The weather is getting warmer, which means recreational vehicle owners are planning their spring and summer journeys. If you have an RV, making sure your vehicle is in flawless condition helps keep you safe and, in the long run, can help save you money. Needless to say, you never want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere with your RV, where you may be faced with a far distance to the nearest repair shop, and other critical issues.
There are two strategies to helping protect yourself from the unexpected while you’re on an RV adventure: insurance and maintenance. It’s a good idea to make sure your insurance is up-to-date and that you have the proper RV coverage.
As far as the second strategy goes, your RV is a big vehicle, which means maintenance is a big job. Make certain you routinely complete a maintenance checklist for both the interior and exterior of the RV. The simple tips below can serve as a basic checklist and will hopefully keep the mechanic off your travel agenda.
- The obvious first step is cleaning. Perform a detailed cleaning of your interior and dry it thoroughly to prevent the accumulation of mildew or mold.
- Does your AC still connect with your DC? Plug in your electrical items (lights, appliances, television/DVD player, etc.) and test them.
- Don’t neglect your batteries. Replace all old batteries – smoke alarm, flashlights and all-weather radios.
- Double-check all your alarm systems. Are your smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm and gas leak detection unit still working?
- RV fires can be deadly. Determine the best type of fire extinguisher for your vehicle by consulting your local RV dealer. Make sure your fire extinguisher works properly and that it is appropriate for use in a typical motor home fire.
- Check and reset any of your circuit breakers that need it, and check your fuses to be sure they haven’t blown.
- Check under the hood. Make certain your air conditioning unit, filters, stabilizing jacks, oil and all fluids are in good shape. If you’re not mechanically inclined, have a trusted mechanic check these items.
- Don’t mess with your propane. Contact a trained expert to test your propane gas system to ensure there are no gas leaks. Once cleared, test your gas-operated items such as the stove, water heater and furnace.
- Inspect the filters on your generator and then run the generator for a couple hours. Regularly exercising your generator will increase its longevity. Letting it sit idle for even one month can cause starting problems.
- If your RV has a canvas top, inspect it thoroughly for tears or rotted sections. Water pooling on your RV over time can cause big problems.
- If your RV was winterized (meaning, adding antifreeze to the water lines to prevent any residual water from freezing), ensure your dealer de-winterizes your RV to remove all antifreeze.
- Give your baby a good bath. Wash the entire exterior, including the awning.
- Replace any water filter cartridges you removed when your RV went into hibernation.
- Prevent leaks. Check for any possible water seepage in pipes, toilet or sink.
- Carefully inspect your windows for cracks or gaps in the seals. Bad seals will cause moisture buildup and foggy windows. If there are cracks or gaps in the seals, you may need professional repairs.
- Are your tires tired? Closely inspect your tires. Make sure they are inflated to the right pressure. Sometimes, the sun’s UV rays will create dry rot on your tires. If you notice cracks, let a tire pro inspect them. During the inspection, they can balance and rotate the tires, as well.
- Lubricants are your friends, so keep a can handy. Spray a common lubricant like WD-40 on locks, hinges and other metallic areas to help keep metal rust-free and working smoothly.
You may, of course, add other items to this checklist depending on your needs or the specifics of your vehicle.. Take your time when completing your RV inspection and you’ll have peace of mind when you hit the road for that next big adventure.
For more tips on keeping your RV in top shape, visit the Family Motor Coach Association.
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