Taking your RV out for a season is an exciting opportunity to get in touch with nature and spend time with the people you love. You want to make sure that everything is in fighting shape before you hit the road, though.
Even if you’re not using your RV at any given time, it’s important to be aware of the maintenance responsibilities you have. Whether you’re on the road as you read this or you don’t plan to get out for the next few months, we’ve got RV maintenance tips for you.
Hopefully, the information below can get you on track to having your RV in perfect condition. Let’s get started.
Essential RV Maintenance Tips
It’s important to note that RVs come in a wide range of styles, costs, and degrees of luxury. Your RV might have a lot of features that aren’t covered on this list.
If you have a lot of special features on your vehicle, your owner’s manual should have specific instructions for those areas of maintenance. That said, even the most luxurious RV comes equipped with the same nuts and bolts as one that you could find for cheap on Craigslist.
There are a few common denominators that you have to manage regardless of your rig. If you’ve just purchased a brand new RV, some of the ideas below won’t be relevant for a few years.
That said, checking various elements of your rig, even if you know they’re fine, is a good habit to get into.
It’s best to divide your maintenance schedule into time-sensitive categories. Things that you have to do more than once a month are relevant to the amount of use you put in.
For example, changing the oil or cleaning the bathroom systems are tasks that you should take care of on an as-needed basis. Beyond that point, we start to forget things or push them off until another day.
If you want to keep your RV running for years, though, you’ve got to stick to a plan.
Start The Generator
Starting your generator is like giving your RV a good stretch when it’s been sitting for a while. You don’t need to do this if you’re on the road and using the vehicle every day.
Getting the portable generator going for about two hours every month or so can help gas flow through the system and keep it from getting too stagnant. It also allows your electrical system to fire up and work its magic for a moment or two.
Vehicles, much like people, start to break down if they’re not moving and being used on a regular basis. It seems like letting a car sit for ten years would keep it in perfect condition.
In reality, everything starts to break down on a micro level the moment it stops moving. Rust sets in, sediment takes root, and degradation happens. Running the vehicle gives you a small refresher.
Manage Your Energy Source
Were you surprised to find out that your RV battery requires a significant amount of water?
Unlike car batteries, RV batteries use water and require some maintenance. You run the risk of encountering a lot of problems if you fail to keep this in mind.
Make sure that your water levels are at a good spot every month. When you refill the battery, make sure that you’re not using tap water or hose water. Distilled water is the way to go, as the sediment from hard water like tap water can build up on the battery and cause issues.
This is especially true if you’re taking water from campsites, which typically draws from the water table and comes unfiltered. If you’re in an emergency, you should use whatever water you can find.
Don’t make a habit of using hard water in the battery, though. Further, check on your water levels as you use the RV on a regular basis. The heat produced from your battery shouldn’t cause the water to evaporate, but it might.
In that case, fill the levels back up with distilled water. When you get home, it might be worth seeking a professional to see why your battery is overheating.
Check Under The Body and The Hood
You’re out on the road, entering some of the most remote wilderness that your RV can handle. You’re sitting at campsites surrounded by nature, and you park your vehicle in a stationary spot for months at a time.
What do all of these activities have in common? They give animals a great shot at entering your vehicle’s undercarriage and causing damage!
Your best shot at eliminating damage is to check on the RV every month or so to see if there are any holes in the system that would allow rodents. Further, check for any scat or other signs that an animal is spending time near your vehicle.
While you’re at it, look at the hood and make sure there’s nothing situated in your engine. Remove debris as well as any signs that an animal has made its way in.
This is a great opportunity to look for signs of leakage or other malfunctions of the engine as well. In most cases, the frequent problem is leaking hoses or fluids. Those issues come from a lot of use or the presence of a curious rodent.
If you can, try to find boat storage units or similar storage areas to keep your RV while you’re not using it. Some boat storage facilities will house other vehicles as well.
Spray for Rust and Erosion
Many RVs have a significant number of metal parts that support all of the extra features on the vehicle. These are often referred to as “slideouts,” but you might call them something different.
It’s never a bad idea to get out and spray these features with some de-rusting agents. You can do this after a long trip, before you put the vehicle into storage, or at different intervals in between.
You’ll also notice that these areas tend to be right alongside the seals on your vehicle. Seals are there to close off any openings or exposures along the outside of the vehicle or the doors.
Seals are liable to crack after a significant amount of use. You can have the seals redone, but there are a number of products out there that can help before you reach that point. Sprays and different coatings will help you to reinforce your RV’s seals without the need for repair.
Keep a Close Eye On Tires
Your daily driver might be easy on its own tires, but RVs are a different story.
Not only do RV tires take a beating when they hit the road, but the risk is a lot higher when you have tire issues. Remember that you’ll be driving on a lot of dirt roads, cruising for long periods of time, and braving paths that might be scary to drive on in any car.
That equation leads to wear and tear that can lead to pops. Faulty tires that don’t pop can put undue strain on your engine and distribution systems as well.
Further, if you do have a tire pop while you’re on one of those treacherous paths, it’s a lot harder to manage a swerving RV than another vehicle in the same situation.
You can avoid these issues by managing your tires well. Keep a close eye on tread, and be more cautious than you would with other vehicles. If the tread gets bare, replace the tire.
Simple as that. Your safety is more important than saving a few dollars and risking the whole rig on a threadbare path along the Big Horn Mountains.
Clean Your Interior Often
Lastly, it’s important to keep a high standard of cleanliness inside the vehicle. This is a place where you’ll come to relax after long days of hiking and being in the sun.
If you maintain the interior, you’ll enjoy staying in the RV. As things start to go, you’ll find that it’s less cozy than it once was. The only thing holding you back from years of enjoying the vehicle is maintenance.
So, clean up after yourself. Wipe down the leather with the appropriate products. Take care of stains and spills as they occur.
Beyond that, you can get by with one deep clean after every significant trip you take with the vehicle. Cleaning an RV shouldn’t take more than an hour or two, but that investment will extend the life of the RV for years.
Caring for an RV can be a tedious thing, but it’s a labor a love that pays you back many times over.
Want to Learn More About Caring for An RV?
Hopefully, our RV checklist gave you a few useful ideas. You can go as far into RV maintenance as you’d like to, though, so there’s a lot more to learn about cleaning an RV, storing an RV, and keeping it in good shape.
We’re here to help. Explore our site for more insight into how to take care of an RV.