How to Break-In Predator 3500 – Complete Guide

A proper break-in can extend the life of your new Inverter Generator! (Or any machine to be fair). The primary purpose is to drain out any residual metal parts remaining from the manufacturing process.

You can get many opinions on how to properly break in your Generator, the truth is that there is no one way of doing it right! But the purpose is the same, i.e., to let the moving parts of the engine adjust to each other under light load and the metal scraps that can be removed by draining the oil.

Break-In Duration & Load

According to the User Manual harbor freight suggest a 30-hour break-in period, in which you are expected to not put any heavy load on the machine (for example an Air conditioner or other high power consuming devices).

To be precise, according to the manual, a continuous load of more than 75% (2250W) of its steady-state capability (3000W) or 75%(2625W) of the starting capability of 3500W, isn’t advised during this initial 30-hour break-in period.

Note: The generator won’t necessarily blow up if it hits 80% load for a bit, although it isn’t advised by the manufacturer. The break-in process is designed to avoid near-max sustained loads.

It also isn’t advised to run it on 0% load. A 50% load is typically suggested as the best way to condition your new generator, and gradually increasing the load as the time on the generator increases.

Which Oil to Use During Break-In Period

A conventional 10W30 Oil is suggested best for Break-In periods, and you can switch over to synthetic oil after the period. Synthetic oil is not recommended during the initial period because it restricts piston ring break-in!

But again, there are advantages and disadvantages of break-in using these 2 different types of oils. You can research the topic more if you’re interested.

10W30 Conventional Oil

Predator 3500 Break-In Process

As I pointed out earlier, everyone does it differently. I’m just giving out a process that works well, you might try a different way –

  • Half-hour Oil Change – Fill the conventional oil and run the Generator without any load for 20 minutes to half an hour, then drain out the oil. Here you will see the most metal shavings from the process. Please Note – Don’t run your Generator without load for a long time, half an hour is ideal.
  • Change the Oil: After the first 1/2 hours, it’s time to change the oil. It’s a relatively straightforward process using a 10mm socket with an extension. You can find youtube tutorials on the subject or just follow the user manual.
  • Refill the Conventional Oil
  • Run the Generator for 7-8 hours under a small load: It’s recommended to use something like an electrical heater or similar appliance to maintain low levels of load. This way, the generator will be operating under a reasonable load.
  • Drain the oil and refill with new
  • Run the Generator for Another 10 hours: Again, aim to keep the load around 50% of the generator’s capacity. Gradually increase the load with the process
  • Drain The Oil

Even though it is close to 20 hours of run time, you can either continue the process for another 10 hours and drain the oil again or just use your favorite synthetic oil and use your generator normally.

I know many of you might find this process a bit too long and inconvenient, but at-least follow the process untill the 2 oil changes before using the generator normally.

Pro tip: Consider investing in a magnetic dipstick. The magnetic dipstick can help with the metal shavings removal.


In conclusion, breaking in your new Predator 3500 generator might seem like a tedious process, but it’s well worth it.

By taking these steps, you are helping to assure an expected lifespan and efficiency for your generator. You are preparing it to provide you with reliable power whenever and wherever you need it.

With your generator properly broken in and ready to go, you can rest easy knowing that your Predator 3500 will stand by you for a while.

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