One of the best parts of owning an RV is the independence. You can take off for parts unknown and enjoy the freedom and self-sufficiency that comes with RV travel.
That said, your freedom is limited if your generator isn’t working as it should.
The generator gives you various comforts like warm food, chilled drinks, electricity for the TV, and power to run the AC. It’s a godsend especially if you’re in the middle of nowhere without hookups.
To make sure your generator is ready to go when you are, keep it in good condition and follow these tips for generator maintenance.
6 Tips for Generator Maintenance for Your RV
If you expect your generator to work well for the long haul, you need to take care of it properly. Do the right maintenance and you’ll be rewarded with reliability and fewer problems popping up when you least expect them.
1. Run the Generator Periodically
You should run your generator periodically in order to prevent carbon build-up, re-lubricate seals and other parts, get rid of moisture build-up, and keep the fuel from getting stale.
Most experts recommend running it for at least two hours every month at a minimum of 50% load capacity. Along with helping your generator stay healthy for the long haul, this practice will help your engine stay in good shape longer, too.
2. Operate Your Generator Based on Weather Conditions
Depending on where in the world you’re operating your generator (whether at home or on the road), make sure you’re using the right engine oil.
The ambient temperature will determine the type you need. In addition, adjust the altitude settings as needed for carbureted gasoline generators. If you’re taking a week-long trip into the mountains, for instance, you need to adjust for the altitude when you arrive and when you leave.
Don’t forget that the air filter gets dirty faster if you’re in an area with dusty conditions. You’ll also need oil changes more often.
3. Store It Properly
If you won’t be using your generator for an extended period of time, don’t just pull into your storage space or garage, turn off the vehicle, and call it a day. Make sure you store it properly to extend the life of your RV’s working parts.
- To start, fill up the fuel tank and add a stabilizer.
- Change the oil and oil filter, as used oil has acids in it that can eventually corrode your engine if it sits unused for a long period of time.
- If you won’t be starting your RV for a long time, make sure the battery is clean and fully charged. Then disconnect the battery cables.
4. Change the Oil and Air Filters
Of course, just like any vehicle, your RV will need regular service so it runs well and keeps doing so.
Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for when you need services, such as changing the oil and air filters. Most models need service at least once a year or after about every 150 hours of use.
Keep a close eye on the generator hour meter and be vigilant about servicing your RV when the time rolls around.
5. Do a Visual Inspection Regularly
Every 8 to 10 hours of use, do a visual inspection of your generator. Check for oil or fuel leaks, take a look at the oil level, and look at the exhaust.
Different parts will need maintenance at different intervals.
Here’s a list of the things you should note, including their condition, cleanliness, and any signs of problems:
- Fuel filters
- Slip rings
- Exhaust system
- Spark arrestors
- Air filter
6. Stay Safe When Dry Camping
When you’re camping without electric hook-ups, you’ll be relying on your generator exclusively. However, there are some dangers that come with that. Carbon monoxide can build up if your generator exhaust isn’t working or if you’re too close to other RVs.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to symptoms like headaches, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, muscular twitching, and more. In some cases, it can even lead to death.
This is easy to avoid. First, always make sure your exhaust is working properly. If it’s not, get it serviced before using your generator.
Second, avoid opening windows when running your generator. You should also make sure you’re not too close to other RVs or structures. If you’re camping in a group of RVs, make sure their exhaust isn’t pointing at you.
Maintenance for Your Generator Is a Vital Task
Keeping your generator maintained will do more than keep it working. It will also ensure you can use it whenever you need it. When you’re on the road and enjoying your RV, that could be any time, any place.
Freedom is one of the best parts of owning an RV. Keep your generator working well and you’ll also keep your freedom to go where you please.