While I don’t expect you to be able to handle all of your RV’s maintenance needs, there are plenty of things that you can do yourself to help ensure your RV stays in good condition. The amount of maintenance you’re willing to do will depend on how handy you are, but you’re bound to find that even the most mechanically uninclined person can do simple maintenance tasks with ease.
Here are some simple maintenance tasks that I believe all RVers should be able to do themselves.
Maintaining Your Roof
If nothing else, keep good tabs on your RV roof. Even if you feel uncomfortable getting on your roof, you can still peak up top to keep an eye on it. If you see any cracks in sealant, it’s time to take it into a Camping World service center for a roof re-seal.
Neglecting to annually check on the condition of your roof could cost your thousands of dollars of damage, and could even render your RV unlivable. Water damage is an RV’s worst enemy. When leaks go unchecked, water seeps into walls, grows mold, and separates the walls–compromising the structural integrity of the RV. In this short video, Camping World CEO, Marcus Lemonis, talks to a certified service technician about why a regular roof check is an essential part of smart RV ownership.
Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure
Without a good set of tires on your RV, there’s no way you’re going to get very far. Luckily keeping your tires in good condition is something you can do yourself. Before every trip, I suggest checking the tire pressure on all of your RV’s tires. If they’re under-inflated, you could suffer from poor gas mileage on the road and experience struggles towing.
Pumping up tires is easy. A simple air compressor at most gas stations will do the trick. If you want to have something in your RV, you can get a simple, small one that will have enough power for your tires. When inflating your tires, make sure to not over inflate them. This can cause a reduction in traction or even be the culprit behind a blowout. Find the maximum tire pressure recommended on the side of the tire, and then inflate it to nearly that number but never over that number. I usually leave a few PSI between the actual pressure in the tire and the maximum recommended.
This short 2 minute video will walk you through a complete tire check, including inflation, tire age, and common signs of wear.
Checking Fluid Levels in a Motorhome
If you have a motorhome, you have all of the regular RV maintenance tasks as well as ensuring the vehicle’s engine and other systems run well. This means you need to ensure that all the vital engine fluids are at their proper levels. Some people abhor opening the hood of their RV, but it’s a maintenance task that can save you a lot of money.
Check these major fluid levels:
- power steering fluid
- brake fluid
- coolant levels
- windshield wiper fluid
All of these fluids are important and a check only takes a few minutes. The proper levels for your RV will be indicated inside your owners manual. Use that booklet when doing any maintenance tasks.
Most good manuals will walk you through basic tasks like checking your oil, so follow the directions and you should be good. If the manual suggests having a certified technician do the maintenance, then take it to a professional. Don’t disregard warnings or suggestions in the manual and also double check the warranty information to ensure you’re keeping in line with the requirements there.
Cleaning and Treating Slides
Keeping slides clean will help ensure they work properly each and every time you need them to. Cleaning is also a great way to spot any issues that may have recently arisen. You can clean the slide yourself. Work to remove any dirt or debris that has accumulated.
Once you’ve removed any dirt or debris, then you should lubricate your slides. Use a lubricant that is specifically designed for RV slides. There are plenty out there. While it’s tempting to just shoot some WD-40 on there, it’s worth it to spray your slide down with the real thing.
There are 3 different kind of slides on different RV’s, each with their own version of maintenance. This short video goes through the ways to care for:
- schwintek slides
- power gear slides
4. Checking and Cleaning Your Awning
Your awning is designed to take some abuse from the elements. It protects you from the sun’s harmful rays and often gets rained on. All those elements can cause serious issues over the long term. Every once in a while, it’s worth it to check your awning for damage. If you don’t notice any damage, give it a good cleaning to remove any mold or mildew that may have accumulated.
You can also lubricate all the mechanisms used to deploy or roll up the awning. WD-40 generally works fine here, but any of the RV specific lubricants should work equally well if not better. Chances are, the slide out lubricant we mentioned above can serve double duty here.
Change All Filters Regularly
There are various filters on your RV, depending on the model.
- engine air filter
- Cabin air filter
- Water filtration filter
These filters need to be checked and replaced regularly. If you have a motorhome, you’ll have an air filter on the engine. You’ll also likely have a cabin air filter on a motorhome. Depending on the type of furnace or HVAC system you could have a filter there that is easy to replace, too. You may also have a water filtration system with a replaceable filter.
Go through your RV and locate all of the filters that need regularly replace. Then determine how difficult it is to actually check and replace them. Chances are, you’ll be able to do most of them quite easily and save yourself some money in labor costs.
Doing basic maintenance tasks can be a great way to save money. RVs need regular maintenance just like any other dwelling. If you hire all that out, you can end up spending quite a lot of money. Just by doing the things listed above you can save some money and use it on your next roadtrip.
What maintenance tasks do you do yourself? What do you find most challenging about maintaining your RV? Leave a comment below.