Apart from saving money with a smart generator purchase, you can save even more with smart generator maintenance. In this case, "smart" means regular, proactive and above all- preventive. It makes sense when you think about it. It's better to eat healthily and dress warmly than it is to take expensive medications and keep the bed once you've caught a bad cold. Pretty much the same logic applies to generators and any other appliances. The better the maintenance, the longer it will function without or with minimal repairs needed- for you this translates into some serious cash saved from buying expensive spare parts or even replacing the whole unit if it gets so bad that it's beyond repairs.
Get a warranty. This is pretty self-explanatory. Ask for a warranty when buying, get acquainted with the coverage- it might be full or partial and stick to it. There's a lot you can do yourself. There are not one or two things you can do to ensure a longer lifespan for your home power plant. The very first of them is to keep track of the usage of the appliance. Thoroughly record the hours the generator works, so you'll know when it's time to conduct the necessary check-ups. Timing is crucial for proper generator maintenance.
On some units, the air filter needs to be cleaned or changed every 50 hours. Even more often if you're operating the appliance in a dusty environment. On some units, the oil and oil filter need to be changed every 100 hours. If you get less than 100 work hours per year, do it annually. Make sure to check the fuel filter after every use and change it when you feel it's needed.
Systematically examine the fuel lines for leaks- the smallest breach creates the risk of a fire, so don't ignore this precaution. Carefully inspect all bolts and belts as well- they all need to be in place, not too difficult, not too loose, no cracks, no fraying. Check the batteries and run the engine for 15-20 minutes twice a month. In case you're using a water cooled unit, don't forget to take a look at the antifreeze level every time you perform the other items on the generator maintenance list. Specific instructions may vary by the manufacturer and model, so it's essential to refer to the user manual on the exact procedures and intervals.