RV Maintenance Checklist
Whether you are new to the RV lifestyle or an old hand, you know the joys of being out on the open road can only be marred when your RV has issues. RV technicians will tell you that most RV repairs they carry out could have been avoided if their owners had ensured they conducted routine maintenance checks on their vehicles. Small problems are better nipped in the bud before they snowball into costly repairs. Besides expensive trips to the mechanic, regular maintenance checks (and necessary maintenance) can help keep the resale value of your RV up whenever you decide to move on. Well-documented RV maintenance logs are one of the first things people look for when buying a used motorhome.
Read on to know about the routine checks you need to put your RV through before and after every trip as well as the monthly, seasonal, and annual checks they need. The checks described below are guidelines only as each make of vehicle is different. So always read your manual carefully.
Before Each Trip
Carry out a routine check of your RV just before you hit the road every time. This means running a quick check even if you’re already on the road and are moving from one campground to another. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take long and will soon become a good habit to have. If you’re travelling as a family, you can even designate age-appropriate tasks to make the check even quicker.
- Stow away all your chairs, steps, stools, and external equipment like your satellite dish and associated cables and wires. Make sure your awning is retracted and secured.
- Make sure all external compartments are secured properly and that none of their latches are loose.
- Check all your hoses for cracks or signs of wear and ensure they are stowed away properly. Similarly, remove the water pressure valve and put it away.
- Turn off your water and gas heaters.
- Check your generator. Top off fluids or change the filter as necessary.
- Stow away the chocks and check that the jacks are in good condition, in the up position and are locked into place.
- Check the brakes and all lights on your RV and tow vehicle. Also take a quick walk around and check your tires too.
- Make sure your campsite is clean and any garbage cleared up.
- Turn off your water pump, interior water heater, and furnace.
- Secure all cabinet doors and the refrigerator and close your windows, vents, shower door, and external door too.
- Empty your trash cans responsibly and secure them.
- Turn off your water pump and pilot lights.
It doesn’t matter if your RV has been standing still or been out on the road, these monthly checks ensure that everything is in order.
- Check all the seals on your windows, compartments, doors, and the roof for signs of damage and use an RV sealant to fix them.
- Clean your slide-outs with hot soapy water to remove any buildup. Lubricate them with an RV specific lubricant. Similarly, inspect all your latches and hinges and make sure they are moving smoothly.
- Clean the air conditioning vents using a vacuum.
- Run your generator for at least two hours at 50 percent capacity if it hasn’t been used in a while. Check your manual for any specific guidance regarding this along with instructions for oil and filter changes.
- Check the charge on your battery using a voltmeter. Use distilled water to top off water levels.
- Check your engine. Make sure all the hoses and clamps are secure and check for any leakages. While you’re there, check the oil, coolant, and wiper fluid and top them off as necessary.
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and change them if necessary.
- Check for pests, potential entry points and any damage they may have caused to wiring and fix any issues. Pests particularly like the propane tank, water heater, furnace, refrigerator and vents so it’s a good idea to start your search there.
It’s a good idea to give the exterior and interior of your RV a thorough clean every three months. Use an RV specific wax to really be thorough. Clean your awning fabric or change it if necessary.
Your RV also needs specialized care depending on the season. Read this article for tips on how to prep your RV for the winter and this one for a detailed look at how to de-winterize your RV.