Maintaining your RV

Tips on Keeping Your Motorhome in Shape


Maintaining your RV

Despite the increased level of sophistication of motor vehicles, caravans and motorhomes, service intervals over the last 20 years have grown considerably.

Whilst the above two concern the motor part of a motorhome, functional checks should be carried out in the 'home' area on anything that opens, closes, heats up, cools down, pumps or seals. Included in the functional checks, should be inspection of any areas that are not readily observed, like under beds and seats, in the backs of cupboards and just about anywhere that might get damp, either from condensation or water leaks.  Your nose and a good torch are often all that is needed and with that there are a few things you can do yourself.

YOUR CALL

A fairly easy way to undertake an inspection, is to give your motorhome a regular and thorough clean both outside and in. That includes the awning, upholstery, window blinds, curtain tracks and anywhere that dust and dirt might collect. Cleaning and polishing (where needed) often shows up problem areas fairly quickly.  

 

In this process, all seals can be inspected. Door, window and awning function checked, body damage noted, and a list made of items that require attention. A little something that many prefer not to think about, until it is too late, is the toilet cassette housing. The cassette itself has seals and since there are a few moving parts it’s good to clean not only the cassette itself, but the entire cassette housing. As with a number of items, prevention here is definitely better than cure. Along the same lines, grey water tanks need a bit of TLC from time to time. Usually the first clue to a problem is an iffy pong from one of the lower drains.

An area often forgotten because it is more difficult to get at is the rooftop. Solar panels in particular function better if clean. Care is required here and the recommendation is that it be done on level ground with a good ladder and any cleaning be done with an extension brush whilst still standing on the ladder.

Floor and ceiling vents tend to be take for granted but they do get dirty, in some cases very badly. The usual result is a slower air flow but in the case of a fridge for example impeded air flow will affect fridge operation.

This also fits into the professional level but since most battery are sealed these days, an electrolyte level check isn’t necessary, however many a motorhome has a battery management system and this can be used at any time to check battery and battery charger condition.

Slide-outs have a number of mechanical functions and most tend to have a recognisable sound when opening or closing. It’s helpful to know yours and recognise when there is some change in operation.  Although mostly hand operated, the same applies to pop-top rooves and the increasing trend of using drop down beds.

LEAVE IT TO THE PROFESSIONALS

Generally speaking most 240V mains electrical items are best left to licensed persons to attend to. However, there is one exception. The humble power cord kills more people than just about any other form of electrocution. Consequently  a regular visual check on the insulation and condition of both plug and socket is recommended. Clues to look for are damage to the outer sheath of the cable, exposed copper conductors and plugs/sockets with heat damage – usually melting or a brown colour. It’s not compulsory but I reckon an annual “Tag and Test” is a good idea.

Like 240V electrical, LP gas systems are best left those who are licensed. If you nose or a gas detection device tells you there is a leak, a simple check can be done with soap and water on pipe connections, otherwise get a professional check.

 

CHECK LIST

Here's a suggested check list every RV owner should do, to maintain their vehicle:

External

  • Thorough wash and clean
  • Check all seals
  • Check all external bin door functions
  • Clean vents
  • Check any hose connections for road damage – in a motorhome many of these are underneath, so care needed
  • Roof top inspection and clean, particularly solar panels and roof hatches – done with care
  • Awning function, clean and dry
     

Internal

  • Thorough vacuum and clean
  • Check all cupboard and locker doors for correct opening and latching
  • Slide-out operation
  • Inspect ceiling area for any sign of water leaks
  • Inspect all cupboards, lockers, under bed and under seat areas for any signs of water ingress or damp
  • Battery/electrical system check
  • Hose connections, both water and LP gas