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RV Generator Not Starting: Troubleshooting Tips and Solutions

Having an RV generator can be a great convenience, providing you with power on the go.

However, it can be incredibly frustrating when your RV generator refuses to start.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore common reasons why your RV generator may not be starting and provide you with troubleshooting tips and solutions to get it up and running again.

So, let’s dive in and address the issue of an RV generator not starting head-on.

RV Generator Not Starting: What Could Be the Problem?

Dead Battery

One of the most common reasons why an RV generator fails to start is a dead battery.

Your generator relies on a battery to start the engine, and if the battery is dead, it won’t have enough power to crank the engine.

To determine if the battery is the culprit, check if the lights on the control panel are dim or non-functional.

If so, it’s time to charge or replace the battery.

Fuel Issues

Another common cause of an RV generator not starting is fuel-related issues.

If the generator has been sitting idle for an extended period, the fuel may have gone bad or become contaminated.

Stale fuel can clog the carburetor or fuel lines, preventing the engine from starting.

Ensure that you have fresh, clean fuel in your RV generator’s tank.

Faulty Spark Plug

A faulty spark plug can also be responsible for your RV generator’s refusal to start.

A worn-out or damaged spark plug won’t ignite the fuel-air mixture inside the engine, leading to a no-start situation.

Inspect the spark plug for signs of wear or damage and replace it if necessary.

Remember to use the manufacturer-recommended spark plug for your RV generator.

Clogged Air Filter

If the air filter of your RV generator is clogged with dirt and debris, it can restrict airflow to the engine, causing starting issues.

A lack of sufficient air can prevent proper combustion and hinder the generator’s ability to start.

Regularly inspect and clean or replace the air filter to ensure optimal performance.

Low Oil Level

Most RV generators have a low oil level sensor that prevents the engine from starting if the oil level is too low.

Check the oil level using the dipstick and add oil if necessary.

Be sure to use the recommended oil type and avoid overfilling the engine, as it can lead to damage.

Troubleshooting Tips and Solutions for an RV Generator Not Starting

Now that we have identified some common causes of an RV generator not starting, let’s delve into practical troubleshooting tips and solutions to get your generator back in action.

1. Check the Fuel Supply

Ensure that you have an adequate fuel supply in your RV generator’s tank. If the fuel level is low, refill it with fresh gasoline or diesel fuel, depending on the generator’s requirements.

Be cautious not to overfill the tank.

2. Charge or Replace the Battery

If you suspect a dead battery, connect your RV generator to a power source or use a battery charger to recharge it.

Alternatively, replace the battery if it is old or damaged.

3. Inspect and Clean the Spark Plug

Remove the spark plug and inspect it for signs of wear or damage.

Clean the spark plug using a wire brush or replace it with a new one if necessary.

Remember to set the correct gap according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

4. Clean or Replace the Air Filter

Remove the air filter and inspect it for dirt and debris. If clogged, clean it using compressed air or replace it with a new one. Ensure that the air filter is properly seated before starting the generator.

5. Check the Oil Level and Quality

Verify that the oil level is within the recommended range using the dipstick. If low, add the appropriate type and amount of oil.

Ensure that the oil is clean and not contaminated.

6. Prime the Fuel System

Some RV generators require priming the fuel system before starting.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to prime the system properly.

This process helps remove air pockets and ensures a steady fuel supply to the engine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why won’t my RV generator start even after following all the troubleshooting tips?

If your RV generator still won’t start, it may be a more complex issue that requires professional inspection and repair. Contact a qualified RV generator technician to diagnose and fix the problem.

Can bad fuel damage my RV generator?

Yes, bad or contaminated fuel can damage the internal components of your RV generator. Always use clean, fresh fuel to prevent potential problems.

How often should I service my RV generator?

Regular maintenance is crucial for the optimal performance of your RV generator. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding service intervals, and consider scheduling maintenance at least once a year or before extended trips.

What safety precautions should I take when troubleshooting my RV generator?

Ensure that the generator is turned off and disconnected from the power source before performing any troubleshooting or maintenance. Familiarize yourself with the generator’s user manual and adhere to the recommended safety procedures.

Can I use my RV generator while driving?

It is generally not recommended to operate your RV generator while driving. The generator can produce carbon monoxide, which can be dangerous if it enters the living space of your RV. Instead, rely on the vehicle’s alternator to charge the battery and power essential systems.

How can I prevent future starting issues with my RV generator?

Regular maintenance, including fuel system cleaning, spark plug replacement, and air filter inspection, can help prevent starting issues. Additionally, exercising your generator regularly, even if you don’t need to use it, can keep the internal components in good condition.


Dealing with an RV generator that refuses to start can be a frustrating experience.

However, armed with the knowledge gained from this guide, you now have the tools to troubleshoot and resolve the issue.

Remember to check the battery, fuel supply, spark plug, air filter, and oil level as potential culprits.

By following the troubleshooting tips and solutions provided, you can get your RV generator up and running again, ensuring a hassle-free journey on the road.

Don’t let a non-starting generator ruin your RV adventures.

Take proactive measures to maintain and troubleshoot your RV generator to ensure reliable power wherever your travels may take you.