Driving along the interstate the other day, I saw a pick-up without a tailgate. Inside the bed near the rear was a large portable generator. As the truck sped along, the unsecured generator appeared to be inching its way toward the back. One or two good bumps, and it was sure to bounce off and crash onto the road.
Transporting a portable generator requires caution and care. Portable generators, while built to be moved – some more rugged in design than others – still need to be secured for the trip.
What steps should you safely take to transport your generator? We checked with some moving and storage professionals to learn.
Table of Contents
How to Safely Transport a Generator
You invested in a portable generator to enjoy power at work or for recreation. That means it will need to be transported to different destinations safely.
1. Shut Off Fuel Valve
Always turn the fuel valve OFF before transporting your generator. The road vibration can cause fuel to get into the crankcase. NOTE: It is a good idea to turn a fuel valve OFF whenever the engine isn’t running to prevent possible leaks into the crankcase. Allow the generator to cool before transporting. The engine, if it has been running, will be hot. Turn it off and wait at least 15 minutes before moving it to protect you from burns and the generator components from damage.
2. Keep Generator Upright
NEVER turn a generator on its side to transport. Turning a generator on its side can cause fuel and oil to leak, as well as damage other parts. Be sure you use a vehicle that can accommodate moving your generator in its upright position. For proper transport, you should always use trucks or trailers.
DO NOT put a generator inside a car. Fumes from the fuel tanks can be dangerous to your health and that of any passengers.
3. Secure the Generator
Strap it down and SECURE IT. No matter how safely you drive, the vibration of traveling may cause the generator to move. Bouncing or jostling can cause damage to the generator components if it is not secured. Take this step to ensure the safety of your generator and others.
How to Transport an RV Portable Generator
Many RV generators are already permanently mounted in a compartment for safety. You should regularly check the fasteners to ensure bolts and screws are tight before traveling.
If you purchased a separate portable generator for your RV, be sure to follow the steps listed for transport. If possible, secure your generator in your tow vehicle or RV compartment. If not, It is wise to follow all safety precautions when moving your generator.
How to Transport a Worksite Generator
Many contractors need power at remote work sites, so having a portable generator is a must. Most generators are built for rugged conditions, but caution when moving should always be a priority.
Generators should be permanently secured to a trailer or truck bed. This will help protect them during travel to and from work sites. If a permanent application is not possible, then following the steps listed is required.
Your Investment – Your Responsibility
The price of a generator is an investment to provide power when you need it. It is your responsibility to maintain your generator for years of operation. Transporting it to work or for play requires safety measures to keep it running.
The operating manual that came with your generator is a valuable tool to help you maintain and transport it. Remember that every manufacturer has guidelines and procedures for operation, maintenance, and transportation. Be sure to refer to your dedicated generator manual for specific instructions.
Can you transport a generator on its side?
Generators should never be turned on their side or upside down. Fuel and oil can leak into and damage engine parts. In addition, other engine components can be damaged or broken. Always transport a generator in its upright position on a truck or trailer.
Can you put a generator in a car?
NEVER put a generator inside a car. Fumes from the fuel tank can overwhelm the driver and passengers. The weight and bulk of a generator can cause injury to the interior or person(s) trying to maneuver it into the car. Use a truck or trailer to transport a generator and follow operating guidelines.
Can you run a generator in a truck bed?
Following the owner’s manual guidelines for running a generator, the answer can be “yes.” Many contractors safely operate their work generators in truck beds or on trailers. In addition, you can run portable generators from truck beds for RV or outdoor use. The key is to follow all safety and operating guidelines from the generator manufacturer per the operating manual.
Can I move my generator while running?
NO. The generator engine gets hot, and you can receive severe burns if you attempt to move it while running. There is a chance of electrocution (a generator produces electricity). Fuel lines could rupture and cause a fire. Parts could be damaged or broken.
ALWAYS turn a generator off and allow it to cool before attempting to move it.