RV Generator Won’t Start Without Engine Running

RV generators are pretty essential to supply electricity to various RV appliances including the charger or converter that charges the house batteries. To do that, it makes use of the circuit breaker panel. It simply means an RV is highly dependent on its generator to be fully functioned. But things become difficult when the generator won’t start without the engine running.

One of the main reasons behind this issue is the house batteries are failing or defective. In this post, we’ll talk about the reasons and fixes regarding this issue. Therefore, take a few minutes and read the entire post.

RV Generator Won't Start Without Engine Running

Causes and Fixes of ‘RV Generator Won’t Start Without Engine Running’

This RV generator starting failure issue is pretty common and many RVers worldwide have shared their experiences on forums regarding it. Luckily, this issue has its own fixes based on the exact causes. 

RV Generator Won’t Start Without Engine Running

There are several causes to blame to occur this issue. So, without delaying any longer, let’s get into the causes along with their fixes –

1. House Batteries are Failing

Cause: The generator requires a specific voltage to get started that it gets from the house batteries. Now if the batteries get weak, they’ll fail to supply that required voltage. As a result, the generator won’t start. 

Fix: Check the voltage of the batteries with a multimeter. If this is the cause, unfortunately, you’ll need to replace the batteries with new ones.

2. House Batteries are Defective

Cause: If the house batteries are defective, obviously they can’t supply the necessary voltage that allows the generator to get started. 

Fix: In this case, you also have to replace the batteries.

3. House Batteries aren’t Charged Enough

Cause: Another possibility is that the house batteries don’t have sufficient charge, they won’t generate the necessary voltage for the generator. 

Fix: You need to run the engine for enough time to get the batteries charged.

4. Bad Battery Cable Connection

Cause: It’s quite possible that the connections between the generator and the battery cable get loosened or corroded over time. 

Fix: This particular cause requires you to tighten or clean the connections.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why won’t my RV generator start? 

There are particular reasons that your RV generator won’t start. Those are – low fuel, clogged fuel valves and carburetor, faulty spark plug, dirty air filter, low charged battery, etc. 

Why is my RV generator clicking but not starting? 

For your information, the clicking sound typically indicates that the solenoid switch can’t provide power to the starter motor of the generator. That means, either the solenoid switch is faulty or there are loose or corroded connections.

Can bad fuel cause the generator to not start? 

Yes, it can. Bad or old fuel cause gummy-like residue inside the generator’s carburetor. This way the carburetor faces a great restriction that impedes the proper fuel and air ratio to get into the cylinder. As a result, the generator engine face issues, making the generator won’t start. 

How do I manually start my RV generator? 

If your RV generator is problematic and requires manual start, follow these steps carefully – Ensure the fuel is full and the oil level is accurate. Then turn the RV battery’s power switch on. After that, press and hold the generator’s prime button for a few seconds to pump the fuel into the engine. Next, press and hold the generator’s start button until the generator starts. Finally, connect it to your RV’s electrical system.


Thus far, we’ve shared all the relevant information about the issue where RV generators won’t start unless the engine is running including the possible reasons and suitable fixes. But it has been found that in most cases, the culprit reasons are failing or defective battery and bad connections. Now that you’ve read this far, we can assume that you understand the entire concept. So, find out the cause in your case and apply the relevant fix. Now, if you find this post useful or have any confusion, don’t hesitate to knock us in the comment section. 

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