The last reminders of the winter have finally disappeared and all of our brains are thinking CAMPING SEASON! So what better time to make sure your RV is prepared to get you though the season with as few problems as possible. Here is a simple list to get you started and ready for camping!
If you had a cover on your RV, this is a great opportunity to see how the cover lasted through the winter and inspect if the cover moved around and potentially damaged anything. Sometimes if a cover is not on tight, it can catch on protruding objects or even wear a hole thru the cover. After removing your cover or if you didn’t have it covered, start with a visual inspection walk around of your RV.
1) Walk around and look for any signs of damage or rodent intrusion…cracked windows, loose trim, peeling sealants around windows or roof joints, tears or scuffs on the roof, cracked vent covers, etc. This would include any discoloring or staining. Make sure tires are aired up and not cracked or damaged. Propane tanks still intact and turned off. This is a great time to re-install your batteries that you hopefully removed for winter storage(especially in our freezing winters in Montana). It’s also important to check that the power cable is intact and not been damaged or chewed on by rodents prior to plugging in your trailer.
2.) Move to the interior and continue your visual inspection. Most importantly, look for any signs of water intrusion. Nothing causes more trouble and frustration than fighting water in your RV. Water is tricky and can come in from one place and settle in another so check the roof for stains, rippled wall paper is another indicator of leaks as well as of coarse any staining on the floor that appears to have been caused by pooling water. Check the compartments and drawers for signs of rodents and clean up as needed.
3.) If all is still well, move on to plugging in the RV and testing that your lights and electrical system are working and batteries are charging. This includes testing the monitor panel and making sure your indicators for water, batteries and tank levels are all working. This would be a great time to fire up your generator if your RV has one. Make sure your fire extinguisher is still up to date and test that your smoke detector batteries are new as well as testing your on-board LP detector(depending on the age of your RV these are suggested to be replaced every 5 years).
4.) Move on to Summerizing the RV water system. If you have winterized with RV Anti-freeze, drain the antifreeze and put water in the RV. Pressurize the water lines and make sure the water pump is functioning as it should and water lines are not leaking under pressure. Be sure to check the connections under the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Make sure your toilet and bathroom shower are working correctly. Don’t forget to check your outside shower or outside kitchen if your RV is equipped with either or both…they are often overlooked in the winterizing process and could need fixing.
5.) Move on to the propane(LP) system and start by making sure the fittings are connected at the bottles and go ahead and turn the tank on. Pay close attention to any sound of leaks at the tank or if you smell the unmistakable smell of propane gas. If a leak is detected, shut off the tank valve and get it in for repair before attempting to utilize the propane system again. If no leaks are detected at the tanks, move your way inside the rv and test fire your appliances on propane. This would include the range, furnace and refrigerator. The fridge takes some time to cool but you can usually hear it ignite and run. Leave it on for several hours to check for cooling function. Start the furnace and make sure it is functioning and ignite the burners on the range. Again, if you hear a leak or smell propane make sure to shut off the propane bottles right away and air out the RV and take it in for repair. Also keep in mind that the lines might take a little extra time to get propane to the appliances after sitting all winter, so don’t be alarmed if it takes slightly longer to ignite the appliances than during regular use.
6.) Maintenance! Remember, like your car an RV requires regular maintenance to perform its best and not last a long time. This includes maintain your rubber roof membrane, roof and window seals, tires, hubs and axle maintenance. Here are a few of the top maintenance items that are often overlooked;
-Roof cleaner and conditioner. This product is sprayed on the roof and scrubbed in to clean and condition the rubber membrane. This will keep the roof clean and prolog the life of the rubber roof membrane.
– Seals and sealant. The silicone and RV specific Dicore lap sealants are another area to monitor and replace. Sealants are subject to the extreme heat of the summer and colds of the winter ad they will degrade over time and exposure. It’s critical that these seals remain strong as they are often the only thing keeping water out of your RV! Inspect them annually for shrinking, peeling and cracking. If water can find a way it..it will!
– Wheel Bearings. Most manufacturers recommend re-packing your wheel bearings every 2,000-3000 miles. If you are a local camper and don’t put many miles on your RV, you can probably get away with a few summers in between bearing services but if you don’t remember the last time you did it….it’s overdue!
This is an abbreviated overview of getting your RV ready for the season and everyone has their own list of items they prefer to check out. But this covers most of the necessities of having your RV in trouble free condition for camping season as well as some RV safety that we like to check. Please feel free to contact our service and parts departments with questions or to arrange for servicing if you are not able to complete some of these tasks/repairs and would like to have one of our certified RV repair techs take care of it for you. Now get out and enjoy your RV!