There's an RV Maintenance Checklist that every RVer should go through. Skipping it or just the odd one from the list could result in costly repairs, or much worse, so always be vigilant and careful.
Whether you own a fifth-wheel, class-A RV, or a pop-up camper, maintenance is very important. There are different checks that should be performed on the RV to ensure a safe and worry-free camping season.
Some checks should be carried out every time you take your rig out for a trip, while there are some that are annual maintenance points. That said, they're all critical and following this RV maintenance checklist will help you keep track of for a healthy life of your rig.
An RV Maintenance Checklist Not To Overlook
No.1 - Drain and Clean the Holding Tanks on Time
An RV has three holding tanks – freshwater, greywater, and black water. If any of these tanks isn't maintained properly, it can cause a lot of trouble for the RVers, so this should be high on your RV maintenance checklist.
It is vital to drain the freshwater tanks after every trip, as algae can grow in stagnant water. The size of the holding tanks of your RV may not be ideal, so you need to check its level, and the tanks should be cleaned after every trip. However, if the trip is long or if you are traveling with your family, you should clean them every other day.
You can make the wastewater dump with the help of a sewer hose, as shown in the above picture. Use special chemicals available for black water tanks to break up the solid matter and control the odor. Regular flushing, together with proper cleaning and frequently sanitizing the tanks can help keep the system running free from any problems.
RV Maintenance Checklist No.2 - Always Clean and Care for Your RV
If you're like me, you'll ignore washing your car regularly. It's not good, but you can get away with ignoring your car, but you should always clean your RV regularly.
Being on the road often, parking and driving in the dirt, and traveling through all sorts of weather conditions can really put a strain on your RV. Remember, your RV is quite a big investment so cleaning it should be high on your RV maintenance checklist. After all, the cleaner you keep your it, the easier it will be to prevent the normal wear and tear which can be caused by traveling throughout the year.
Use a mild detergent and soft brush to wash the exterior of your vehicle, as shown in the picture above. High-pressure washing is not recommended as it can damage your vehicle's roof and walls. Cleaning a big trailer will require quite an effort, but starting with a good hose-down can help make this process easier.
No.3 - Inspect and Ensure Your Awning is Ready for Use
An awning is an important part of your RV and there are a few things you can do to ensure that it works perfectly. Make sure it's secured with the help of the provided locks to stop it from rolling when traveling. Also, when you clean it, it's quite easy to damage if you use a harsh brush, so a gentle brush and water spray is best.
Make sure the awning is completely dry before rolling it up. Don't store the awning if it is not completely dry, as a wet awning is an invitation for mold. Use bleach to get rid of any mold or mildew. Regularly lubricate the moving parts of the awning but don't overdo it, as it can cause dirt and dust.
No.4 - Double Check Hitch Set-Ups and Other Towing Components
Towing can be an easy and safe activity but there are various safety concerns you need to address with regard to the hitch before and during the trip. Your towing rig is less nimble and weighs more than the other cars on the road, that's why it's harder to stop and control in emergency situations.
So, the different pieces needed to set up the towing hitch must be maintained and installed properly to ensure accident-free, safe towing. By double-checking the connections before hitting the road, you can keep the likelihood of accidents to a minimum. Also, make sure the safety chains are crossed under the trailer tongue properly and securely, and the towing connections are inspected and cleaned after every trip.
RV Maintenance Checklist No.5 - Regularly Check Your Air Conditioner
Air conditioners require proper maintenance to ensure their long life. RVs that come with rooftop ACs, like the one shown in the picture above, regularly have to withstand strong winds and can get clogged due to dirt. Dust can accumulate in their filters, which can cause serious problems such as water leaking from the roof.
And if anything goes wrong, you'll have a very uncomfortable trip, so keeping on top of your AC should be a regular in your RV maintenance checklist.
Cleaning the filter, drain pipes and drain pane regularly keeps them free from dirt and keeps them working efficiently. The best RV AC units will last a long time if you look after them properly, bit if you don't it will be an expensive overlook.
No.6 - Always Check Your Tires Before Going on Long Trips
Another thing that should be high and regular on your RV mainteneace checklist is checking your tires. In fact, you should check them before you set off on every trip to ensure the safety of your RV and the people traveling in it.
It is vital that the tires are inflated properly, as they could burst and cause an accident if proper pressure is not maintained. Before you start your trip, check the tire pressure to safeguard against any mishap.
Also, check the tire sidewalls for any splits or cracks. Typically, RV tires can be used for three-five years, but it depends on the distance you travel in that time. Physically inspect the tires every time you are about to hit the road. Also, make sure the lug nuts are tightened properly, as loose nuts can be quite dangerous.
RV Maintenance Checklist No.7 - Check Your Battery and Charger
RV batteries require regular maintenance and consistent charging. A properly maintained battery will provide a healthy life span of up to five years. A battery won't function properly and will ultimately die if you don't charge it properly. However, make sure you do not overcharge or undercharge the batteries to get maximum performance.
If you store the batteries separately during winters, periodically check them while in storage to make sure they're in good condition.
It's important not to ignore your battery during the winter either. So, charge the battery while it's in storage so that the charge doesn't drop below 50%. This way, you'll keep the battery ticking over and help prolong its life cycle.
No.8 - Check Your Roof for Leaks, Cracks, or General Damage
Your roof has to face some pretty tough weather conditions like high-speed winds, UV rays, snow, and rain, which make it more susceptible to damage. RVs are generally higher than other vehicles, which means a greater chance of trees banging against them.
Inspecting your roof regularly to make sure there is no leakage or cracks therefore, should be done from time to time. If you find any gaps, seal them or holes on time to prevent any further damage using a compatible sealant.
Remember to wash the roof of your vehicle when you wash your RV so there is no dust or dirt on it. If you do not have a proper storage facility for your vehicle, use an RV cover to protect the roof.
RV Maintenance Checklist No.9 - Brake Check! Lights and Fluid
Arguably the most important and regular task on your RV maintenance checklist should be checking your brakes and lights. There's no denying that properly working brakes and lights are essential for yours and every other driver's safety.
Make sure the brakes are properly lubricated so you don't face any problems when you're on the road. If your vehicle is fitted with hydraulic brakes, make sure the brake system is flushed and new fluid installed after every few years.
You'll need proper lighting to keep yourself out of the dark on your camping trips. Therefore, before embarking on a trip, make sure all the lights are in proper working order. The indicator light also needs to be maintained to ensure your safety while making turns.
No.10 - Check Your Skylight Vent Is Functioning Properly
Skylight vents provide natural light to areas inside the RV, so properly and regularly maintaining them them is essential. Frequent visual inspection, together with annual resealing, will help to maximize its service life.
An RV skylight consists of two parts, so different maintenance methods should be observed. The interior lining should be checked for normal wear and tear while the cover on the roof should also be checked every six months. Also, make sure there are no cracks or bubbles on the dome.
Extreme temperatures can also lead to the sealant wearing out more quickly. So, regularly check the sealant around the dome because if the sealant begins to crack, it could begin to leak..
RV Maintenance Checklist
Keeping track of a regular RV maintenance checklist will ensure you look after your rig properly and elongate its life cycle.
The 10 RV maintenance checklist recommendations above should be carried out. They are boring and nobody enjoys doing them, but they're essential. Not only that, your trips will be safer, more enjoyable, and you're far less likely to damage something while you're out on the road a long way from home.