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RV Maintenance: Ultimate Guide

October 28, 2023

Ever found yourself on the road, humming along to your favorite tunes in your RV, only for a mechanical hiccup to throw a wrench into an otherwise perfect trip? If you answered yes, then this RV maintenance guide is for you.

We’ve all heard it before, “prevention is better than cure” and guess what? This holds true even for maintaining our homes-on-wheels. Proper care can keep us from unnecessary pit stops and hefty repair bills.

What should you do to maintain your RV? Do you need to do something with the RV engine? What about the hydraulic filters?

For the answers, be sure to keep reading. We’ll be going over everything you need to know in our ultimate RV maintenance checklist!

Importance of RV Maintenance

Maintenance tasks aren’t just chores, they’re vital for your RV’s longevity and performance.

importance of rv maintenanceThis means checking the pressure of your tires, inspecting the RV roof vents, maintaining the water tanks (both the black tank and grey water tank), ensuring your water heater works optimally, and managing oil changes.

Not only that but you also want to check the vehicle’s body seams, seals, gas detectors, and bearings on a regular basis.

In fact, 70% of RV failures are from inadequate maintenance.

The resale Value of your RV also depends heavily on how well maintained the vehicle is so if you plan on selling it at some point, it’s best to take care of it.

Tip: We highly recommend following an annual RV maintenance checklist – that way, you’ll always be on top of things.

What Happens If You Neglect RV Maintenance

Things can quickly get out of hand if you neglect the tasks mentioned above. For one thing, it might result in costly repairs.

For example, a leaky roof vent or poorly cared for water pump can lead to irreversible water damage, which isn’t cheap to fix.

Similarly, you can damage your RV’s engine if you fail to change your oil and filters regularly.

Essential Pre-Trip RV Checks

These essential checks will ensure safety and prevent potential issues on the road.

Check Your Appliances Before Traveling

check your rv appliances before travelingAlways check your appliances before hitting the road – this includes the furnace, water pump, air conditioning unit, refrigerator. Make sure they’re working properly so you’ll be able to use them when you need to.

Don’t forget about the kitchen area as well. More specifically, you want to confirm that appliances like fridges and stoves are switched off before traveling.

That will help prevent unnecessary energy consumption. Not only that but it’ll also prevent hazards such as gas leaks or fire incidents during transit.

Check Tread Wear and Tire Pressure

Maintaining correct tire pressure isn’t just about fuel efficiency; it’ll also impact your RV’s handling characteristics. That’s one of the reasons why checking your RV tires is high up on the maintenance tasks list.

In addition to checking your tire pressure – particularly after long periods in storage – pay attention to the tread wear patterns; uneven wear can indicate alignment problems that require immediate action.

The wheel bearings should also be serviced every 10,000 miles or annully, whichever occurs first.

Tip: You can protect your tires by using RV tire covers – that’ll protect them from the elements including UV rays from the sun.

Check the Water Tanks

As an RV owner, you want to check the freshwater tank and black tank regularly for leakage or contamination.

The grey water tank also needs periodic cleaning – that will prevent unpleasant odors and protect against costly repairs. To keep your black and grey water tanks functioning properly and decrease odors, we recommend using ACTIVE RV Holding Tank Treatment regularly.

Turn Off the Water Heater

turn off your rvs water heaterTurning off the water heater before travel will prevent unwanted pressure from building up, which can lead to potential issues. The same goes for your water pump – make sure it’s turned off when it’s not needed.

Check Your Safety Equipment

Make sure you’ve packed all of your safety equipment with you before your trip. This includes a carbon monoxide detectors, fire alarm, fire extinguishers, battery monitor, smoke detectors, surge protector, and a first aid kit.

It’s also a good idea to have some distilled water with you, just in case.

Monthly RV Maintenance Tips

Here are some RV maintenance tips that’ll help ensure that every inch of your RV—from the roof vents down to the tire pressure—is properly cared for and ready for travel.

Secure Your Items Inside the Vehicle

Before hitting the road, make sure large items are secure, cabinets are closed tight, and doors are latched—these simple steps can prevent unwanted accidents during transit.

If you have a propane tank in the RV, it should also be properly stored.

Inspect the Roof

check the roof of your rvInspect the roof carefully as it’s often exposed to harsh weather conditions, which can lead to wear over time – you don’t want any surprises once you hit those open roads.

You also want to keep it clean. When it comes to cleaning products, you’ll want to find options that are tough on dirt but gentle enough not cause any harm.

Protect the Roof

You can protect your RV’s roof by applying RV Roof Magic – it’s designed to protect your roof from the elements and environrmental hazards.

Check the Brake Lights

Make sure the brake lights are working properly. The best way to do this is to get someone to stand behind the RV and tell you if they’re turning on.

Systems Maintenance Checklist

Maintaining the key systems in your RV, such as the water system, water filter, propane system, electrical system, and appliances is essential. Here’s what you need to know.

Check Your HVAC System

Your HVAC system, including the air conditioner and air filter, needs regular attention.

More specifically, you want to check that the intake is clean and clear of dust and debris. You should also check the filters and examine the divider dam, insulation, and gaskets.

In addition to that, you want to inspect the ductwork, including the hydraulic filters, regularly for damage.

The Electrical Systems

The heart of any modern RV is its electrical systems – without them, your vehicle wouldn’t be able to function properly.

Proper maintenance here involves checking wires for fraying or wear and tear, ensuring circuit breakers function correctly, and keeping batteries at correct charge levels.

If anything looks amiss, consider getting professional help at a repair shop.

Mechanical Maintenance

The heart of your RV lies in its chassis and mechanical components. Neglecting them can lead to expensive repairs, but regular maintenance will keep you cruising smoothly.

Checking Your RV’s Brakes

check your rvs brakesYour brakes are a vital component for your safety while driving. Regular brake maintenance by a professional will help prevent unwanted surprises during a trip.

If you aren’t able to perform the maintenance yourself, seek help from a professional at an RV service center.

Regular Oil Changes

Routine oil changes are essential not just for cars but also for RVs. Clean oil will ensure proper lubrication, which will prevent overheating.

That’s not all, it’ll also remove any contaminants that may harm your engine over time.

Common Mistakes

Maintaining your RV is essential to ensure it stays in excellent condition, but if you’re not careful, mistakes can lead to expensive repairs.

Neglecting the Tires

It might seem minor, but if ignored, these things can snowball into big problems. For instance, underinflated RV tires wear faster and are more prone to blowouts.

Neglecting Oil and Brake Fluid Changes

The second blunder is ignoring your manufacturer’s recommendations for things like oil change and brake fluid change intervals or lug nuts torque specifications. Your tow vehicle needs regular love too.

Neglecting the Slide Outs and Roof Vents

Sometimes even diligent owners forget about areas of their rig that require maintenance only occasionally – such as roof vents or slideouts – leading us straight into mistake three. Regular inspections prevent unwanted surprises down the line.

The fourth gaffe lies with batteries – out of sight often means out of mind until it’s too late and we’re dealing with a dead RV battery just when we need them most during camping season.

Basic RV Maintenance Tips – FAQs

What does yearly maintenance entail for a RV?

Yearly RV maintenance includes inspecting and servicing systems like plumbing, electrical, and propane. It also involves checking brakes, tires, and roof seals.

How often should you service your RV?

You need to service your RV at least once per year. However, high usage might necessitate more frequent check-ups.

What not to do when buying an RV?

Avoid buying an un-inspected used RV or one that doesn’t fit your travel style. Also, don’t ignore hidden costs like insurance and storage fees.

How many miles should an RV last?

An average gas-powered Class A motorhome could easily cover 200k miles if well-maintained, while diesel engines can go beyond this range.

Does the entire RV need annual maintenance?

Yes, the entire RV – both the interior and exterior needs to be maintained regularly. For more details, refer to the owner’s manual.

Routine Maintenance For Your RV

And there you have it- some basic RV maintenance tips! As you can see, there are several things that you want to consider when it comes to keeping your RV in tip-top condition – from checking the tire pressure to the RV’s batteries.

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Picture of Marcus Washington

Marcus Washington

Marcus Washington is a well-rounded expert in RVs and campers. With a wealth of experience, Marcus shares his expertise through his valuable guides, helping enthusiasts and newcomers alike navigate the world of mobile living. His advice covers everything from maintenance to maximizing space, ensuring every road trip is smooth and enjoyable. You can trust Marcus to guide you in your RV and camper adventures.

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