How to Perform Preventative Maintenance on Your RV

Image via Flickr by tinafranklindg
Image via Flickr by tinafranklindg

Your RV owner’s manual is your best resource for understanding the needs of your vehicle, so always refer to it for manufacturer’s suggestions on scheduled maintenance. In addition to those requirements, however, you’ll want to perform the following preventative maintenance periodically (or before a long trip) to reduce the possibility of a costly breakdown.

Vehicle Engine Checklist

Before taking off on a road trip, do the following checks to your engine and its surrounding parts: Check the fluids, including transmission, oil, power steering, and brake fluids. Take a look at the level of radiator coolant — and don’t forget to top off the windshield wiper cleaning solution, as bugs love RV windshields.

Check for any leaks or wear in the hoses, and don’t forget the clamps. A solid radiator hose is of no use when the clamp that holds it in place breaks. Ensure your belts have sufficient tension and no signs of cracking. Packing spare belts can save you time should one wear out on your trip.

If you live in a cold climate, take your battery out during the winter months to prolong its life.

Outside Vehicle Maintenance

Tires are critical to the safety of your trip, so don’t forget to check the inflation. An overly inflated tire can explode when driving on a hot road, so stay within the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Replace the windshield wiper blades when they begin to leave streaks on your windshield. This wear can occur quickly under hours in the sun, so check them before you’re caught in a sudden shower.

RV exteriors deteriorate over time because of things like sun exposure and the enzymes produced from bug carcasses picked up along your travels. Clean the exterior of your RV with a mild soap and water solution often, particularly when you return from a trip. Removing road debris and tar will extend the life of your RV.

If you have a rubber roof, treat it once a year. Check the roof seals and seams every six months, especially if you’re not in your RV regularly and it’s housed indoors. If it’s not out in the elements, you may not be aware of a leak until you experience water damage and that can be quite costly.

Cabin Checks

Clean the inside of your RV the way you would your home, including replacing things like A/C air filters and cleaning vent fans, as well as checking and cleaning appliances and refrigerator coils. Test fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and smoke alarms. Flush out the holding tanks upon dumping them, and drain out the water when you’re not using your RV.

Maintaining the Generator

If you go long periods of time between trips, you’ll want to run your generator periodically to keep it in top form. Consult your owner’s manual on the proper intervals for oil and filter replacement. Here’s how to ensure your RV generator has a long life.

RVs make for an enjoyable vacation, but preventative maintenance and checks are crucial to avoiding a breakdown and costly emergency repairs. Keep your RV running smoothly, and you’ll have years of on-the-road fun ahead.


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