While the weather is warming up and the birds are singing, now is a good time to get your RV ready for the road! If you winterized your RV or stored it for the off season, there are a few steps you’ll want to take before you hit the road this summer.
Here are our suggestions to get your RV ready for the camping season:
1. Make Sure Your Batteries Are In Good Working Order
If you’ve kept your RV’s batteries in storage all winter, it’s crucial that you ensure the batteries are charged and ready to go. The condition of your batteries will depend on how well you cared for them during the winter months. If you spent all winter periodically recharging your batteries and checking for leaks, you should be good to go. If not, your first step to getting back on the road is to recharge your batteries. An RV battery can discharge up to 10 percent of current every month from leakage, and if you hit the road before getting your batteries ready you might find yourself in a sticky situation. Before you start working on your batteries, be sure to wear gloves and safety glasses and disconnect your RV from all power sources. Check the battery terminals for corrosion and make sure none of the batteries have any damage such as cracks. Make sure your battery disconnect is off. If you removed your battery for storage, reinstall it. You should make absolute sure the battery was properly reconnected. If you’re not sure how to reconnect your battery, you can have it done by a qualified service center. If there are any batteries that need to be replaced, make sure to replace all of them. It is dangerous to only replace one battery at a time. After fully charging lead acid batteries, you should add distilled water as required. Only add water to fully charged batteries.
2. Get Your Water System Ready To Go
If you winterized your RV, you’re going to have to run fresh water through your system until all the antifreeze has been removed. If for any reason you added antifreeze to the fresh water holding tank, make sure you drain everything from the tank and add potable water. Open all the faucets and run them until the water runs clear, then turn off all the faucets and the water pump. Take the water heater out of bypass mode. If your water heater doesn’t have a bypass mode, all antifreeze will need to be drained. Replace any water filter cartridges removed for storage.
3. Check Your Plumbing
Check all plumbing for leaks. Make sure all your tanks and lines are free of cracks or damage. Once you have fresh water in the holding tank, turn on your water pump and pressurize the system until the pump shuts off. If the pump cycles back on, it means there is a leak somewhere. Find the leak and fix it or take it to a qualified RV service center for repair.
4. Sanitize Your Water System
Make sure everything is clean and ready for action. Make sure all your drains are closed and drain plugs are installed. Use a quarter cup of bleach for every fifteen gallons of water your fresh water tank holds. Mix the bleach and water in a one-gallon container and pour the solution into the fresh water tank fill, then fill the holding tank with potable water. Turn the water pump on and run water through all hot and cold faucets until you smell bleach. Close the faucets and let it sit for twelve hours, then drain all the water and refill the fresh water tank with potable water. Turn the pump on, open all faucets, and run the water until you no longer smell bleach. You need to repeat the process as necessary to eliminate all traces of bleach.
5. Check Your Propane Tanks
Check to make sure the seals and hoses on your LP system haven’t dried out or cracked. Make sure there is no rodent damage on the wires and hoses. Turn off all LP appliances in your RV and turn on your leak detector. Make sure to take precautions when checking your LP. Be careful to not create sparks or even smoke when checking the LP. Once you’ve got everything shut off, open the valve on your tank all the way and smell for leaks. Apply a soapy water solution to the valve and regulator and look for bubbling. If you suspect a leak, immediately turn off the propane and have an RV service technician inspect and repair the leak.
6. Make Sure Your Appliances Are In Good Working Order
If your LP tanks have any remaining propane and the tanks are in good shape, open the gas supply and test all propane-powered appliances to ensure they are working properly. Make sure your water heater tank is full before you test it. After you’ve finished checking all propane appliances, plug your RV in and check all 120V appliances. Make sure you have a proper electrical source (30 or 50 amp). Before testing your refrigerator’s electric mode, make sure it has returned to room temperature after your LP test. If anything isn’t in good working order, have it checked by a qualified RV technician.
7. Check Your Tires
Did you know your tires can lose 2-3PSI per month of storage? It’s important to make sure they’re properly inflated before you hit the road to prevent any accidents. Use a quality tire gauge to make sure you’re at the right PSI recommended by the tire manufacturer for your RV’s load. While you’re at it, make sure no tires need to be replaced and check for uneven wear and cracks. Don’t forget to check your spare!
8. Make Sure Your Power Train Is Maintained
Check all your fluid levels: transmission, power steering, engine coolant, engine oil, windshield washer, and brake fluids. Make sure they’re at the proper levels recommended by the manufacturer. If they’re low, try to find the problem and fix it or take it to a qualified RV service center. Start the engine of your motorhome to make sure your gauges are all giving proper readings and all lights are working and make sure all maintenance is up to date.
9. Check Your Generator
Check the oil level in your generator and inspect the exhaust system for any damage prior to starting. You should never run a generator with a damaged exhaust system. If you haven’t started or used your generator during storage, start and run it for about two hours with at least a half-rated load before starting your camping season. Make sure to service your generator according to manufacturer’s specifications. If your generator needs any servicing, now is a good time to do so. If your generator won’t start or continues to surge after starting, it should be checked and repaired by a reputable service facility.
10. Check Your Interior
Give your interior a good cleaning. While you’re at it, check for any signs of insects or rodents and look for any leaks or damage. If you find any bulging, discoloration, or strange odors it’s important to get it taken care of before it gets out of hand. Water damage can add up quickly and even total your RV if you let it slide!
11. Check The Exterior
Give your RV a good wash and check the seals and seams for leaks. Checking your seam and seals for leaks should be done at the beginning and end of each camping season. Inspect all roof and body seams, and check all openings cut into the RV for signs of cracking or damage. Reseal any seams that are damaged. Make sure you check with your RV’s manual or RV dealer to make sure which sealants are compatible with the materials you are attempting to seal. Maintaining the seals and seams on your RV is very important to prevent water damage, which can become very expensive to repair. While you’re checking the outsides of your rig, make sure your awning, slideouts, and taillights work. If you find any signs of damage or you’re simply not comfortable with repairing seals and seams, take your RV to a qualified service center.
12. Check All Safety Features To Make Sure They’re Still Working
Make sure your smoke detector, LP gas detector, and carbon monoxide detector are all functioning properly. Review your emergency plans and make sure everyone is able to act quickly in case of fire, severe weather, or any other emergency you may encounter while traveling. Make sure your first aid kit is fully stocked and your fire extinguishers do not need to be replaced. If your RV has any other safety features, such as a backup camera or a wind sensor for the awning, make sure they’re all in working order. Make sure your brakes and lights are also working properly. If not, bring your RV to a qualified RV service center for repair.
13. Make Sure All Waste Systems Are In Good Shape
There’s nothing worse than discovering a problem with your black tank or dumping hose when you’re at the campground! Check all hoses for leaks and holes. Once you know your hose in good shape, check your black and gray tanks for cracks and leaks. Empty your tanks and check the valve seals by carefully moving the handle in increments to make sure everything’s working the way it should. If it’s sticking, you can add some lubricant to the tanks.
If you have any questions or need any help getting ready for the camping season, feel free to call us at 1-866-546-9579 (Kentucky) or 833-556-1346 (Georgia}! Our service technicians (ext. 2) can help you with any RV maintenance needs you may have, and our parts department (ext. 3) can help you get what you need for your best camping season yet!