A Safe RV is a Happy RV

By Nelson Stewart Published 11/23/2007 | Travel

Even if you're not mechanically inclined, there are a lot of things you can do to keep your RV running problem-free. A bit of regular maintenance will help you learn more about your vehicle and anticipate problems before they turn into breakdowns.

Here are some simple how-to's for maintaining your RV:

Regular Maintenance

  1. Tires keep you rolling, find out how much pressure they should have and keep them inflated to that level. This easy task will also increase your fuel mileage.
  3. Know what your RV's weight limits are. Do you know what the gross vehicle weight rating is, or the cargo carrying capacity? Find out and stay within the limits.
  5. Record the height and width of your RV and keep it handy to ensure you can fit through that tunnel or under an overpass.
  7. Keep your fire extinguisher nearby and have it inspected each year.
  9. Make sure your smoke alarm as working batteries.
  11. For a motorized RV, do regular checks of your oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, anti-freeze, and window washer solution.
  13. Stock your RV for emergencies by ensuring you have warm clothes, bedding and enough food and water for a few days.
  15. Awnings are easily damaged by wind, it's good practice to add additional ratcheting straps for extra security.
  17. Moisture build up is an RV's worst enemy, potentially causing staining, freezing or mildew growth. The worst producer of  moisture accumulation is the shower, bathroom and  cooking in the kitchen. Try to do the majority of your water boiling in the microwave. When you do boil liquids on the stove top, open the roof vent and a window to reduce the moisture in the air. The same goes for running the shower, always have the roof vent open. If moisture build up persists, you may consider getting a dehumidifier to fight the condensation.
  19. To extend the life of the hot water heater it's  good practice to flush out the heater tank every season. It's a simple process, here are the steps: 
  • Shut off the hot water heater and allow water in the tank to cool or run the hot water tap until it cools.
  • Turn off the water supply to the coach and release the water pressure by opening up the "hot" faucets.
  • Remove the access panel from the exterior of the RV and remove the hex headed plastic drain plug.
  • Water will flow out the drain. If necessary, use a coat hanger to break up any sediment which may be blocking the opening.
  • Direct high water pressure from a garden hose into the drain hole, swiveling from side to side to stir up the sediment in the tank.
  • Remove the hose and let the tank drain.
  • Repeat this filling and draining process with the garden hose until the water flushing from the tank is clean.
  • Reinstall the drain plug, turn on the water supply and close the "hot" water taps when water has filled the tank and begins to flow.

Winter Storage

Whether you winterize your RV yourself or pay someone to do it, these are the steps for storing your vehicle for the winter months.

  • Unplug all appliances and disconnect any batteries.
  • Disconnect the ice maker water feed lines and drain.
  • Defrost your refrigerator, if needed.
  • Drain the hot water heater and flush (see above).
  • Once water is drained from your fresh water system, pump nontoxic RV antifreeze through all the lines. You may need to borrow a compressor to do this. Open every tap until you see the antifreeze flowing from the faucets. Add a cup of antifreeze in the sink and shower traps.
  • Remove any canned goods (they can burst if frozen), or foods that may attract rodents.  
  • Double check your antifreeze in the engine cooling system.
  • Put out some rat poison and remove all bedding or anything they may use to make a nest.
  • To protect  from snow or ice damage, cover your RV with a tarp.  

This article was submitted by the writers at Palm Gardens,  a luxury Arizona retirement community. View their extensive listing of Arizona mobile homes for sale.