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What should you look for when buying a used generator?

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Quick Answer

Buyers interested in purchasing a used generator should look for models with a low total amount of usage, ideally one that was a standby generator rather than a primary generator, as well as models that are well-maintained. This reduces the likelihood of experiencing technical issues or needing costly repairs.

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Full Answer

Buying a used generator is similar to buying a used car in that the more usage the model has, the more maintenance it typically needs. For a generator, usage is measured in terms of the number of hours it has run over its lifetime. This value is commonly displayed on an odometer or similar meter on the unit, though some older units do not feature any kind of usage measuring. If this information is not clearly visible on the unit, buyers should speak to the dealer or seller to see if they have a separate record of usage.

If this information isn't available, buyers should consider factors such as how the unit was used and for how long in order to estimate average use. For example, a unit that was a primary energy source for a building for several years likely needs more maintenance than a backup generator that was only in place for a few years.

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