8 Things to Look for in a Used Generator

8 Things to Look for in a Used Generator

Used generators tend to be reliable. When you buy from a certified dealer, they inspect and repair any generator sets they sell. Still, a used generator is like a used car; you never really know how the previous owner treated it. 

That is why it is crucial to know what to look for when you buy a pre-owned industrial generator. Here are 8 things to check before you make a purchase. 

1. Know your supplier

Who you buy from can give you a good idea of how well they take care of used equipment. A diesel-powered generator set is a complex piece of machinery. It requires regular maintenance and testing from certified engineers. 

Without proper maintenance, you can lose valuable hours of operation. If you want to get the most out of your purchase, buy from a dealer you trust. 

Look for a supplier with a proven track record of used equipment that performs well. They should thoroughly inspect a generator before they sell it. Your generator is an investment, so it’s important to work with someone you trust. 

2. The manufacturer

Beyond the supplier, be sure to do your due diligence about the manufacturer. Manufacturers have a reputation, too, so check product reviews. Avoid a manufacturer with a bad reputation or consistently poor product reviews. 

It’s much easier to invest in a piece of equipment when you know the company that produced it is reliable. 

3. Maintenance record

It can be hard to get a full history of maintenance and repairs. However, your supplier should have a record of the inspection and maintenance. Check the supplier’s knowledge for proper maintenance of generator sets as well as parts: 

  • Generator ends
  • Transfer switches
  • Power units 
  • Engines 

Gauging their knowledge will help you get an idea of what kind of maintenance was done. Knowing the history of the equipment is important, too. It tells you what kind of lifespan to expect; better maintenance can mean a longer life. 

4. Load testing & no-load testing

A load bank test mimics the operational load of a generator as it runs. The device matches the power output of a generator to ensure it isn’t deteriorating to a point where it breaks down. That is good to know on its own, but it can tell you whether the generator is up to the task of your application. 

5. Age, Hours, & Testing

When you want to buy a used generator, there are a few key things to look at: 

  • Run time
  • Age
  • Usage 

As with a used car, the odometer tells you part of the story. Specifically, it tells you how many hours it has been in use. Lower hours means you have more to work with. 

It’s also a good idea to understand how the previous owner used it. Some backup power generators never get used while others have higher hours. Backup and standby power supplies are usually in better condition than a primary power source. 

6. Perform a visual inspection

If you don’t check it yourself, someone with training should inspect the mechanical components. Some wear and tear is normal. However, a poorly maintained unit can have a build-up of corrosion or cracks in certain spots. 

The supplier should replace anything that you find. It’s also a good idea to check the brushings and bearings; it’s difficult to test these, so it is easier to replace them. 

7. Ask about warranties

Pre-owned generators may not have a long-term warranty. However, the equipment should last at least a few months. Many suppliers are professionals who maintain their equipment, so they may offer a 30 to 90-day operational guarantee. 

8. Check the features

Used generators often have aftermarket modifications. That means different sets have more unique features. The supplier will tell you about each unique feature. 

If there is something specific you need, let them know. They should be able to pair you with the specific features you require. One key feature to consider is the power source: Do you need a diesel generator or natural gas generator?

Find the right generator for your application

A used generator set can be as reliable as a new one, at a much lower price point. Knowing what things to look for in a used generator and what questions to ask ensures you get the most out of our investment. 

Not sure what to look for? Our team can help you identify the best power solution for your application.