For campers and off-road enthusiasts, RVs are like their second home and when they got to spend most of their time away in the wilderness, their RVs gotta be well-equipped and fully furnished.
Most RVs come with diesel or propane generators which run most onboard appliances and other portable gadgets. Just like your motorhome, the generator also has its own maintenance routine, can run for a certain period, and has a designated lifespan.
If you’re wondering how long does an RV generator last? Can you run it non-stop for hours? And how can its performance be enhanced? We have answered all your queries in detail, so explore this comprehensive guide and get to know everything about RV generators.
How Many Hours Do RV Generators Last – A Detailed Guide
If you’re looking to know how many hours RV generators last, it depends on certain criteria and factors. For starters, it depends on the condition and capacity of the generator, maintenance and servicing, and fuel tank capacity.
But in general, a well-maintained RV generator would last 20,000 to 25,000 hours. It is also important to know that you should not keep your RV generator running for more than 8 hours, or leave it running overnight unattended.
If you’re talking years, just for the sake of understanding, an RV generator can last for 12-15 years if maintained religiously. We have seriously seen some RV owners keeping their generators for even 2 decades, but that takes extra effort.
You also ought to keep it in perfect running condition to ensure that its performance doesn’t take a dip and that it serves you flawlessly over time.
Standard RV Generator – Technical Specs
No matter which brand generator your RV comes equipped with, most of these would have near-similar specifications.
As an RV owner, you must know the basic technical specs of the generator, to help you with maintenance, proper usage, and repairs. Have a look at some of the basic technical specs of a standard RV generator:
- Engine: 220cc OHV gas/diesel engine, featuring a spark plug, intake, and silencer unit.
- Power: ~3,500 wattage
- Voltage: 120 volts
- Amperage: 30 amperes
- Run-time: up to 18 hours in a single tank
How to Keep Your RV Generator in Pristine Condition?
To make sure that your RV’s generator stays in perfect working condition and keeps powering your onboard appliances flawlessly, you have to take care of it and stick religiously to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedules. Follow these tips to get the maximum out of your RV generator:
Maintenance and oil change
The maintenance of an RV generator is similar to any other engine. It involves cleaning the air filter, changing the engine oil and filter on time, and servicing the spark plug.
Getting rid of any corroded part or rusted panel, and replacing any faulty wires or hoses also keep the generator in mint condition and prevent unnecessary faults over time.
Keeping an eye on all the filters, oil levels, and other mechanical parts is also crucial. It helps avoid major problems and helps you diagnose any issues timely.
Do not overload
Another important consideration that most RV owners ignore is running everything together on their generators. This overloads the engine which can cause overheating and damage the engine.
Try to use only compatible appliances and don’t overburden your generator. It could hamper its performance and possibly kill its lifespan.
Fix the issues promptly
If you even get the slightest symptom or hear an unusual sound from your RV generator, get it checked and fixed immediately. Timely action could prevent any major damage and save you a lot of time and mental agony.
How Long Can You Safely Run an RV Generator?
With any combustion engine in question, no machine should be left unattended while running, let alone for hours. There is a limit to how long an RV generator can be used safely, and it is generally considered to be 8 hours.
Most RVs usually have a generator as their only power source and with so many appliances running, you wouldn’t want to give your RV generator a break. Yeah! Who would want the music to stop or drinks to go bad by turning off the fridge and other onboard systems?
We strictly suggest against this and recommend that you should not keep your RV generator running for more than 8 hours straight. In case you have to, it’s better that you give it some breaks in between and switch off the unnecessary appliances.
Running your RV generator non-stop could overheat the engine, burn the wiring or fuses, and even lead to a fire hazard if things get out of hand. So be cautious about it and put a cap on your RV generator run time.
How Often Should an RV Generator Be Serviced?
An RV generator must be maintained like a car, as there is not much difference in the engine of both machines. Regular servicing ensures optimal performance, reduced emissions, optimal power output, and reduced malfunctions.
As per most manufacturers, an RV generator should be serviced every 1,000 hours or 8 months, whichever comes first. This timeline could differ based on the oil type you use, as fully synthetic engine oils have extended lifespans and offer longer change intervals.
You must stick to your manufacturer’s guidelines and get your RV generator serviced regularly to have the best time in the outdoors and enjoy your camping trips to the fullest.
How to Make Your RV Generator Run Efficiently?
With proper planning and smart usage, you can actually churn out more hours out of your RV generator with the same gallons of fuel.
Here’s how you can make your RV generator run longer and more efficient;
- Use fully synthetic oil in your RV generator and keep the air filter clean.
- Use premium fuel, like RON 92 or above, as these have fewer impurities and offer more efficiency.
- Do not run more than 3 appliances at once and turn off the unnecessary gadgets instead of putting them in sleep mode.
- Keep your generator in a well-ventilated area to avoid overheating.
- Look for any leaks, hotspots, or shorts, and get them fixed.
- Flush the engine oil during maintenance and use an internal coating for seamless combustion.
Can an RV Generator Run on Propane?
If you’ve run out of gas and looking for a way out, you could use propane to fire up your RV generator. Although an RV generator can run on propane, it won’t nearly be half as efficient as gasoline or diesel.
Having propane in your RV is good but don’t take it as your routine alternative fuel and must pack an extra jerry can of gas for the generator.
It’s possible doesn’t mean it is advisable and running an RV generator on propane for longer can take a toll on its efficiency and long-term durability as well.
How Much Does an RV Generator Cost?
RV generators have become quite handy and portable over time, thanks to the technology at hand and it has made life easier for outdoor junkies.
You must keep in mind that this upgrade to your RV is a costly one and a good quality RV generator can cost you up to $2,500. Although there are cheaper options in the market, the price range you should have in your mind is $1,500 – 2,500.
Top 3 Best RV Generators
If you’ve made up your mind to upgrade your RVing lifestyle and get an RV generator, don’t jump blindly. Take a look at the top 3 RV generators that we recommend and make the best choice.
If you worry about how many hours do an RV generator last, what features it has, and whether it would be able to power all your desired appliances, one of these RV generators could be what you’re looking for.
With modern-day outdoor activities and technology available, RV generators have become more of a necessity than a luxury. There are different types of RV generators available, each with a different powertrain and technical specs. When you get away from home, you need a power source in your RV and a generator is one of the most reliable options.
With this portable power supply, the questions ask themselves, how many hours do RV generators last? The answer to this question lies in the capacity of the engine, the condition of the generator, the appliances used, and overall maintenance. But keep in mind that an RV generator would easily last up to 25,000 hours or 15 years, depending on how you treated it.