Sure, there’s snow still on the ground, and you’re not quite ready to pack away those long johns. But it’s not the worst idea in the world to begin preparing your RV for the upcoming camping season. If everything turns out okay, great. However, if it turns out that you need parts or repairs, finding out about it early will help ensure that the work will be done by the time you’re ready to hit the road.
Begin by inspecting the exterior of your RV or camper. Check window seals, outside compartments and access doors to be sure they’re water tight. Keep an eye out for insect and rat nests. Open the awning, making sure the hardware functions properly and the canvas is in good shape. You can lightly oil moving parts using a light oil (don’t oil the sliding lock, however). Examine the tires for worn tread and/or tire rot. Check that the tires are properly inflated. If you have a trailer, repack the wheel bearings. Look underneath your vehicle for any telltale fluid stains. Pop the air conditioning cover on the roof and clean the coils.
Open the doors and windows to let the interior air out. Vacuum and clean the interior. Spread a little baking soda on the carpet before you vacuum to help get rid of any musty smells. Test your smoke alarms, and replace the batteries as needed. Inspect the ceiling for stains. If you see any, you’ll need to run down the leak that caused it.
Under the hood, check all of the fluids, hoses and belts. After sitting all winter, your RV will thank you for giving it an oil and filter change. If you removed your battery in the fall, hook it back up after cleaning the connections and make sure that it has a good charge.
Sanitize your freshwater tank. Begin by draining and flushing it. Fill it most of the way full with with a 64 to 1 mix of water and bleach (quarter cup of bleach to 15 gallons of water). Drive the RV around a bit in order to agitate the mixture. Run your hot water to ensure the mixture gets into the hot water heater. Next, drain and flush the tank again before filling it with a 64 to 1 mix of baking soda and water. Again, drive the RV around a bit and run your hot water. Finally, drain and flush a third time before filling with fresh water.
If you use propane, check this system for leaks. Test all propane-powered appliances.
Don’t forget your generator and tow vehicle. Change oil and filter on both. Perform a check on the exterior, tires, and fluids of the vehicle. Make sure that any towing lights operate correctly and make sure the hitch is secure.
Check all of your safety equipment. Be sure fire extinguishers are charged, first-aid kits are stocked and road flares haven’t expired.
Following these few steps will give you a head start on this year’s trouble-free camping season.