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The Essential Generator Maintenance Guide


If you’ve taken the time and money to invest in a generator for your caravan or narrowboat, it’s definitely worth your while to keep it in tip-top condition to lengthen its lifespan; the last thing you need when you arrive at your idyllic destination is to find that your prided piece of kit fails to start.

Here at Sail and Trail, we’ve put together the essential guide to keeping your generator healthy and happy, and your holiday time stress-free.

Generators suitable for recreational use fall into two broad categories: petrol fuelled, and LPG fuelled. Each of these types require slightly different handling for maintenance, but most of these guidelines are relevant for both.


Kipor Suitcase Generator for Caravan Camping

Service Regularly

‘Prevention is the best cure’ is a saying that’s probably overused, but never was it more true than for your generator. Serviced regularly, preferably every six months, a generator will provide you with reliable service for many a year.

Left unused and uncared for, it’s likely to give up the ghost within the first five.  A quick search of the internet or Yellow Pages should provide you with an engineer who specialises in servicing them.

If you are particularly mechanically minded, you may want to try some of these service tasks yourself, but it’s still a good idea to have a professional look over the unit regularly in case you’ve missed something.

The service should include:

 1) Checking the distilled water in the battery and topping it up, and checking the voltage

 2) Changing the lubricant oil and filters; an air cooled generator needs its oil replaced every 30-40 hours, and a liquid cooled one every 100 hours.

 3) Cleaning the spark plugs, and replacing if necessary.

 4) Checking the gasket head and piston.

 5) Calibrating the fuel pump, turbocharger, injectors, and voltage regulator.


Essential Checks

SDMO quiet generator for camping and caravanning

As well as professional maintenance, there are some simple tasks that even the least technical among us can perform. Inspect the unit for corroded elements, loose wires, bolts that may have come loose from vibration, and stuck buttons.

Start your generator regularly, on at least four occasions a year, with two start-ups on each occasion. Before you do so, remove any debris or leaves that may have gathered in or around the unit, as these are a major cause of generator damage.

For LPG generators, check the gas cylinder for corrosion, and rubber elements for any sign of perishing.



Make sure the unit is stored in a dry place, under cover and free of debris. For petrol generators, remember that the fuel has a shelf life of only a few months; add some fuel stabiliser and it should keep its efficacy for around a year.

LPG will last for a lot longer, but make sure you detach the bottle from the unit and store it separately, upright so the pressure relief valve sits in the vapour section of the cylinder.


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