A Comprehensive Guide To RV Maintenance Part 2: Interior And Mechanical
Posted by Tom Westley on
Just because your RV is securely stowed away doesn’t mean you should be leaving it alone. You should be making sure you’re keeping on top of all the necessary maintenance, that way your RV will be ready to roll when it’s time to get back onto the road.
We’ve already looked at exterior maintenance and scheduling in a previous post here, and now it’s time to look under the hood and make sure the interior and mechanical components of your vehicle are in working order.
Making sure the electrical systems of your RV are fully operational and well-maintained is absolutely vital to ensuring the smooth running of your RV—and is especially important to ensure that there are no costly malfunctions that will disrupt your holiday.
There are two types of battery commonly found in an RV: chassis batteries and house batteries.
The Chassis Battery will be used to start the engine, and power other electronic components such as the stereo and headlights.
The House Battery is a deep cycle power source used to power the living space portion of the RV. By design, the house battery can be drained to around 50% capacity without causing any damage to the power cells.
Properly maintained, the life span of both batteries should be around 5 years.
To properly maintain your RV batteries, use the following measures:
Clean the battery terminal ends
Ideally, this deep clean should be performed once a year, to help rid the terminal ends of any dirt, rust, corrosion, or oil that has accumulated. Uncleaned, this build-up can cause problems with power and charging. The buildup can be cleaned using a wire brush and a combination of hot water mixed with one tablespoon of baking soda, alternatively, you can purchase a battery terminal cleaning kit.
Replenish the battery electrolytes
If your batteries are low on electrolytes, sulfation will occur, something that can significantly cut the lifespan of your batteries. Because of this, we recommend checking the electrolyte levels on a monthly basis, if the level is at or below the metal plates you need to replenish the electrolytes.
Keep your batteries charged
One of the most common mistakes RV owners make is assuming that because their RV isn’t in use the batteries won’t drain. However, a number of components in your vehicle can slowly drain your batteries, making it vital that you keep them charged either through in-built solar panels, connecting your RV to a power source or generator, or running the RV while stationary.
Checking your lighting is vital to maintaining your RV, and luckily it’s one of the simplest tasks on the list. All you need to do is walk around the RV, activating each light to check the bulbs, and replacing any that are no longer working.
Your RV is just like your car when it comes to mechanical maintenance, and you need to be regularly checking and maintaining your engine, joints, and brakes.
Don’t be put off by your RV, you don’t need to be seasoned mechanic in order to ensure your RV is in perfect working order.
Here are the key checks you should be making when it comes to the engine of your RV:
Change the oil
Using old or overused oil will have a detrimental effect on your RV engine, decreasing the lifespan of your engine and lowering your gas mileage. Changing the oil is simple to do and inexpensive, and should be done once a year using a high-mileage oil well suited to RV journeys.
Check the fluids
You should check and refill the following fluids routinely:
Power steering fluid
Windshield wiper fluid
Brakes And Joints
There is nothing more alarming than the idea of the brakes or joints of your vehicle failing you when you’re out on the road, leaving you stranded and unable to carry on your journey. Thankfully, with due diligence and regular maintenance these perilous scenarios can be easily avoided.
Here are some things to keep note of for your brakes and joints:
Inspect your brake system
It’s important to visually inspect your brake pads, brake lines, and brake fluid reservoir for any damage or wear before you take your RV anywhere. If you notice any problems you should immediately consult a professional for any repairs.
Grease the joints
Once a year you should grease the joints of your RV, using a grease gun and a manufacturer-approved lubricant. Alternatively, you could take your RV to an RV garage for a professional chassis lubrication.
Water And Sewage
It’s not the most appealing task, but you can’t afford to neglect the water and sewage systems of your RV when it comes to your maintenance schedule.
An RV will typically have 3 different holding tanks: freshwater, greywater, and black water. Each of these tanks will require routine maintenance to function effectively and to avoid contamination or odours.
The final step in your RV maintenance checklist is to make sure all of your safety features are working and fully operational, this means testing your smoke, CO, and propane detectors. Not only to make sure the batteries don’t need changing but to make sure the detector itself isn’t nearing its expiry date. The same is also true of your RV’s fire extinguisher, which will also need to be checked for damage.
When you do eventually get your RV fully working and out on the road, you’re going to need somewhere to go, and there is truly nowhere better than our RV resort here at Salish. To find out more, browse our website or contact us today.