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The arrival of camping season means your RV is going to endure all the usual wear and tear of long, winding roads, lots of sun, and perhaps driving over rough terrain. That being said, there are ways to help combat the effects of a well-traveled summer—namely, preparation.
How to Get Your RV Ready for Summer
There’s more to getting ready for a summer traveling in an RV than simply pulling out the sunscreen. Here are some of the best ways that you can prepare your camper for months of enjoyable warm-weather traveling.
1. Clean the Interior
If you’re the type of RVer that only travels in the summer, leaving your camper parked in the driveway for the other nine months of the year can leave it pretty dusty when it comes time to use it again. Before getting in on the fun of your RV, make sure all surfaces are dusted and cleaned, floors are mopped, and cobwebs are swiped. While cleaning, inspect for any leaks, cracks, rust, or damaged weatherstripping and seals that may have transpired over the winter and repair if necessary.
2. Perform Seasonal Maintenance
Every season of RV travel requires specific maintenance procedures to extend your camper’s longevity and keep it running without a hitch throughout the duration of your travels. This includes inspecting the engine for anything that may require your attention, such as oil leaks or low fluids (e.g., engine oil, brake fluid, transmission, engine coolant, power steering, and windshield washer fluid). You’ll also want to check your tire pressure, especially since tires typically lose 1-3 psi per month. Consider investing in newer tires or rotating, cleaning, and greasing the bearings to keep your tires rolling smoothly. Lastly, test the brakes and lights to ensure they’re functioning correctly.
3. Charge and Reinstall Batteries
No one wants to be stuck in the middle of nowhere in an RV that has completely lost power. Batteries help to run the water pump, lights, and small appliances—which means that without them, you’ll have no running water or access to cooking equipment. The average RV battery lasts about 5 to 7 years, so if your camper has been around that long, it’ll pay off to make sure all batteries are fully charged and working before driving. Otherwise, replace any dead batteries with new ones and top off their water levels.
4. Flush and Sanitize Your Water System
For those of you who winterized your RV to withstand the colder months, you’ll need to undergo a de-winterization in the summer. If you used antifreeze in your pipes, you’ll have to flush out your water system with freshwater until you see no more pink liquid flowing out. The water heater may also be bypassed from winterizing, so turn the heater’s valve into normal operating position and ensure there are no leaks anywhere in the system.
5. Check Your Appliances
Over the winter, air may get stuck in the gas line of your RV. You’ll want to release this air by turning on your propane tank and lighting the burners to ensure your stove is working properly. If everything is in order, turn off your stove and try lighting the fridge on gas. Then, test out the furnace, water heater, and generator (if you have one). Usually, gas appliances may take a while to get going again after a long winter. Otherwise, you’ll likely need to refill your propane tanks.
6. Wash and Wax the Exterior
The first rinse of the summer season is going to take a while, considering all the grime that has likely built up on the exterior part of your RV over the winter months. Starting at the top of the vehicle and working your way down to the tires, scrub the outer walls using an extendable brush and a wash and wax RV soap formula. Work into a rich lather and rinse off all the suds with a hose. When your RV’s looking shiny and new, check to see if anything on the exterior requires some attention, like missing or cracked caulking around the seals.
7. Test Your Safety Devices
One mistake that many RVers make before hitting the road is forgetting to test their safety devices. If you’re looking to have peace of mind while out on the road, be sure to check if your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working and batteries are fresh. Also, ensure that the needle on your fire extinguisher is in the green zone and placed in an appropriate, readily-accessible location.
8. Restock Emergency Supplies
When you’re on the road, almost anything can happen—including accidents, injuries, and stormy weather. As an RVer, you need to be prepared for the worst, and a pre-packed stock of emergency supplies can help in dire situations. Some supplies to carry include a first-aid kit, portable power bank, tire repair kit, and emergency medication like antihistamines. Also, don’t forget extra water and non-perishable food.
Is Your RV Summer-Ready?
Spending the summer in an RV can be an exhilarating experience, especially if you’re well-prepared. Once you’ve prepped your RV, check out our list of the top summer RV trip destinations to kick off your season of fun.