Notes for the Shop – Power Up!
Summer is here once again, and that means ifs time to get your RV in tip-top shape so you can get back out on the road. RVers typically pay attention to every detail of their coach to ensure that ifs road-ready, but all too often, they overlook one very important system when going through their maintenance routine: the generator.
A generator and AC power system is one of the most expensive components in an RV so it is crucial to perform routine maintenance in order to get maximum performance and usefulness out of that investment. Your RV generator is made up of many parts and components, so proper maintenance involves several different checks and procedures.
Regular “exercise”, periodically operating the generator under 50% load—is the most effective way to keep your generator in top operating condition. More generators go into the shop for repairs simply because they are left sitting unused for too long than for any other problem. The solution is simple: the generator should be powered up to run at a minimum 50% load for two hours each month. Running the generator for a couple of hours each month will prevent fuel breakdown or gum-up, bum off condensed moisture and lubricate the engine’s seals. While the other maintenance procedures are equally important, this can help to ensure that a generator runs smoothly when its time to go camping again.
Handy Maintenance Kit
One of the easiest ways to ensure that a generator is properly maintained is to keep a maintenance kit handy in the RV. It can be quite difficult to perform procedures without the proper parts and tools. A good maintenance kit should include all parts that may have to be replaced such as spare electrical terminals, engine oil, spark plugs and spark plug wires as well as replacement air, oil and fuel filters. The proper tools, such as a wrench, oil funnel, spray lubricant and towels for cleanup should also stay in the kit.
Timing is Everything
It’s important to know what to do, but it’s equally important to know when to do it. Each generator is different, and its owner’s manual almost always provides specific maintenance schedules. Most generator maintenance schedules follow roughly the same timeline. For example, the engine oil level should be checked and a general inspection should be performed daily or with every use. The generator battery should be cleaned and checked every month. The engine oil should be changed and the air filter element should be changed after every 150 hours of use, and typically spark plugs and fuel filters should be replaced every 450 hours. Check your owner’s manual for recommended service intervals. A typical RV generator has many components but routine checks and maintenance keep everything humming along. Generator maintenance does take a bit of time and effort but proper care of your generator now ensures that it will provide reliable power for years to come.
7 Easy Steps to Maintain Your Generator
Your maintenance schedule should involve all of the following:
1 Inspect the exhaust system for overall condition and proper operation
2 Clean and tighten battery connections
3 Clean the generator exterior and compartment
4 Lubricate moving parts where necessary
5 Change the oil per manufacturer recommendations
6 Replace the air filter, spark plugs and fuel filter per manufacturer recommendations
7 “Exercise” the generator regularly