Can You Run Your RV’s Generator While Driving?

RV generator
Image source: smartrving.net

The short answer is yes, you can run your built-in generator while you’re on the move in your rig! 

Let’s explore answers to some related questions:

Why would I need to run my generator? 

Your generator helps you run appliances when you’re not connected to shore power, as when boondocking, for example. 

But there are certain appliances in your rig that you (or rather, someone with you who isn’t driving!) may need to use while in transit. Some of the most common reasons for running a generator while driving are to power:

  • A rooftop air conditioning unit – If you have passengers with you who need to remain cool and comfortable in the back of the rig, powering a rooftop AC unit with the generator is the way to go.
  • The refrigerator – You might not always need to run the generator just for the refrigerator, but for long stretches of travel, having the ability to crank the generator for a bit to keep foods cold is helpful. 
  • The microwave – Sometimes you or the family and friends traveling with you will need a snack! So power up the generator to microwave some food. 
  • The electric water heater – If you’re en route to a boondocking location, you may want to heat up water in your water heater in advance so you can enjoy a hot shower when camp is set up.
  • TVs – Running TVs while driving is more for passengers who may need to be entertained while on the road. Be aware that some states prohibit TV use while driving if the driver has any view of it. 

Is it safe?

Yes, it’s safe to run your generator while driving. But you will want to make sure that you perform proper maintenance on your generator to ensure you get the best results. Check fasteners, change the oil regularly, and ensure that it has enough fuel to operate.

Will it affect my gas mileage?

If your generator runs off of gas, it could affect your mileage but it likely won’t be by much. 

However, the generator will draw from the same gas tank as your engine, so you could go through gas faster while running your generator and driving. Luckily, most generators will automatically shut off if the fuel gets below a quarter of a tank. Tip: Don’t forget to turn your generator off before you fill your gas tank!

If your generator is powered by propane, you’ll need to check the state and local laws where you’re traveling to find out if there are any restrictions on the use of propane while driving on highways, bridges, and tunnels. 

Have you ever run your RV’s generator while driving? What has your experience been like? Let us know in the comments or contact us today!

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