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Spring Preparation Tips for your RV

19 May 2023

Yes we know it's only February but camping season is just around the corner. Many folks are starting to look at booking campsites and planning their summer trips and this year it could be extremely busy. So it might be a good idea to get that RV ready sometime soon to hit the roads.

Whether you’ve had your RV in storage or parked alongside your house it will likely require some attention to avoid any stress and added expense if things break while on your first trip. So be prepared and don't get caught out.     

Most of the tasks discussed below will not require many tools or skills, but safe practices need to be followed with a few items and some will require specialized support from your local RV dealer.

Start with an inspection to the exterior

Firstly, you will want to perform an inspection of the exterior of your unit when you visit your storage unit or roll back the tarps. Using a good quality ladder, safely climb up and--without actually walking on the roof--make a good visual inspection of the roof vents, skylights, sewer caps, air conditioner cover and overall roof condition, with attention to the sealants for signs of cracking or peeling. If you do need to walk on the roof it is always a good idea to distribute your weight. Get a sheet of plywood at least ⅜-inch or thicker especially for those rooks with aluminum or lightweight panel substrate roof.

After the roof has been checked out, a visual inspection is required with the other exterior components such as windows, moldings, compartment trims, access and entrance doors, etc. Check the siding and awning for any punctures or other damage. If there are any damages that you feel should be covered by your insurance provider, a prompt call is advised so an adjuster can be dispatched as soon as possible. 

If you need to apply any sealants to your RV roof or other exterior components, you should clean and prep the area. Consult your local RV dealer for the compatibility and proper use of the numerous products available.
In addition to the sealants, it is also a good idea to lubricate the exterior hinges, locks and steps with a good quality dry silicone spray. Check each baggage, access and entrance door with the keys to ensure smooth operation. I can only imagine the frustration of backing your tow vehicle up to your RV and not being able to get at the weight distribution hitch unit because the lock assembly is seized on the storage compartment.

How's the battery?

The next step will require installing the battery if you removed it back in the autumn. The deep cycle RV battery will require some tests before doing any connections. There are some safety practices recommended when doing the following tasks yourself. Wear the proper protective clothing and eyewear. You will need to check the electrolyte levels, state of charge and voltage, and a load test is advised. If the battery is satisfactory, then clean the connections up, ensure they are tight and finish by applying some dielectric grease or other battery corrosion prevention. Ensure the wires are hooked up properly and do the ground connection last. If the battery is not performing as expected you may want to consider purchasing a new one.

Checking Lights

Don't get caught out when your just about to head out on that first trip. Check all running lights, signal lights, brakes and the breakaway switch for proper operation before towing the coach. Make sure the tires are suitable and properly inflated and have no signs of cracks. If the wheel bearings and brakes have not been checked annually, then this season may be a good time to have them done. This preventative maintenance procedure is well worth the expense when compared to a failure on the highway.

Check the Interior

You could first have a look inside cabinets, cupboards, wardrobe closets, etc. to check for any signs of water damage. The ceiling or wall panel will show discoloration, swelling or wrinkling if there has been a leak. Don't forget to check all the lower drawers and storage areas for signs of rodents. The last thing you will want to do is have some stowaways.

You should then check all the batteries in smoke alarms, LP gas and carbon monoxide detectors and test their functions. Check the fire extinguisher to ensure it is fully charged. If your RV does not have these items, you should seriously consider purchasing all of the above for a safer camping season.
If you have a 110-volt power source available, you can check out the various appliances, wall outlets and GFI plugs. Make sure the water heater element is switched off before providing 110-volt power, as the element will only last a short time until it malfunctions. Check all the 12-volt interior lights, monitor panel and other accessories. Consider installing the new LED bulbs if replacement is required. If your RV has slides, run them out and back in and check all the seals and motor function. There are some excellent products available to not only lubricate the moving parts, but protect the seals from UV rays.

Check your propane

Check the LP tanks to ensure the date stamp is within ten years. If not, you will need to have them either re-valved or replaced before your first trip. You don't want to run out of propane and have to hunt round for a shop that is open late on a night.

Water inspections

If you have done winterizing and de-winterizing on many occasions, then you probably have a set process to achieve this task. You should still check all faucets, supply lines, the toilet and other accessories for possible leaks. If you are not comfortable doing the de-winterizing yourself, your local RV dealer can provide this service. I see many folks bring their RV to the shop at springtime with a complaint of no hot water, only to find out a simple process has been overlooked.

If there is a foul taste or smell to the water when running a faucet, there are many products available to sanitize and deodorize the entire system. As a final check, make sure the water drain, black water and gray water valves function freely and are not leaking when in the closed position.

On motorized units you should check the fluid levels in the transmission pan, power steering pump, radiator, windshield washer tank and brake reservoir. Consult your owners manual for the location of each component. Depending on mileage, an oil change and filter replacement may be in order. If your motorhome has a generator, check oil levels, air filter and exhaust pipes, then start the unit and let it run for at least a half hour. Consult your generator manual for maintenance procedures and intervals.

We hope this quick checklist provides a hassle free RV season for you. Happy camping.

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