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You’re ready to hit the open road in your trusty RV. But is that a loose ladder rung or a leaky seal? Even minor issues can cause big problems.
RVs bring lots of entertainment, outdoor enjoyment, and family time. They also come with some maintenance requirements you need to consider.
Following RV maintenance tips helps you keep your unit in good condition. Spending time on maintenance now saves you downtime and lots of money later on repairs.
Check out these preventive maintenance tasks to complete on your recreational vehicle.
Inspect It Regularly
Don’t wait until you notice a leak or other issues to start inspecting your RV. Make a habit of doing a thorough walk-around every two to three months to look for potential issues.
Check in on the roof regularly. Since you can’t see it unless you intentionally climb up there, it’s easy to miss issues until they cause major damage. Look for visible signs of damage, particularly near skylights, vents, and other features on the roof.
Seams also tend to be trouble spots when it comes to leaking, cracking, and other damage. Check along all of these areas to ensure they’re still well sealed and in good condition. Repair any damage you see immediately.
Get underneath the RV to look for potential damage there. Loose, cracked, or damaged parts need repairs.
Maintain the Battery
The type of RV battery you have affects the type of maintenance you need to do. Lead-acid batteries require you to add water periodically. Check the charge on the batteries regularly and recharge them as needed.
You’ll also want to clean the battery terminals to prevent corrosion. Mix baking soda and water in a ratio of one to six to create a cleaner that you spray onto the terminals. After about five minutes, rinse the terminals with clean water.
A lithium RV battery is a safe, long-lasting option that weighs less than other battery types. In addition to these advantages, lithium batteries are also virtually maintenance-free.
If you store your RV for the winter, consider taking out the batteries and keeping them at your home. Cold can affect the batteries, especially flooded cell batteries. Monitor the charge on the batteries throughout winter, recharging them if they get low.
Care for Slide-Outs
If your RV has slide-out sections, give them extra care to make sure they slide smoothly. The seals around the slides need to be cleaned regularly to keep dirt and gunk from building up.
Lubricate the sliding mechanisms to keep the sections moving smoothly. This cuts down on wear and tear to prevent damage over time. Lubricating the rubber seals helps keep them pliable so they’re less likely to crack.
Top Off Fluids
An RV requires the same type of fluid maintenance as your car. Monitor your mileage and get the oil changed at least once per year or every 3,000 to 4,000 miles or as recommended by the manufacturer. You’ll also want to monitor your coolant, power steering, transmission, hydraulic, and brake fluid.
While you’re checking the fluid levels, swap out the filters for various systems. This includes the air, fuel, coolant, and hydraulic filters. Changing the filters regularly helps those systems run smoothly to avoid costly damage.
If you’re not sure how to change the filters or when they need changed, schedule your RV for regular tune-ups with a mechanic to ensure they’re handled properly.
Your RV is essentially a moving home. Every time you drive it, your RV can experience loosened screws, bolts, and other parts. That can mean loose components that range from inconvenient to dangerous.
Tighten the lug nuts on your RV before each trip to ensure your wheels are safe. A loose lug nut could cause you to lose your tire while you’re driving, which puts you in a very dangerous situation.
Next, go around the RV and tighten anything attached to the outside. That includes ladders, doors, tanks, and any other items. Loose attachments on the exterior can cause those items to fly off your camper while you drive, creating a potentially hazardous situation.
Tighten items inside the camper to keep them attached snugly to the walls. Look at items such as cabinets, towel holders, doors, and any other items anchored to the wall.
Clean the Exterior
Regular cleaning keeps the dirt and gunk from building up and becoming difficult to remove. Grit and grime from being on the road can cause scratches and wear on your camper.
Make sure all of your windows and vents are closed before you wash the exterior. Use a soft-bristled brush with a long handle so you can easily reach to the top of the RV from the ground. Rinse the RV after you’re done scrubbing.
Don’t forget to wash the roof, wheels, and windows. If your RV has an awning, give it an occasional washing, too. It’s often easier to clean the awning without the legs engaged, letting it lie flat against the side of the RV for easier scrubbing without tearing.
Safe driving means you need all of your lights and indicators working properly. Do a check before each trip to make sure all bulbs are lighting up properly. Ask someone to help so you can check the brake lights, tail lights, turn signals, and headlights.
Monitor Tire Pressure
Proper tire inflation keeps your RV safe on the road and impacts your gas mileage. If your tires are underinflated, your gas mileage decreases, which means you’ll spend more keeping your RV fueled.
Low tires can also make the RV more difficult to control. Over-inflated RV tires can explode, which puts you at risk for an accident.
The temperature affects tire pressure, making the pressure lower in cold temperatures and higher in warm temperatures. Check the tire pressure before every trip to make sure they’re at the appropriate level.
You can also add a tire pressure monitoring system to your RV. The system constantly monitors the pressure and alerts you if your tires get low. This cuts down on how often you need to manually check your tire pressure.
Follow RV Maintenance Tips
Is your RV road ready? If it needs a little work, put these RV maintenance tips to the test. Your home on wheels will be ready for all your adventures.
Now that you know how to keep your RV in good condition, check out our travel section for trip ideas.