Tips, Tricks & Trends

Taking Care of an RV is Different Than a Car

Regular maintenance of a car is something most drivers are familiar with. Things like changing the oil and rotating the tires is not an odd thing to hear about in connection with keeping a car running well. But, many people also own an RV. Those need regular maintenance as well. RV maintenance, however, is not the same as the maintenance you might perform on the family car. So, what are things are different with RV care? Here are a few things that answer that question.

An RV sits still longer than the family vehicle

Pop-up camper set up in a campsite complete with a campfire
Campers set up the pop-up camper and campfire at the Agua Caliente State Campsite in the Anzo Borrego Desert outside of San Diego, California | Sandy Huffaker/Corbis via Getty Images

RVs tend to sit in garages, driveways, or storage lots for longer periods between usage than when compared to a regular car or truck. So, when it comes time to use them for the family vacation or quick get-away, it is usually wise to think ahead. A few days ahead of the trip, it is usually good to go over the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. It will be with the manual. Then, in addition to those, the following few things should be checked on.

Pre-trip inspection of the RV: Tires and Suspension

An Airstream RV trailer along with others, wait in a long line to enter the south entrance to Yellowstone National Park
An Airstream travel trailer | George Frey/Getty Images

Before the trip, check the tires. Make sure they are holding proper pressure. Also, balding tires should be replaced. Suppose the tread of the existing tire is uneven. In that case, suspension components should also be examined to ensure that nothing is bent that leads to unevenness.

Pre-trip inspection of the RV: Roof debris

Green Toyota Tundra with Toyota Tundra with Scout Campers Olympic truck camper mounted in the bed
Toyota Tundra with Scout Campers Olympic truck camper | Scout Campers

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As part of the pre-trip inspection, one should also clear the roof of any debris (wear eye protection). Some RV units are tall. People on the ground may not realize that in addition to all the pine needles and oak leaves, there may also be small branches deposited on the roof of the vehicle from the last few storms, or maybe even a bird’s nest. So, examining and clearing the roof can be beneficial.

Pre-trip inspection of the RV: Functioning parts and leaks

It is also a good idea to check on a few other things before the trip such as if headlights, turn signals, and brake lights function correctly. If the RV has slide-outs, make sure they operate correctly before the trip. Check for water leaks, propane leaks, and any other kind of leak. Additionally, change out the battery for the smoke detector and change the air filter if necessary.

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Better to find out prior to the trip

This list of RV pre-trip inspection suggestions is by no means exhaustive. If one is feeling unsettled with moving their RV for the first time in a while and there is a sense of missing something, by all means, reach out to an RV dealership for an evaluation. Or, record yourself doing a pre-trip check, send it to an experienced person, and ask them if you missed anything.

Nothing can be more aggravating than arriving at a camping or RV site and suddenly discovering that things are not operating as they should. A little pre-trip inspection can go a long way to saving people from that aggravation. The old cliche rings true, with respect to RV traveling, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or rest and relaxation in this case.

Happy travels!