Your RV has been sitting all winter and its now time to the coach and chassis for this summer’s camping season. A simple rule to remember is to stay organized. As much as you probably like to make a checklist of camping supplies to stock up on or that checklist of things to do for your home before leaving, you should also take the time to prepare a detailed list with a logical sequence to prepare your RV instead of haphazardly checking it out. There are many reputable RV service centers across the country who will gladly take your money and do this for you but if you take the time to organize yourself and do a little research on your unit, you can save the money and do it yourself.
Here is a simple, yet effective approach to use as a guide for getting your RV ready from the experts at HitchSource: Recreational Vehicle Spring Checklist:
- De-winterize: If you used non-toxic RV antifreeze you need to run fresh water through the entire system until all traces of antifreeze are gone, including in the water pump. to do this add water to the fresh water-holding tank, turn the pump on and open all water faucets. When the antifreeze is out of the system turn the pump off and take the water heater out of the by-pass mode. Don’t forget to re-install any water filter cartridges too!
- Sanitize Water System: Use 1/4 cup of bleach for every 15 gallons of water your tank holds. Mix bleach with water and pour it into tank. Fill the holding tank completely then turn the water pump on and open all faucets. Run them until you smell the bleach then shut them down and let sit for at least 12 hrs. After sitting, run all faucets again until empty, fill with fresh water and run again until the smell of bleach is gone. It may take a couple cycles to get the smell of bleach out 100%. This process is also a good time to check the system for leaks and to flush the toilet a few times with bleach water!
- Cleaning: While sanitizing the water system it is a good time to clean the RV inside and out! Rinsing the bleach out is a good time to clean toilets, sinks, etc. While cleaning winter’s haze off of the exterior it is a good time to inspect the roof and body seams, and window sealants for cracking that would allow water to get in. Don’t forget to check/clean the awning fabric at this time too if applicable. Check wiper blades and ensure they are in good condition. Test exterior lights – headlights hi & low, brake lights, turn signals, etc.
- Tires: During cleaning is a good time to check tires for dry-rot and inflate them to the recommended cold tire pressure.
- Hinges/Locks: Use a spray lubricant on all hinges and locks.
- Vents: Remove any tape/covers you may have installed on any vents, LP gas vents, etc. for rodent intrusion or water damage. Use this as your reminder to remove any mouse traps and keep an eye out for any rodent signs in all doors, cabinets, storage or vents.
- Electrical: Plug in any appliances and test. This is also a good time to replace any batteries you depend on! Reset any breakers and reinstall any fuses that were removed for storage. If you removed the coach and chassis batteries for storage install them. Whether they were removed or not check the electrolyte levels, clean the terminals and clamps, and check the charge level in all batteries. Recharge batteries as necessary.
- Alarms: Test your carbon monoxide alarm, LP gas detector and smoke alarm. Also a good time to ensure your fire extinguisher is fully charged.
- Filters: Clean or replace air conditioner filters if it wasn’t done prior to storage and remove any covers that were put over air conditioners. While testing the A/C it is a good time to open up all the windows and air out that stale storage air!
- Jacks: If you have hydraulic jacks, test them and check hydraulic fluid levels.
- Generator: This is a good time to change the oil and check exhaust. Run the generator for 2 hrs with half rated load running then turn off and plug into shore power.
- Appliances: Run refrigerator in electric mode and ensure it is cooling, check all interior lights and accessories, operation of slide-outs, test GFI outlets, ensure the monitor panel is working, test any back-up cameras or any other applicable electrical appliances.
- LP Gas: Let refrigerator return to room temp and test again with gas. Ensure water heater is turned on and full of water to test. Test gas stove burners, etc. Visually check for any bug nesting as the odor from gas can attract bugs.
- Engine: This is a good time to check engine oil or change the oil if vehicle was in long-term storage. It is recommended to perform a proper chassis lube if not done prior to storage. With this, have all fluid levels checked: engine oil, transmission fluid, engine coolant, brake fluid and wiper fluid to name a few. Be sure to check your owner’s manual too.
- Inspections: Ensure all of your emissions and inspections are up to date for the summer months and that your insurance information is current and readily available.
- Toad/Dingy: If pulling a vehicle behind your RV this is a good time to check all connection points of your tow bar, safety cables and electrical hookups. Also hook up your auxiliary braking system to your toad vehicle and test that all is in working order.
There are plenty of checklist resource guides all over the internet and our Recreational Vehicle Spring Checklist is a very basic guide to getting your RV ready. Take the proper steps in advance and you’ll minimize any major mishaps that could turn a fun camping trip into a week at the repair shop!!