughts

There are different types of oil, irrespective of the brand, and it’s better you know them and how they work in line with climate change. You can also check your manual guide to see which oil will be best for you, apart from the generator brand’s oil.

So, here are a few types of oil you should know about:

  • The SAE 30: it’s the best to use in warmer temperatures, and it is also commonly used for small engines, for instance, a mower and so on.
  •  The SAE 10W-30: Based on the current temperature range, this oil type tends to improve oils when starting, which means that it can be used in cold weather, but might increase oil consumption. So, when using this kind of oil, always check your oil level.
  • The Synthetic SAE 5W-30: This oil type is mostly cost and is the best to use for your generator. It’s synthetic and also helps protect your generator from warning out in all temperatures. Unlike the SAE 10W-30, it doesn’t increase oil consumption.
  • The SAE 5W-30: can be used in very cold temperatures like others.
  • Lastly, synthetic oils: Synthetic oils can be used at all temperatures, whether cool or warm, or hot. It is the most recommended oil you can use for your generator.

FAQs

What kind of oil do you use in a generator?

The oil you use in a generator varies according to the temperature. For a generator that will lower operating temperature, you can consider using 5W – 30 oil. However, the best is to use synthetic oils. You can also learn about the oil in your generator’s manual / user guide.

Which engine is oil best for generator?

The engine oil that is best for generators is synthetic. These types of oils can be both used for a cool operating temperature and also a high operating temperature.

Can you use 4 cycle engine oil in a generator?

Yes, you can use a 4 cycle engine oil in a generator, if only it’s in line with the oil requirements in your generator’s manual/user guide.

Is it OK to use synthetic oil in a generator?

Yes, it’s okay to use synthetic oil in a generator. They are the best oil you can buy for your generator, regardless of its brand and operating temperature. Synthetic oil is also good in temperatures and hot temperatures, so you don’t have to worry about temperature change.

Can I use 5W30 in my generator?

You can use 5W30 in your generator, mover, or car. 

How do you drain generator oil?

If you want to drain your generator oil and put in new oil, this video can help.

Abdulmajeed Abdulwasiu

Abdulmajeed Abdulwasiu is a Sociology student and a professional Web Content Writer. He's obsessed with writing and has written for a series of blogs. Abdulmajeed Abdulwasiu is the founder of Generator Hacks. If he's not writing, he is reading or thinking about what to write. You can know more about him on his social media handles.

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