Preventive Maintenance is maintenance the owner can perform on your RV before a problem exists. These checks are designed to prevent or identify potential problems that could lead to mechanical breakdown, malfunction or failure of a component or system on your RV. Preventive Maintenance consists of cleaning, inspecting, lubricating, adjusting and servicing your RV.
Whether it’s a portable generator you use at home or the generator in your RV here are some simple PM checks you can perform to keep it in top operating condition. In addition to these checks you should always follow the maintenance schedule and guidelines that came with your specific generator set.
Note: These PM checks are for a gasoline fueled generator. Diesel motorhomes come equipped with a diesel or propane fueled generator. Consult your generator owner’s manual for maintenance checks and services for your specific generator.
Always check the oil level prior to starting the generator. Starting and running a generator that is low on oil can result in costly damage to the generator’s engine. Add proper type of oil as required.
Always check the exhaust system prior to starting the generator. A damaged exhaust system can result in carbon monoxide gas getting inside the RV. Inspect the entire generator exhaust system. Never operate a generator with a damaged exhaust system!
Keep the generator set and the compartment it is housed in clean. You can use compressed air to assist in cleaning out the generator compartment and a clean shop rag to clean the generator set. While you are cleaning the generator check all electrical connectors for secure connections.
Note: always wear safety glasses when using compressed air.
Check all of the filters on the generator. A typical generator may have an air filter, fuel filter and oil filter. Check your generator owner manual for the types of filters your generator has and where they are located.
Maintenance checks and services for a generator are based on hours of operation. Monitor the hour meter on your generator set for all maintenance intervals.
Change the oil and oil filter (if equipped). This is perhaps the most important PM Service you can make on your generator to ensure years of reliable service. Change the oil and replace the oil filter at the recommended intervals. If you don’t feel comfortable changing the oil and filter have an authorized RV service center do it for you.
Exercise the generator. There are several reasons why you should start and exercise the generator set on a regular basis. Moisture build up can cause damage to your generator. When you exercise your generator it heats up the generator windings and eliminates this moisture build up. This monthly exercise regime also lubricates all of the engine seals and components and helps to prevent carbon build up. When you exercise the generator it should have a load on it and it should run for at least two hours every month. Check your generator owner’s manual for load ratings specific to your unit.
Add a fuel stabilizer to the motorhomes gas tank or generator gas tank and run the generator long enough for the stabilizer to get through the fuel system. This will help prevent gas related problems on generators, like not starting or surging. Fuel stabilizers can protect the fuel system for up to six months or longer, but keep in mind the importance of exercising the generator too.
Follow these simple steps, and the maintenance and service instructions in the generator owner’s manual, and you can get years of reliable, trouble-free service from your generator set.
RV Education 101
copyright 2009 by Mark Polk owner of RV Education 101