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 done on a regular basis every time you take your rig out for a trip, while there are some that are yearly maintenance points you should keep track of for a healthy life of your rig.
The following comprehensive list will help to keep your investment in tip-top shape and ensure that your RV experience will be a great one:
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 is not maintained properly, it can cause a lot of trouble for the RVers. 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; therefore, you need to check its level. These 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.
2. Always Clean and Care For Your RV
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 vehicle. The cleaner you keep your RV, 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 and starting with a good hose-down can help make this process easier.
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 is secured with the help of the provided locks to stop it from rolling when traveling. Use a gentle brush and water spray to clean it.
Make sure the awning is completely dry before rolling it up. Regularly lubricate the moving parts of the awning but don't overdo it, as it can cause dirt and dust. Do not 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.
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 is why it is harder to stop and control in emergency situations.
Moreover, 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.
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, can get clogged due to dirt as they constantly face high winds. Dust can accumulate in their filters, which can cause serious problems such as water leaking from the roof. Cleaning the filter, drain pipes and drain pane regularly keeps them free from dirt and keeps them working efficiently.
When the RV air conditioner becomes old, it becomes less efficient and will not provide much cooling. In such a case, you should replace your A/C instead of repairing it.
6. Always Check Your Tires Before Going on Long Trips
Another thing that should be properly maintained to ensure the safety of your RV and the people traveling in it, is the tires. It is vital that the tires of your vehicle are inflated properly, as a tire 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. However, it depends on the distance you have traveled. 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.
7. Check Your Battery and Ensure You Have a 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 will not function properly and will ultimately die if you do not 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 are in good condition. Charge the battery while it's in storage so that the charge does not drop below 50%.
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. Moreover, RVs are generally higher, that means a greater chance of trees banging against them.
Inspect your roof regularly to make sure there is no leakage. Seal the gaps 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.
9. Brake Check! Lights and Fluid
There is no denying that brakes and lights that work properly are essential for your safety. Make sure the brakes are properly lubricated so you do not face any problems when you are 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 will 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.
10. Is Your Skylight Vent Functioning Properly?
Skylight vents provide natural light to areas inside the RV. Therefore, proper maintenance of them is essential. Frequent visual inspection, together with annual resealing, will help to maximize its service life.
An RV skylight consists of two parts, therefore, 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. Make sure there are no cracks or bubbles on the dome.
Extreme temperatures can also lead to the sealant wearing out more quickly. Check the sealant around the dome because if the sealant begins to crack, it could lead to leaks.
Regular maintenance of environmental and operating systems in the RV not only means hassle-free and enjoyable camping, but it also ensures its long life. Make sure you follow the above checklist, as this is the ideal way to maintain the value of your travel trailer and keep it ready to hit the road.