RV Generator Problems : Understanding and Troubleshooting

Rv generator problems can cause frustration for rv owners. Troubleshooting common problems like low power, engine starting issues, and fuel problems can help resolve the issue quickly.

Rv generators are essential for providing power when traveling. However, rv generator problems can quickly ruin any road trip. A generator’s common issues include low power, engine starting problems, fuel problems, and many more. These problems could be due to various reasons, including an old battery, fuel filter clogs, blocked air intake, or contaminated fuel. To avoid such issues, regular maintenance checks should be a priority, such as oil changes, air filter replacements, and fuel filter replacements. This article will explore some of the common rv generator problems and how to troubleshoot and resolve them.

Understanding Rv Generators : A Brief Overview And Types

Rv generators are a crucial part of every camper’s road trip essentials. They provide electricity that makes camping life more comfortable, especially when camping off-grid. However, problems with rv generators can arise, which can be a frustrating experience without prior knowledge.

This blog post aims to provide valuable insights into the various types of rv generators, their problems, and solutions to those problems.

Portable Generators

Portable generators are the popular choice for campers due to their versatility and ease of use. They work by converting gasoline into electricity which is used to power appliances in an rv. However, portable generators can also have their fair share of problems.

  • Overloading: overloading is a common problem with portable generators. It occurs when a generator is used to power appliances that exceed its wattage limit. To solve this problem, reduce the electrical load by disconnecting non-essential appliances.
  • Spoiled fuel: another problem that can affect portable generators is fuel contamination. Storing fuel for extended periods can cause the fuel to become stale and eventually spoil. The solution to this problem is to regularly drain the fuel and use a fuel stabilizer.
  • Starting issues: portable generators can fail to start due to a dead battery or a clogged carburetor. Ensure that the battery is charged and replace it if necessary. To solve carburetor-related problems, clean it or replace it entirely.

Installed Generators

Installed generators work differently from portable generators. They are usually hardwired into the rv’s electrical system, and they run on propane or diesel fuel.

  • Low power output: the generator might fail to produce the required power output if it’s running at low rpm. To solve this problem, adjust the generator’s rpm to match the recommended level.
  • Faulty carburetor or fuel filter: installed generators can fail to start or stop suddenly due to a clogged carburetor or fuel filter. The solution is to clean the carburetor regularly and replace the filter if necessary.
  • Carbon buildup: carbon buildup is a common problem with installed generators, leading to poor fuel efficiency and shortened lifespan. To reduce carbon buildup, run the generator under load frequently.

Understanding rv generators’ types is crucial in identifying and solving related problems. Portable and installed generators have their unique advantages and challenges. Familiarizing yourself with their problems enables you to enjoy a seamless camping experience using your rv generator.

Common Rv Generator Problems

Rv generators are an essential part of every camping trip. They provide electricity, making it possible to enjoy the comforts of home on the road. However, like all machines, rv generators can encounter problems that can ruin your experience. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the most common rv generator problems you might face on your trip.

Low Voltage Output

Low voltage output is a common problem in rv generators. It usually happens because of corrosion on the generator’s brushes or a malfunctioning voltage regulator. Low voltage output can cause appliances to run poorly or not at all.

  • Check the voltage regulator and brushes for corrosion and damage.
  • Replace any damaged parts if required.


Overheating is another common problem in rv generators. It typically occurs because of a lack of ventilation or low oil levels, leading to a build-up of heat in the generator. Overheating can damage the generator’s internal components or even cause it to stop working altogether.

  • Make sure the generator has sufficient ventilation.
  • Check oil levels regularly and change the oil when necessary.

Starting Problems

Rv generators may sometimes have trouble starting, especially after a long period of inactivity or when it’s too cold outside. This issue can happen due to a dead battery, a dirty air filter, or old fuel.

  • Replace the battery if required.
  • Clean or replace the air filter.
  • Drain any stale fuel and replace it with fresh fuel.

Fuel Issues

Fuel problems can also occur in rv generators. It may happen because of contaminated fuel or clogged fuel filters. Fuel issues can result in a generator not starting or stopping midway through operation.

  • Check the fuel supply regularly and make sure that it’s clean and not contaminated.
  • Replace the fuel filter whenever required.

Engine Problems

Finally, rv generators may encounter engine-related problems. These problems might happen due to a malfunctioning carburetor, blocked fuel lines, or a faulty spark plug. Engine problems can ultimately lead to breakdowns or irreparable damages if not addressed promptly.

  • Regularly check and clean the carburetor.
  • Clear any clogged fuel lines.
  • Replace any faulty spark plugs.

Rv generator problems may arise during your trip and leave you stranded without electricity. Being aware of common rv generator problems and understanding how to identify and remedy them can make sure your trip always runs smoothly. Remember to perform routine checks to avoid these issues, and in case of any problem, follow these straightforward steps to address them quickly and efficiently.

Understanding The Causes Of Rv Generator Problems

If you’re an rv owner, a functional generator is essential to power all of your appliances and electronics on the road. Unfortunately, many rvers face generator problems that can quickly ruin a trip. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the key factors that contribute to rv generator problems and how you can prevent them.

Lack Of Maintenance

Lack of maintenance is the most common reason behind rv generator problems. Generators are complex machines with many moving parts and require regular upkeep to keep them running reliably.

  • Dirty air filters can cause your generator to overheat, causing component failure.
  • Accumulation of debris inside the generator can block airflow, damaging the internal components.
  • Fuel filters can clog due to the introduction of contaminants in dirty fuel, leading to poor performance and even engine failure.

Regular generator maintenance like oil changes, tune-ups, and cleaning can prevent these issues from arising.

Fuel Degradation

Fuel degradation is another significant cause of generator problems. If fuel sits idle in your rv’s tank, it can break down over time, causing varnish and gum to accumulate in the fuel system. It can prevent proper fuel flow to the generator engine, causing it to run poorly or fail to start.

  • Ethanol-blended fuels can absorb water and separate, causing engine damage.
  • Old gasoline contains moisture and can form sludge-like deposits in the fuel system.
  • Fuel stabilizers can break down over time, causing the fuel to break down and damage the fuel system.

Regular fuel system maintenance, including fuel filtering, keeping your rv fuel tank full, and using quality additives and stabilizers, can prevent fuel-related generator problems.


Another common cause of rv generator problems is overuse. If your generator is used beyond its capacity or runs for extended periods, it can lead to significant generator problems.

  • Compression loss due to engine overheating.
  • Carbon buildup inside the engine due to prolonged oil use.
  • Electrical component failure because of overloading.

It’s recommended to follow the recommended runtime for your generator and to shut it off when not in use.

Faulty Parts Or Wiring

Faulty parts and wiring are another common cause of generator problems. They can cause damage to other generator components, leading to significant electrical and mechanical issues.

  • Faulty capacitors can cause the generator to run poorly or fail to start.
  • Worn-out brushes can prevent proper generator control voltage and cause uneven engine performance.
  • Damaged coils or wiring harnesses can cause internal damage and electrical malfunctions.

Regular generator inspection and repair can prevent these issues from causing extensive damage to your generator.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors can also contribute to rv generator problems. They can affect the generator’s performance and cause damage to internal parts.

  • Dust and debris can accumulate inside the generator housing, causing internal damage.
  • Rainwater can leak through the generator housing seams, leading to water damage to internal components like wiring or insulation.
  • High or low temperatures can cause the generator to overheat or freeze up.

Installing a generator housing and weatherstripping can prevent dust, debris, and water ingress, while maintaining proper ventilation can help regulate generator temperatures.

Understanding the causes of rv generator problems is crucial for maintaining a functional generator and ensuring a smooth rv experience. Regular maintenance, proper fuel management, regular inspection, and environmental protection are key ingredients for preventing generator problems.

Troubleshooting Tips For Rv Generator Problems

If you’re an rv owner, you know that it’s essential to have a generator for all your adventures on the road. However, like any other mechanical device, your rv generator can malfunction, which can be frustrating. But don’t worry, most problems can be quickly resolved with some troubleshooting.

Low Voltage Output: Check The Fuel Supply, Engine Air Filter, And Carburetor

If you notice that your rv generator is not providing enough voltage, it could be due to the following reasons:

  • The fuel supply could be low or contaminated
  • The engine air filter might be clogged with dirt and debris
  • The carburetor could be dirty, cluttered with debris or a faulty mixture of air and fuel.

In such cases, check each of these components to verify if they are in working condition.

Overheating: Check The Coolant Level, Radiator And Fan, And Engine Oil Level

When your rv generator overheats, it can be due to many reasons, such as excessive use, poor maintenance, or a problem with the cooling system.

  • The coolant level, which must be sufficient to prevent overheating.
  • The radiator and fan to ensure that they are working correctly.
  • The engine oil level, which must be sufficient to keep the generator running smoothly.

Starting Problems: Check The Battery, Fuel Supply, Starter Motor, And Carburetor

Poor starting of the generator can be due to a lack of power or a malfunctioning component.

  • Check the battery for charge and make sure the terminals are clean and secure.
  • Verify the fuel supply that it is enough and not contaminated.
  • The starter motor also needs to be checked for a smooth start.
  • Finally, the carburetor might be dirty or blocked, and checking this should be a priority.

Fuel Issues: Check The Fuel Supply And Fuel Lines, Carburetor, And Fuel Filters

Fuel issues are widespread in rv generators, leading to loss of power, stoppage, and even permanent damage.

  • The fuel supply and fuel lines, which can become clogged, worn out, or in bad shape over time.
  • The carburetor, which might be faulty or blocked, which can reduce the flow of fuel.
  • The fuel filters, which can become dirty and blotched over time, causing a lack of fuel supply to your generator.

Engine Problems: Check The Oil Level, Air Filter, Spark Plug, And Wiring

The engine of your rv generator can be considered the heart of the generator.

  • The oil level in the engine that plays a significant role in the efficient operation of your generator.
  • The air filter, which can become clogged and blocked, reducing the air flow to the engine.
  • The spark plug, which needs to be checked regularly for signs of wear and tear.
  • The wiring, which must be checked for any loose connections and wear and tear.

Using these troubleshooting tips will help you diagnose and fix most rv generator problems quickly. These tips will aid you in keeping your generator in good shape and ready for your next adventure on the road.

Common Rv Generator Problems

As an rv owner, you might find yourself in a situation where your generator isn’t working properly.

  • Overloaded generators: running too many appliances or devices simultaneously can cause the generator to become overloaded, leading to system failure.
  • Fuel issues: dirty fuel filters or old fuel stored in the tank can cause clogs in the fuel lines, leading to problems with starting the generator.
  • Battery problems: faulty or dead batteries can cause problems with starting or keeping the generator running.
  • Oil leaks: oil leaks are a common generator problem that can cause serious problems if not resolved. Leaks can cause damage to the generator’s internal components and reduce its efficiency.

Troubleshooting Rv Generator Problems

If you’re experiencing problems with your rv generator, it’s essential to troubleshoot the issue and resolve it as soon as possible.

  • Read the owner’s manual and check the generator’s maintenance schedule to ensure you’re following the right procedures.
  • Check the generator fuel levels and, if necessary, drain and replace old fuel.
  • Inspect the generator’s air filter and replace it if it’s dirty or damaged.
  • Check the generator’s battery charge and condition and replace it if necessary.
  • Inspect the generator’s wiring and connections for loose wires or corrosion.

Preventing Rv Generator Problems

To keep your rv generator in good working order, it’s important to take proactive steps to prevent problems before they occur.

  • Follow the generator’s maintenance schedule and perform regular checks and tune-ups.
  • Don’t overload the generator system and only use as much power as necessary.
  • Store fuel in clean storage containers in a cool, dry location to prevent contamination.
  • Use high-quality oil and check oil levels regularly to prevent oil leaks.

By following these simple steps and staying aware of potential rv generator problems, you can keep your generator running efficiently and avoid costly repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions For Rv Generator Problems

What Are The Most Common Rv Generator Problems And How Can I Prevent Them?

The most common rv generator problems include low fuel levels, dirty air filters, dead batteries, and clogged fuel filters. To prevent these issues, it is important to regularly maintain your generator by checking and changing the oil, air filter, and fuel filter, as well as keeping the fuel tank at least half full.

Additionally, running your generator at least once a month will help keep the battery charged and prevent fuel from becoming stale.

How Do I Troubleshoot My Rv Generator When It Won’T Start?

There are several steps you can take to troubleshoot an rv generator that won’t start. First, check the fuel level and ensure that the fuel valve is turned on. Next, check the oil level and look for any leaks or damage to the oil filter.

Check the spark plug and wiring for damage, and ensure that the battery is fully charged. If these steps do not resolve the issue, you may need to consult a professional technician for further diagnosis and repair.

Is It Safe To Run My Rv Generator All Night?

It is generally not recommended to run an rv generator all night as it can be unsafe due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and ensure proper ventilation and maintenance of the generator to minimize the risk.

Additionally, there may be campground or ordinance restrictions on generator use during certain hours.

How Often Should I Service My Rv Generator To Avoid Problems?

To avoid problems, it is recommended to service your rv generator every 100-150 hours of use or every six months, whichever comes first. Regular maintenance and servicing will ensure that your generator runs efficiently and effectively when you need it.


After delving deep into the world of rv generator problems, it’s clear that this piece of equipment is crucial to many rv owners’ travels. Understanding the common issues that can arise is the first step in being prepared for any hiccups along the way.

From low oil pressure to faulty circuits, each problem has its own unique solution. It’s essential to stay on top of regular maintenance and perform routine checks to prevent larger issues from occurring. Remembering to store your generator properly during the off-season can also help to prolong its lifespan.

If you do encounter a problem, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional who can help assess the situation. Ultimately, being knowledgeable and proactive when it comes to your rv generator can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run.