It’s Spring! Time for Maintenance

camper trailer in yellowstone

The winter of 2015 seemed very long, with record snow and low temperatures around much of the country. Fortunately, the worst part of the winter is over and warmer weather is just around the corner. That means the start of RV season will quickly be upon us. If you want to get the most of your RV this year, now is the time to pull the RV out of storage and start on the springtime maintenance. Before you head back on the road, these are the top five things you must do:

1. The Air Conditioning System. Check the following to ensure the air flow paths are clear and you’re your system is operating properly.

  • Change or clean the air filters.
  • Remove the air conditioner cover, located on the roof of the RV, and clean the coils.
  • Run the system to ensure it’s operating as it should.
  • Check the Freon level. This can be done by purchasing a recharge kit with gauges. Since each kit operates slightly differently, it’s best to check the directions included for proper use.

2. Fresh Water System. Since it’s been sitting idle all winter, you’ll want to sanitize this system. Following are instructions on how to easily accomplish this.

  • When the weather is warm enough, remove all traces of antifreeze.
  • Run the pump and check for leaks.
  • Fill the fresh water tank with water and add 1/4 cup of bleach for every 15 gallons.
  • Take your RV for a short drive to mix the bleach and water.
  • Turn on the water pump and run both the hot and cold water at all faucets until you smell the bleach.
  • Drain the tank. Refill with fresh water and run the water (again, both hot and cold) at all faucets until you can no longer smell the bleach.

3. Battery Maintenance. Check your batteries. Do you see several caps? If you do, then you most likely have the old wet cell batteries.

  • Check all connections/terminals for corrosion, if they are corroded, remove the connection and clean off the corrosion.
  • If you have the old wet cell batteries remove each cap and check water level. Add distilled water if necessary. This should also be done at least once a month. If you do not have the wet cell batteries, there is no need to do anything else.

4. Exterior and chassis

  • Wash the exterior of the RV.
  • Check for leaks /cracks and missing or damaged caulking.
  • Check ladders and grabs for corrosion. While you’re at it, take time to ensure they are secure.
  • Examine the awning fabric for mildew. If mildew is present, now is the time to remove it. Also check to ensure awnings are operating properly.
  • Check tires for proper inflation and dry rot. Also check tire treads and ensure lug nuts are tightly fastened.
  • Check operation of hydraulic systems. Look for leaks and check the fluid level in the reserve hydraulic tank.

5. Generator. The generator needs regular maintenance to ensure proper operation.

  • Check oil levels.
  • Change filters. Remember to be sure to change these filters after every 100 hours of operation.
  • Run the generator for an hour under a half load. Run the air conditioner, micro wave and other electrical appliances during this check to ensure their proper operation and that of the generator as well.

These five steps are all relatively easy to perform. Little mechanical ability is required. However, if you need further guidance, there is lots of good “how to” information online. YouTube videos which actually show and tell how to do this maintenance are also available. If you really aren’t comfortable with doing the maintenance yourself, it’s best to take your RV to a service center authorized to repair your particular brand of RV.

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