When taking the wheel of your new RV, the first thing you’ll notice is the view. With large, panoramic windows and a seat high above the ground, your eyeline captures the full extent of the surrounding scenery. As the RV’s powerful engine smoothly sails along nearly any terrain, you can settle in and enjoy the ride, knowing that you’ve got everything you need to fully experience your trip. You even have the power to change your plans at a moment’s notice — or linger longer somewhere magical.
But to maintain all this freedom and ease of movement, you’ve got to maintain the vehicle enabling it. Having an RV upkeep strategy will keep you from experiencing any major hiccups on your adventure. It’s part preparation, part prevention. Armed with this RV service checklist — and a bit of due diligence — you can help avoid both unwelcome surprises throughout your travels and costly repairs in the long run.
Pre-Departure RV Service Checks
Before hitting the road, a short inspection of your mobile home’s integrity can go a long way in safeguarding the journey, while extending the RV’s lifespan.
1. Check Your Wheels
An RV’s tires carry a lot of precious cargo. Keeping yours in tip-top shape not only means a safer and more fuel-efficient trip, but it also reduces costly repairs and unexpected replacements.
Inspect your wheels before every trip for signs of physical and environmental stress and:
· Tighten the lug nuts
· Test that the tires are neither under- nor over-inflated
· Look at the tread for uneven wear patterns that can signal an alignment need
· Remove stones and debris trapped in the tread
2. Verify Power Systems
You’ve arrived at the dreamiest campsite and are ready to settle in for the evening when — poof — the lights go out. Family tensions can quickly escalate thanks to a faulty generator, especially when the nearest hotel is miles away. But a fully-powered RV is about more than dodging this inconvenience. It’s important for your safety and the vehicle’s optimal performance.
Before each trip, and periodically while on the road, make sure you:
· Change your generator’s oil every 70 hours of use and have it serviced every 150 hours
· Inspect your electrical system for damaged cords or plug connections
· Check RV battery fluid levels, look for corrosion, and monitor expiration dates
· Test that appliances, lights, and your water pump are operating normally.
3. Inspect Your Insulation
The beauty of an RV is that it offers doorstep access to the great outdoors with all the comforts of home at hand — but only if you’re fully protected from the elements. When prepping your mobile home for the next great adventure, check the seals around windows, doors, and the roof for wear and tear. Seals naturally start to degrade over time. Even the smallest cracks can lead to expensive water damage and excessive energy use.
As you move between destinations, keep an eye on those tires, lug nuts, electrical systems, and seals for signs of stress. As you pack up camp to move on, it’s good to do a few routine checks to make sure your travels continue to go smoothly. This includes:
· Cleaning out debris from slideouts
· Clearing your awning
· Periodically emptying and treating the sewage holding tank
· Checking and replenishing your fluid levels
Annual RV Maintenance Best Practices
Both cars and homes require regular maintenance. As your home-on-wheels, your RV demands the same ongoing attention. Make sure to follow your RV manufacturer’s recommendations for vehicle maintenance. You can greatly extend your RV’s lifespan by annually servicing its:
· Brakes — and replacing them as needed
· Tires, axles, and shaft alignment
· Furnace, air conditioner, and appliances
· Water system and heater
· Gas generator
For smooth, comfortable travels on every RV journey, remember to:
· Replace air, fuel, coolant, and hydraulic filters
· Clean and treat its rubber roof
· Cleanse and deodorize your waste tank
· Clean and treat interior and exterior surfaces
Sticking to a regular RV maintenance routine helps mitigate a wide range of problems you could encounter during a trip. But there’s a lot of variables at play on the road. The right preparation can quickly solve issues that sneak up — especially if they arise when you’re far away from civilization.
Avoid trip interruption and unexpected costs by stocking emergency supplies you can access in a pinch, like:
· Motor oil, coolant, and fuel treatment
· Roof sealant, slideout lubricant, and toilet deodorizer
· An electric meter
· An air compressor hose, hose repair kit, and tire inflator with a pressure gauge
At the close of a trip, make sure to stick to a storage routine to mitigate the damage that can occur as your RV sits idle. Ensure your motorhome is ready to go as soon as you plan your next journey by:
· Storing its battery properly
· Rotating tires every 5,000 miles, helping to extend their life and optimize mileage
· Winterizing your vehicle — like draining water tanks and lines, removing water filters, bypassing the water heater, and adding antifreeze
· Periodically running the generator to avoid build-up in its carburetor
· Opening the vents from time to time to promote airflow
· Covering tires and treating them with a UV protectant ahead of the next trip
· Using an RV carport or cover
Your RV is an investment. No matter how often you use it, it’s critical to exercise care in its maintenance. A regular RV service routine not only helps avoid frustrations on the road, it also limits future repair expenses and preserves your mobile home’s value.