According to the latest data from the RV Industry Association (RVIA), more than 11 million U.S. households now own an RV. This uptick in ownership is due largely to the rise in young families interested in pursuing a more nomadic, outdoor lifestyle. We can also attribute it to Baby Boomers who are entering retirement and looking to hit the open road.
No matter what inspired you to purchase your RV, you naturally want to make sure it stays in great shape. Today, we’re sharing an essential RV repair and maintenance guide to help you make the most of your investment.
1. Check the Roof Regularly
It’s important to take great care of the seals, seams, and weatherstripping on the roof of your RV. Every three months or so, go up there and make sure there are no leaks that you need to address. Pay close attention any areas where water could enter, including the:
- Air conditioning unit
If these areas are exposed in any way, then it could cause major damage to both the exterior and interior of your RV. Once moisture is allowed to permeate the wooden parts of the vehicle’s external frame, then it can seep into the ceiling and beyond. In addition to checking your roof for leaks, also check around all of your RV’s windows and doors every three months. If you need accessories and other spare parts, make sure to visit a trusted RV parts store.
If you do notice a leak, then you can take your RV into the mechanic’s shop for a quick fix. Or, you can purchase special sealants to patch it up yourself. You can find spare parts in RV parts store as well. Just make sure the product you choose is compatible with your RV roofing materials.
2. Store It Smartly
When you’re not using your RV, resist the temptation to simply leave it parked outside, exposed to the elements. While building a carport or buying a traditional RV cover might require an upfront expense, you could save a ton of money on RV roof maintenance down the road.
You can find many different types of steel covers that are designed to fit the size of your RV. These can make an aesthetic and functional addition to your property, and will keep your vehicle running well for years.
When it’s time to crank it back up again after a season in storage, take your RV to a professional detailer to get it back up to speed. Simply search for RV detailing near me to find a local, reputable team.
3. Inspect Your Wheels and Tires
You have precious cargo traveling inside of your RV. As such, you want to make sure it’s as safe as possible when you take it for a drive. Before every trip, there are two important steps to take.
First, tighten the lug nuts on each wheel. Then, measure the tire pressure to make sure it’s adequate. While you’re driving your RV or even while you’re storing it, the lug nuts can become loose.
If they loosen too much, then your wheel could come off while in operation, which is extremely unsafe. A quick check can help you identify any ones that need tightening.
At the same time, tire pressure is also critically important.
If your tires are overinflated, they could pop while you’re on the road. This could damage your RV, and could make you lose control of the vehicle. On the other hand, under-inflated tires could also make your RV difficult to control. You’ll also feel every bump on the road, and notice an increase in resistance.
4. Operate Your Generator
You might not need your RV generator every time you use it, but it’s still a smart idea to run it on a regular basis. Otherwise, it could sit unused for months or years, which could impede operation.
This happens because of the gasoline that sits inside your generator. If it’s allowed to remain stagnant for longer than its designated shelf life (usually 30 days), it can begin to degrade. When this happens, it could damage the generator’s internal components.
Most experts recommend running your generator for around two hours every month, keeping it at 50% capacity if possible. Performing this simple step will keep it ready to go when you need it, and prevent premature degradation.
5. Review Your Battery
Nothing ruins an epic camping trip quite like a dead battery in your RV. Before you go anywhere, check yours carefully. Some will have water levels that you can adjust, while others don’t require any type of maintenance at all.
On average, your RV battery should last anywhere between three to five years. The longevity depends in large part on the type of battery you use. Deep-cycle batteries (used for towable RVs) will begin to lose capacity after around three years, while start-type batteries (used for drivable RVs) can last up to five years.
6. Use Interior Vents
Do you plan to store your RV unused over the summer? Even if it’s covered, we recommend opening the interior vents. Hot-weather temperatures can easily soar over 100 degrees Fahrenheit inside of a vehicle.
These extreme conditions can cause even the most rugged RV materials to break down and wear out. This especially applies to areas that are already vulnerable in the first place, such as your wall coverings, window/door seals, and flooring.
By opening your vents, you’ll allow air to flow inside and out of your RV. However, keep in mind that you do not want to open your exterior vents. This can allow rainwater to enter into your RV, which could have equally detrimental consequences.
7. Maintain the Waste System
Your RV repair and maintenance manual should provide detailed instructions on how to care for your vehicle’s on-board waste system. Mostly, you want to make sure that you’re using chemicals designed to work with your specific type of system.
Some RVs use gray water systems, while others use black water ones. Before using any type of solution on yours, double-check the label to make sure it’s compatible. Take the time to flush out your waste system regularly, and use plenty of fluid to re-start the system after you flush it.
Keep These RV Repair and Maintenance Tips Handy
When you own an RV, you’re ready for a road trip at a moment’s notice! This is an investment in your future, allowing you to see the world and explore your own backyard.
To make sure that you can use yours for as long as possible, keep these RV repair and maintenance tips close. By taking a little time each month to clean and inspect the components, you can rest assured that your RV is as safe and functional as possible.
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