The travel season is upon us, and it’s time to get your RV ready for camping. As eager as you may be to get on the road, there are a few preparations that should take place first. Pedata RV Center has prepared a list of RV inspection items to check in order to get your recreational vehicle ready for the road.
- Exterior check – After sitting for awhile during the winter months, it’s not unusual for water leaks to be present. The expansion and contraction with the fluctuating temperatures can cause leaks that could prove detrimental as your RV is exposed to the elements. Be sure to look over the roof, windows, A/C mounts, and entry doors. Make sure that the caulking is not cracked, and that there are no gaps anywhere that would allow water in. Failing to do this could result in serious water damage to your RV.
- Inspect your tires – Closely examine your tires to be sure that there are no cracks in the sidewalls or between the treads. If you find any evidence of cracking rubber, have the tire/tires replaced. Be sure to check the pressure in each tire, inflating it to the recommended PSI. The owner’s manual to your RV will advise you of just how much pressure the tires should hold.
- Appliances – Make sure that the exterior access covers for the refrigerator and water heater are in good condition. Also, check that all of your appliances are clean and in good working order. See to it that they are free of any spider webs, dead insects, small vermin, or any other debris. Light air pressure can be used to clean out the burner area of your stove, but no high pressure should be blown up the refrigerator chimney.
- Battery Check – Inspect your batteries before you set out for your trip. Check the battery terminals, connections and the battery trays for corrosion. If you find any, use hot water and baking soda to clean it off. Remember that when you work on a battery, it’s important to wear protective gloves and safety glasses. It is always a good idea to have the battery tested after it has sat for awhile without being used. Be sure that you remove and replace the battery in a proper, safe manner if you do take it in to the shop for testing. If you do end up replacing a battery, don’t add a new battery to a bank of old ones; all of the batteries in a bank should be replaced. Keep in mind that the coach batteries are banked separately from the chassis batteries.
- L.P. gas check – Before checking the liquid propane gas, make sure that all of the appliances are shut off, assure that nobody is smoking and that there are no open flames nearby. Also, assure that the leak detector inside the unit is turned on. Open the valves on your propane tanks, and make sure that the odor of gas isn’t present. If you coat the valves and regulators with soapy water, the leaks will make themselves evident with bubbles foaming up. If you find any leaks, make sure to have them repaired by a professional. Dry winter months can cause seals to fail.
- Water system – First, make sure that all the faucets are closed and that the water heater bypass valve is in the “normal position.” You can use the city water connection to fill the tanks. It’s a good idea to turn on your hot and cold-water faucet while you are filling the tank. This will allow the air in the pipes to escape. Take a close look at the pipes and faucets to make sure there are no leaks. Look at the water heater’s over pressure safety valve, as well as the drain plug outside of the RV to make sure there are no leaks. Once the water is running steadily, shut off the faucets and disconnect from the city water connection. Fill up the fresh water tanks and reopen the hot and cold-water faucets until the flow stops, then close them again. Turn the fresh water pump on and, once it’s running, wait for approximately 25 minutes after it kicks off to see if the pump is going to kick on again. If it does, it’s an indicator that the pressure is dropping, or that there is leak in the system. If the pump doesn’t cycle back on, your water system is ready to go. Oh, and run enough water through the faucets to be sure that all of the antifreeze is gone.
- Appliances – Now it’s time to run a test on your RV’s appliances. First, make sure that the L.P. gas detector is turned on. Light one of the burners on the stove in order to fill the L.P. lines. Light another appliance fueled by the L.P. gas to make sure it’s functioning properly too. You can test your water heater, but make sure there’s water in it before turning on the fuel.
- Generator Check – Assuming your generator has sat for a long period of time without being used, you’ll need to clear the fuel lines of air. This can be done with the primer feature if you have one. Once you see the fuel pump indicator light come on, let it run for about 30 seconds to make sure that the fuel gets to the carburetor, then it should be easy to fire up. If there is no primer feature, you’ll need to just crank it until it starts, allowing the starter to cool down after each 15 seconds of cranking. Continue this cycle until it starts up. Once you get the generator going, and it has run for awhile, check the oil level and make sure the filter is clean.
Be sure to inspect the sewer hoses, the waste tank valves and the awnings to be sure they are all in good condition.
There’s no better way to travel than in an RV, and in order to make sure your coach provides you with years and years of good service, stay on top of the maintenance items before a problem occurs. Remember, like most things in life … it’s much better to be proactive than reactive!