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A Comprehensive Guide To RV Maintenance Part 1: Exteriors And Scheduling

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RV Maintenance can seem daunting—these are large, complicated vehicles, and you can think that there's simply too much to manage. But think again.

With the right planning and knowledge, you can keep your RV running smoothly for every journey.

However difficult problems may seem now, if you need to make repairs on the road or while you’re travelling things are liable to be even more difficult, and expensive.

With that in mind, we’ve prepared a guide covering our best tips and strategies for RV Maintenance, beginning with planning and exterior maintenance in this post. In future posts we will cover interior maintenance, electrical, and other essential components.

Know Your Intervals 

It’s never a good idea to try and do all your RV maintenance at once. Different components and areas are going to require different intervals—some will need to be maintained after every use, others may require less frequent maintenance. Here are all of the key intervals, and what you should be looking at in each one. 

Cleaning Schedule:

  • Annual Maintenance
    These are usually the big-ticket items such as electrical systems, fuel tanks, seals, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Quarterly Maintenance
    This is when you need to be looking at items that require regular upkeep to keep your RV humming, such as filter changes and battery checks.

  • Monthly Maintenance
    Your monthly maintenance should include cleaning out the filters, washing your awning, and checking the generator still runs.

  • Weekly Maintenance
    Your RV still requires weekly maintenance, performing basic tasks such as dumping your tanks and cleaning debris from the roof.

  • After Use Maintenance
    There are a number of critical tasks you should perform after every journey, including checking your tire pressure and all of the lights on the vehicle. 

Exterior Maintenance 

It goes without saying—you want your RV to look good. No one wants to park up in a scenic environment like the one we have here at Salish without looking their best, but that isn’t only the reason you should be maintaining the exterior of your RV.

It’s also essential to the smooth running of your vehicle and can help pre-empt issues that could turn into expensive repairs down the line. Additionally, your RV’s exterior is the only thing between the vital internal components and external problems such as water damage. 

If you’re worried about water damage, here’s a handy guide on how to check for water damage

Roof Maintenance

Maybe it’s because it’s the one area of your RV you never lay eyes on—but many RV owners forget just how vital roof maintenance is.

RV roofing comes in three different types:  

  • Aluminum
    This is the rarest of the three, and will usually only be found on airstreams and some older models of RV. It requires less maintenance than the others but does add more weight to the vehicle. 

  • Fiberglass
    Fiberglass is the most expensive of the three, but it is often preferred as it requires less maintenance than a rubber roof.

  • Rubber
    This is the most common type of RV roof, and one of the cheapest roofing materials. While it does offer a lightweight and inexpensive option, it does require significant maintenance. You should also check to see if your rubber roof is made using EPDM or TPO, as this will directly affect your maintenance. Details on the difference between EPDM and TPO.

When it comes to roof maintenance, there are two key tasks you need to be performing as part of your maintenance schedule—cleaning and sealing.

When cleaning your roof, it’s vital to use the right chemicals for the type of roof you have. You should be spraying your roof and cleaning off any debris as a part of your weekly schedule, while giving it a more thorough clean 2-3 times a year.

Cleaning your roof:   

  • EPDM rubber
    EPDM rubber should only be cleaned using an approved cleaner that is free of petroleum distillates, as these chemicals will erode the material. 

  • TPO rubber
    TPO rubber is less sensitive than EPDM and can be cleaned using a mild detergent or dish soap, just as you would the roof of a car. 

  • Fiberglass
    Fiberglass roofs can be washed using the same standard cleaners that are used on cars and boats. You should also take care to wax your fiberglass roof 1-2 times a year, using a polish or wax that has UV protection qualities. 

In addition to cleaning, you should be checking the caulking or lap sealant on your roof for damage and wear regularly. If the damage is minor, you will be able to clean and recover the area, if it’s more extensive you will need to strip out the previous caulking or sealant and reseal the areas. 

Sides And Awning Maintenance

The only way your RV will stay looking its best is if you put in the work when it comes to the paint and finishing. This begins with taking regular preventative measures to ensure your RV is protected from the elements.

Preventative measures include:  

  • Washing your RV
    It’s obvious but it bears repeating,
    washing your RV is an essential regular maintenance task. On top of regularly scheduled cleaning, if you notice a build-up of dust or other debris, you should make a point to clean it as soon as possible. When you do clean, remember to use brushes or sponges that won’t scratch the surface.

  • Wax On
    Regularly applying RV wax or another suitable sealant will help to protect your RV from exposure and the buildup of dirt and debris. How often you need to do this will depend on the product you use, so make sure to check the label when you’re applying it. 

  • Cover Properly
    Making sure your RV is stored in a covered area or beneath an awning can go a long way to making sure it stays in the best possible condition. 

Awning Maintenance

Your awning is there to help you relax, to take in some freshly grilled food and kick back while the sun sets. So the last thing you want is the dripping of water or the unmistakable stench of mildew spoiling the experience. Make sure your awning is up to the task of keeping you covered and relaxed. 

Preventative measures include:

  • Scrub Thoroughly
    It can be tempting to skip over the awning and give it a quick wipedown, but mould and mildew can be tough to remove, so make sure you give it a thorough clean and always allow your awning to dry fully before storing. 

  • Add UV Protection
    UV rays aren’t just bad for your skin, they’re bad for your awning, and they can dry out the material making it more susceptible to wear and tear. Apply a UV protection spray to your awning annually. 

What’s your reward for keeping your RV in impeccable condition? Getting out on the road and exploring the wonders of the Canadian West Coast!

Here at Salish, we give you an experience befitting the king of the road, to find out more or to book your place get in touch today.


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