How Long Will a Generator Last? [Avg Lifespan + 8 Life-Extending Tips]

The life of a portable generator will depend upon three things: 

  1. The type of generator, 
  2. The size of the generator, and
  3. How well it is cared for and maintained.

A portable generator will generally last for about 1,000-2,000 hours of operation. If you were to run it for an hour each week, it would run for about 52 hours per year. Power outages can last for an average of four hours or more, sometimes for several days.

A generator that has been cared for, regularly serviced, and kept secure from water/moisture damage can last several years. Generators that are well maintained have lasted between 10-15 years.

Follow manufacturer guidelines to track the hours of operation and perform regular service to keep your generator operating optimally.

How to Prolong the Life of Your Generator

We have described the importance of care and maintenance for a generator on other website pages. Unless your bank account is limitless and you can afford to buy a new generator when a part fails, regular inspections and upkeep are essential to prolonging its life.

Here is our generator maintenance guide showing the 8 ways to extend the life of your generator.

A portable generator is like any property you may own. If you don’t maintain the roof of your home, it will degrade over time, shingles or tiles will break and blow away, water will seep inside and cause structural damage. 

Without regular maintenance, your generator parts will degrade, rust out or break, engine parts will corrode and seize, and it will fail to provide power. It is that simple.

However, a generator can last many years and provide dependable performance to meet your power needs with regular inspection and care.

If you are about to purchase a generator, we can’t stress enough how critical it is to properly break in your new portable generator.

What to do When Parts Fail

Ultimately, like any mechanical piece of equipment, a portable generator’s parts will begin to fail. The manufacturer can replace those parts by model and serial number in most cases.

If you are not mechanically inclined to replace the components, service technician locations are also available either on the manufacturer’s website or by contacting the manufacturer.

Who Can Maintain a Generator?

The portable generator owner can generally do regular maintenance by replacing oil, filters, and spark plugs without using a technical service provider. Instructions are typically found in the operator’s manual or downloaded from the manufacturer’s website.

It is essential to keep the generator dry, as moisture can cause parts to rust and fail. Replace any rusted parts as soon as possible before severe damage to the engine occurs.

how long will a generator last


Is it Worth Fixing an Old Generator?

As long as parts are still available for the portable generator, fixing an older model is an excellent investment. Most portable generators have an estimated life of 1000-2000 hours of operation and can last as long as 10-15 years, and regular maintenance will extend the life of a generator.

As technology advances, costs may be prohibitive to fix an older generator, and newer technical components may not be compatible with older models.

What makes a generator go bad?

There are several reasons that a portable generator can go wrong, but lack of maintenance is the most common. Rough or rugged handling can cause parts to get damaged, as well. Additionally, allowing moisture to rust parts can also damage the generator.

Regular maintenance includes changing the oil, filters, spark plugs and ensuring that gasoline does not degrade. Routine inspection of parts and fuel lines is also necessary.

How Long Will a Standby Generator Last?

Standby generators will have a longer lifespan than portable generators. Standby generators can perform 10,000 – 30,000 operating hours if maintained to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Realistically, a standby generator could last as long as 30 years.

Regular maintenance and service will ensure that your standby generator gives years of performance.

How Often Should You Replace a Generator?

Portable generators that have been well-maintained can last as long as 10-15 years. Replacing parts as they wear out will keep your generator operating for many years.

Another consideration for replacing a generator is if it no longer meets your energy needs. Suppose you have outgrown the wattage needs of your current generator. In that case, you will need to upgrade to a larger model, or if your current portable generator is parallel-ready, you can add a second compatible generator.

Certain ecological factors may cause your fuel-powered generator to become detrimental to the environment. As states change their environmental codes, you may need to update the generator you are using or comply with modifications to meet the requirements.


How long a generator will last depends on its care and maintenance, type, and size. Caring for a generator by protecting it from harsh weather and ensuring that routine maintenance is completed will keep it operational for years.

About Chad & Rick

Chad and Rick are the father son team behind Generator Hero. Rick is an engineer and manager, he’s used generators his whole life and specializes in fact checking our articles. Chad is a writer and webmaster helping to keep things running smoothly on the site. Read more about Rick and Chad, or send a message using this contact form.

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