RV Generator Maintenance: 7 Essential Tips

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RV Generator Maintenance: 7 Essential Tips

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding RV Style Generators
  3. Importance of Service Intervals
    1. First Oil Change: The Most Important
    2. Service Intervals and Burn-in Period
  4. Service Kits and Components
    1. Onan Max Kit
    2. Sourcing Kits and Components
  5. Where to Get the Kit
  6. Tracking Hours and Usage
  7. Valve Adjustment
  8. Hiring a Certified Technician
  9. Finding Certified Technicians
  10. Conclusion


Welcome to another Todds two minutes, brought to you by the National RV Training Academy, the largest Hands-On RV Training Academy in America. In this episode, we will be discussing RV style generators and the importance of following service intervals. Many RV owners have questions about maintaining their generators, and we have brought in an expert from the National RV Training Academy to provide valuable insights and recommendations.

Understanding RV Style Generators

RV style generators are a crucial component of an RV, providing power for various appliances and systems on board. These generators require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Service intervals play a vital role in keeping the generator running smoothly and preventing potential damage.

Importance of Service Intervals

First Oil Change: The Most Important

The first oil change in a generator is the most crucial service interval. It is recommended to follow the manufacturer's instructions mentioned in the owner's manual. Some generators require the first oil change at 50 hours, while others may have different specifications. By performing the first oil change, you remove any metal particles generated during the break-in process, ensuring the longevity of your generator.

Pros: Extends the life of the generator, prevents damage caused by metal particles.

Cons: Failure to perform the first oil change can result in reduced performance and potential damage to the generator.

Service Intervals and Burn-in Period

After the initial oil change, it is essential to adhere to the recommended service intervals specified in the owner's manual. These service intervals can vary depending on the generator model and manufacturer. Regular oil changes, air filter replacements, and spark plug inspections are typically part of these service intervals. By following these intervals, you ensure that your generator operates efficiently and remains reliable.

Pros: Maintains optimal performance, reduces the risk of breakdowns.

Cons: Neglecting service intervals can lead to decreased efficiency and costly repairs.

Service Kits and Components

To simplify maintenance, generator manufacturers, such as Onan, provide service kits that contain all the necessary components for specific service intervals. These kits typically include items such as oil filters, air filters, fuel filters, and spark plugs. Using these kits ensures that you have the correct components and minimizes the chances of ordering the wrong parts.

Onan Max Kit

The Onan Max kit is specifically designed for Onan generators and provides a convenient solution for servicing your generator. This comprehensive kit includes all the components needed for a specific service interval, ensuring a hassle-free maintenance experience. By using genuine Onan products, you also protect yourself from potential liability issues.

Pros: Convenient and comprehensive service solution, reduces the risk of ordering incorrect parts.

Cons: Limited to Onan generators, may be more expensive than sourcing individual components.

Sourcing Kits and Components

When acquiring service kits or individual components, it is recommended to order directly from Cummins through their website. Ordering online allows you to access a wide range of options and ensures that you receive genuine components. Additionally, Cummins may offer free shipping for orders above a certain dollar amount, making it a cost-effective choice.

Pros: Access to genuine components, convenience of online ordering, potential for free shipping.

Cons: Limited to Cummins products, potential shipping delays.

Where to Get the Kit

To obtain the Onan Max kit or other generator service kits, it is recommended to visit Cummins' official website. Their online store provides a hassle-free ordering process, and you can choose from a variety of kits and components specifically designed for your generator model.

Tracking Hours and Usage

To effectively maintain your generator, it is crucial to keep track of its hours of operation. Most RV style generators come equipped with an hour meter, either on a remote panel or directly on the generator itself. Logging these hours allows you to timely schedule maintenance and keep a record of the service performed on your generator.

Pros: Enables timely maintenance scheduling, ensures accuracy in tracking service intervals.

Cons: Requires manual logging, may be challenging to remember hours in constantly changing RV travel environments.

Valve Adjustment

At certain service intervals, typically around 450 hours, a valve adjustment becomes necessary. This is a critical procedure that involves adjusting the clearances of the valves to prevent engine damage. Performing a valve adjustment requires specialized tools and knowledge. To ensure accuracy and avoid costly mistakes, it is advisable to hire a certified technician for this procedure.

Pros: Prevents engine damage, ensures optimal performance.

Cons: Requires professional expertise, additional cost for hiring a technician.

Hiring a Certified Technician

When it comes to complex maintenance tasks like valve adjustments, it is strongly recommended to hire a certified technician. Certified technicians possess the necessary training and experience to perform specialized procedures accurately. They can ensure that the valve clearances are adjusted correctly, minimizing the risk of engine damage and ensuring the generator operates at its best.

Pros: Expertise in specialized procedures, reduces the risk of errors or damage.

Cons: Additional cost for hiring a technician, limited availability in certain areas.

Finding Certified Technicians

To find certified technicians skilled in working with RV style generators, visit the RV Training Academy's website (rvtaa.org). They provide a comprehensive listing of certified technicians across the United States. You can search for technicians in your area and even filter the results to find technicians specifically trained in generator maintenance.


Proper maintenance is essential for the longevity and reliable performance of RV style generators. Following service intervals, using recommended kits and components, tracking usage hours, and hiring certified technicians when needed are all crucial steps in maintaining your generator. By taking care of your generator, you ensure that it continues to provide power during your RV adventures without unexpected breakdowns or performance issues.

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