One of the greatest freedoms we get from RVing is the ability go anywhere, any time, completely self-contained. Our Onan 7.5 kW QuietDiesel RV generator is a key part of that freedom. Proper care and maintenance of the “genny” will lead to a long life of trouble-free operation.

Each spring, we service our genset as part of routine spring cleaning. The oil and oil filter get changed every year, along with cleaning the spark arrestor. Some years also call for air & fuel filter replacement and coolant system service too. Generator service intervals are based on time or hours they’ve run, but we generally don’t use our generator enough to need service more than once a year.

We take care of all of these items ourselves, and in nine years of RVing, we’ve never had anyone else work on our Onan. We have never had a day of trouble with it, and the routine service is so easy that we’ve never needed any outside help. We’ll cover the three most basic service items here.

We just changed the fuel filter last year, so we won’t be demonstrating that today. And the cooling system service is involved enough to require its own video, so we’ll be covering that within the next few weeks. In this video, we’ll show how to change the oil & filter, replace the air filter and clean the spark arrestor.

From everything we’ve heard and read, the single biggest cause of generator trouble is lack of regular use. There are times when we’re hooked up for fairly extended periods and don’t need the genset, but we make sure to exercise it regularly anyway. The generator should be run at least once a month for about 2 hours under about half load. This means firing it up even if it’s not needed for power, and turning on both air conditioners (or heat pumps) and heating a tank of hot water, or plugging in our portable space heater.

Whenever staring the generator, be sure to let it idle for a short time to warm up before putting a load on it (turning anything on that draws power). Also, before shutting the genny down, be sure to turn off all loads first, then let it idle for about two minutes to cool down before shutting it off.

Our generator will likely see more use this coming year than ever before. After being hooked up all winter, we’re about to spend our first year out on the road with a new residential refrigerator that recently replaced our dead Norcold.

Our Onan (an extremely popular brand) is a diesel model, and runs off the same fuel tank as our engine. We have no experience with gas generators or other brands, so many things about them may be different than ours. Be sure to follow your manufacturer’s instructions for operating and maintaining your generator.