SOUTHLAKE, Texas (June 17, 2016) — Summer’s nearly here, and with it comes the peak period for RV travel across North America. With a U.S. State Department travel alert in effect for Europe, and the Zika virus increasingly prevalent in South America, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, more families are expected to take vacations within the U.S. and Canada this summer, Coach-Net reported.
Before people start planning their next road-tripping adventures, it’s important they take steps to get their RVs ready for the road. After a winter of light or no use, proper RV preparation may be the difference between a safe and successful trip and having to deal with issues and repairs on the go.
Coach-Net offers the following eight essential tips to help get RVs travel-ready for the summer:
Thoroughly Wash The RV Before Inspecting – Start by thoroughly washing the RV. Remove any dust, dirt, and grime from last season. Use a gentle car soap or RV wash-and-wax soap to wash and protect painted parts and sealants. Clean and shine wheels with a recommended wheel cleaner or tire shine product, and polish chrome bumpers, grill, mirrors, trim, etc. with a quality metal polish. Lastly, don’t forget to wash the undercarriage.
Carefully Inspect the Exterior – Check the roof and sidewall seams for missing or cracked sealant. Remove old sealant, clean, and re-seal seams where necessary to keep water from seeping in. A leak in the roof can be particularly harmful and cause expensive damage. Be sure to protect roof seals to prevent this from happening.
Check for Tire and Wheel Issues – Check each tire for proper inflation pressure, cracks and wear, or dry rot from storage. It is better to find out now whether tires need to be replaced, before traveling starts. Inspect and adjust electric brakes. Towables should have wheels and hubs inspected each year, as they may need to have the bearings repacked or replaced. Finally, tighten all lug nuts on each wheel before traveling.
Inspect and Prepare the Battery – Examine the battery for cracks. If there are any, it is time to replace the battery. If there are no cracks, disconnect and clean the battery connections with a corrosion-resistant cleaner and lubricant. Double-check the fluid levels, then fully charge and reconnect the battery.
Check Filters and Replenish Fluids – If fluids and filters were not checked before storage, now is the time to change the oil and install new filters. Verify the brake fluid, anti-freeze/coolant, transmission, hydraulic, and windshield washer fluid levels are filled to the proper levels. If the RV has a generator, this is a great time to service the oil and filters to prepare it for the summer travel season.
Freshen Up the Interior – Open the RV and air out musty odors. Thoroughly cleaning the interior, including carpets, floors, cushions, counters, sinks, lavatories, and showers will remove most of the dust, debris, and foul odors. While cleaning, check for and remove any insect or rodent nests, and treat with repellent to prevent future infestations.
Inspect LP Gas Appliances and Smoke/CO Detectors – People who suspect rodents or find evidence of nests during the cleaning should inspect appliance wiring and hoses for damage, and repair or replace them if necessary. Clean each appliance, being sure to inspect the burners, intakes, and exhaust ports for mud daubers, spiders, or other insects. Test the appliances by lighting and operating each one for a duration of time. Next, test smoke, LP, and carbon monoxide detectors and replace the batteries. Also, consider adding carbon monoxide and LP detectors if they aren’t already installed in the RV.
Prepare the Water System – Drain the fresh water tank, rinse it out, and refill it with clean water. Run clean water through the lines to flush out any remaining RV antifreeze. Verify there are no leaks by turning on the water pump and ensuring it does not cycle when all taps are closed. If there are leaks, repair them. Once the antifreeze has completely flushed out of the system, disable the water heater bypass to prepare for hot water use. Check the water filter canister and inspect it for cracks. If the filter was left in the canister over winter and froze or was exposed to antifreeze, it must be replaced before the next use.
For more detailed, step-by-step guidance on how to properly de-winterize an RV, and to see other helpful RV lifestyle tips, visit Coach-Net’s RV Travel and Adventure blog at blog.coach-net.com/2015/04/15/de-winterizing-your-rv.