Can You Run RV Generator While Driving?

Road trips are always fun either you travel alone or with your friends and family. Recreational vehicles further enhance the joy of such trips because RV gives more like a homey feeling. 

But, of course, to travel in RV, you have to have some powerhouse or a power source to keep it running. Apart from the petrol required for moving RV on roads, generators are required to run the appliances in your RV. For that, you can check out Best Portable Generators.

Can You Run RV Generator While Driving
Can You Run RV Generator While Driving

When we talk about running generators in RV, a very genuine question pops in our mind can you run RV generator while driving? To find the answer to this very obvious question keep reading the article and sieve all the information you need. 

Why Run The RV Generator While Driving?

Before directly jumping on to the question can you run an RV generator while driving first we need to figure out why do we need to run the RV generator while driving. 

There are multiple reasons to run your portable generator while driving. The generator powers many gadgets and electrical appliances including, the rooftop AC, refrigerator, microwave, electric water heater, and TVs. Perhaps, you might need to run all the appliances at the same time or while driving.

One of the major reasons to run the RV generator is to power the RV rooftop A/C in addition to the dash AC. The RV air conditioner runs off electricity when you are not plugged into shore power. Running the rooftop AC is needed for cooling the dash AC in extreme heat, for comforting passengers, and if you are driving in mountain areas you can turn off the dash AC for more engine power and run the rooftop AC to stay cool.

Another reason to run the RV Generator while driving is to keep the RV fridge cold. Refrigerators in RVs tend to stay cold while driving. You might need to learn how to pack the fridge in a smart way for keeping it cool during the drive. There is a contradiction among RV owners about which keeps the fridge colder, propane or electric. In the absence of electricity, fridges switch to propane. According to our research, it simply depends on your refrigerator. 

Another minor reason to run the generator while driving is for operating the microwave while driving. If this is the only reason to run the generator then run it and turn it off when you are done.

And finally, on long trips having the TV will help in keeping the kids occupied while saving you from being hassled throughout the journey. Likewise for computers, tablets, and any other electronic devices that may run out of charge while you’re driving can keep your passengers happy. 

Is It Safe To Run The RV Generator While Driving?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to run the RV generator while driving your RV. However, there are some precautions you need to take in order to avoid any problems.

If the generator is fueled by propane then you have to be aware of state or local laws that may prohibit the use of propane while driving. There might be some authorities that have rules against running propane or even carrying propane on board, on certain roads, bridges or tunnels.

If the generator is powered by gasoline then you should ensure to fill up the gas tank before driving with the generator on. The generator uses the same gasoline from the same gas tank that the RV uses to fuel the engine.

The generator will automatically cut off if the fuel tank drops below a one-fourth tank. It is a safety feature built into most generators to make sure all of the fuel in the gas tank isn’t used up only for powering the generator. The safety feature helps to prevent a situation where you end up standing in the middle of a road trip with no gas in the gas tank.

Why does a generator shut off while driving?

One reason the generator shuts off, whether you are driving or not, is that the generator has a safety feature that turns itself off when the fuel in the RV gas tank dips below the one-fourth tank. 

If your generator keeps shutting off when you’re driving, but not when you are using it parked up, then there are a couple of reasons you need to keep a strict eye on. First of all, ensure that your generator is securely fastened down. If it’s not secure then it’s likely to cut out. 

If everything seems fine, check that your fuel level is not dropped. Turns, bumps, uneven road surfaces and hills can drop your fuel level drastically, causing your generator to cut out. Throughout your trip keep your fuel tank happy and full as much as possible. Despite the full fuel tank, still, if your generator shuts off then the oil level of your generator is on low when you’re on the road. Always keep your oil level maximum. 

These are the most common reasons your generator shuts off on the road but not when using it parked. If you can safely rule out the oil level and fuel, then probably you can mast safely and securely using your generator while driving.

The Limitations of RV Generators

For every running machine either it is a washing machine or a blender sitting quietly on your kitchen shelf. Every machine has its own limitations of use so do your generators have some limitations. You can’t totally rely on them even when you’re camping.

Generators are categorized based on the number of watts that they can provide instead of amps. You can check out what size generator for campers. Smaller RV’s can be powered by a 1000 watt generator if air conditioning does not need to be used.

Generators tend to be noisy. That’s not just annoying to you, it’s even annoying to those around you. In fact, with travel trailers and 5th wheels, the auxiliary generators are usually outside the RV. Thus, your neighbors will be subjected to the noise while disturbing them unnecessarily. But don’t worry, you can always look for the Best Quiet Portable Generator

Generators emit dangerous fumes. Never use external generators for indoor purposes. This is a very important safety rule because they emit a large amount of carbon monoxide gas that can become lethal in a blink of an eye in an enclosed area or space. Run external generators outside. 

Problems Of Running Generators While Driving

No doubt there are multiple reasons for running RV generators on road trips. But, at the same time, you’ll encounter some problems with using your portable generator on the road and that’s how people generally get around them.

Your portable generator needs to be securely fixed on your RV. You also need to ensure that anything which is holding or securing the generator is strong and stable enough to bear its full weight and that there’s no chance of loose fittings.

Don’t forget to ensure that the generator’s exhaust is pointed away from your RV. Carbon monoxide poisoning is life-threatening. After running your generator always doubt check the carbon monoxide detector in your RV. If you don’t have one, you need to get one as soon as possible. 

Generators are expensive mechanical devices. You’ll need to make sure it’s securely attached to avoid theft or robbing activities when you stop for fuel or pull over.

Before you start your generator, you’ll need to consider where you’re going to run your power cord. If you run it down the side of your RV make sure you have fastened it really well so it doesn’t risk getting stuck.

Make sure your generator can easily be refueled on road trips. Bear in mind, on bumpy and uneven roads avoid running your generator as it will consume more fuel. Keep your fuel at half and above for continuous running.

Tips for Running Your Portable Generator While Driving

There is always room for improving the way your generator operates while driving. Therefore, we have come up with some great tips and tricks for running your portable generators while driving. 

Check your generator’s fastenings every time you stop and make sure it is secure. 

As stated before, you should always check your carbon monoxide detector for ensuring that there is no carbon monoxide concentration inside your RV. If you don’t have one, you seriously need to get one.

Pay extra attention to where you run your power cord. Don’t take any obstructions for granted. It could damage it and short out your generator depending on where you’re traveling and what kinds of road surface you are traveling on.

Make sure your oil levels are maxed out and that you keep your fuel level topped up to prevent your generator from cutting out because of turns, bumps, uneven road surface, twists, and gradients.


Driving with the RV generator is perfectly safe if you follow all the precautionary measures.  It will allow you to run all of your major RV appliances while driving your RV. Even though it is not the most fuel-efficient way to drive your RV, you and any passengers will be very happy to use all the conveniences the RV has to offer.

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My career as an Industrial Electrician with over 20 years experience in maintaining small, medium and very large generators plus repairing small engines and working in an auto electrical shop have placed me in the unique position to provide quality advice on all your generator needs. 😉

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