Do-it-yourself generator maintenance saves money, frustration

Do-it-yourself generator maintenance saves money, frustration

By Jim Twamley

RV generators are great because they allow you to run all your electrical stuff without being hooked up to shore power. It’s not uncommon for us to pull off on a lonely roadside, fire up the generator and use the microwave to make lunch. On excessively hot travel days we use the generator to run both our air conditioners to keep the coach cool. Generators have become standard equipment on motorhomes and on many fifth wheels and travel trailers as well.

RV generators provide 120 volts of alternating current (AC power) and are powered by gasoline, propane or diesel. Since generators are crucial to the RV lifestyle, it is important to maintain them properly. Maintenance procedures and intervals vary depending on manufacturer and model, so I recommend you consult your generator manual for guidance on the proper maintenance schedule.

Basic generator maintenance requires the following items be done:

• Change the oil and oil filter every 100 hours or once a year whichever comes first.
• Change the fuel filter when required.
• Clean or change the air filter every 50 hours of use or more frequently if operated in dusty conditions.
• Check belts for cracks or fraying, bolts for tightness and fuel lines for leaks.
• Check the antifreeze level on generators that are water cooled.
• Record the hours so you know when to preform the next maintenance.

Keeping up with regular maintanenance means your generator will be a lot happier, and much less prone to breaking down when you most need it.