Maintaining your RV generator is key to an uninterrupted power supply on road trips. One essential task that can’t be overlooked is changing the oil in your generator. Routine generator oil changes help keep your RV ready for camping in any season.
We’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to change the generator oil along with some cool tips to help you keep up with oil changes.
Get to Know Your RV Generator
Before you start an oil change, get familiar with your generator. Consult your manual to get the lowdown on the right oil type, capacity, and filter. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations almost guarantees that you’ll complete the task without a hitch.
Prep for the Oil Change
If you want to rock your oil change, the essential tools and materials make all the difference. Here’s your basic tool list:
- Socket set
- Oil filter wrench
- Oil drain pan
Don’t forget the recommended generator oil and filter as per your manufacturer’s specs.
If you’re wondering whether you need specific-sized sockets, yes, you do. We recommend a ⅜-inch and 11/16-inch socket, and a socket wrench with a long extension on it.
Tip: There are plenty of fun tools and gadgets you can buy to help with routine maintenance, including generator oil changes. Be careful not to put too much weight in your tool bin—you know how fussy those RV manufacturers are about weight.
Ready to Get Dirty?
So, you have your tools and you’re 100% sure you bought the right RV oil and filter. But when was the last time you ran the generator?
If you haven’t used the generator within an hour or so of the oil change, remove the cover and turn it on for a few minutes. This gives gunk a chance to loosen up, so it can drain out with the oil. Gloves come in handy here because the engine and oil will be hot.
After a few minutes, power the generator down. Then, remove the negative battery terminal. Make sure the battery terminal isn’t touching anything. These precautions prevent anyone from accidentally starting the generator while you’re doing the oil change.
Tip: Don’t forget to put the generator cover back on during warm-up. It’s part of the generator’s cooling system. Operating cover-free interferes with airflow and could cause damage.
Remove the oil fill plug.
Next, place the drain pan underneath the oil drain plug. You can use a bucket but an oil pan with a screw-on cap prevents spilling when you dispose of the old oil.
Time to remove the drain plug. It’s usually on the bottom of the generator.
Look for a small panel with two screws (no need to remove both). The panel covers the drain plug. Use a socket wrench to remove the plug.
Don’t expect the old oil to pour out in a rush. It could take up to 20 minutes for the oil to drain completely. Once the oil stops draining, put the drain plug back.
Change the Oil Filter
The oil filter on most RV generators is much smaller than what you’d find in a car. That means you’ll need a special-size oil filter wrench to remove the filter. Be careful when taking the filter off—the oil inside will be hot.
There’s a rubber gasket on the new oil filter. Apply a thin layer of fresh oil before you install it. After you hard-tighten the new filter, use a funnel and fill it with fresh oil.
But wait, you’re not quite finished.
Check the generator oil level. with the dipstick. Make sure you’ve put enough oil in (according to the manufacturer’s instructions). Wipe up oil spills and tighten caps and plugs.
Now, you’re ready to hit the road.
Before you go, here are a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your RV generator oil change:
- Timing is everything: Stick to the maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer and make those oil changes at the recommended intervals. Your generator will love you for it.
- Be a dirty oil detective: Regularly check your RV oil for any signs of dirt, contaminants, or funky colors. If things don’t look clean and fly, don’t hesitate to change the oil, even if it’s not quite time yet.
- Log and go: A log is your secret weapon to staying on top of your generator’s maintenance needs. Note the date, mileage, oil type, and any other relevant information.
By following our step-by-step guide, the manufacturer’s recommendations, and making a date with regular maintenance, you’ll be road-tripping with uninterrupted power for miles and miles.
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