6 Tips to Buying a Used Generator

Updated: Oct 5, 2019


Are you in need of a generator but are constrained by your budget? It would be a great idea for you to purchase a used generator in good condition. Businesses, whether small or large, often purchase pre-owned units as it is a cost-effective way of purchasing industrial assets and heavy equipment that is of high quality. There are, however, a number of factors that should be taken into consideration before buying a generator.


Used generators sold by Inborn Energy

Before buying a generator, you must first determine your power requirements. This means that you must first know the size of generator you need before looking at other factors. Here are some of the key things that you should consider when buying a used generator:


- Age of the generator

- Manufacturer of the generator

- Maintenance history of the generator

- Present condition of the generator

- Performance of the generator

- Where you are buying the generator from



Age of the Generator

The first thing you should do before committing to buying a used generator is to look at its history. The history of the generator will indicate how many hours it has been used. A generator is similar to a car engine that has an odometer. Other considerations include what the generator was being used for, whether it was used as backup or the primary source of power. A standby or backup generator will probably have a better maintenance record compared to one that was used as a continuous power source.


You should be aware of used generators that do not have records of their previous usage or ownership. Dealers acquire generators from numerous sources such as auctions, foreclosures, and similar sources. You should not commit to buying a generator if you have no idea where it came from and how it was used despite the dealer’s insistence. You can, however, consult a reputable technician to inspect the used generator. Other experts that have handled the generator in tuning it, testing it, rebuilding it, or testing it are also a valuable source of information.


Manufacturer of the Generator

The make and model of the used generator should be a major consideration. The history and reputation of the manufacturer can inform you of how reliable the generator is. Buying a used generator should be something well thought out as you are going to rely on the machine for electric power generation, meaning that taking a risk on unknown brands is not advisable. A manufacturer with a history of producing reliable machines is a safe bet for a used generator. Reputable manufacturers also mean that you can easily find replacement parts for the generator should it break down in the future. There are renowned manufacturers such as Honda, Perkins and Caterpillar that have a history of producing equipment that is of high quality that lasts for years if properly maintained.


Present Condition of The Generator

Checking the present condition encompasses all aspects of the used generator’s wear and tear. When considering whether to buy a used generator, you should start by checking its visual appearance. Just like other mechanical devices like cars, generators degrade regardless of how they are used. You should check whether all mechanical components of the generator are working and whether they show signs of wear or fatigue. Corrosion and cracks are red flags which indicate that the generator is not up to standard. If you observe that any part of the generator is compromised, you should ensure that it is replaced with those parts that are recommended by the manufacturer. You are bound to encounter a used generator that has a part that is not part of the original. The fact that there is a component part that is different should not be a deal-breaker as it indicates that the part broke at some point and was replaced with one that works just as well as the original. As long as the foreign part was installed by a qualified technician and was extensively tested, there is no cause for worry.


You should check whether the dealer has changed the bushings and bearing before buying the generator. If they have not changed the bushings and bearings, you should ensure that they are changed regardless of the condition or previous function of the used generator. Bearings and bushings are the parts that are most prone to breaking down since they are subjected to stress and replacing them prolongs the life of the generator. It is also very difficult to determine the level of stress the bushings and bearings have undergone prior to testing the generator, meaning that it is safe to replace them first and then run the generator. Bolts and fasteners should also be tested and replaced accordingly to guarantee safety in operating the used generator.


You should also check the welds on the used generator to confirm their integrity. All other windings and electrical components should also be inspected for integrity. Inspect the generator to ensure that there is no breakdown on wire insulations. All parts that are not up to standards should be replaced.


Performance of the Generator From

The performance of a used generator is determined by doing a load test. The load test is performed to determine the overall efficiency of the used generator in the generation of electric power. Before buying a generator, you should understand that the way the generator responds to varying loads indicates that it is efficient. Although reputable dealers must have performed this test before placing the used generator on the market, you should always ask that the load test be performed. Another indicator of the well-being of the generator is the king of electric power output it generates. The load test should test the regularity and frequency of the output. You should insist that the test be performed up to three times as an added precaution to ensure that there are no power breakdowns that are unexpected.


Where You Are Buying The Generator From

The source of the used generator is a major consideration. It may be a broker, another user or a distributor. Any of these parties can easily place a generator on sale on numerous platforms such as newspapers or on the internet. A generator is a complex machine and it needs to be fine-tuned for it to be worth your money. For the generator to operate efficiently, it requires to be certified by qualified technicians and be certified as safe for use. When buying a generator, you must ensure that there are professionals within your organization that you can trust to maintain it. Even buying a used generator requires considerable investment, meaning that you will need a professional organization that has a good reputation and professional experience.


While there are numerous other factors to consider when buying a generator, this general guide should ensure that you have a used generator that meets your needs.


At Inborn Energy we help users to learn and understand generators in simple and easy to understand ways in order to make the best purchase decisions. Inborn Energy has years of experience dealing with generators of all sizes and types.


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Need help with buying a used generator? We can help.

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