Author: Chelsea Barron
Are you ready to prepare your RV for Spring Camping? Springtime is HERE and we couldn’t be more excited for camping season! As the days get longer and warmer, you might be ready to prepare for the warm, wonderful months of taking your RV out on adventures.
There's no time to waste. Start preparing yourself by learning exactly what you’ll need to do to your RV as the sun thaws the winter snow and ice.
Below are 10 steps you’ll want to take before hitting the road in your RV for the first time this year.
#1: Check for Water Leaks
Water leaks are the most common problem people find after their rig has spent a winter in storage. Because water can be so very destructive, this is something you should be keeping an eye on throughout the cold months. That said, you’ll also want to do an extra close inspection upon pulling your rig out of the storage lot.
Begin by looking at the ceiling and walls for discoloration. If you find discolored, wet, or soft spots, you’ll have to track down the source of the leak and get it patched up before repairing the damage.
After checking the interior, head outside and check out the seals around all windows and doors, as well as the seals on the corners of your RV. If these appear cracked or damaged, go ahead and reseal them using RV-specific sealant.
Finally, climb onto the roof to check the seals around vents and other rooftop items, and to check the rubber itself for damage. Reseal if needed, and patch any tears of holes with a patch kit or Eternabond tape.
Related Read: Top Tips For Maintaining Your RV’s Roof
#2: Look at Your Tires
Believe it or not, sitting for long periods of time is super hard on tires. The weather can cause damage, making the tires dangerous to drive on. Therefore, you will want to carefully inspect your tires right away, looking for cracks, wear, and other noticeable issues.
If you find any problems at all, be sure to replace the tires right away. Additionally, you’ll want to replace the tires if they’re over 6 years old, whether or not they appear worn or damaged.
Related Read: RV Tires: Safety on the Road
#3: Clean It Up
After sitting for a few months, your rig has likely accumulated some dust, bugs, and spider webs. Clean the exterior and interior well, making sure to get into little nooks such as the water heater compartment, fridge vent, and roof vent fan.
#4: Prepare Your Water System
Hopefully you winterized your RV before putting it into storage. Now it’s time to undo that process by switching bypass valves to allow water to go through the water heater and running water through every faucet and the toilet until all of them run clear. While doing this, watch your water lines and drain pipes for leaks so you can repair any problems with the water system right away.
Some people also like to use this opportunity to clean their fresh water tank. This isn’t a bad idea, and instructions on how to do this fairly easily can be found here.
#5: Do Battery Maintenance
Unhook your RV from all electricity, turn off all appliances, turn off the main power switch, and take a look at your battery. Clean the terminals using a solution of baking soda and hot water before reconnecting the cables tightly. If your battery requires water fill ups, be sure to check the fluid level and top up with distilled water as needed.
#6: Inspect the Propane System
Propane leaks can be disastrous. For this reason, you will want to check out your propane system before your first camping trip of the season.
First, turn off all propane appliances, avoid bringing any kind of flame nearby, and turn on the leak detector inside the RV. When those things are finished, open the propane tank valves and smell for leaks. Spray a solution of soapy water on all valves and regulators to test for leaks, which will cause bubbling if they exist.
If you detect leaks, turn off the propane and be sure to have these fixed before you head out camping.
Related Read: Propane 101: What Responsible RVers Need to Know
#7: Test Appliances
If the battery and propane system are good to go, head inside and test out your appliances. Leave the propane valves open, turn the main power switch back on, and plug into shore power if possible.
The stove and oven must be tested and should be used first in order to get propane into the lines. Be aware that both appliances may be difficult to light at first, so be patient. Next, turn the fridge on, place a water bottle inside, and wait for a day or two to ensure the fridge is cooling. Test both the A/C unit and the furnace to make sure they are operational as well, and make sure to fill the water heater tank before turning it on to test it.
#8: Start Your Generator
If you have a generator, now is the time to get it going again. Generators can be hard to start after sitting through the winter because there is no longer fuel in the lines. If your generator has a “prime” feature, go ahead and use that until the fuel pump indicator light comes on. At that point, run the pump for about 20 seconds before attempting to start the generator.
Don’t have a prime feature? You’ll just need to crank the generator until it starts. While doing this, be sure to give it a break after each 15 seconds of cranking to prevent damage.
Once the generator has been running for about 15 minutes, check the oil level. You’ll also want to check the air filter and replace it if necessary.
#9: Replace Your Sewer Hose
RV sewer hoses have a very limited lifespan. After a while, they tend to develop cracks, something you never want to have in a hose that carries waste water. For this reason, we recommend replacing your sewer hose at the beginning of each season in order to avoid stinky problems.
#10: Roll Out the Awning
Finally, you’ll want to roll out the awning to check for mildew as well as holes and other damage. Wash the awning well and patch any holes or tears before rolling it back up.