As the weather starts to warm up, many RV owners are gearing up for the camping season. Whether you’re a full-time RVer or just like to hit the road occasionally, it’s essential to prepare your RV for the season ahead. Proper maintenance and upkeep will help ensure your RV is safe, reliable, and comfortable for your next trip. In this article, we’ll go over some essential spring RV maintenance tips for RV owners.
Clean the Exterior
The first step in preparing your RV for the season ahead is to clean the exterior. This includes washing the roof, sides, and front and back of your RV. Use a gentle, non-abrasive cleaner, as recommended by your RV manufacturer or dealer, and a soft-bristled brush to avoid damaging the exterior. A high-pressure washer can also be used but be careful not to apply too much pressure as this can damage the seals around windows and vents. Additionally, care should be given is using a high-pressure washer so that water does not enter the interior of the RV through vents, such as the refrigerator vents, water heater vents, and furnace vents for example. Water entering those vents can cause problems with the operation of the appliance and could lead to water damage. Not only does a freshly cleaned RV look good, but it also helps prolong the life of your RV, by keeping dirt and grim off the surface.
Clean the Roof
The roof of your RV is one of the most vulnerable areas, and it’s essential to inspect it regularly for any signs of damage. As an RV owner you should inspect the roof annually, at a minimum. If you are unable to inspect the roof, consider hiring a professional RV technician to inspect the roof for you and fix any issues. When inspecting the roof, check for cracks, leaks, or other signs of damage, and repair or replace any damaged materials as soon as possible. Clean the roof and reapply a protective coating if necessary to help prevent future damage. Protective coatings should be applied in accordance with the instructions provided by the RV roof manufacturer or dealer. Properly applied coatings help guard against damage to the RV roof from UV rays and can help extend the life of your RV roof. While on the roof it is check the sealant, which is applied to the seams and transitions on the roof. RV sealant will shrink over time, allowing cracks and holes to form in the sealant. These cracks and holes are pathways for water to enter the interior of the RV, causing damage to the RV.
Check the Tires
The tires on your RV are critical to its safety and performance, and it’s essential to inspect them regularly. Check the tire pressure, wear, and age and replace any tires that are worn or have reached their recommended age limit. Remember to also check the spare tire and make sure it’s in good condition. Many RV tire manufacturers recommend replacing any RV tire that is older than six years. The age of the tire can be determined by finding the DOT date code. This four-digit code will tell you the week and year the tire was manufactured. If you observe any signs of uneven wear on the tires it might be time to consult a professional. Uneven wear can be signs of other issues related to your RV’s suspension or axle.
Service the Brakes and Suspension
Before hitting the road, it’s essential to have your RV’s brakes and suspension system inspected and serviced if necessary. This will help to ensure that your RV is safe and handles properly on the road. Have a professional check the brakes and suspension and replace any worn or damaged parts. Checking and repacking the bearings is also advisable, but this is better left to a professional.
Check the Electrical System
The electrical system of your RV is critical to its functioning, and it’s essential to have it inspected and serviced if necessary. Have a professional check the battery, charging system, and all electrical connections and make any necessary repairs. It’s also a good idea to check the power inverter and generator and make sure it is working properly. Many lead acid batteries need to be regularly checked to make sure they have enough water. As the battery charges and discharges some of the water will evaporate over time. If your battery does not have a sufficient level of water, it may not fully charge, or it may cause problems with the battery leading to failure of the battery itself. When looking at the battery check the case of the battery. If you observe any swelling in the case, it is time to have the battery professionally inspected and replaced if necessary. Additionally, check and clean the battery terminals and connections. Dirty battery terminals provide resistance impeding the batteries’ ability to fully charge and discharge.
If your RV has a generator, it is advisable to have it serviced and inspected at least annually. Generators often are in areas that can pick up a lot of dirt and debris from the road. One example is the generator radiator, which is often on the bottom. As the radiator becomes dirty it loses the ability to properly cool the coolant in the generator. Further, when inspecting the generator, you should consider having the generator oil and coolant analyzed in a professional laboratory. Fluid analysis can tell you if the fluid is still performing as expected. Fluid analysis can also reveal if any metals or other substances are present in the fluid that would indicate internal engine wear.
Inspect the Plumbing System
The plumbing system of your RV is responsible for bringing water in and taking waste out, and it’s essential to have it inspected and serviced if necessary. Have a professional check the water pump, water heater, and all plumbing connections and make any necessary repairs. This can easily be accomplished when de-winterizing your RV for the spring camping season. One effortless way to evaluate your system for leaks is to put some fresh water into your onboard freshwater tank. Turn on the water pump and listen. The pump will initially turn on to pressure the system. However, it should turn off after the system has been properly pressurized. If the pump continues to run, or runs, turns off and runs again repeatedly, there could be a leak in the plumbing system.
Check the Heating and Cooling System
The heating and cooling system of your RV is critical to your comfort, and it’s essential to have it inspected and serviced if necessary. Have a professional check the furnace and air conditioner. One often overlooked maintenance item for a furnace is looking in the intake and exhaust vents for the presence of insect nests. These nests, or any obstruction can cause issues with the performance of the appliance, leading to malfunctions. The coils on the air conditioner should also be inspected and cleaned, at least annually. Dirty air conditioner coils will cause the air conditioner to work harder, leading to premature failure of the air conditioner. As an RVer nothing is worse than having an air conditioner go out during your annual summer camping trip.
Clean the Interior
Finally, it’s essential to clean the interior of your RV before hitting the road. This includes dusting, vacuuming, and wiping down all surfaces. Clean the windows, upholstery, and curtains, and replace any items that are worn or damaged.
In conclusion, these are the essential spring RV maintenance tips for RV owners. By taking the time to properly maintain and prepare your RV for the season ahead, you’ll ensure that your next camping trip is safe, reliable, and comfortable. Happy camping!