As we start thinking about heading out for the 2018 Camping season, let’s discuss some of the things that you should inspect on your RV if it has been in storage for the winter. Note that not all the issues presented in this article may apply to your unit. Also, be aware this is a very basic checklist to provide some guidelines. If you find any areas of concern during this inspection, have your RV inspected by a certified RV repair facility.
Visually inspect the tires, and if there are any areas of concern, take the unit to a reputable tire shop for inspection. As I have mentioned in previous articles, RV tires tend to age out before they wear out. Generally speaking, seven to ten years is the maximum life of an RV tire. Therefore, it is important to check the tire manufacture date stamped on the sidewall. Learn how to read the tire date code here.
Ensure the tire pressures are correct and air them up if necessary. Always inflate your tires according to weight on each tire, not the pressure marked on the sidewall, as I discussed in my March article.
Batteries & Electrical
If you removed your batteries for the winter, put them back in the RV. Check the electrolyte levels and charge them if necessary. Using a baking soda solution, clean the battery terminals and other tray components.
Ensure all 12V and 120V AC systems function normally.
If you have a motorized unit, check all fluid levels, and have the RV serviced if required.
For towable units, inspect brake and wheel components for condition and proper operation, including the emergency breakaway system and lug nuts.
Perform an overall inspection of the RV chassis, including undercarriage, suspension, and hitch components.
If you didn’t change the oil prior to putting the unit in storage, do so now, including replacing the filter. For water cooled gensets, check the coolant level and fill if necessary. Perform an inspection of all generator components. Start the generator, let it run for 2 minutes with no load, then apply at least ½ load for 5 minutes.
Have your propane system professionally inspected every year to ensure there are no leaks and it is operating at the proper pressure.
Replace the batteries in the propane, smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors, and test their operation.
Dewinterize the RV and pressurize the system to check for leaks.
Inspect appliances for damage or debris. It is a good idea to carefully clean appliance burner areas with low pressure compressed air.
Test all appliances.
Test all interior and exterior lights for proper operation and replace bulbs as necessary. If replacing the bulb does not resolve the issue, you may have to replace the entire fixture.
Thoroughly inspect the interior of the RV for damage, debris, and water intrusion. Address water damage issues immediately.
Clean the interior.
Thoroughly inspect the outside of the RV, including the roof. Pay particular attention to old, cracked, damaged, or missing sealant and re-seal as necessary.
It is a good idea to wash your rig. This will make the inspection easier and will leave your unit shining and ready for the road.
Test the function of all mechanical devices on the RV, including jacks, slideouts, etc.
Remember that this list just covers the basics, but should give you peace of mind that your unit is ready for the season. Happy Camping!
About the Author:
Steve Froese, an avid RV owner, traveler, and Coach-Net member since 2013, is the principal of “A Word to the Wise Technical Communications”, a published RV author, certified RV technician, and licensed Professional Engineer. He frequently collaborates with the “RV Doctor”, Gary Bunzer, and has worked with the RVIA/RVDA as a technical and training writer and consultant. Professionally, he works as a quality engineer and musician. Watch for more of Steve’s work in upcoming Coach-Net publications.
Robert I. ~ “The phone representative, Michelle, was very efficient and nice as well as sympathetic to our plight. We didn’t have to wait long for the assistance to arrive and had a nice chat with a sheriff’s deputy while we waited. We also received a call back from Michelle with an update on the company who would be dispatched to help us with the tire. All in all, it was as pleasant an experience as it could be.”