Beginning RV, de-winterizing, de-winterizing rv, Protect Your RV, RV Maintenance, RV winter maintenance
Spring officially starts March 19, 2020, so that means it’s not that far away…hopefully! It also means it time to start thinking about bringing your rig out of hibernation and getting it ready for summer RV fun. Hopefully, you checked out our blogs on winterizing so you do not have any surprises waiting for you?
Start with a detailed walk-around inspection of the rig to see if there is any damage due to high winds, tree limbs, rodents, or even vandalism. If there is damage, you will want to take pictures and call your insurance company before going any further.
The unit pictured above looked to be in good shape with a customized cover, however, after removing the cover, we found squirrels found a way into the roof air conditioner unit and chewed all the Styrofoam insulation around the blower motor! Notice all the trees around the unit…this winter we added squirrel repellant inside, outside, and on top!
Check The Roof Material And Sealants
RV manufacturers use several different sealants for joints throughout the RV such as the roof to the sidewall, front cap to roof material, windows and so much more. As temperatures change, materials in your RV expand and contract and so do those sealants. Leaving your rig exposed to the elements makes the sealants dry up and become brittle and crack as the materials expand and contract, moisture can penetrate into the roof, sidewalls, and other areas and create expensive damage. It is critical that you inspect these areas to ensure they are in good condition.
Inspection should include every vent, skylight, TV antenna or other items on the roof that has sealant around the edge. If you see signs of cracking sealant, or water stains inside the rig, you will need to remove the old sealant and apply new.
Slide Room Inspection
Slide rooms require very little maintenance, however, if there is debris such as sticks or acorns on the top of the slide and they are retracted, the rubber seal will be compromised and moisture penetration could occur. When bringing your rig out in the spring, run the slide rooms out and inspect the roof material, rubber seals, look for any leaks. Make sure all rubber seals are installed properly and making contact. This is also a good time to condition the rubber gaskets with an approved treatment such as these ProtectAll products
Deep cycle house batteries need to be properly stored with either a charge from a multi-stage charger during storage, or have the batteries removed and properly charged in a garage or shed. In the spring, it’s time to check lead-acid batteries for proper fluid level and either reinstall them or clean all the posts and connections and apply a protective spray. Make sure all battery cables and wires are in good condition and not chewed or compromised by rodents.
Since the water used in your freshwater tanks typically would be hard water from a campground source, it is a good idea to sanitize the system using ¼ cup bleach in a gallon of water for every 15 gallons of freshwater capacity. Fill the tank and run all faucets for approximately 10 minutes. If you do not like the smell of bleach, Thetford makes a freshwater tank sanitizer as well.
Typically RV owners do not remove the LP tanks or cylinders during storage, however, it’s a good time to check all connections for leaks. Make sure you open the valve slowly to allow LP to flow at a reasonable rate and not activate the excess flow valve. After opening the valve, test your LP leak detector to make sure it is operating properly. You can use a liquid test solution to test all connections at the appliance, or HomeFlex makes an electronic tester that is available at most home improvement stores.
Tires, Bearings, Axle
When bringing your rig out from hibernation there are several checkpoints for tires, bearings, and axles. First, check the sidewall for cracking known as weather checking. Any crack over 1/8” inch should be replaced. Visually inspect the sidewall for bumps or bulges, tread for uneven wear or chunks of missing tread, and rim to tire connection or “bead” for signs of rust or other issues that might create a loss of tire pressure. Check the pressure with a certified pressure gauge. If you have a spare, make sure it’s in good condition with the correct pressure.
Most trailer manufacturers recommend repacking the wheel bearing once a year and this is a good time to have this procedure done before hitting the hot days of summer on the road. If you are experiencing an uneven wear pattern of your tires, it’s also a good time to have a qualified trailer technician check the alignment of your axles.
Spring is a good time to remove and clean your air conditioner return air filter and tighten the spring-loaded bolts. You will also want to change the battery in the CO tester and smoke alarms.
And finally, check all appliance manufactures recommendations such as fluid levels in hydraulic system for leveling jacks and slide rooms, chassis recommendations for fluids,
About the author: Dave Solberg: Managing Editor, RV Repair Club
For the last 25 years, Dave has conducted RV maintenance and safety seminars, developed dealer and owner training programs, written RV safety and handyman articles, authored an RV handbook reference guide and logged over 100,000 miles on the road in an RV.
RV Repair Club is your go-to online resource for enthusiasts who want quality RV maintenance, repair and upgrade information – a community where passionate RVers can come together to gather knowledge and share their experiences.
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