Category: RV Maintenance

As wonderful as the RV lifestyle is, it comes at a cost. These large and powerful vehicles cost thousands of dollars up front, but that’s only the beginning. RV maintenance and repair costs, can get expensive.

Fortunately, maintenance and repair are amongst the easiest costs of RV ownership to defray. By performing maintenance on a regular basis, you can usually avoid having to fork over a hefty repair bill. Of course, there exceptions to every rule, but most of your RV’s systems will have longer lives with a little bit of preventative effort.

Winter RVing Tips

Winter RVing Tips

It sounds like winter RVing can be tons of fun with some planning and preparation. It’s also apparent that staying warm in your rig on chilly winter mornings and cold evenings makes all the difference between having a wonderful time and wishing you were in a sticks-n-bricks.

13 Tips for Proper RV Storage & RV Storage Checklists

13 Tips for Proper RV Storage & RV Storage Checklists

We’re planning for full-time RV living, but even full-time RVers need to store their rigs occasionally. It’s important to find a secure storage option that prevents damage to your home on wheels. 

The following tips will help you to select a safe storage location and take preventative measures that ensure you return to a rig that’s ready to hit the road.

RV Storage
GENERAL LOCATION

Try to store your RV under a covered area and on a solid surface like pavement or concrete. If this isn’t possible, avoid parking under trees and in tall grass, fields or wooded areas.

Selecting a location with onsite security is even better. Additional security tips are listed farther down the page.

WASH & WAX

Give your rig a good wash and wax before storing it. The wax will protect your RV from sun damage, keep dirt build up to a minimum, and make cleanup after storage much easier.

CAULKING & SEALING

While you’re washing and waxing your RV, check the seams, caulking and rubber seals for cracks and repair them if necessary. Water damage that occurs during storage can be very expensive.

VENTILATION

Moisture leads to mold growth and musty smells when you retrieve your RV from storage.

You can reduce moisture by doing the following:

  • If your roof vents are designed to prevent rain from getting inside, leave them open during storage.
  • Leave interior cabinets, drawers and closets open.
  • Defrost and clean your refrigerator, put baking soda in its compartments, and leave its doors cracked.
  • Cover your RV and tires with breathable covers – NOT a plastic tarp.
BLINDS & CURTAINS

Keep your daytime shades drawn to prevent sun damage, but keep nighttime shades open to combat moisture that can lead to mold growth.

SLIDE-OUTS

Lubricate and retract all slides when storing your RV to make sure mechanical parts, slide toppers and rubber seals aren’t exposed to the elements and operate properly when you return.

BUGS & RODENTS

Ensure that all external openings are blocked off or screened. You can purchase made-to-fit screening for most openings in your rig, like RV furnace insect screens.

The worst pests are rats and mice, as they chew electrical wiring and poop everywhere. Prevent them from making your RV their happy home by removing all possible food sources and nesting materials. Even things you wouldn’t think of, like paper towels and toothpaste, attract these nasty vermin.

ELECTRICAL

When you leave your RV in storage, fully charge your batteries, check and fill water levels in lead-acid batteries, and turn off all electrical. Remove dry-cell batteries from devices like smoke alarms and clocks. 

If your rig will be stored for an extended period during fall or winter, remove the batteries and store them where they won’t freeze.

PLUMBING & TANKS

How you prepare your RV plumbing and tanks for storage depends greatly upon the temperature and the length of time your rig will be in storage.

If there is no chance of freezing and your RV will only be stored for a few weeks, flush out the waste tanks and then add about ¼ tank of water to keep them from drying out. For the fresh water, fill the tank, add a ½ cup of bleach, and then run it through all pipes. This will disinfect the water supply plumbing as it sits and prevent mold.

When there is any chance of below freezing weather, remove all water from the plumbing system, including the water heater tank. Then, add antifreeze into the piping, valves and drain “P” traps. Refer to the Winterizing RV Checklist by Drive to RV.

SECURITY

The best thing you can do to ensure your RV’s security is leave it in a location that has onsite security. Motorhomes are somewhat harder to break into and steal than fifth wheels, travel trailers and campers. If your RV isn’t a motorhome, you can attach a special hitch lock to the king pin, chain the wheels or use a wheel lock.

Another thing you can do to make your rig more secure is install new storage bay locks. The majority of RVs use the same key and criminals know this!

RV INSURANCE

“Storage Only” coverage is fairly inexpensive and worth the investment. Don’t trust a storage location to cover any losses that may occur.

TIRES

Dangerous tire blow outs can be caused by improper storage. Leaving a motorhome or trailer parked in the same spot for extended periods weakens the tire and may lead to sudden failure.

Here are some tire storage tips that I found in the Goodyear Recreational Vehicle Tire and Care Guide:

  • Keep your vehicle in a cool, dry storage area that’s out of direct sunlight.
  • Unload your vehicle as much as possible to lighten the load on its tires.
  • Inflate your tires to the recommended operation pressure plus 25%, but don’t exceed the rim manufacturer’s inflation capacity.
  • Clean your tires with soap and water before storing them to remove any oil.
  • Move your vehicle at least every three months to help prevent cracking and flat-spotting, with the exception of cold weather months.
  • Place your vehicle on blocks to remove weight from the tires. If the vehicle can’t be put on blocks, ensure the storage surface is firm, clean, well-drained and level. (I’ve also read on several RV blogs that it’s best to park your RV with its tires on wood planks instead of the ground.)
MONTHLY MAINTENANCE

Checking on and maintaining your RV on a monthly basis can nip problems the bud before they go from minor to major and more expensive issues.

Things to do during your monthly inspections are:

  • Look for signs of rodent droppings and moisture intrusion and fix any problem areas.
  • Exercise your generator for at least two hours with a minimum of a ½ rated load on it. (Consult your generator’s manual for load ratings.)

Do you have any tips for RV storage? Please comment below. 

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RV Water System Review – Parts & Maintenance Checklists

RV Water System Review – Parts & Maintenance Checklists

I’m educating myself on the basics of RV parts and mechanics, starting with RV water systems, and the amount of technical information can be overwhelming and confusing. One of my goals is to gather and condense RV system details for easy to understand educational posts. 

RV Water Tank Basics

RV water tanks are usually located in the base of a motorhome or trailer. The three types of water tanks are: Fresh Water Tank (Potable/Safe to Drink), Grey Water Tank (Used from Sinks & Showers), and Black Water Tank (Waste from Toilet.)

RV Water Sources

If you’re staying at a campground with water hookups, using city water makes life easier. You don’t have to worry about filling your fresh water tank and you don’t have to listen to the pump running in the middle of the night when someone uses the toilet.

City Water (Hookup): Attach a water pressure regulator to the spigot, an RV drinking water hose to the water pressure regulator, and the other end of the hose to the outside water inlet on your RV. Water goes from the hose directly into the pipes leading to your toilet(s), sink(s) and shower, bypassing the fresh water tank, and eliminating the need to use the water pump.

Fresh Water (No Hookup): Your fresh water tank usually has a separate inlet on the outside of your RV (NOT the city water inlet, unless your RV has a valve that redirects water coming in from the city water inlet to the fresh water tank.) These inlets should be clearly marked on motorhomes and trailers. If you have an older rig, it might be located inside of a compartment on the outside of your RV.

CAUTION: Some RV models have a Tank Flush for flushing out the sewer tank that looks like a fresh water connection. Connecting your water hose to the Tank Flush in error will result in a flooded RV!

Using your own water hose, fill your RV with fresh water until it starts to back out of the overflow hole. Don’t forget to put the cap back on when you’re done.

CAUTION: Never use the non-potable water hose at dump stations to fill your tank. RVers use that hose to stick down their contaminated sewer hose.

Dumping Grey & Black Tanks

Hearing the term “dump your RV black tank” always conjures up images of the well-known movie scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation… you know the one. Sh______ full!

In all seriousness, dumping RV holding tanks can be a relatively easy and clean process if you have the right tools. We created a checklist that will help you cope with this most dreaded of RV chores.

A few supplies that will help to ensure an efficient and safe tank dumping process are:

RV Water Pumps

The top three RV water pump brands are SHURflo, Aquatec and Flojet. A good RV water pump will be easy to install, feature a quiet motor, and produce an even water flow.

RV water pumps deliver a certain amount of water per minute. Trailers and campers usually use pumps that produce 3.5 gallons of water per minute, while motorhomes use pumps that provide 5.3 or greater gallons per minute.

Your RV will often bypass the water pump when it’s connected to city water, because city water is already pressurized.

After filling up your freshwater tank, flip the switch labeled ‘Water Pump’ to turn on your water pump. (Some newer RVs don’t require you to turn on your water pump.) You should hear the pump moving water from the tank to fill the pipes in your RV.

When you first turn on your faucet, you might get a sputter caused by air in the pipes, but that should subside once the water pump forces water through all the pipes.

Checking Your RV Water Pump

Find water specifications in your RV manual. (Call a dealer or service center if needed.) Then, take note of the gallons per minute, water pressure, and the dimensions of your current water pump.

You can check your gallons per minute by placing a 1-gallon jug under one of your RV faucets, opening the faucet, and clocking how long it takes to fill. Then, divide that into a minute to calculate your gallons per minute.

To test your water pressure, purchase a water pressure test gauge that allows you to test water pressure in your RV and water coming into your tanks via hookup.

Next, inspect the lines to and from your RV water pump to make sure there aren’t any kinked or pinched waterlines or leaks.

You should replace your water filter prior to purchasing a new pump, unless it’s new.

CAUTION: Turn off your water before changing the filter to avoid getting an unexpected shower.

RV Water Pump Troubleshooting

Read reviews, check forums and talk to your service specialist before you purchase a new water pump. Water pumps are relatively inexpensive, but make sure the pump is actually the problem.

If you plan on replacing the water pump yourself, Amazon is usually the best option to purchase one. You can rely on their delivery time, read reviews, and even ask questions prior to purchase.

RV Water Filters

There should always be a water filter installed between the freshwater tank and the pump itself. Some RVs come with a filter installed in this location. Otherwise, you will have to buy an external filter. Simply attach it between your hose and your RV.

If you’re a ‘germophobe’ (like me), the usual water filter is not going to cut it. You should probably get a UV system. However, a UV system will not remove particles, so you still need to use a prefiltration system to protect your water pump and water lines from sediment.

Winterizing Your RV

Winterizing is not a step that you want to skip if you’re storing your RV in cold weather. Taking shortcuts can leave you with big problems, like water damage and broken pipes. Leaving water in the drain lines can cause cracking when it’s cold.

Read your owner’s manual for unit specific winterizing guidelines and follow the steps in the following checklist that apply to your RV.

Click here to download our Winterizing RV Checklist by Drive to RV

A few supplies that will help to ensure an efficient and safe RV winterizing process are:

Finding Water for Your RV

The website SaniDumps is a dump and water locator that can help you find a location to fill up your RV’s fresh water tank. Options include campgrounds, large gas stations, truck stops, camping stores and fairgrounds.

NOTE: Always call ahead before traveling to a location to avoid wasting time and gas.

Sanitizing Your Fresh Water Tank

Before you use water for the first time, and twice a year thereafter, sanitize your fresh water tank. It’s a fairly easy process, but time consuming.

If you don’t drink water out of your fresh water tank, you might think that you never have to sanitize it. However, if you use water from your fresh water tank for any purpose, you should periodically sanitize the system. This process takes 4 to 8 hours.

A few supplies that will help to ensure an efficient and safe water tank sanitizing process are:

Now is a good time to inspect and flush your RV’s Hot Water Heater.

CAUTION: There are several RV Hot Water Tank configurations, so make sure any checklist you use follows the instructions in your owner’s manual for flushing your Hot Water Heater. The main difference between configurations is the existence of an Anode Rod instead of a Plug at the bottom of a Water Heater.

A few supplies that will help to ensure an efficient and safe hot water tank flushing process are:

If you have any RV water tips, please comment below!
 
Thank you for reading our blog! Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more info! 
If you enjoy or benefit from our content, please show your appreciation by…

Using our Amazon Affiliate link (no extra cost to you) for your shopping on Amazon. Simply bookmark the following link and use it whenever you shop on Amazon. You don’t have to buy anything in our shop to help us, just use the search on our page!

amazon https://www.amazon.com/shop/drivetorv

Your support allows us to keep the free information flowing. We can’t THANK YOU enough!

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