Stay safe and keep the fun rolling with these RV maintenance tips.
Let's talk about your vacation. You've been planning for months. You're loaded up and three hours into your trip when you hear a loud metallic bang in the engine compartment. You begin sweating, then panic sets in as your power steering fails. Could you have prevented this scenario with proper RV maintenance? Tips to keep your RV in top shape may not prevent every road trip malfunction, but they can help you stay on the road longer with fewer problems.
Regular maintenance on an RV is a big undertaking. Unless you're a committed do-it-yourselfer, it's best to leave the big stuff to your favorite mechanic. There is, however, a lot you can do between scheduled maintenance visits to ensure that your next road trip doesn't end with your RV broken down on a forlorn roadside.
RV maintenance tips to keep the fun going
When you're on vacation, your RV is both your home and your transportation. Your maintenance needs to take both of those aspects into consideration. Even if you don't know how to make repairs yourself, finding problems before they get too big can save you big money and even bigger headaches.
Keep up with scheduled maintenance
The single best thing you can do for your RV is to keep up with the scheduled maintenance. An oil change is the most frequent regular engine maintenance, but you'll also need to change other fluids, filters, hoses, belts, and spark plugs on a regular basis. This includes your generator, too.
Check fluid levels
Your mechanic will check and fill all of your fluids when you go in for maintenance, but keep an eye on them yourself, too. It's easy enough to check your oil and coolant, and your engine will malfunction if you run too low on either.
Check your battery
Corrosion may build up on your battery terminals over time. This can prevent your battery from working properly, but it is easy to correct. Loosen the battery cables, and clean the terminals and battery cable connections with a mixture of baking soda and water. Rinse, dry, and reattach the cables. Check the water level in your battery, as well, if you are able, and add distilled water if needed.
Check your engine compartment
While you are looking at fluid levels and your battery, take a look at your entire engine compartment. Are all the hoses firmly attached? Do your belts feel tight? Is the engine compartment clean? There may be some dust or leaves in there, but you shouldn't see oil stains or leaks.
Check the tires
Make sure your tires are properly inflated to ensure both the safe handling of your RV and to help you get the maximum fuel economy. Check the tread and wear patterns, too. Wear should be minimal and even.
RV maintenance tips to keep you safe and dry
Since your RV is also a home, take all the precautions and steps you take to maintain your stationary home. A little love and care will go a long way in keeping your RV beautiful and fully functional.
Test all the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your RV and replace the batteries annually. Make sure your fire extinguishers are fully charged. Always carry enough spare batteries to replace any that fail.
Seals and seams
Look closely at all the seals and seams throughout your RV. Take care of cracks and dry rot right away or a small problem could lead to a significant leak. Check around the doors, windows, and roof to confirm seals are in good shape.
At a minimum, thoroughly clean your RV after every excursion. Dust, dirt, and road debris can wear down the mechanical systems in your RV. They can clog up your engine, scratch your paint, and wear down the seals. When you clean your RV, you are also more likely to find any potential problems before they get out of hand. Loose fittings, spots of mold, or small leaks can hide easily, but it's easy to fix most of these problems if you catch them soon enough.
Big elements of maintenance are looking over your RV, ensuring that everything is in good working order, and attending to those items that aren't. It might seem like a lot to do, but it's better to find and fix any problems while you're at home than when you are in the middle of a two-week trip.
If you're planning a road trip, have you considered updating your insurance policy to cover any accidents along the way? Available to everyone who has a personal auto policy with us, Roadside Rescue saves the day with 24/7 roadside assistance—in all 50 states—at no extra cost to you if you have Comprehensive Coverage!
Are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you take your RV to someone for maintenance? Which do you prefer and why? Let us know in the comments.