An RV is a great way to see the world and do more traveling, but it’s also a big investment. Naturally, you want to do everything in your power to protect your vehicle while also keeping maintenance costs as low as possible. The best way to do this is regular maintenance – and we’re not just talking about getting the oil changed every 5,000 miles. When it comes to RVs, regular maintenance means every few months – or seasonally at least, even if you aren’t using it.
The best way to avoid unexcepted issues and emergency repair costs while on a trip is to service your vehicle before each major trip. You can take it to a professional mechanic or the dealership for maintenance, but a lot of it can be done at home fairly easily. Read the list below to see what you should be checking before each trip.
- Inspect Roof Seams and Seals
You should be checking the roof and seams for leaks before each trip and every three months – its best to do it at the turn of the seasons, as changes in temperature can cause sealants to crack. You’ll want to check along the roofs edges as well as the seams of any vents, doors, windows, AC units, or skylights. If you do find a leak, you can repair it with a sealant that is compatible with the roofing material.
- Check Batteries
Routine battery checks are a good idea for any vehicle, but they’re especially important for something as large as an RV. The goal should be to have a fully charged battery at all times, so you don’t suddenly loose power in the middle of a camping trip.
Most RVs come with instructions on how to charge an RV battery while driving, much like a car. The average battery lasts between 3 and 5 years, so you may need to replace it sooner than you might think.
- Make Sure the Breaks Are in Top Condition
Something as big as an RV requires a lot of work to get it to stop. RV breaks are built to withstand a lot, but they’re also going to experience a lot of wear and tear. Make sure you check them before you depart for any trip – this includes return trips. The last thing you or anyone else on the road wants to deal with is a runaway RV. Its good practice to replace your breaks every spring at a minimum.
- Ensure Waste Water System Works
Maintaining the waste water system is certainly one of the less glamourous parts of RV ownership, but also one of the most important. An RV without a working waste water system is…gross. And nothing will ruin a trip faster.
Proper maintenance means using the right chemicals in the right amounts, and making sure to flush the system regularly, even when it’s not in use. Most RV manufacturers recommend flushing your system at least every three months.
- Check and Top Off Fluid Levels
Checking and topping off your fluids is pretty simple – of all the pre-trip checks and fixes, its probably the easiest to do on your own. It is also something you should do on a seasonal basis, even if you haven’t driven in a few months.
You’ll want to check the oil, fuel, air, hydraulic filters, and coolant – every few months and at each oil change. Neglecting any of this can lead to long term damage and can put you at a greater risk of running into issues on the road.
- Double Check Lights
The last thing to check before setting off is the electrical system and lights, especially if you tow your RV. Start everything up and have someone stand behind it as you pump the breaks and turn on the headlights, to make sure everything is in working order.
The easiest tip I can give you to prolong the life of your vehicle is to cover your RV. Being proactive and covering your RV when you aren’t using it will prevent dust and debris from collecting on your vehicle. RVs sit for most of their life, and if that isn’t properly stored during this time they will degrade much faster, degrade their value, and ultimately not last you as long. Simple things like using a high quality RV cover will keep your camper looking the same as the last time you used it. Plus, it will make your maintenance much easier when you go to use your vehicle again when there isn’t dust to be wiped!