RVs need regular maintenance just like any other vehicle you own. The only difference is that RV maintenance can end up costing you a lot more than getting your car fixed. This is because your RV is more than just a vehicle, it is a motorhome, and just like any home, it needs regular maintenance to keep functioning well.
But is it hard to maintain an RV? Will you need professional help every time something needs to be fixed? Is RV maintenance going to cost you an arm and a leg? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and more.
Is it Hard to Maintain an RV?
If you're thinking about transitioning to an RV lifestyle, you need to factor in the effort and cost that will go into maintaining an RV. Since a lot of RVs now cost as much as (and sometimes more than) a small house, it is not surprising that new RVers have concerns over whether they would be able to manage the upkeep of their motorhomes by themselves.
To put it simply, No, maintaining an RV is not hard. If you regularly check, repair, inspect, and upgrade the different components of your motorhome, you will be saved from spending hundreds of dollars fixing what's broken. A thriving online community of RVers and travelers can help you DIY a lot of the problems you might face while maintaining your RV. Even if there is a major problem that you can't fix, you can now find RV specialized mechanics in most places easily.
7 Tips to Maintain Your RV (Without Spending a Fortune)
For the most part, RV maintenance is a pretty straightforward affair and if you take preemptive action, you might not need professional help. The amount of maintenance needed by your RV depends on a number of factors; older models and second-hand RVs may need more regular maintenance than newer ones. Larger motorhomes have more wear and tear than smaller ones simply because there are fewer components to keep an eye on.
Here are a few tips and tricks that can help you maintain your RV yourself, without breaking the bank.
Regularly Clean the Roof and Inspect it for Leaks
RV roofs take a lot of damage from the elements as they are the most exposed to sun, storm, rain, hale, and more. This can cause damage to the seams and seals of the roof that, over time, could lead to bigger problems like roof leakage. It is important to regularly inspect your roof for any cracks, leaks, or other damage. If your rig comes with a manufacturer-installed ladder to the roof you can easily climb above and take a look, otherwise, you can use a portable ladder to do the same.
Check your roof seams and seals at least once every five months to make sure everything is okay. Apply sealant to make sure there are no leaks and use RV roof covers to protect the roof from sun damage.
Check Tire Pressure and Wheel Lug Nuts
You need to maintain the tires of your RV the same way you do with your car. Make sure all the lug nuts on each wheel are tightened before every trip and especially if you're RV has been parked in storage for a while. Make sure the tire pressure is optimal as per the weight of your RV, the season/weather, and the type of terrain you would be driving on.
Regularly inspecting the tires helps you catch small tears and punctures before they turn into bigger problems. This is also very important for road safety while you travel.
P.S it is always a good idea to carry a small tire maintenance kit plus road safety tools while you travel.
Inspect RV Engine and Breaks
It is important to check your RV engine, filters, and breaks regularly to avoid damages to the vehicle and maintain road safety while traveling. Change engine oil and oil filters on schedule (refer to the owner's manual for learning when to change these for your specific vehicle). Inspect the air, fuel, coolant, and hydraulic filters on your RV and replace them regularly.
Have the breaks on your RV checked by a professional before taking your trip to make sure they are working properly. Make sure the wheel bearings are lubricated and the break seals are intact.
Run the Generator and Check the Batteries
RV batteries need regular check-ups to make sure your RV doesn't stop dead in the middle of a road trip. Make sure your batteries are charged and good to go before hitting the road. Also, keep an eye on battery life; deep cycle batteries last 3-5 years while start-up batteries start losing their capacity after 5 years. Store your batteries outside the RV, especially in winters, make sure they are stored in a warm place.
Service your generators regularly to save yourself upwards of $9000 in repairs. Change the oil and filter on schedule and run your generator even when your RV is in storage to make sure there is no build-up.
Maintain RV Tanks and Water Heater
Your RV will come equipped with a number of different tanks that need regular maintenance to keep working without a hitch. The freshwater tank can be maintained by doing a bi-annual flush with bleach to keep the bacteria away. You can use an odor blocker for your grey water tank to get rid of foul smells. The black tank needs to be cleaned regularly with chemicals to keep it working properly. Make sure to empty the holding tank regularly so that the wastewater system is well maintained.
Maintain your water heater by clearing the burner tube or chamber of any debris using compressed air and wash out any sediment build-up.
Check RV Awnings and Slideouts
The slideouts on your RV need to be regularly cleaned and lubricated to make sure they keep working smoothly. Check the seals and slider mechanisms for any hitches or wear and tear.
RV awnings can develop mold and mildew if not properly maintained. Make sure to air out the awning regularly even when your RV is in storage. Don't open the awning in high winds as that can damage the alignment of the awning preventing its proper storage.
Document RV Maintenance
Lastly, make sure you keep track of important RV maintenance tasks like the dates when you change the oil filters and clear out the tanks. Since these things need to be done on schedule, it is important to have them noted down somewhere.
The Last Word
RV maintenance isn't a difficult task but you do need to be vigilant when it comes to regularly inspecting your rig. In addition to inspecting the technical and functional components of your motorhome, also keep an eye on any aesthetic wear and tear. For example, make sure all your RV door locks and compartment locks are working well. Protect your windows, stairs, and windshield with sunshades, step covers, insulators, and windshield covers.
Looking for more information? Visit our blog to learn more about RV living and maintenance.