You have just finished packing for your big camping trip this weekend. Your RV is looking beautiful from the two-hour hand washing it received yesterday afternoon and you and your family are overwhelmed with excitement. You arrive at the campsite and get your RV all set up only to discover that the electricity isn’t working and the water isn’t running correctly.
Let’s face it, these things happen over time, but we at Modern Trailer Sales want to do everything we can to prevent it. To avoid this situation, preventive maintenance is a must. We want to help you take the right steps in providing preventive maintenance service to your RV and avoiding the disappointment that comes with cancelling a long awaited trip. There are 3 key areas that an RV owner should check before a long trip to eliminate potential disappointments.
1. Checking Your Battery
For your trailer, you’ll want a deep-cycle battery to power interior lights and other electrical components. Batteries will discharge over time, even if no lights or accessories are turned-on. The latest models of trailers may have various devices that consume a small amount of electricity from the batteries all the time, such as the memory for radio settings. When a battery is left for a period of time without being charged, it will gradually be discharged. A partially discharged battery deteriorates much more quickly than a fully charged battery, so the normal life span of the battery will be shortened if it is not kept fully charged.
Water evaporates from batteries, and if the water level drops below the top the plates the battery will be ruined. Therefore, once a month, check the water in the batteries (if they have removable caps) and top-off with distilled water only to bring the level up to the “full” indicator. Distilled water is available in most grocery stores.
Also, while you are looking at the batteries, take a look for corrosion on the cable terminal connections and on any metal surfaces around the batteries. Use battery terminal cleaner spray to neutralize the acid that is causing the corrosion. After it dries, coat the terminals and the metal areas with battery terminal protector spray.
2. Cleaning Your Water Tank
Your RV’s water tank is responsible for the water that you drink and bathe in while you travel, so it should be as clean as possible. Eventually, however, you may notice a stagnant smell, or the water may become less palatable. When that happens, it’s time to clean the tank. Fortunately, this is a simple process.
At the end of every trip, make sure to drain your freshwater tank, including the hot-water tank. Standing water is a breeding ground for bacteria, especially if there are long stretches between RV uses. Open the tank spigot, if you have one, and run the shower and the faucets until the tank is dry. You will use this same technique when you drain the tank after you clean it.
When it becomes time to clean your water tank, fill it with a cleaning solution. The simplest solution is one that utilizes liquid household bleach, where the ratio is one cup of bleach for every 10 gallons of water that your freshwater tank holds. Therefore, if your tank holds 100 gallons of freshwater, you would need 10 cups of bleach. Fill the tank halfway with freshwater, then add the bleach, after measuring it according to the above ratio. After you have added the bleach, fill the rest of the way with freshwater. Turn on your water pump and run the faucets and the shower until you smell bleach in the water. Turn the water off and then take your RV for a spin. A simple trip around the block will serve to agitate the solution inside the tank and get it into all the corners. Then, leave the solution sitting in the freshwater system overnight.
The next day, turn the water pump back on and run all the water systems in the RV until the tank is drained. Refill with freshwater and drain it again, repeating the process until the smell of bleach has been eliminated. Once the tank is clean, you should leave it empty until your next trip. However, if you perform this maintenance immediately prior to a trip, once the smell of bleach is gone, you can fill the tank up with freshwater immediately and it will be safe for use.
3. Testing Your Tires
Tires are another important safety consideration. Tires die when they fail to hold air, either because of a puncture or blowout. Tires need to be properly matched to the load that the RV will place upon them. If the tires are properly matched, and the correct air pressure is maintained, they should last a long time, barring any road hazard damage. Car tires generally are replaced when their tread is worn to an unsafe level. Because RVers do not travel that many miles per year, they typically get replaced due to their age. No matter what kind of shape your tires look like they are in, 10 years is the maximum that you should have them before being replaced.
While these three segments are simple and quick checks, it is still extremely important to consider them before embarking on a long road trip with your family. Each of these simple checks is easily forgotten about in the midst of the excitement. Modern Trailer Sales wants you to be safe and enjoy your trips to the highest level so that you can get the full experience out of your RV.