Note: With the official start of summer less than a month away, I thought today would be a good time to repost this blog from 2010.
A lot of us snowbirds and fulltimers who have been sitting still much of the winter are hitting the road, and weekend warriors are getting their RVs ready for vacations and summer camping trips. Is your rig ready for summer travel?
RVs are complex machines, and while I am far from a technical person, even I am capable of taking a few steps to make sure our motorhome is in the proper shape for the long miles ahead. It doesn’t take a mechanic or an RV tech to prep an RV for hot weather travel.
It takes just an hour or so to inspect your RV or tow vehicle’s chassis systems, which is time well spent, and can avoid hours sitting on the shoulder of the road waiting for a tow truck to arrive, and even more time spent in a repair shop.
The first step is to check all fluid levels: engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, radiator coolant level, and windshield washer fluid. While you’re in the engine compartment, check your air filter. A dirty air filter can really cut down on your fuel mileage, and make your engine work harder, too. Also, check all of your belts and hoses, as well as hose clamps for cracks or worn spots that can lead to failure (and expensive repairs) on the road. Spend a few moments looking over your wiring. Is anything frayed or loose? Did critters spend the winter nesting in your engine compartment, gnawing on the wire insulation?
Step two is to check your windshield wiper blades for wear, and then turn them on and be sure both are working properly. Then, check all exterior lights, including headlights, turn signals, emergency flashers, brake lights, and marker lights.
Next, check your starting and house batteries to be sure they are filled with distilled water, that all cables are tight, and that there is no corrosion on any connections.
Walk around your RV, looking for any leaks, and if you spot any suspicious spots on the ground, check to see where they came from.
Your tires are next. Check for uneven wear, any cracking or weather checking, and use a good tire pressure gauge to be sure all are properly inflated. I use a TireTraker tire pressure monitoring system to make this chore easier, and to monitor my tires when on the road.
Next, deploy all of your awnings. Are they working properly? Are they worn or frayed? Are the anchor clips on your window awnings secure?
Once you are done outside the RV, go inside and make sure that your air conditioner(s) are working properly. Extend and retract your slide rooms. Do the same with your leveling jacks. Check your refrigerator and water heater for proper operation if the RV has been stored all winter. When things sit for long periods of time, the gremlins seem to go to work on them.
No matter where you live, or where you spent the winter before starting your summer travels, it is always easier and cheaper to get a problem fixed at home than it is when you are broken down on the road.
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Thought For The Day – It’s true, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.