A rugged man in a plaid shirt leans over his camper van windshield and washes it with a sponge.

Spring Is Here, and So Is Your RV Maintenance Checklist

Flowers are blooming, and the temperatures are rising. This can mean one thing — camping season is on the horizon. If you’re itching to take your rig out for the first adventure of the season, you might want to walk through our RV maintenance checklist to make sure your rig is ready for the season.

Today, we’re walking you through some essential maintenance tasks you don’t want to overlook. Let’s get started.

A rugged man in a plaid shirt leans over his camper van windshield and washes it with a sponge.

How Often Should You Do RV Maintenance?

RV maintenance can feel like a never-ending task; however, it’s essential to keep you and your rig safe on the road. You should check your owner’s manual to see what maintenance schedule your manufacturer recommends. This can help you avoid issues when having a problem fixed under warranty.

Generally, you can do most of your maintenance at the start or end of each camping season. However, some items, like the roof, may require you to check and maintain them more frequently to catch any issues before they become serious.

Staying up to date on your RV maintenance checklist is essential. Minor issues can become big if you don’t pay attention or delay getting them fixed.

When problems grow into bigger ones, so does the cost to repair them. So make sure you immediately address any issues with your RV.

What Are the Most Common Problems in an RV?

Some of the common problems in an RV are leaks in the plumbing and roof. Failing to winterize an RV plumbing system properly can lead to some surprises when you head out for your first trip.

If you live in an area with harsh winters, any water in your plumbing system can expand when it freezes and cause cracks and damage to fittings.

Leaks in your roof can also cause a lot of problems. Damage from leaks in the roof can hide behind the walls in your RV. You might not know you have an issue until it’s too late.

When you start to notice discolorations or changes in the wall, you could have a wall full of dangerous mold and potential structural issues.

Sometimes floods and leaks are human error. Here are 10 times RVers flooded their own rigs.

How Do You Keep an RV Looking Like New?

If you want to keep your RV looking new, it will take some effort. You’ll want to wash it a couple of times each camping season and apply protective coatings. This helps extend the life of the decals and paint.

How you store your rig when not in use will also help keep it looking like new. The sun can cause extensive damage to your RV’s roof, the decals, and the coloring.

If you want your rig to look new for years to come, covered storage will keep the harsh weather conditions from speeding up the aging process of your RV.

Here’s Your RV Maintenance Checklist

Some RV maintenance checklist tasks are easier than others. However, they’re all important to keep your rig in good condition.

You may need to grab a few supplies or a ladder to access the roof. After gathering the things you’ll need, you can quickly walk through this checklist.

✅ Clean Air Conditioner

This RV maintenance checklist task takes about 20 minutes to complete. You’ll need a ladder, a bottle of coil cleaner, a spray bottle with water, and some Nu-Calgon evaporator spray

Next, turn off the power to your A/C unit before climbing on the roof. Take the cover off your A/C and look for the condenser coils. Many coil cleaners come with a soft bristle brush to clean them. Make sure to clean up and down and not left to right, which can damage them. 

After removing debris from the coils, spray them with the foam cleaner. You’ll want to let this spray sit on them until it begins to disappear. Then take your spray bottle and wash the condenser coils clean.

Move to the other side of the air conditioner and find the evaporator coils. Use the bristle brush that came with the cleaner to clean these in the same manner.

Spray the evaporator coils with the Nu-Calgon evaporator spray. This spray doesn’t require you to wash it clean. Then, you can then put the cover back on your AC unit and head inside.

Finally, you’ll want to make sure all your filters are clean. Like in a home, your A/C filters prevent dust and debris from clogging up your unit. The more you use your RV, the more you’ll need to check these. If the screens start to stretch or show signs of damage, you’ll need to replace them.

✅ Test Safety Equipment

The safety equipment in your RV will only do its job if it’s in working order. You need to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors a couple of times each year or at the beginning of each camping season. Replace batteries and check expiration dates to ensure they work properly.

You’ll also want to check your fire extinguisher. These tiny devices can save lives in an emergency. They can help prevent a fire from spreading and getting out of hand.

While most RVs come with at least one fire extinguisher, we recommend having one in your vehicle and an outside storage compartment. You want them in an easily accessible location if you need to use them.

✅ Check Seals

One RV maintenance checklist item that many forget is to check your seals. How often you should do this will depend on your manufacturer’s recommendations.

Some will void warranties if you don’t inspect the seals every 60 or 90 days and reapply sealant to any necessary spots. You want to look around any areas with sealant for any signs of cracking or peeling.

Check around the edges of your roof, vents, and windows. Your roof will likely use a white type of roof sealant. Dicor makes some great products if you need to reapply.

For around the windows and edges of your RV, Geocel clear sealant works great. Take your time and make sure you cover any areas that seem to be aging.

✅ Examine Tires

You want to examine your tires at the start of each camping season. Even if you don’t put a lot of miles on them, the weather can accelerate the aging process if your RV sits in storage. This could cause them to dry or crack, which can be very dangerous when driving.

You also want to look for any signs of uneven tire wear. This could signify that something is out of alignment or that you have a suspension issue. An issue causing your tires to wear unevenly could result in a blown tire, which can cause deadly accidents and damage your RV.

In general, most tire manufacturers recommend that you replace your tires every six years. So even if you only take your RV out a handful of times, you should make sure they look good before hitting the road.

✅ Sanitize Freshwater System

Sanitizing your freshwater system is an essential part of your RV maintenance checklist. It makes it possible to shower, wash dishes, and wash your hands. Even if you don’t drink the water, make sure no harmful bacteria or other gunk gets in your water system.

Sanitizing your freshwater system can take some time and require connecting to a sewer. Some RVers will book a site at a campground when they know it’s time for them to sanitize their system.

A campsite with full hook-up connections is the best place to do this. You’ll have access to plenty of water and can easily dump your tanks as needed.

Watch this video to learn how to sanitize an RV water system.

You’ll want to use a bleach-water mixture to siphon into your freshwater tank. Once you fill your freshwater tank with the cleaning solution, you’ll need to go to each of the fixtures in your rig and turn on the water until you smell the bleach solution.

Then, turn off the water and move to the next one until you have covered all of the faucets in your rig. Don’t forget showers, toilets, and outside sinks and showers.

Once the cleaning solution has run through all of your fixtures, let the mixture sit for approximately 6 to 12 hours. After, you can start pumping in water until you no longer smell bleach.

Open your gray tank to avoid filling it up. Finally, you can then run fresh water through the entire system to rid all of the cleaning solutions from your water lines and tanks.

✅ Lubricate Slides

Keeping your slides lubricated is a great way to extend their life and reduce the chances of any issues. RVCare’s 3-in-1 slide-out spray can make this an effortless task.

First, open your slides and crawl under them. Use a rag or paper towel to wipe down the gears and various moving parts to clean off any dirt and debris built up during your travels.

You can then take the 3-in-1 slide-out spray to cover the gears and other moving parts generously. Close the slides and listen for any noises. You’ll want to open and close each one multiple times to ensure all components get the lubrication they need.

✅ Top Off Batteries

The final step on our RV maintenance checklist is to top off your batteries. Unless you’ve upgraded your RV’s battery to an AGM or lithium battery, you will need to check the fluids.

Deep cycle batteries require a certain amount of electrolytes to cover the plates to protect them. The older it is, the more often you’ll need to keep up with this task. Ensure you have plenty of distilled water on hand, as you can’t use regular tap water with your battery.

Watch this video on how to maintain your RV batteries.

Ensure it has a full charge before starting this project. You can then remove your battery from the camper and wipe it down. You’ll want to use a flat-head screwdriver to remove the lid to peek inside to see the water level in each of your battery cells.

Then place a funnel in each cell and add enough water to top it off. Depending on how empty your cells are, you may need another gallon or two of distilled water.

Once you fill it back up, put the covers back on and put the battery back in place. Connect it to the RV and ensure everything works well. You’ll need to do this the more you use your batteries. 

If you regularly drain and charge your battery, you might want to do this every 30 days. If you spend most of your time in campgrounds or only camp connected to a power source, you can likely get by doing it at the start and end of every camping season.

Are RVs Hard to Maintain?

It might seem intimidating at first to think about maintaining an RV. However, with an RV maintenance checklist, you can make quick work of most of the tasks each camping season. You can stay on top of your repair needs and ensure your RV lasts for years to come.

RVs aren’t as hard to maintain as you might think. The more time you spend working on your RV, the more you’ll see that they’re pretty simple. While some things will require your attention, you can still have an enjoyable time whether you go camping for the season or travel full-time.

What’s your least favorite RV maintenance task?

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