Purchasing a welder generator is a big decision. You want to know you’re getting the best setup for the best deal. When you do decide to seal the deal, you want to make sure your welder/generator is going to last you a very long time. As in, your still-working welder/generator should be at your funeral. Sadly, so many welder/generator owners don’t know the secrets to everlasting life, meaning their machines take a dirt nap way too soon. Here’s a few tips from the industry’s leading professionals on how you can maximize your welder/generator’s longevity.
Tip 1: The Book of Secrets
Every welding expert will tell you about a book of secrets that was specifically written with answers to many (often all) of the questions you’ll have about improving the lifespan of your welder/generator. And it actually comes with your machine. That’s right, it’s the user manual. We know it’s not exactly an exciting read. Sadly manuals tend to be packed with legal disclaimers, making flipping through them a daunting task. But the amount of important information they contain about maintaining your machine makes it worth the pain. For instance, most welders don’t change the air filters on their machines simply because they don’t know when and how. Almost every user manual lists how often maintenance tasks should be performed and the right way to do said tasks.
If you’re like 90% of the human race, your user manual was thrown away the moment you opened the box. 20 years ago, that was bad news. But today, you can easily go online and find almost any user manual for any type of machine. Just search your machine + “user manual” in your favorite search engine.
Tip 2: Friction Is Bad
Unlike a normal welder, a welder/generator has a gas-powered engine inside of it. That means a lot of fast moving parts experiencing lots of heat. Anytime fast moving metal parts touch one another, bad things start to happen. To avoid metal on metal contact from occurring, engines use lubricants (a.i. oil). The problem is that over time and after repeated use, your oil begins to lose its lubricating properties. If left unchecked, your machine will begin to grind its metal parts against one another, deteriorating their ability to function.
Avoiding metal on metal contact means that oil changes aren’t one of those “I don’t really need to do this as often as they say” things (a.i. changing your underwear). The newest generation of Miller machines actually features a maintenance meter, letting you know at what point they need an oil change. If your welder/generator doesn’t have a meter, decide right now on a system you’ll use. This could be leaving a note on your machine to check the oil after every use or setting an alarm in your phone of when you should check the oil (just make sure it’s not too far down the road).
Tip 3: Good In, Good Out
Most people get in the habit of putting the cheapest gas into their car. So when they go to fill up their welder/generator, they naturally use the same gas they put in their vehicle. The problem is that most welder/generators need octane levels of 87 or greater. In most areas of the country, the cheapest gas usually has an octane level of 86 or less. Before you fill up, check to make sure your gas has an octane level at or higher than the recommended grade.
Another common problem with fuel is that most welders store their welder/generator gasoline in a canister instead of filling it up directly at the pump. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you’re not letting it sit all winter. When you burn stale fuel, it creates a varnish that can clog up your machine’s carburetor.
Usually fuel stays good for about 3 months (this can vary depending on your climate and the fuel’s percentage of ethanol). If you’re planning on letting your fuel sit around for longer than that, it can be a good idea to add a fuel stabilizer when you fill up. It’s important to note that fuel stabilizers don’t refresh stale fuel so if you’re gasoline has already gone stale, there’s not much you can do. The trick is to simply develop a system to remind you when you bought your fuel and/or when it’ll go stale. Again, notes work great as well as setting the date on a calendar or in your phone.
These 3 simple tips can make a huge difference in helping you find the fountain of youth for your welder/generator. This means better performance from your machine for a longer duration. If you’re interested in learning more about welder/generators, check out our article below.