April 22, 2016
We have had all winter to plan excursions and daydream about the trips to come, and spring is finally upon us. RV season will soon be in full swing, which means it is time to go through the checklist and make sure everything is in good working order. It can be tempting to just jump in the RV and go, but remember that repairs done now are a lot less difficult, expensive, and frustrating than those done at the campground or on the side of the road. While every RV has its own unique set of needs, here are a few things look out for as you prepare for the first trip of the season.
Rain and snow can be rough on an RV that has been sitting uncovered all winter. Check the roof for any damage or pooling water. Take a look at the seals around vents and windows, looking for weathering or damage that may allow water to enter. If you find evidence of water inside, you can try to trace it back to the source by spraying down the RV with a garden hose or take it in to a professional. Inflate tires and check for leaks or damage. Pull out awnings, clean, and inspect for damage.
Spring is a great time to check the condition of batteries. Start by disconnecting and cleaning the terminals of any corrosion. If using a standard lead-acid battery, give it a full charge and check the fluid level inside the cells. If the level is low, add distilled water until the plates are covered or to the level recommended by the battery manufacturer
Clean and test the water system. Start by draining any antifreeze and water left in the system, then refill the fresh water tank while leaving a faucet open to allow air to escape. Take the water heater out of bypass mode and run all of the faucets long enough to flush everything out. Replace filters if needed. Test for plumbing leaks by turning all of the faucets and waiting for the water pump to turn off. If the water pump is running when when the faucets are off, there’s a leak somewhere.
Be sure that all of the various safety features are working correctly, especially the LP leak detector and smoke alarm inside the RV. Check the charge on fire extinguishers. If you’ll be towing, inspect the safety chains, wiring harness, and any couplings for wear and tear.