Learning how to maintain your RV doesn’t have to be a monumental task. Join RV Expert Ian Baker as he runs through the simple basics of RV maintenance in under four minutes. Or, use our outline below to ensure you’ve covered all your bases.
If you’re not a do-it-yourselfer, or you just don’t have the time to do these tasks – leave the labor to someone else. Good Sam members receive $50 off service and installation at Camping World service centers up to twice a year. That’s $100 toward upgrades or common repairs! Enroll in a Good Sam membership to start earning points and enjoying member benefits.
Read Your RV Owner’s Manual
Follow the manufacturer’s owner’s manual to see exactly what you should do to keep your motorhome or travel trailer in top condition. You can always schedule an appointment with a certified RV service technician at one of our many Camping World locations.
How to Maintain your RV Roof
RV roofs take a lot of abuse from harsh weather like hail, sun, wind, and rain. Roofs should be checked periodically for damage.
As a general rule, if your RV comes equipped with a factory-installed ladder, your roof is walkable. If not, use a stable ladder to maintain your roof from the side. Keep your roof clean by washing it with a light solvent and water. Parking under sappy trees warrants a wash as soon as possible.
Regularly Inspect the Roof
Inspect the roof seals and seams of your RV every six months. Water damage can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to repair if it’s not taken care of immediately.
Inspect the roof at its seams for possible culprits for leaks. Apply sealant to a clean rooftop to prevent harmful water damage over time. If inspecting your roof by yourself feels dangerous or precarious, elicit the help of Camping World Service Technicians to handle it all for you.
Have Rubber Roofs Treated Annually
If you have a rubber roof, make sure to have the roof treated at least once per year. This prevents the sun from doing damage. You should also have a roof inspection at least twice a year.
How to Maintain your RV Tires
Maintain your RV tires just as you would your car. Use a tire pressure monitoring system to gauge pressure. Give the tires a visual check to check for uneven tread wear. Improperly loading your trailer can wear the tires down in specific spots, leading to a blowout. Keep in mind, tire pressure changes with temperature fluctuations and altitude changes. Learn how to keep your tires in good condition while in storage so you’re ready for camping season.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Check your tire pressure and lug nuts before every trip. Tighten lug nuts as necessary and add air to tires based on proper specifications.
How to Maintain Your Motorhome Engine and Chassis
For motorhome owners, your coach’s engine requires maintenance just like a car. Refer to your motorhome manual for guidelines on when and how to maintain the engine, like changing the oil and engine air filters. When in doubt, consult the manufacturer’s guidelines found online.
Change Oil and Oil Filters
Like cars, RVs need their oil and filters changed at regular intervals. This is necessary to keep your engine running properly and if left undone could eventually cause your engine to seize. This could cost you as much as $10,000. Most manufacturers suggest an oil change every 3,000 to 4,500 miles, but you should check your owner’s manual for advice on your specific vehicle.
Regularly Replace Air, Fuel, and Other Filters
Replacing the air, fuel, coolant and hydraulic filters in your RV should also be done regularly. Damage costing upwards of $2,500 could result from increased fuel usage or overheating issues with the cooling system and oxidization in the hydraulic system.
Have Your Brakes Checked by a Certified RV Mechanic
Keeping your brakes maintained is important for your safety and those of everyone else on the road as well. Brake damage could cost as much as $2,000 for a motorhome and $500 for a trailer.
How to Maintain Your RV Batteries
Check your batteries regularly. Check your batteries before your trip. Deep cycle batteries last 3-5 years and should be replaced after their life cycle is complete.
Store your battery properly. Take your battery out during the winter months and store it somewhere warm. They have the possibility to freeze and break, voiding the warranty and rendering them unusable.
How to Maintain Your RV Generator
Servicing your RV generator is important as well. Again, check the manufacturer’s recommendations for how often the oil and filter should be changed. Ignoring this chore could cost you as much as $9,000 in repairs. Remember to run your generator regularly when your RV is stored too. If you don’t, it could cost you up to $400 to take care of the build-up on the unit’s carburetor. Service your RV generator according to schedule
How to Maintain Your RV Tanks
Most RVs come equipped with three different holding tanks, each requiring its own kind of attention. For a comprehensive breakdown of care, consult our tutorial for how to maintain your RV’s holding tanks.
Freshwater tanks simply require a bi-annual flush, typically when bringing your RV out of seasonal storage. Bacteria can build in a moist environment, so a gentle bleach and water solution can sanitize the tank, and a few fills and flushes of the system will clear out the bleach. Take a look at our step by step process for sanitizing your freshwater tank in 5 simple steps.
Grey Water Tank
Grey water tanks require very little maintenance. Still, with normal use it’s common for grey tanks to develop a smell. If your tank starts to have an odor, consider an odor blocker to keep foul scents away.
When using your black tank, always use approved black tank chemicals to break down solids. After emptying the tank, use your RV’s black tank flush system, if it is equipped with one, to keep sensors clean and reading accurately. Our 5 tips for maintaining your RV toilet can help keep your black tank in working order as well.
Take Care of Your RV Sewer System
Keep your wastewater system in good condition by using biodegradable RV toilet paper. It’s also extremely important to empty your RV’s holding tank to prevent unwanted backup. The right RV sewer connections can make this process much easier. It’s also important to empty your holding tank every so often. Feel free to check out our stock of RV sewer hoses and accessories to ensure quick and efficient disposal.
How to Maintain your RV Water Heater
Your water heater will need an occasional check to ensure the burner tube or chamber are clear of debris. Use compressed air to remove any build-up. Check to see whether the anode rod needs replacing. Wash out sediment, which accumulates with regular use and when stored outside.
How to Maintain your RV Slideouts
Proper slideout maintenance can prevent costly repairs down the road. Make sure seals aren’t sticking when retracting your slide. Keep seals clean of debris and lubricated with slideout lubricant.
How to Maintain Your RV Awnings and Slideout Toppers
Awnings can develop damage, mold, and mildew over time if not properly cared for. Before putting your RV into storage, give your awning a wash and let it dry before retracting it in. Never leave your awning out in high winds, as this can damage the alignment of your awning and prevent it from storing effectively. For a comprehensive breakdown, refer to our guide on how to maintain your RV awning.
Easy RV Maintenance
RV maintenance isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s quite simple and usually requires a little focused attention a few times a year to ensure everything is functional and clean. Keeping an eye on these aspects of your RV will not only save you money on repairs over time, but will keep your RV’s resale value up.
Looking for more help? Explore our other helpful guides on how to maintain your RV. You can always schedule an appointment with a Certified RV Technician at your nearest Camping World Service Center location.
See CampingWorld.com for more RV hardware and maintenance products.
If you have questions or concerns, leave a comment below!
It would have been nice if I read this article a few months ago and realise the importance of regular brake maintenance because damages can easily cost up to $2000 for a motorhome. Apparently, we failed to do our part right as the owner and did not notice the signs of damage when it presented itself. Now we need someone to help us with the repairs because we can’t use it. Thanks for the info. I’ll take it into consideration from now on.
After a brake assembly failed and tore up the drum, etc costing $500., a local mechanic recommended I buy a infrared temp gun and “shoot” each wheel immediately after any trip. A higher than normal temperature of a wheel when compared to the others is a red flag that something is going bad, i.e. a brake or a bearing. I bought one at Harbor Freight on sale for $20.00. Also, have someone walk near the wheels listening for unusual noise. These proactive procedures may keep you from breaking down on the road.
Thank you for all the basic RV maintenance tips! My husband and I just got an RV and we would really like to make sure we keep it in good condition. I really like your tip about making sure to check the tire pressure and lug nuts before every trip. I think that would be a great idea.
Should you keep your AC running all of the time? Even when motor home is not in use.
While storing RV long term I start and run both engines once every two weeks and let run till operating temp is reached. Also run both ac units during this process.
It was really shocking to me just how much damage water can do to an RV, especially hitting numbers in the hundreds of thousands. My wife and I have been considering getting an RV for a family trip, and we want to make sure that any investment we take on an RV doesn’t get ruined by water. If we get an RV, I will be sure to check for any signs of water damage frequently!
Lubrication of room slide out. What do I need.
Most people today are using EPDM type sealants on their RV roofs because they are fairly easy to apply, don’t require professional installation, can be installed in a weekend and provide long-lasting results on a variety of roof surfaces like metal, fiberglass and rubber.
The life of an RV can be enhanced by keeping the roof clean, debris free and applying a coat of RV Roof Magic. To get the best return on your investment be sure to do regular maintenance. Cleaning the roof bi-annually will help to maintain its durability and longevity.
Thank you for explaining how to maintain your RVs generator. I’ve been wondering what kinds of things I should be taking care of for our RV. I’ll be sure to remember this and keep it in mind so we can take good care of it.
My friends and I are going on a road trip during the first week of the new year, so I need to get my RV serviced first before we leave. I appreciate you informing us to replace our air, fuel, coolant, and hydraulic filters regularly to prevent increased fuel usage or overheating issues. I’ll be sure to remember this once I get an auto service to do professional RV repairs for me soon.
You’re most welcome, and we’re curious, where are you heading on your next road trip?!
In the meantime, feel free to contact a Camping World Service Center near you if you still need your RV serviced before you hit the road: https://rv.campingworld.com/rv-service-maintenance
Thanks for mentioning the importance of regular brake inspection and maintenance by an expert to ensure the safety of everyone in and around the RV. In fact, I think it would be smart to have the entire RV checked and repaired routinely. My grandparents own an RV that they love to take on road trips, so I’ll share these tips with them to help them be more safe.