A very common, and very easily preventable problem with RV generators stems from a lack of use. In contrast to typical usage habits, Gasoline generators are designed to be used very frequently for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, most RV owners use their RV’s only a handful of times per year. Bearing this in mind, long periods without use can incur significant damage and repair costs. You can often avoid this by simply running your generator for a few hours every month or so. Typical RV Generator Maintenance isn’t terribly difficult, and simple habits such as just running it for a little while every now and then will pay off dividends later on!
Similar to how oil molecules can burn away over time and become sludgier, fuel in a gasoline generator is similar. Unlike oil, however, gasoline has this happen through long periods of downtime, as opposed to oil which is burned away through constant use. When gasoline becomes thicker and gummier, it can lead to more difficulty starting the generator, as well as engine surges. In addition to fuel gunking up, long periods without use can lead to moisture build up. which can also lead to lasting damage. Either of these problems can begin occurring after only a few weeks, so it’s important that you take steps to combat them whenever possible.
The best way to combat both of these problems is quite simple. At least once a month you should run your generator for a few hours at around 40% – 50% load. You can even run your generator while traveling in your RV. So long as the generator is running under a fair amount of load you should be good to go. Ensure that you’re not receiving shore power to make sure the generator is under load. Turn on an appliance and crank the heat up and you’ll probably be good to go on that front. Usually, around an hour or two of this, every month should be sufficient, though you may want to do it a little more frequently during the Winter.
When performing RV Generator maintenance, be sure to avoid carbon monoxide. This is a colorless and odorless gas, so it’s vital that you have a detector installed on your RV. Be sure to test the detector regularly and make sure the generator’s exhaust is working as well. If you suddenly start feeling dizziness, nausea or just incoherent, get to fresh air immediately!
Fully inspecting your RV, as well as your generator before a trip is never a bad idea as well. This little bit of maintenance and TLC goes a long way to help you avoid untimely repairs and costs.