In these trying times, RVers are looking forward to the opportunity for safe and responsible travel. For most of us, our rigs have been sitting idle for longer than we are accustomed to. This article will discuss how to get your RV ready for the summer travel we all hope is on the horizon. Hopefully you have properly prepared your unit for winter storage, so getting it ready for travel will be easier and less problematic.
- One of the key maintenance tasks for any RV is an annual propane (LP) inspection. This should be performed by a qualified RV service center. You may choose to have this done when you are getting the RV ready for the camping season. Having your LP system inspected annually is extremely important, as it ensures your appliances are functioning properly and you don’t have any propane leaks. The technician will test your system for proper operating pressure, test for leaks, and test-fire your propane appliances.
- If you have a towable RV, you should also have your bearings repacked and your brakes serviced (or do it yourself). A service center will check your emergency breakaway as part of this service, as well as a tire inspection and inflation to proper pressure. You can have this done at the same time as your LP inspection. Make sure your tow vehicle brake controller is properly adjusted and working.
- In the case of a motorized unit, perform a full chassis service or have a mechanic do it for you.
- If you removed your RV batteries during storage, check the electrolyte levels, charge them if necessary, and re-install them in the RV. Make sure the terminals are tight and spray them with a protectant.
- If you have a generator, change the oil and filter. In the case of a water-cooled genset, check the coolant level. Fire up the generator, let it warm up, and load it to half-capacity for half an hour.
- Check all interior and exterior lights for proper functionality and replace any bulbs or lenses that aren’t working or are broken.
- Inspect all seals on your RV, especially on the roof, and re-seal any areas that are cracking, lifting, or otherwise damaged. This is an easy task that can prevent serious and expensive water damage. If you are not comfortable going on the roof, or don’t know if your roof will support your weight, have the service center perform this task for you. Be sure to use the proper sealant for each material, as indicated in your owner’s manual or with consultation with the service center.
- Dewinterize your RV if applicable. If you are unsure how to do this, consult your owner’s manual or RV service center. Fill the fresh water tank about half full to keep the weight down.
- Change the batteries in your smoke/CO detector and test it and your LP detector.
- Test all the items in your RV for proper operation, including fans, vents, Air Conditioners, Microwaves, Stove, etc.
- Wash your RV. I use a pressure washer with a low-pressure nozzle for this purpose. Combined with a bucket of soap and a soft long-handled brush makes this task fairly easy, even for my large Class A.
- Clean the inside of your RV, as it is sure to have picked up dust during storage.
Your RV may have specific requirements not included in this article, or you may have your own routine for getting your RV ready to roll.
You are now ready to embark on your summer RV travels.
About the author: Steve Froese
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.
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