What Kind of Maintenance Does an RV Need?

Many RV issues happen because of a lack of maintenance. Inspecting and maintaining your RV regularly can extend its life and reduce repair expenses. Having records of regular maintenance can also increase your RV’s resale or trade-in value. Here are some important maintenance tasks that you should perform monthly, seasonally, and annually. 

Monthly Maintenance Tasks

Once per month, run your RV’s generator for at least two hours at half its full load. The fluids in your generator need regular cycling, and letting them sit can lead to damage. You should also check your RV’s batteries with a voltmeter to avoid costly electrical troubleshooting. Refill the water in your holding tank to compensate for evaporation, and use only distilled water.

Make sure that all hoses and clamps attached to the engine are secure, and check for any cracks and leaks. You should also check the transmission and engine fluid levels and turn on the heating and air conditioning to ensure that they work well. Clean or change the air filters, and vacuum the air vents to keep dust from reducing the efficiency of your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system and causing expensive issues.

It’s also important to test the carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and inspect your RV’s tires. Check the tire pressure, and look for uneven wear or cracks in the rubber. Look for loose or damaged panels on the exterior of your RV, and make sure that the seals and exterior lights are intact. Waxing your RV can keep it looking great, especially if you travel to a harsh environment such as the beach or the desert. Check your owner’s manual for the correct type of wax and other cleaning supplies. 

Clean the interior and exterior regularly to prevent pests and bad smells, and use roach, ant, and rodent traps when your RV is in storage. Add lubricant to any places where metal parts rub against each other. These spots include grease fittings, leveling jacks, the trailer hitch, and the steps. This helps prevent rust, squeaking, and rattling.

Semi-Annual or Seasonal RV Maintenance

Preparing your RV for winter helps prevent many issues, including leaks and frozen pipes. When you’re ready to use your RV again, you’ll need to de-winterize it. 

Change the Water Filters and Clean the Tanks

Change your water filter every six months. If your RV doesn’t have a water filter, fill the fresh water tank and add one-quarter cup of bleach for every 15 gallons of water. Let the water and bleach sit for one day. Then, turn your RV’s water pump on, open the faucets, and run fresh water through all of the plumbing lines and the tank until the smell of bleach disappears. You may need to fill the tank more than once to flush it completely. This helps prevent water with unpleasant smells or tastes.

Add Antifreeze

To keep the pipes from freezing in the Montana or Idaho weather, replace the water in them with non-toxic RV or marine antifreeze, also called propylene glycol. Most RVs require about three gallons of antifreeze. You’ll also need some tools for removing the drain plugs and a water pump converter kit or some tubing for transferring the antifreeze. You may need a tank cleaning wand, a water heater bypass kit, and a flushing system. Some RVs already have these items. 

Drain and flush your RV’s water holding tanks, and leave the gray water valve open. Open all your faucets and the shower to help the water drain. Then, drain your water heater by removing its drain plug. Turn it off and wait for the water to cool before starting.

When the water stops draining, replace the drain plug and close the water heater bypass valve and your faucets. You might need a water heater bypass kit to keep the water heater from filling with antifreeze. Putting antifreeze in your water heater won’t harm it, but it would waste several gallons.

Install a water pump converter kit or take one of your RV’s water intake lines and place it in a jug of antifreeze. Turn the faucet nearest to the water pump on until pink antifreeze comes out. Repeat this process with all your other faucets, flush the toilet until antifreeze appears, and turn on the shower. If needed, replace the jug of antifreeze with a new one. Pour a cup of antifreeze down each drain and the toilet to make sure that it reaches all of your RV’s plumbing lines.

Check your owner’s manual to find out how to winterize other systems such as the washing machine, ice maker, or hot water floor heating. Procedures vary depending on your RV’s model. After you finish getting ready for winter, reattach the water line to the water holding tank.

Open the Slide-Outs and Inspect the Roof

If the RV has a slide-out to expand it while parked, test it and clean the seals with hot water and soap. Add lubrication if needed, and look for broken or cracked seals, corrosion, or rust. Have your RV’s roof and windows checked for any issues that could lead to a leak and water damage. If you need to use sealant, choose the correct type for your vehicle’s roofing material.

Annual Maintenance

Open the access panels behind your RV’s refrigerator, water heater, and furnace. Then, clean out any bug nests, dirt, or debris. Turn on all your appliances to make sure they work well. If your RV has a propane system, have it checked by a professional. Leaks and other issues can waste energy and harm people, so it’s a good idea to be sure that your RV’s propane system works properly.

Maintaining Your RV Keeps It in Great Shape

Taking care of your RV helps you keep repair expenses low. Regular maintenance also makes preparing your RV for a trip easier. Bretz RV & Marine can repair and maintain many types of RVs. We also offer new RVs for sale, and we can help you trade in your existing RV. We’re open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 7 p.m., depending on the location. We look forward to seeing you at one of our Idaho or Montana locations.

RV by Linus Henning is licensed with CC BY 2.0 

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