Unless you’ve been doing some winter traveling or camping, Spring means time to get your RV back in shape. Whether you have a Class A Motorhome or an efficient conversion van or popup camper, there are five “must do” things to get ready for summer RVing.
Plan on taking a relaxed morning or afternoon, at least two to three hours, to get your RV back in road-worthy condition. Even if you take your RV to your dealer for servicing you’ll still need to do these five things. The better you know your vehicle, the easier it will be to recognize when something is just not right. So do it yourself if you can. You’ll be glad you did.
- (1) Dewinterize Your RV
Cold, snowy, damp Canadian winters not only put a stress on us, but on our RV’s. Rubber, including tires, hoses and gaskets that are meant to flex, be used, and move to retain their pliability can crack and leak when left to sit for months at a time. Batteries can drain down and propane tanks can rust and crack. If you aren’t mechanically inclined or physically capable of doing all of these things, do what you can, then get your dealer to check the rest. There are many detailed instructions on the Internet on how to do each of these things, but start with this checklist:
- Before moving your RV from its winter location, be it out of the garage or onto the driveway, check the air pressure in the tires. They might look fine, but the pressure could be low.
- Before starting up the RV, crawl under the RV to make sure animals (yes, even in the city), rodents, wasps or birds haven’t build nests underneath, on top of the tires or in the engine compartment. Squirrels and mice are especially fond of storing winter nuts and food in your engine.
- Test your battery(s) and recharge if needed.
- Check the engine compartment and the RV plumbing and heating system for cracked, soft, or leaking hoses – especially around your propane tanks and appliances.
- Check gaskets, slides (if you have them) windows, doors, interior roofline and air conditioning and roof vents for cracks, and leaks.
- Open your awning and check for nests, tears or loose fittings.
- Test the electrical system and all appliances.
- Check tire pressure and tire walls for signs of cracking, dry rot and leaks.
- Check your wheel bearings and brakes. If you can’t do this yourself, have your mechanic or dealer check for you.
- Inspect your propane tanks for rust or cracking. Repair or replace or fill as needed
- Blow out the burner assembly of propane appliances to dislodge spider webs and spiders. Spiders love the odor of propane and are often attracted to and build nests or lay eggs in propane lines -which can cause serious problems when you go to light your stove.
- Drain any anti-freeze from your black and grey water systems, and clean them thoroughly.
- Top off your fresh water tank with fresh water after cleaning and sanitizing it.
- Uncoil your hoses and check/test them for leaks. If you haven’t stored them capped, then flush with water to remove spiders and other things that may have nested inside.
- Check and tighten any bolts, screws, nuts or hardware inside and outside your RV, including your awning, door handles etc.
- Climb up on top of the RV, or use a ladder, to check for cracks, or cracked or loose fan or air-conditioning vents and to remove any winter debris of branches, leaves or dirt.
- (2) Restock supplies and food. Food left in your RV over the winter can freeze and thaw and sometimes burst – spewing or leaking food that then rots or spoils. So check all your cabinets and any canned or other foodstuffs for expiration dates and damage. Restocking can include changing sheets, washing or replacing towels, toilet paper, canned food items, paper plates, soap or other items you use on a regular basis.
- (3) If you didn’t top off your gas tank before you stored your RV, now’s the time to do it. Add any dealer approved gas treatment as well. Check all your fluid levels, including windshield wiper, water, oil, and transmission fluids.
- (4) Roll up your sleeves and do some good old-fashioned spring-cleaning. Take everything out of the RV, wipe down the walls with your favorite cleaning solution, turn the mattresses, wash or clean the curtains. Hose down the outside, wash the exterior, and climb up on the roof to scrub off winter dirt, mold and debris. Test all the door knobs, latches and appliances, wipe out and air out the refrigerator, vacuum and clean the carpet, wipe off all the hard surfaces and open up all the windows (on a warm, sunny day) and let your RV air out for the afternoon. Not only will it smell better for your first trip of the season, a thorough cleaning is more apt to reveal leaks, problems and issues you might otherwise miss.
- (5) Schedule a pre-season maintenance check for items you can’t do yourself – like checking the brakes, lubricating the chassis, checking wheel-bearings, getting a tune-up and repairing or replacing any propane related issues or servicing any appliances.
There. Once your top five must-do tasks are done you can sit down and do one more bonus item – plan your first trip of the season! You’ve worked hard to get your RV in shape and now’s the time to think about how you’re going to use it.