Here are basic RV maintenance tips from REAL RVers to newbie RVers that can save you time, money, and headaches…
A recent post regarding basic RV Maintenance in our RV Lifestyle Facebook group garnered a lot of attention. The posting member, Katherine, pointed out that newbie RVers often underestimate how much maintenance is required.
As she put it, “I just know the biggest reason we have considered getting out of RVing is maintenance,” and she’s not alone. I even recently posted an article, 10 RV Life Pros and Cons (Beyond the Obvious), that listed maintenance as a con.
Her original post stated that it occurred to her that a lot of soon-to-be or new RVers do not understand all the maintenance that goes into them. She then called for fellow RVers to make a list of maintenance tasks newbie RVers should be aware of.
Katherine started the list herself, which I’m going to share with you below. And then hundreds of other experienced RVers added to the list with over 400 comments.
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Basic RV Maintenace Newbie RVers Should Know
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Now, I’ve made videos and written a few articles on maintenance, like the above video and RV Pro Tip: Preventative Maintenance Every RVer Should Do. However, I think it’s only right of me to let other RVers give their input as well.
After all, I have learned so much from fellow RVers during our 10 years of living the RV Lifestyle. And I’m still learning!
So, I’m letting Katherine’s advice take the lead in this article. Thank you, Katherine, for giving us permission to share your wisdom and experiences. I’m also going to share other commenters’ advice below.
Granted, not everyone’s going to agree, nor is everything going to apply to every RV. But this following list certainly serves as a good basis for any new RVer to consider.
Here is Katherine’s maintenance list with some minor clarifying edits done by me:
- check roof and retouch Dicor every six months, full redo of Dicor every 2 to 3 years (Dicor is an RV industry leader for roof products, sealants, coatings, etc.)
- wheel bearings on travel trailer, every year
- tighten screws to compress the seal on A/C, every year
- treat seals on slides every six months
- lube slide mechanism every year
- winterizing every winter in climates where it regularly gets below freezing
- check and change water filter (including interior built-in by pump), every 3 months
- keep batteries topped off if lead acid (will need trickle charger when not actively camping)
- redo window seals and seals under edge of roof, every 7 years or when leaks (same for skylights)
- replace slide toppers and awning, every 10 years
- replace non-sag sealant around vertical surfaces, every 3-4 years if you wax semi-regularly
- check and refill fluid in nonsealed lead acid batteries, every 1 to 3 months
- replace CO detectors every 3 to 5 years (Tips for CO Safety in Your RV)
- replace smoke alarms every 10 years
- replace detector/smoke batteries every 6 months or at start of season
- replace roof vent lids 5 to 7 years or they shatter; skylights go about 7 to 10
- check gas orifices by the water heater, every 6 months
- replace or clean A/C filters, every 6 months or start of season
- wax outside, every 6 months
- roof replacement about 12 years if not metal/fiberglass
- sanitize water tanks 1* a year
More Maintenance Advice From Fellow RVers
Katherine ended her list with this callout: “What am I forgetting? I know it seems like we always have a list of tasks/ repairs on hand.”
Many RVers responded, adding their advice to the list, including the following. I’ve also included helpful links to expand on their advice.
Remember, these are suggestions from other RVers. If in doubt or unclear, read the manual that came with your RV and/or check with the manufacturer or your trusted RV service tech.
- Check all caulking BEFORE washing
- Use steel wool and spray foam to fill in gaps and openings (Read How to Keep Mice Out of Camper (5 Best Ways)
- Treat screw cover moldings on slide-outs with 303 RV Wash & Seal
- Check anode rod in water heater and drain yearly
- Check and tighten all wire connections regularly (loose wires can lead to RV fires)
- Check expiration dates and replace RV fire extinguishers as needed
- Cover your RV tires when in storage (Read RV Storage Tips)
- Tighten A/C screws and other accessible screws at the beginning of the season to cut down on noise
- Run generator at least once per month
- Tuneup generator 1-2x a year
- Check dates on propane tanks and replace or recertify when expired
- Check suspension for worn out parts annually
- Visually inspect underside of RV annually
- Check tires and tire pressure before every trip (Read The danger of underinflated RV Tires
- Replace RV tires every 3-5 years ( Read When to Replace RV Tires (Advice from Real RVers)
- Wheel bearings removed, cleaned, inspected, and repacked regularly depending on how much you drive
- Follow your RV owner manual’s for maintenance
The Facebook post is still getting comments added to it, so you may want to check out the complete post for even more advice. But, I want to end on an important note for all new RVers…
Don’t Let Maintenance Scare You Away!
I’m sure that lengthy maintenance list is threatening to scare away plenty of newbie RVers. Please, don’t let it!
I know it seems like A LOT. In truth, it is a lot. RVs do require a lot of maintenance. But so do houses.
HOWEVER, most of the above list can be completed in a day whenever you winterize and dewinterize your RV. And some of it only needs to be done every few years. So, don’t despair!
I’ll tell you from my own experience that I was not a handy guy when I started RVing. I was surprised and a bit overwhelmed by the tasks, but I learned over time!
So, don’t let advice like this scare you away. Instead, use it to give you a jumpstart on living the RV lifestyle in the most stress-free way because preventative maintenance will drastically reduce your stress!
To help build your confidence, I also highly recommend the following to any new or even experienced RVer…
Get the Home Study Course today and worry about the road, not the repairs!
Every time you move your RV it’s like driving through a hurricane during an earthquake. Parts break and many items need to be maintained, this program will show you how you can save time and money by gaining the confidence to take on the majority of the issues you’ll come across. Don’t get caught with your RV in the shop! Learn how you can maintain and repair your RV at your own pace and at the most convenient time for you! This course is produced by the National RV Training Academy.