Monthly RV maintenance can save you major mechanical bills and issues down the road. Waiting to run basic maintenance inspections allows simple problems to grow into potentially disastrous issues. Running a simple monthly checkup is prudent and will ensure you have everything in order to stay safe on the road.
Tires are a critical element for any RV or travel trailer. The biggest issue is tire rot and wear patterns that can expose the threads and lead to a blow out. Do a monthly inspection of your tires and look for rotting and wear. Also check the tire pressure before each trip to ensure the tires are all inflated to the recommended pressure setting.
After doing an inspection, seek professional services for rotations and replacements. Always carry a full spare and check to ensure you have ramps and a jack at the ready for roadside repairs and tire changes. Many experienced RV owners also carry tire plugs and a portable air compressor. Plugs are a fantastic tool for quick field repairs that will get you along to the next tire shop for a full repair.
Lights and Electrical Checks
Always run a check on the break lights, running lights, taillights and headlights before taking a trip. Doing a monthly lights check is also useful to catch burnt out bulbs and short circuits well in advance of any trip. Your driving lights are extremely important on an RV and travel trailer.
After inspecting the vehicle and trailer lights, check the connection where the trailer plugs into the driving vehicle. Clean these connections on occasion to ensure they are making contact and operating consistently. After inspecting and confirming all the interior lights are operational, move to the interior and check the house lights. Check them while being plugged into power and also while operating off the battery. This monthly check will confirm that everything is working while alerting you to burnt out bulbs and potential issues with the electrical system.
You won’t get far without oil lubricating your system. Doing a quick inspection of critical fluids only takes a few minutes and is something you should do frequently. Check your fluids monthly at the least, more if you are covering long distances on the road.
Start with the engine cold and do a check of the oil, washer fluid, coolant and transmission fluid. Next, run the motor and drive for ten minutes or so. Leave the engine running and do a hot check of the transmission fluid. Refill as necessary but be very careful to avoid overfilling the transmission specifically. Too much fluid will actually create air pockets in the system and will prevent the fluid from properly lubricating the gears and components.
If the transmission fluid check is outside of your skill set, visit a mechanic to check this while also greasing any suspension parts. A monthly or bi-monthly mechanic visit to run through the fluids will keep everything in order. Fluid loss is a serious issue and can lead to breakdowns and major mechanical failures.
Internal Fluid Tanks
The freshwater, greywater and blackwater tanks all deserve a monthly checkup. Do an inspection of the plumbing at the same time and run water through the system while looking for leaks. If the blackwater tank has not received maintenance, do a full flush and add treatment to prevent smell buildup while the system is idle.
Your tanks are generally easy to maintain but the plumbing on any rig can leak and have issues over time. Keep an eye on the pipes and do a monthly look through the pipes and the areas adjacent to pipes for water damage. Fix any leaks immediately to prevent rotting and damage to the structure.
Slideouts and Structure Checks
Your slideouts, vents, and general structural elements all deserve the occasional checkup as well. Look for grime and dirt that can jam the slideouts and do a full cleaning and lubrication treatment if needed. Look for damage around vents and along seams on the camper body. Areas where caulking and silicon are deteriorating may require a fresh treatment to seal everything up. Check the roof each month as well and consider a fresh paint job to reseal the entire roof if water is causing damage and threatening to invade the interior.
Newer RV models and travel trailers will last for years before any of the sealants and paint begins to show wear. If stored in a covered area, they can go for a decade or more without issues. It always pays to do a quick inspection however. Playing it safe and keeping up with the details on your RV or trailer is a small time investment.