There’s nothing like hitting the open road in an RV. It's such a great adventure, there have been several movies made about just this activity. But there are so many things that can go wrong, there have been several movies made about just that too! Make sure that any trip in an RV is an adventure and not a disaster. Follow your RV maintenance checklist and make sure everything is in good working order before getting out on the road.
If it's not their primary residence, many people only use their RV during the spring and summer months, generally considered RV “season.” Especially if you're cranking your vehicle up after a period of inactivity, run through this checklist to make sure it’s ready to hit the road.
1. Test the Battery
The RV battery or batteries need to be recharged at the start of the season. If you removed the battery from the RV for storage, place it back in the RV after it's been charged.
2. Dewinterize the Water System
Run water through the water system to check for leaks and make sure that everything is still working properly. If you used antifreeze to winterize your RV, run the water until all the antifreeze has been flushed out. Drain the fresh water tank and add fresh water to it. When clear water runs out of every RV fixture, shut the system off.
If you put the water heater in by-pass mode, turn this back to a normal setting. If you didn't use by-pass mode and you did use antifreeze to winterize your system, you will need to drain the antifreeze from the water heater tank.
3. Look for Water Leaks
Make sure there is water in the fresh water tank and then turn on the water pump. Let the system pressurize until the pump shuts off. Now wait a moment. If the water pump comes back on, even briefly, you have a leak.
4. Test Appliances
Test any appliances in the RV, such as the microwave and the air conditioner. You want to know that everything works before you get out on the road.
5. Check Tire Pressure
While in storage, tires lose pressure every month. Use a gauge to check your tire pressure on all ties. Add air to the tires as needed to reach optimal tire pressure.
6. Check Fluids
Do a check of all the engine fluids. Transmission, power steering, coolant, oil, windshield washer fluid, check it all, and top off all fluids as needed.
7. Turn Everything On
Ignite the RV and test all components. Turn on the windshield wipers and the lights. Flip all the switches to see what works and what needs help. Replace any bulbs and fuses as needed. You may also need to replace the windshield wipers because they may rot and wear out in the off-season. With the engine on, check your dials and gauges to verify that the readings look correct.
8. Look for Engine Leaks
Turn the engine of the RV off again and get down on the ground to look under the RV. Check for any leaks that can be a signal of big problems.
9. Take a Test Drive
After you go through your entire checklist, get out on the road for a test drive. Check the acceleration and the brakes, the turn signals, and every component of the RV. Pay attention to how it feels while you drive. If you notice any tightens in the wheel or any other issues that affect your driving or the RV’s performance, you will need to check the vehicle further to determine if there are any problems.