Preventative Maintenance for Your RV – How To Avoid RV Issues

Last Updated on February 16, 2024

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RV maintenance checklist

With the comfort and luxury offered by recreational vehicles like coaches, mobile homes, and trailer homes, you want to make sure that you can use them for lots more adventures over the years. Not to mention the fact that while there are more affordable options, the money you spent on purchasing your RV is definitely no joke.

The key to making your motorhome last longer is to properly take care of it. These cover doing any repairs that you need to do, parking it at a safe place out of heavy traffic, and overall avoiding anything that could damage its internal system and exteriors.

The thing about proper care for RVs is that it is a continuous process. It does not stop at repairs, safe parking spaces, and avoiding damages. Remember, RVs are vehicles, which are considered complex machines that need consistent care in order to maintain their integrity. The best thing to add to this small list is preventative maintenance. Here’s what you need to know.

RV Issues You Could Encounter Without Preventative Maintenance

Any car owner knows that failure to perform preventative maintenance is a big no-no. It can cause a lot of hitches in the long run. Problems might not manifest immediately, so you could go your way without knowing that internal issues are waiting to happen. The same is true for RVs.

What’s worse is that these complications could occur during your trip, which would not only be disastrous for your nature adventure but could also be harmful. Imagine being stuck in the great outdoors without cell service and a vehicle to drive out. You also would not have help or even electricity to help you cope.

So, what exactly happens if you fail to do preventative maintenance for your recreational vehicle? The most serious thing that could happen is you encounter engine problems such as increased friction between engine parts and overheating. This is one of the most expensive and complicated issues any vehicle owner could experience.

Accidents could also happen when you neglect to bring your recreational vehicle in for preventative maintenance. This could stem from different causes such as engine problems, bald and improperly fitted tires, worn brake pads, and damaged belts and hoses.

Other things that could stem from a lack of preventative maintenance or you might fail to notice without such a procedure include issues with windshields, windows, and mirrors, as well as physical damages such as exterior and interior dents, scratches, roof leaks, and stains.

While these may seem to be minor issues, especially those concerning cosmetics, neglecting them can make them become bigger problems, which could cost you more money when you decide to address them in the future.

If this is the case with more seemingly negligible matters, imagine the problems that could arise with a lack of preventative maintenance concerning things like the engine and the vehicle’s internal system.

Different Types of Maintenance for Your RV

Seeing that your recreational vehicles could fall into a serious state of disrepair if you fail to maintain them properly, you should make sure that you consistently do the upkeep. This way, you can enjoy your RV for a longer time, allowing you to get a return on your investment and more.

The thing about maintenance is that preventative is just one of the three types of maintenance you should perform for your RV. Keep reading to know more about these different types and how they can benefit your vehicle.


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Scheduled Maintenance

Schedule maintenance is something that most of us are familiar with. This is the type you regularly do to your car after a certain amount of time, usually monthly, seasonally, or yearly. Some may know it by a different name: routine maintenance.

It is important to do scheduled or routine maintenance because it helps keep your vehicle in great working condition, minimizing the possibility of breakdowns and untimely repairs. Take note that it is usually associated with smaller or more targeted servicing.

What makes this type more essential is the fact that some manufacturers require owners to do this regularly. Failure to do so can result in the warranty becoming void. Moreover, some have rules on where you can have this periodic procedure done, so make sure to consult the manual or better yet, ask a company representative.

Emergency Maintenance

Emergency maintenance is a procedure that you do because an urgent situation concerning your vehicle came up. Given the name, this type of maintenance is only done in case you encounter issues with the system, mechanism, or one of the components.

Because this procedure is needed only during emergencies, it typically comes not only with upkeep for some parts but also repairs for damaged or problematic ones.

Preventative Maintenance

Lastly, preventative maintenance is the type owners perform intending to avoid any problems. It is very similar to scheduled or routine maintenance in this respect. In fact, a lot of people use the terms “routine” and “preventative” interchangeably.

However, it has a very important difference in that it is intended not only for upkeep and keeping it in top working condition, but also to identify any budding or potential issues to prevent them from happening and/or escalating.

In short, while routine or scheduled maintenance is for targeted servicing, preventative maintenance, preventative maintenance is a more comprehensive type that covers more aspects of the vehicle.

It consists of different procedures such as assessment, cleaning, adjustments, lubricating, and servicing, just to name a few.

How often do you need to do preventive maintenance? The thing about this type of maintenance is it is that the procedures are not done in one go. It is best to do them after a recommended time, which depends on how much you use the vehicle or its mileage.

Vital Benefits of Doing Preventative Maintenance for Your RV

Because preventive maintenance aims to take a look at every aspect of the recreational vehicle, it can detect any potential problems, address those that have already started, and improve the overall condition of the motorhome to avoid issues for components, systems, and mechanisms that work fine.

What can you expect from your RV if you make sure it undergoes preventive maintenance? The most important benefit of doing this is you are sure that your motorhome is in perfect working condition, which means that you can rely on it for your driving, living, and resting needs.

Unless an accident caused by external circumstances happens, you have reduced possibilities of it breaking down, getting into an accident, or leaving you stranded while out in nature. In this regard, preventative maintenance can help you get peace of mind.

Of course, you still need to be attentive while on the road and do your best to avoid fundamentally damaging your RV. However, knowing that you have taken measures to prevent possible issues and address existing ones can be highly beneficial for your trip and peace of mind.

This service can also prolong the life of the RV’s engine. Preventative maintenance involves changing the motor oil and air filters, which are essential in making the engine run smoothly and improving gas mileage, so you can save money on expenses that come with inefficient or damaged engines.

How to Perform Preventative Maintenance for Your RV

Now that you know what exactly is preventative maintenance and what it has to offer, you take the necessary steps to prepare your RV for such procedures. If you know car maintenance, you can definitely do it yourself. Here are some things you should forget.

Check Your Owner’s Manual

The first thing any RV owner should do before performing any procedure on their vehicle is to check the manual. Remember, warranty policies are in place and you should remember that some manufacturers provide instructions on how to properly get your RV serviced without voiding the warranty.

You might find policies about places where you could bring your vehicle, which procedures are allowed during a given timeframe, and other similar rules regarding warranty.

This is why it is important to check your manual before doing any procedure. In fact, you might want to double down and get in touch with customer service to get more accurate information from a representative. Better yet, drop by the nearest branch so that you can get the details yourself and have a point person to refer to.

Focus on Your Engine and Chassis

Here’s the fun part. Say you have had your RV for a long time and the warranty has long passed. Or you have clearance from the manufacturer about doing maintenance procedures.

The next thing you should do is to check your engines and perform routine methods such as replacing the motor oil and engine air filters. Keep in mind that some systems and mechanisms are compatible with particular types of products.

In the process, make sure to replace all other filters, particularly for air, coolants, and fuels. Not doing so can cost you thousands of dollars in repairs on top of increased gas and power consumption. Moreover, make sure to check your brake system for your safety.

Check Your RVs Power Sources

Speaking of power, you need to make sure that your RV is juiced up before going on any trip. If it is due for replacements, you should also do the right thing and replace it. A vehicle battery can last up to five years.

Aside from the battery, you should also take time to check your generator. You might need to change the fuel and filter. Plus, you should inspect for build-ups to avoid any lasting damages.

Flush and Clean Your Tanks

One of the most enticing things about these motorhomes is that some of them come with a plumbing system that lets you get water in your sink, bathroom, and/or toilet. This is possible thanks to your RVs fresh water, grey water, and black tank.

You need to make sure that you properly maintain these tanks so they remain useable for as long as your RV is in commission. Flushing, cleaning, and deodorizing them can make them last longer.

Clean Your HVAC System

Your RVs heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is one of the most essential parts of your RV as it helps in temperature regulation, which is useful if you are going on a trip during winter when you need the help of a heater or during summer when you need an air conditioning unit.

Give Your Tires a Check

RVs are designed to withstand a lot of weight, but you need to make sure that the tires are in good condition to handle them. Not only the tires themselves but also the alignment and other components that help keep it in place.

Inspect and Address Roof Issues

You might be so engrossed with checking the internals and obvious parts of the vehicle that you forget its actual body. What you need to remember is that the body is an important aspect of keeping you safe and comfortable. You do not want to have leaks when it rains. Make sure to find leaks and repair them before going on a trip.

Don’t Forget Your Awnings, Toppers, and Sliders

Likewise, you need to make sure that your toppers, sliders, and awnings are in full working status so you can make the most of your RV.

Essential Tips for Maintaining Your RV

So, you have an idea about what to do when doing preventative maintenance. Is that enough? It surely would be if you did it properly. Just to be sure make sure to do these tips.

  • Always Perform a Pre-Trip Maintenance

If you are planning a trip, make sure to schedule it after doing your regular maintenance procedures. Now, let’s say you had it done a few months back and the date for the trip is nearing. You might want to do a few checks here and there to truly make sure that the vehicle is working properly.

However, you should see to it that you put everything back to how it should be to avoid any issues while on the trip itself.

  • Make Sure to Perform Maintenance Checks After Every Season

If you have had your RV serviced during warm months and you are planning a trip during cold months, you might need to check it again to make sure that nothing went out of place due to the change in weather. Again, make sure to put them back in their designated places.

  • When in Doubt, Call an Expert

The most important part about doing any maintenance on vehicles is that you know what you are doing because if not, you can cause more damage to the system, mechanism, and components.

If you are not confident about doing the procedures yourself, your best bet is to call an expert. You can get in touch with the RVs manufacturer, their recommended service center, or any trusted service provider.

Preventative Maintenance Checklist

Given the benefits of preventative maintenance and other kinds of maintenance, there is no reason to skip doing it regularly. The important thing is that you do it periodically and you don’t forget any vital thing.

The best way to go is to outline every single thing you need to do and check every item off as you go. Not sure how to proceed with making one? Here’s a set of checklists containing essential steps every RV owner should do in different circumstances.

Before a Trip

    • Turn off the resource-consuming appliances
    • Inspect the antenna
    • Secure all movable elements for safety
      • Windows
      • Cabinet doors
      • Entry door
      • Bathroom door
      • Trash bins
      • Slideouts
    • Check kits and replenish as needed
      • Emergency toolbox
      • First aid kits
      • Essential supplies such as batteries
    • Assess all external elements for extra measure
      • Jacks
      • Working condition of lights
      • Tire health and pressure
      • Exterior storage cabins
      • Drains and hoses
      • Generator and its wires
      • Connecting cables for phone and satellite dishes
    • Remove and stow away movable parts to minimize issues
      • Chocks
      • Levelers if applicable
      • Awnings
      • Outdoor furniture and equipment
      • Water pressure regulator
      • Foldable stairs

Monthly Maintenance

    • Inspect seals and address any issues you find
    • Check fluid levels and adjust accordingly
      • Engine oil
      • Transmission fluid
      • Power steering fluid
      • Brake fluid
      • Windshield washer fluid
      • Battery water
    • Check sensors
      • Smoke detectors
      • Carbon monoxide detectors
      • Driving safety detectors
      • Dashboard cameras
    • Assess engine health
    • Run the generator to determine its condition
    • Check and replenish kits
      • Emergency toolbox
      • First aid kit
    • Check tire health and pressure
    • Inspect slideout elements
      • Function
      • Lubrication
    • Check under the vehicle for pests and clean it out
    • Clean the interiors
    • Clean the air conditioner vents and ducts using a vacuum

Semiannual or Seasonal Maintenance

    • Thoroughly examine the vehicle for damages
      • On the chassis
      • Functional issues such as problems with the engine, brakes, and the like
      • Minor damages on the interiors and exteriors
    • Wax your chassis
    • Check and lubricate high-friction metal parts
    • Inspect the water filter and change it if necessary
    • Detail the interiors
    • Check the vehicle’s weight
    • Inspect and refresh sealants that are exposed to the elements

Annual Maintenance

    • Inspect all sealing systems and address any issue that may come up
    • Assess propane tanks and replace them if needed
    • Service all essential mechanisms
      • Brakes
      • Heating and cooling systems
      • Engines including belts and hoses
    • Check and test safety equipment, and address any issues
    • Update your maintenance logs and take note of any procedures you did
    • Check tire rotation
    • Ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working, and change their batteries

The Bottom Line

Your RV is your home away from home during your nature trips. Make sure you properly take care of it by doing preventative maintenance, so you can get more mileage from your RV and enjoy more of these adventures in the future.

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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