The generator maintenance of a built-in or portable generator is not in general that complicated.

In order to monitor the usage of the generator, there is an hour meter that informs you of the accumulated time when the generator was at use.

The best favor you can do to your generator is to use it, really use it. If you do not use it enough, it will build up carbon on the pistons and it will start to knock when running.

It is necessary to run the generator at least once a month with a heavy load applied for an hour or two. This is a strict minimum and part of the generator maintenance.

In fact, the biggest problem with a gas generator not starting or surging is due to letting the generator still for a long period of time when the RV is in storage.

It is essential to add a fuel preservative in a full tank of gas and more importantly, run the generator at least 2 hours per month with a 50 percent load while functioning.

A good idea is to turn the air conditioning or heating system on to get rid of the humidity inside the RV while running the generator.

If you do not add the preservative and the gas stay still, it will break down with time and gum up the motor. Do not wait too long, a month of non-use can already have this break down effect on gas.

In general, as the generator maintenance is concerned, the owner's manual will give you a schedule of tasks to follow: oil changes, filter changes etc.. according to the number of hours of use at the time.


Always inspect the exhaust system so it is not cracked or blocked.

Never have a generator in operation while sleeping. On a long run, if carbon monoxide gets its way in the RV through the floor or a window opened, it would be deadly.

Remember that you always need good aeration making sure that the fumes do not go in your direction. A carbon monoxide detector in the RV is a must and test it so you are sure it is functioning properly.

If you select a portable generator, choose one unit with a backfire flame arrester. A generator may backfire and throw a spark that would set fire in the wilderness. An arrester would prevent such tragedy to happen.

Keep in mind:

  • DO NOT start a generator when you have electrical equipment running
  • DO NOT stop a generator when you have electrical equipment running
  • DO NOT run a generator without first disconnecting your RV from the electrical hookup
  • DO NOT trust the automatic transfer switch in the RV from hook-up to generator input, disconnect manually

It is always better to be safe than sorry!

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