Following a routine auto maintenance schedule will ensure your RV requires limited repairs and will make your motor home trips more stress-free and enjoyable overall.
Of course, how often you take care of any upkeep and maintenance will depend on a few factors. For most RV owners, your maintenance schedule will be standard across the board — there are annual tasks that must be done no matter how often you go RVing (so go as often as you can!)
Therefore for others who may spend every summer weekend on the road or go on trips for months at a time, certain ‘routine’ maintenance checklist items should be performed more often and may depend on specific factors like mileage.
For this reason, we’ve divided our RV maintenance checklist into two categories:
#1: An “Annual RV Maintenance Schedule” (tasks to be completed annually no matter what)
#2: A “Routine Pre-Trip RV Maintenance Checklist” (tasks to be completed before heading out on every trip, or at regular intervals throughout a longer trip)
Follow these guidelines to keep your RV in tip-top shape!
Annual RV Maintenance Schedule
Even if your RV hasn’t left home all season (thank you lockdown!), developing a routine auto maintenance schedule to commit to carrying out every year is a critical item on that list.
Each year when you first get your RV out for the season (or at least once annually for a checkup), make sure you’re taking care of the following:
1. Check all seams and roof seals.
Begin by inspecting your roof and all other exterior seals (especially on doors and windows). Any cracking, bubbling, or separation should be taken care of immediately to avoid moisture entering into the vehicle. Replacement weather stripping and special RV sealants can be effectively used to fix small issues that aren’t structurally significant.
2. Check wheels and tires.
Start by tightening every wheel’s lug nuts and checking air pressure. Finally, take your RV out on the road and drive for a bit. If the vehicle rides rough or tends to pull to the right or left, this may be because pressure still needs to be added to one side.
3. Maintain the waste water system.
Start by checking the tanks for cracks and leaks, then check all other sewer connections, including the dump valve. Once you’ve taken care of any fixes or replacements, flush, clean, and sanitize the tanks. Finally, make sure you have the necessary chemicals for each individual system.
4. Lubricate all slide-outs and seals.
Slide-outs should be well-maintained to avoid jams and improper sealing when closed. Use RV lubricant on the slide-out mechanisms, and check their ease of opening and closing. You should also lubricate other areas that need it such as window seals.
Extra: Do These Things Before Storing Your RV for the Season
Open all interior vents (especially when storing during the summer)
Store your battery properly in a warm place (especially when storing during the winter)
If possible, cover your RV’s roof to protect it from the elements
Routine Pre-Trip RV Maintenance Checklist
Do these things before heading out on a trip:
1. Change the oil and filter.
Like any vehicle, your RV must have its oil changed regularly. It’s best to always do this before a big trip. In addition, don’t forget to change your generator oil and generator oil and air filters.
2. Top off your fluids, and check the fan belt and battery.
While you’re “under the hood,” take a look at your other fluids and the tightness and overall state of your fan belt. Top off or replace anything that needs it, and charge or replace the battery, if necessary.
3. Test your tires.
Always give your tires a once over before heading out on the road. A visual check for overall wear and tear works well. Then, you’ll want to add air to any tires that look low, tightening all lug nuts as you go.
4. Check your AC’s Freon levels.
There’s nothing quite as uncomfortable as traveling through hot, sticky Canadian weather in an RV with no air. Double-check coolness when you turn on the AC, and if it’s not up to snuff, you may need additional coolant.
5. Check the windshield wipers.
Canadians know that weather conditions can change in a flash, eh? Double-check your windshield wipers and replace worn-out blades to ensure they’re ready for effective use when you need them.
6. Fill your fresh water.
Clean your fresh water tank well, and make sure it’s properly filled. You should also give your black and grey water tanks a good cleanse and sanitizing if this hasn’t been done in a while.
7. Give all working parts a once over.
Once your major checks have been taken care of, go over everything else by simply turning it on and checking for routine functionality. Do this for your:
- Entry/exit steps
- Toilet, sinks, and shower
- Dump valve
- Converter charging system
8. Clean your RV well.
Finally, give both the interior and exterior of your RV a good cleaning. You’ll be glad to have a bright and shining RV as your journey gets underway! Ridin’ dirty is not all it’s cracked up to be in music (we promise!)
For more information about proper RV care and maintenance, check out our other articles on the Wayfarer Insurance Group Blog.