- Jessica Rider
17 things to check on your RV to ensure a great start to camping season
Updated: Apr 23
As certified RV technicians we see all sorts of issues with RV’s from the simplest things to massive repairs that could cost lives. Some things can cause major issues if not properly maintained. The truth is though most of the repairs we see could have been avoided with a simple maintenance plan. As more RV’ers have gotten into this activity we love so much it is important that we pass along the information to help everyone maintain their RVs and continue to create lifelong adventures with their families.
Our team of technicians has sat down and made this list of the 17 important things to do to begin a regular maintenance schedule on your RV and ensure that you start off your camping season on the right foot. You can also download a free checklist HERE to keep in your RV for proper maintenance throughout the year.
This may seem obvious but the truth is there are so many places that water can get into throughout your RV that you would not even think about. First check the obvious places, under sinks both inside and outside kitchens, around toilets and showers and at water connection points. Further than this though you need to check the seals around your windows and doors and reseal as needed.
We had a water leak from a window with a broken seal that we did not realize until we found water leaking from behind our kitchen cabinets that had run down the exterior wall. It is good practice to not only check all the pipes for cracks and leaks but also all the windows and doors for potential cracks or areas water can get in.
A/C system both inside and out for function and clean it
It is recommended by the RV manufacturers that you clean your A/C unit and oil it twice per year. You need to not only inspect the roof unit by removing the cover and checking for damage or debris but also your inside vents for damage, dust or clogs. Do a thorough cleaning of all your A/C units at least two times per year to ensure proper function when you need it most.
Roof for holes, cracked seals or wear
Your roof is typically made of a thin membrane material that can be punctured throughout your camping season. Safely climb on your roof if you are able and check for any holes, even as small as a pin hole, and patch them. Also check the seals around all vents and openings on your roof including the side wall seals. Reseal as needed.
Brakes, hubs, tires and axles
When it comes to repairs that can be more deadly this section should never be skipped. If any of these things fail you could be in serious trouble. We have seen more axle and brake issues in the last year than we ever thought we would and we all know tire blowouts are a common thing on RVs. Check your brakes along with your hubs, axles and leaf springs. Ensure proper function of all of these things and that your axles and leaf springs are not overloaded once you put all of your items in for the camping season. Check your tires for even tread wear and for amount of tread left on them. Also look for any cracks or bulges on your tires and replace as necessary.
Slides for rot, mechanism functionality, wear
We love slides and all the added space they give us in our RV’s but for this to happen your slides need to function properly. Yes we have had numerous slide issues over the years from cables to motors to alignment and power issues. With some simple maintenance and regular checking of these slides for things like rot, mechanism function seal tightness and normal wear you can avoid a bigger repair bill. Extend and retract your slides a few times to ensure it slides properly, is in alignment and there are no hindrances to it working properly.
Water heater to ensure properly functioning
No one likes to jump in the shower only to have no hot water. Once you dewinterize your system for the year it is a good idea to test the hot water in your RV at all the faucets to ensure that your water gets hot.
Control panel for frayed wires
The first step in this process is to make sure you know where your control panel is. This panel controls the flow of electricity throughout your RV. Typically these may be located in a lower area of the main part of your RV. For example in our fifth wheel the control panel is on the steps leading up to the bedroom. Open the control panel and do a visual inspection for any frayed or loose wires. Always ensure that your power is turned off for this by flipping the main breaker. If anything seems frayed or loose it is a good idea to repair this prior to camping season.
Battery for correct voltage and connectors
You can loose battery life over time so it is a good idea to have a battery tester on hand to test the voltage of your batteries. Also do a visual inspection of the connectors for corrosion.
Shore power cable and plug for wear
Do a full inspection of your main power cord that goes from your RV to the shore power at an RV site. Check the plug for any signs of burns and look at the entire cable for cracks or wear. Replace the cord if any damage is noticed.
Furnace for functionality and clean
When we think of camping season you may not think about using your furnace but the truth is you may get caught in a late season storm in the Spring or an early bought of winter in the fall and having your furnace working properly will be key here. Ensure that when you turn your furnace on it lights correctly and will heat up to the temperature you are looking for.
Appliances for proper function on both electric and propane, if applicable
Some appliances in RVs run on electric only and some will function on both propane and electric. It’s important to test all of your appliances prior to camping season on all their power sources to ensure you will not have any issues during the season. Nothing is worse than finding out that your refrigerator has malfunctioned right as you back into your RV site.
Emergency exits open and close properly
You may not think to check your emergency exits and to be honest you may have never actually opened them. If this is the case then it is important that you test these prior to the season. It could be detrimental if you are in an emergency situation and cannot get the exit open.
Fire extinguisher and batteries in smoke detectors
Hit the test switch on your smoke alarms, CO and propane detectors throughout your RV to make sure they are functioning properly. Be sure to change the batteries on any detectors that are not working. Make sure your fire extinguisher is not out of date.
Dates of your propane tanks and fill
It is important, especially if you purchase a used RV or have an older model, that you keep track of the dates on your propane tank. Many places that fill tanks will not fill a tank that is older than 10 years. Keep a log of the dates on your tank and before the season starts be sure your propane tanks are full.
Landing gear and stabilizing system for proper functionality
There is nothing worse than getting to your RV site for a weekend away and your landing gear will not properly extend or on a Sunday when you are ready to leave and they will not retract. We have had this problem ever since we bought our RV and have had to replace our landing gear to rectify the situation. Before you head out on the first trip do a run through in the driveway to make sure all your landing gear is functioning correctly and all of your stabilizing jacks extend and retract correctly.
Awning extension and retraction and clean
Many people never use the awning on their RV while others use it on every trip. Either way it is important to extend and retract it before you head out on that first trip for proper function. While you have it out it is a good idea to give it a good cleaning as well.
Proper function of all vents
If you are a lover of summer RV camping but must have your A/C then ensuring that you have proper air flow is important. Turn on the air conditioning in your unit and turn the temperature down to the lowest setting. Let it run and feel the air flow coming out of every vent. If a vent doesn’t seem to be pushing the same amount of air flow you may have a problem. It’s better to find this out before the season rather than in the middle of a 100 degree afternoon.
We have found that with proper maintenance your family can continue to enjoy many RV adventures, but we also find that those that don’t take the time to understand how to keep their RV functioning properly will find themselves calling us more and more. We are always happy to help everyone but the sole purpose of camping is to enjoy the outdoors more, not have your RV in the shop all the time for simple repairs.
If you need a checklist to keep you on track with your RV maintenance you can download it HERE. Keep this checklist in your RV and check off the items as you do them at the appropriate time.
Overall we want you to avoid costly repairs and enjoy more time in nature and you can do this with a little maintenance.
Or you can always call us to help! Text one of our techs with questions at 314-907-0937!