Top 8 Things to Consider When Buying an RV

RV Maintenance Guide: Before, During, and After the Trip

Buying a recreational vehicle opens a
door to adventure and budget travel. But there’s a lot more to
owning an RV than whizzing down the highway, soaking in magical
sceneries, and hanging out at campgrounds.
RV ownership comes with
responsibilities and even challenges. Your mobile abode is full of
appliances, systems, and many other components that need regular
maintenance to keep your entire rig in top shape.

Ignore maintenance, and everything
starts to fall apart—mechanical breakdowns in the middle of
nowhere, brake failure, sewage leaks, damaged appliances, and
plumbing issues.

To stretch the periods of bliss, and
reduce the misery when you go
road tripping
, use this guide to keep your RV in
tip-top shape.

RV Maintenance
Checklist Before You Set-Off

  • Engine – Oil changes are
    one of the first steps of performing engine maintenance. Have the
    oil changed every 3,000 to 6,000 miles for gas motor homes and every
    20,000 miles for diesel rigs. These numbers vary depending on the
    manufacturer. While you’re on it, change the oil and air filter,
    and have the brakes checked. Also, top off the radiator,
    transmission, brake, wiper, AC coolant, and power steering fluids.
  • Electric System – For a
    safe trip, make sure all electrical components are in good working
    order. Test all exterior lights and replace the bulbs that aren’t
    working. Check the circuit breaker, then open the fuse box and look
    for blown fuses.
  • Battery – Maintaining your
    RV batteries will depend on what type of batteries you have. But
    generally, you need to replenish the water in flooded cell
    batteries, clean the terminals to remove corrosion, test how fast
    they discharge, and make sure they aren’t at the end of their life
  • Tires – Maintenance of your
    motor home tires is much the same as you’d do for your car.
    Visually examine for tread wear and replace tires if you notice
    cracks or bulges. If all looks good, top off-air pressure, and
    tighten the lug nuts on your RV wheels. And don’t forget to rotate
    your tires annually so that the treads wear evenly.
  • Roof – RV roofs take some
    of the harshest beatings, whether from rain, sun, hail, wind,
    falling leaves, or low-lying branches. Ignore the roof, and it will
    develop leaks or even fly
    off when cruising down the highway
    . Always clean your
    roof before a trip, inspect the seams and seals, and look for leaks.
    Pay particular attention to the areas around air conditioning,
    skylights, vents, antennas, and solar panels. For a rubber roof, you
    must treat it a minimum of once every year.
  • Seals – Apart from the
    roof, leaks can occur in the windows, door frames, and other seals.
    Even the slightest crevice can create space for water to sip through
    when it’s raining. If you discover leaks, seal with quality and
    compatible sealant. If you can’t tell where the leaks are coming
    from, you may need to enlist the help of a professional.
  • Holding Tanks – Motor homes
    usually come with three types of holding tanks; Fresh, gray, and
    black tanks. To sanitize your freshwater tank, run some bleach and
    clean water through it. The gray water tank may need an odor blocker
    if it smells, while the black water tank needs regular flushing. And
    make sure you have the correct sewer connections to avoid nasty
    messes at the dump station.
  • Plumbing – Your camper’s
    pipes absorb a lot of vibration on the road and handle different
    climate changes. All this shock eventually leads to plumbing issues
    down the road. Look for drips along the lines and signs of leaks
    underneath all your sinks. Reseal or replace damaged pipes. Makes
    sure you also test your water heater and rinse out any sediment.
  • Safety Features – Your
    safety features are the components that will help you handle
    emergencies. Some essential features include a carbon
    monoxide detector, fire extinguisher, tire monitoring system,
    rear view camera, propane leak detector, battery monitor, surge
    protector, first aid kit, roadside safety kit, and pet monitor. Make
    sure they are all functional.
  • Generator – Generators are
    super important, especially for Rivers who like to boon dock. It’s
    also your emergency power option when there’s a blackout at the
    campground. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding how
    often you should change the oil and the filter.
  • Exterior and Interior Wash
    – To give your rig a bath, use non-abrasive multi-surface
    products, starting from the top going down. When you’re done, wax
    to protect your paint coat from the harsh elements. The interiors,
    too, deserve cleaning to stay fresh. Remove cabinets, drawers, and
    cushions for easy clean-up.

RV Maintenance During
The Road Trip

RV maintenance is an ongoing process,
whether you’re on the road or you’ve arrived at your dream
destination. Here are important maintenance tasks while traveling.

  • Monitor Fluid Levels
    While on the road, keep track of the fluids and oils to ensure your
    rig operates smoothly. Refill the coolant, engine oil, transmission,
    power steering, and brake fluids when necessary. Use the manual to
    tell the right capacities and the products to use. To know when your
    freshwater tank is running low or when the gray and black tanks are
    about to run out of space, get a tank monitoring device.
  • Lubricate Moving Parts
    Some RV issues only become apparent when you hit the road. Like
    sticky slide outs, stuck awnings, noisy cabinets, and drawers that
    won’t stay closed. Bring dry slide out lube to keep rollers and
    rails lubricated and screwdrivers to adjust drawers and other loose
    parts. To tackle most nagging issues, you’ll need to have a toolbox
    complete with everything from screwdrivers, lubricants, sealants,
    pliers to duct tape.
  • Tires – An RVer should
    always inspect the tires after every stop. Use your tire pressure
    monitor to ensure they aren’t under or over-inflated, and look for
    any tears or cracks that have developed. If you plan to camp in one
    place for an extended period, cover the tires to protect them from
    damaging sun exposure.

RV Maintenance After
a Trip

After a fun-filled RV vacation, don’t
be tempted to store your camper in its current condition until the
next trip. A wash immediately after a trip will extend its life, help
retain its resale value, and keep it ready to roll anytime.

  • Thoroughly Clean the RV
    Wash the exterior, including the roof, walls, windows, and
    underbelly. Inside, remove any foodstuffs and toiletries, vacuum the
    floors, wipe down every surface, clean the bathroom, launder the
    linen, then wash and pack away dishes. As you clean, inspect
    different areas for damage.
  • Drain the Water System – If
    your next trip is months away, you’ll need to drain all the water
    in your pipes, holding tanks, pumps, and water heater to prevent
  • Take Care of Interior
    – Before you put away the RV for a season, disconnect
    any electronics and appliances, remove any batteries from small
    devices like smoke alarms, and remove and place the RV’s lead-acid
    battery in a trickle charger. You’ll also need to add a fuel
    stabilizer to your gas and generator tanks.
  • Cover the RV – Get a cover
    specifically tailored to your RV to protect your motor home against
    critters, UV rays, rain, wind, bird droppings, and tree sap. The
    material should be breathable to avoid trapping moisture, which
    could cause mold growth.

Keep Your RV in
Trip-Ready Shape

Keeping up with RV maintenance ensures
your camper is prepared to handle anything the big open highway
throws at it without breaking down. Regular servicing and inspection
will also keep you safe on the road, stop the annoying rattles, and
help you detect issues before they develop into bigger, more
expensive problems.

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