Proper maintenance makes the difference between a reliable vehicle and an unreliable one that leaves you stranded on the side of the road. Maintenance also affects your quality of life in the RV, whether you have leaking seals or electrical glitches that make life uncomfortable. Let’s learn more about proper RV maintenance.
1. Inspect the Roof and Seals
Inspect the roof for leaks every three months. Water leaks through the edges of the roof, the skylights, the AC and the bathroom vent will damage the framework before eventually causing other water damage. If you have a slide-out, check its roof and seals, as well. Remove dirt and debris from the top of the slide-out every time you’re ready to close it to prevent this material from getting under the seal. If you use the RV slide out a lot, consider getting an extendable cover that prevents water and debris from sitting on the slide-out roof.
Use sealants to patch leaks when you find them, but be sure to use a sealant compatible with your RV roof. Get any water damage repaired as soon as possible. Replace loose seals around windows so that water and outside air won’t enter the RV.
2. Change the Oil
RVs tend to sit for weeks or months between drives. This means the old advice of getting the oil changed every four thousand miles doesn’t matter as much. Have the oil changed seasonally. This ensures that the oil doesn’t congeal and clog up the system though you haven’t driven it for six months. This will reduce the wear and tear on the engine, extending its life. You can take things one step further by running the engine for ten minutes or more every month, whether or not you drive the RV anywhere.
3. Check Tires before You Go Anywhere
Check your tires before you go anywhere. Tighten the lug nuts. A loose lug nut could cause you to lose a wheel. Check the tire pressure and air them up if necessary. However, you may need to let air out if the air pressure is too high. Check the tire tread, and replace tires that are wearing down.
4. Replace Your Filters
Your RV has a number of filters. There are air filters, fuel filters, coolant filters and hydraulic filters. These filters should be replaced at the start of every season. A good time to have this done is when you or someone else is changing the oil.
5. Check the Batteries
Your RV’s batteries power the essentials like the water pump and lights. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter if you have solar panels if the batteries are dead. Check the batteries for electrolyte leaks or cracks; if either are present, replace the battery. Check electrolyte levels in lead acid batteries unless you have sealed lead-acid batteries.
Fully charge the batteries before you begin your trip. Then check their charge after an hour or two. If the battery isn’t fully charged, the best time to replace it is while the RV is still in the garage.
6. Maintain Your Wastewater System
Most RV owners know that they need to empty the wastewater tanks every chance they get. Fewer invest in the maintenance of the wastewater system itself. For example, wastewater tanks need a certain amount of fluid to be able to start the system after you flush it out. You also have to flush out the water system to minimize buildup of minerals and debris that can clog it. This is especially true if you’ve been refilling the water tank with hard water.
7. Take Care of Your Brakes
Your brakes make the difference between safety and injury. Have the brake lining checked before you start traveling and whenever you hear extra noise when braking. Replace the brakes if in doubt, because you can’t afford a failure. You can take steps to extend the life of your brakes. Accelerate slowly in traffic so you don’t have to come to a hard stop as often. Lubricating the wheel bearings yourself will help them move smoothly. Then you don’t have to accelerate as hard to get the wheels moving in the first place.
8. Maintain Your Awning
Your RV awning provides a number of benefits. It protects you from the sun and rain as you enter the RV. It can provide much-needed shade for the vehicle, reducing air conditioning costs. It allows you to sit outside next to the vehicle in comfort. However, the awning itself needs to be maintained. Sweep it periodically so it doesn’t hold mud and leaves next to the RV’s exterior when it is rolled up. Keep it tight so that it doesn’t spill water against the RV when it is retracted. Repair holes and tears in the awning so that it won’t deteriorate further as it flaps in the wind.
9. Check Your RV’s Electrical Connection
Before you leave on a trip, check the RV’s electrical connection. If you connect it to shore power, does that power flow through the RV properly? You want to replace any burned out fuses or fix electrical problems before you’re on the road. If you tow your RV, verify that the RV brake lights work when you hit the brake lights in the tow vehicle. If this connection works properly, it is more likely that the RV battery will charge through the same circuit. It is advisable to have a back up power source such as a generator for your RV as well.