If you are searching for “preparing your RV for the 2018 camping season” this post should point you in the right direction.
If you store your RV over the winter months, there are steps you can take to get it ready for the upcoming camping season. Storing your RV, means no water is running, the electricity is not on, the waste water lines have not been used. There are a lot of considerations when it comes to taking your RV out of storage. Here is a small list of steps you can take to prepare your RV for the upcoming camping season.
The RV’s Exterior
Water leaks are one of the biggest issues that are found after the long winter months. Check the RV’s roof and all the caulking around the air conditioners, vents, windows, and doors to make sure there are no cracks or any pieces of missing caulk. Sometimes even the littlest cracks and holes can cause some serious water damage to your RV.
The RV’s Tires
Examine each of the RV’s tires for sidewall cracks and for cracks in between the treads. Any cracks you find should be taken seriously and have the tires replaced. Also, don’t forget to check your tire’s air pressure. To find the correct tire pressure recommended for your RV’s tires, check the owner’s manual from the RV’s manufacturer. There should also be a decal on the inside of the driver’s door or in a cabinet that has the suggested tire pressure on it.
Clean the Appliances
Examine all of the appliances, including the outside access covers for the refrigerator and water heater, for any debris like small animals, dead insects, nests and spider webs. Do a complete cleaning with household cleaners to clean dirt and dust inside the RV from it being in storage. You can use LIGHT air pressure from an air compressor to clean out the burner area, but DO NOT BLOW HIGH PRESSURE AIR UP THE REFRIGERATOR FLUE! Always consult your nearest RV service division if you are reluctant, or for detailed instructions on how to correctly clean your RV appliances.
Keep your RV batteries in good working condition by inspecting them before each season. Before checking and cleaning your batteries, make sure you wear safety glasses and latex or protective gloves, getting battery acid on you is not fun. Disengage the shore power and make sure all electrical items in your RV are off and the main switch is completely off.
Now that you’ve prepared your RV, inspect and clean any corroded terminals, connections, disconnect and remove the battery and completely clean the battery trays. A little hot water and baking soda works well to clean batteries. Be sure to check battery fluid levels if it is possible. When reinstalling the battery be sure and reconnect it properly. This time of the season is also a good time to get your battery tested. Make sure to disconnect and remove the battery correctly and take it into a RV service division, to have the battery properly tested. If you need to change out the battery, make sure to replace all of the battery banks together. DO NOT add a new battery with your old batteries (chassis batteries and coach batteries are banked separately).
Liquid Propane (L.P.)
Follow the following steps before checking your L.P.
- Make sure there is no smoking, open flames or sparks nearby.
- Make sure all L.P. appliances and items are turned completely off.
- Make sure the leak detector inside the RV is turned ON.
First, open the valves on your L.P. tanks. Smell around the tanks for any leaks. Next, check the valves and regulators by using a mixture of water and soap. If you do detect a leak, have a propane professional examine and repair it for you. Occasionally the seals will dry out over the winter months causing new leaks that weren’t there before being taken out storage.
Next it’s time to test your water lines and pipes. Before filling your RV with water, make sure the water heater bypass valve is in the “normal” position and all the faucets are closed. It’s good idea to connect to your “City Water” to fill your RV up for the first time. At this time you can also use your fresh water and tank.
Turn on the cold and hot water faucet while you fill it, letting the air out until the water flows steadily. Examine all faucets and pipes for any leaks. Inspect the water heater over pressure safety valve and the water heater drain plug (outside of the RV) for any leaks. After the water runs consistently, turn off faucets and disconnect from the “City Water” connection. Next, fill up the fresh water in the RV’s onboard tanks. Reopen the hot and cold water faucet until the water flow ceases. Now close the faucets. Switch the fresh water pump to the on position. When the pump starts, wait 25-30 minutes to hear if the pump cycles itself on again. If the pump cycles on, it indicates a leak or pressure drop. If the pump doesn’t cycle on, the system should be good and ready to use. Be sure to run enough water through each faucet to be sure all of the RV antifreeze is eliminated. This can be a difficult process. If you’re not sure what to do, make sure to bring your RV into your closest RV service division.
Test the Appliances
After you have thoroughly tested the L.P. and water systems, and you have everything up and running, it is time to test the appliances. Make sure your L.P. gas leak detector is on. First, start off by lighting a stove top burner, filling the liquid propane. lines. Next, you can light another L.P. fired item, for instance the refrigerator. Before testing the water heater, make sure it is full of water before lighting it.
The RV Generator
To get the RV generator ready, you will need to start it up and also inspect certain functions on it. Starting your generator can be tricky, especially if your generator has been sitting for a lengthy period of time. The absence of fuel in the lines is usually why your generator won’t initially start. If you have one, prime your generator until your indicator light turns. Let the pump run for around 20 seconds to deliver fuel to the carburetor – the generator should start much faster. If you do not have a prime function on your generator, you will have to manually crank it until it starts. Let the starter rest to cool itself after about 15 seconds of cranking. Cycle the generator starter until it starts running. Once you have the RV generator started and it’s been operating a while, check the level of the oil. Check the air filter for debris or nests and to make sure it doesn’t need replacing.
RV sewer hoses have a finite lifespan. When you are inspecting your hoses, wear surgical or latex gloves, you never know when you are going to need a clean, dry pair of hands. Examine the RV’s sewer hoses for any holes or tears before using it. Rodents and other small mammals like RV sewer hoses, make sure they haven’t made a meal out of your hoses. If you do find the hoses compromised, it’s probably a good idea to replace them. It is also a good idea to replace them every few years, even if they look fine.
Waste Tank Valves
Examine the valve seal on the waste tank. Cautiously work the handle in and out in brief increments to make sure it is opening and closing correctly. NOTE: Make sure your tank is completely empty before performing this checkup. It is a good idea to take your RV to your local dump station, hook it up and then inspect the RV’s waste tank valves. Valve seals can dry out making them stick, thus making them harder to function. If the RV’s valve seal is hard to open, you can purchase a valve lube in the parts department.
Roll out your RV awning(s) and thoroughly inspect the fabric of the awning. Check for tears runs, holes, or if anything has detached. If you’re having problems extending your awning(s), please take it to a RV awning professional! The awning spring tension might need adjustment and they can be a little tricky. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS YOURSELF.
After Camping Inspection
It is good idea to get your RV thoroughly inspected after a camping trip to ensure that your RV suffered no set backs during your trip, and that there are no problems that have risen since the trip.