|My RV has an Onan Microlite 4000 generator that has been well maintained. It now starts but stops running as soon as I release the Start button. My mechanic identifies the problem as electrical and mostly likely due to wires being chewed by a rat or mouse. To fix the problem he says he'll need to drop the generator out of the RV to get access to all the wiring and check for other damage, and I suspect the work won't be fast or cheap.
In the interim, I can run my inverter with the RV engine idling and get the same power I get from the generator. At idle, my Ford E350 Triton V10 burns about 0.7gph, while running the generator burns about 0.5gph. At $3/gallon for gas, that extra 0.2 gallons costs me 60 cents per hour. BUT... for every 150 hours of generator usage I pay Camping World $150 for a generator service - which means NOT running the generator saves me $1 per hour in maintenance. In other words, looking only at these factors, it is 40 cents an hour cheaper for me to run the inverter with the engine idling than it is to run the generator. And for what it's worth, the RV engine runs quieter than the generator, and its exhaust is less of a nuisance. So my question is:
IS AN RV GENERATOR WORTH IT?
The replacement cost for my generator is over $3,000. And if the RV didn't have a working generator it would lose a lot of resale value, so that alone justifies going forward with repairs. But other than that, once it's repaired:
WHY RUN THE GENERATOR IF RUNNING THE INVERTER WITH THE ENGINE IDLING COSTS LESS PER HOUR?
One response I'd expect is that running the engine has a maintenance cost too, but at $75 per WalMart oil change every 3 months or 3,000 miles regardless, I'm not sure the incremental wear and tear would even be measurable.
WHAT AM I MISSING HERE?