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How Long Do Generator Brushes Typically Last?

How Long Do Generator Brushes Typically Last?

Generator brushes are a vital part of your generator, as they help create the spark that starts the engine. But how long do they typically last? What can you do to make them last longer?

Generator brushes will typically last 7,500 hours under “normal” conditions. However, there are times when the brushes will last much longer (10,000 hours max) and other times when they will need to be replaced sooner. This difference in longevity has to do with the quality of brushes used.

This article will explore what factors affect the lifespan of a generator brush and what can be done to ensure they last as long as possible. I’ll also throw in a couple of tips on what to look for when purchasing new generator brushes.

What Are Generator Brushes, and What Do They Do?

Generator brushes create the spark that starts the engine. Without them, the generator would not be able to function. The best size for a generator brush depends on the power of the generator, while the brush’s material determines its quality and price. 

Generator brushes facilitate the movement of electricity between the wires inside the generator. They also help reduce the friction experienced by the generator’s motor, prolonging the life of the latter. That’s why, as I said earlier, generator brushes are an important component of your generator.

Brushes made from polymer ceramic are the highest quality on the market. However, there are cheaper brushes made from carbon and graphite. A premium polymer ceramic brush will cost more than a bronze brush, but it’ll also last longer.

The Lifespan of Generator Brushes

Under typical conditions, generator brushes will last 7,500 hours. However, several factors can shorten or lengthen the lifespan of the brush.

For example, the brushes will wear out more quickly if the generator is used in a dusty environment. The same is true if the generator operates in an area with a lot of salt in the air (e.g., near the ocean).

On the other hand, if the generator is well-maintained and not used very often, the brushes can last much longer. I’ve seen brushes last 10,000 hours or more in these conditions. It’s a combination of regular maintenance and good luck in my experience.

How To Make Generator Brushes Last Longer

If you live in a dusty area, I recommend building a shed or some type of enclosure around the generator to keep most of the dust out. You’ll also want to inspect the brushes regularly and clean them if necessary. I like to use a soft brush (such as an old toothbrush) to remove any dirt or debris buildup on the brush.

Also, avoid using the generator in extreme conditions (like near the ocean), which will shorten the generator’s lifespan. If you must use your generator under such conditions, you should go with a solar or wind setup.

I’ve also found that using a higher quality brush will make a big difference in the brush’s lifespan. A premium polymer ceramic brush will last longer than a bronze brush, not to mention create a better spark.

Extended usage of a generator can also contribute to faster degradation of brushes and other parts. That’s why generators are often used as a backup (as opposed to primary) source of electricity.

Tips for Buying Generator Brushes

Here are some of my best tips for buying your generator brushes:

Look for the Best Deals

Ordering online is the easiest way to buy high-quality generator brushes for cheap. I like to buy from sites that offer free shipping and have a no-questions-asked return policy. Amazon is an excellent place to start your search. However, I recommend that you also check out your local parts store and buy in bulk when you find a good deal.

Get the Size Right

When buying new generator brushes, it’s important to buy the correct size. The size of the brush will depend on the generator’s output. You can usually find this information in the generator’s user manual. For example, a brush for a 3kW generator will not fit in a 5kW generator. 

So, make sure you know the size of your generator before you buy brushes for it. I made the mistake of not double-checking my generator’s size one time, so I endured the hassle of returning the brushes. They took forever to be delivered and I had to buy another pair from a local store because I wanted to use the generator ASAP.

Shop for Warranties

Warranty is another important consideration when buying generator brushes. I like to buy from companies that offer an extended warranty (like 12 months or more). That way, if the brushes wear out prematurely, I can get a replacement without shelling out extra cash.

What To Do When Your Generator Brushes Wear Out

When your generator brushes wear out, you have two options: replace them or buy a new generator. Replacing the brushes is the cheaper option. However, if your generator is old, it might be time to buy a new one. If you only replace the parts, you may end up damaging your equipment further, meaning you’ll need a new generator anyway. 

In case you decide to replace the brushes, make sure you buy the right size. You can usually find the generator’s name on the title of the brushes you want to buy. Alternatively, measure the old brush and use those numbers to order a new pair.

When installing the new brushes, make sure they’re tight enough. If they’re too loose, they won’t create a good spark. On the other hand, if they’re too tight, they’ll wear out quickly. The idea is to find the perfect balance.

Final Thoughts

Generator brushes usually last around 7,500 hours. But there are several things you can do to make them last longer. The most important thing is to keep the generator clean, as dust and dirt will shorten the lifespan of the brushes.

If you follow the above tips, your generator brushes should last long. But eventually, they’ll wear out, and you’ll need to replace them.

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