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11 Maintenance Tips That Will Extend the Life of Your RV

Updated on August 9, 2017
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I have traveled extensively throughout the US for many years and enjoy helping people to enjoy their own vacations.

If you want to keep your RV in top condition, there are eleven preventive maintenance tasks you should be doing regularly..

Most people avoid doing them and then wonder why they have problems during road trips, but the truth is that if you constantly inspect and repair as you go, you will be much less likely to have to deal with issues during your vacations.

11 things you need to do to keep your RV in top condition.
11 things you need to do to keep your RV in top condition. | Source

1. Inspect Regularly

It's extremely important to inspect your travel unit regularly whether it’s in storage or is being used for travel.

Taking walks through and around a coach to look for small problems will help you to find and repair issues before they get out of hand.

The more often you do this, the better you will get at finding problems. You'll learn to look behind, inside and under areas that you would normally would not pay attention to, but these are always the areas where problems begin!

Checking oil levels is one of the best ways to make sure that engines and generators keep working.
Checking oil levels is one of the best ways to make sure that engines and generators keep working. | Source

2. Caulk Generously

Making it a point to use caulk on any area of your RV where water may possibly enter is one of the best ways to protect it.

It only takes a few minutes to load up a caulk gun and spread the material around areas where sinks and tubs connect to the areas around them.

You should also spread caulk around exterior lights, windows and any areas where items such as awnings attach to your coach. This includes rooftop items such as air conditioning units and vents.

Water has a way of seeking out the smallest crack, seeping through it and creating major problems such as black mold, so caulking is your best defense against it.

When you do this job, be sure to use Geocel Pro Flex Sealant which is made especially for use on recreational vehicles. This is the product my husband and I always use because it is goes on smoothly and looks great. It's important to use a quality product like this because you can trust it to last quite awhile once you finish using it.

Geocel 28127V Pro Flex Bright White RV Flexible Sealant - 10 oz.
Geocel 28127V Pro Flex Bright White RV Flexible Sealant - 10 oz.

You should always use this product when caulking because it is made for RV use, does a great job and is easy to use. It also lasts a long time.


3. Maintain Your Batteries

Your RV uses batteries to run numerous functions. Therefore it’s important to maintain them and replace as needed.

To do this you need to keep note of the dates when they were installed and pay attention to how well they are functioning.

In the case of coach batteries, adding water may be all you need to do, but you have to check them regularly so that you know this is necessary. (Not all batteries need water, so make sure you know which type you own!)

These are called marine batteries. They are more expensive to buy than the type you have to water, but they last quite a long time and require little upkeep.

We use the Windy Nation brand because it is made specifically for RV use and can handle the heavy duty loads an RV puts on it. Ours has done a great job for us and has eliminated many worries for us during our RV trips.

4.Inspect Smoke and Gas Detectors

Far to many people ignore smoke and gas detector maintenance, but these are two of the most important items they need to keep an eye on.

Smoke detectors will start beeping loudly if their batteries are failing, and you should replace them quickly because doing so could save your life. They are your first line of defense if a fire breaks out.

What You Need to Know About RV Fire Safety provides information that lets you know just how important it is to keep smoke detectors updated. After reading it, I doubt you'll avoid this task in the future!

Likewise, replacing LP and carbon monoxide gas detector batteries when necessary is very important.

You need to check them often to make sure they are working unless they are the type that is hardwired into your coach.

Personally, we feel safer using the hardwired type because we've heard too many stories about people dying due to carbon monoxide poisoning or LP gas leaks.

If you decide to use this type (if one did not come already installed in your coach), make sure to have a pro install and test it for you.

You should make it a point to check propane lines regularly by spreading soapy water on them.

If you see bubbles, immediately turn off the tanks and keep them off until you can get the leaks repaired.

5. Clean AC Filters

It’s important to change and clean the filters in air conditioners regularly.

If you don’t, they will clog and can cause problems that can ruin your AC unit.

Cleaning these filters is very simple to do.

After you turn off your AC unit, you simply remove the grate that covers them, take them out, wash and dry them and return them to their regular position.

When you are using your AC units often, you should check them at least once each week, and you should always clean them prior to taking trips.

6. Check Fluids

When the fluid levels in RVs are too low, or when they become contaminated, your coach will not function properly.

For this reason, it's important to check all fluids regularly.

The video gives you a brief tutorial on how to do this yourself, but if you are not comfortable doing so, just take your coach into a repair shop and have them do it.

This may cost a few dollars, but it is vital to the health of your coach and can help you avoid major mechanical problems.

7. Run Generators and Engines Regularly

You should run your RV’s generator and engine at least once each month to make sure they stay lubricated, especially if you own a diesel coach.

If you don’t do this, their internal parts will dry up, and they’ll stop functioning.

This does not mean that you have to literally drive the coach. Just turn on the engine and generator and let them run for at least a half hour.

8. Take Care of Holding Tanks

Black, Gray and Fresh Water tanks are the heart of any RV.

No matter how well maintained the rest of your travel unit, if you don't properly care for these tanks, your coach will smell so bad that you won't want to travel or live in it.

In some cases, you won't even be able to use it without spending a good deal of money for repairs due to breakage and clogging.

How to Dump, Clean and Protect Your RV's Black Water Tank and How to Care for Your RV's Fresh Water Tanks provide specific directions that will help you with these issues.

Learning how to maintain your RV tanks is important.
Learning how to maintain your RV tanks is important. | Source

9. Keep Drains Clean

Shower and sink drains become clogged with debris over time.

For this reason, you should take the time to clean drains regularly and do the same for shower heads.

This will keep the water flowing properly and will help to avoid flooding.

Just make sure that you don't use any caustic materials or sharp tools when doing this job so that you don't damage your drains or surrounding materials.

11. Give Tires Good Care

Taking good care of your RV’s tires is extremely important.

The Best Ways to Buy, Maintain and Safely Use RV Tires explains how to do this.

At the very least, you should

  • check tires regularly for damage,
  • make sure their air pressure is adequate and equal,
  • use the same size and brand and
  • use a gauge to make sure that each tire has the proper amount of air pressure.

If you don't have a tire gauge, there are several types on the market that will do the job. However, the best and most reliable is the one we use that is manufactured by Webetop.

If you look at the attached video, you'll see why paying a bit more to have a gauge like this is a smart move. If your gauge isn't accurate, it's worthless!

We've tried the less expensive gauges but were never sure they were giving true readings. With this one, there is no question.

When traveling, you should always use a good quality gauge like this one several times each day in order to avoid blowouts.

Of course, RV tires should always be of good quality and properly rated to carry the weight of your coach.

10. Check Appliances Regularly

It’s important to check appliances to make sure they are working, especially when you are getting ready to leave for a vacation.

In many cases, this is a simple matter of turning them on, washing filters to rid them of dirt and dust or using a compressor to clean out clogged pipes.

Refrigerators that have been stored for awhile may not work because their vents have become clogged with leaves, dead bugs or dirt, so using an air compressor to simply blow out the vent that is located behind the outside door of the refrigerator is usually enough to get a unit working again.

Webetop Heavy Duty Truck RV Cars Tire Pressure Gauge 0-200PSI Stainless Steel Dual Head for Dual Rear Tires With Large Backlit LCD
Webetop Heavy Duty Truck RV Cars Tire Pressure Gauge 0-200PSI Stainless Steel Dual Head for Dual Rear Tires With Large Backlit LCD

The perfect tire pressure gauge for recreational vehicles Accurate and easy to use, which makes it possible to maintain proper pressure.


The Big 11 Are Worth Doing

If you want to have an RV that runs well and is safe to drive it will pay you to follow the advice in this article.

You can do many things to maintain a coach, but the eleven items mentioned above are the ones you should pay close attention to, because if you don't, you can create major problems for yourself.

Furthermore, taking care of these eleven tasks will extend the life of your RV, which can save you a ton of money!

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