Our Fall RV-Maintenance Checklist

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The sun is losing its grip on Georgia mornings. The early hours are now cool rather than steamy. Yellow leaves litter the driveway and the cries of migrating geese become my daily soundtrack. Fall is gradually nudging Summer to the wings and reminds me and that winter is a whisper away. But for now, it's the perfect time of year for RV travel.

It also signals the bi-annual maintenance check-up for the RV. Each Spring and Fall we go through the RV from front to back and make sure all systems are ready for the upcoming travel season. Thorough RV maintenance is not just a twice-yearly exercise, but these two big pre-season gauntlets give us more time to assess the vehicle and consider upgrades, repairs, and service. It's a time for checking all systems, cleaning the entire unit, and re-organizing each storage area.

Our fall maintenance checklist is not necessarily getting the coach ready for winter storage, but if you live in a colder climate this may be your chance to check over your coach and winterize at the same time (here is another post on how to winterize). 

We start the process by emptying the unit - every storage bay, cabinet and drawer. It's so much easier to clean and inspect the unit when it is empty. It also allows us to sort through all the "stuff" we have collected through the season. Then we begin working through our checklist of regular maintenance, adding any repairs our inspection has uncovered. 

Beginning with the exterior of the coach we check the engine for service needs. Things such as changing the oil and air filters, the level of all the fluids, and check the battery cables for corrosion. Then we inspect the tires for wear patterns and check the tire pressure. Moving up, we inspect the windshield, wiper blades and mirrors. We check the headlights, fog lamps, turn signals, and running lights. 


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A 360 degree walk around is next, checking the body of the coach for scratches and dings. While we are moving around the coach we check the generator, house batteries, inverter, service bay, automatic step, and awning. The vents for the refrigerator and water heater get a quick inspection too. Then it's on to the roof to check the solar panels, air conditioner, and antenna. We also look for any signs of broken seals or cracked caulking. It is also a good time to have a look at the ventilation fan(s) and skylight. 

Moving inside the coach we go through the systems from plumbing to electrical as well as the appliances. Smoke and CO2 detectors get a quick test (ear plugs are a must!), and we change out the water and vent filters. Here is our RV maintenance checklist and a brief explanation of what we look for.

Exterior

  • The engine - oil filter, oil (time to change?), DEF level (diesel engines only), battery connectors and water, visual inspection of engine (wires, hoses), air intake filers, fill washer fluid

  • The lights - headlights and taillights, turn signals, running lights, brake lights, fog lamps: clean lenses; check to make sure all are working

  • The tires - check for wear pattern and tire pressure

  • The generator - run generator with a load; check hours; check for maintenance

  • The inverter - check all connections, inspect wiring for damage from critters

  • The exterior vents for refrigerator and water heater - inspect for bee nests or debris

  • The water heater - if you have a standard water heater, check for wear on the anode. if you have a tankless water heater, check manufacturer's service recommendations.

  • The holding tanks - flush and deodorize the tanks 

  • The service bay - clean and check connections; wear on handles; condition of hoses, and sewer dump hose

  • The house batteries - check water level (some batteries do not need water refills), cable corrosion, and make sure connections are tight

  • The slide - if you have a unit with a slide, inspect the seals (follow your manufacturers instructions on lubricating and servicing)

  • The awning - lubricate joints, clean awning, check for tears or wear patterns

  • The automatic step - lubricate, clean, check for smooth operation

  • The exterior walls, nose, rear mask, windshield - do 360 walk-around checking for dings, scratches, cracks or chips; clean and wax, Rainex the windshield

  • The windshield wipers - replace wiper blades

  • The storage bays - empty and clean

  • The propane tank - inspect for rust or wear; fuel up if needed

Roof

  • The air conditioner and furnace - service both units according to manufacturers recommendations

  • The solar panels - clean of debris and dirt; check for any damage and wear

  • The vent fan(s) - inspect, clean blades, and check seal

  • The antenna - inspect for damage 

  • The roof deck - inspect for damage, cracked seals or caulking

Interior

Kitchen

  • The refrigerator -  clean, vacuum vents

  • The propane stove - clean, check to make sure all gas jets are working properly

  • The pantry - empty and wipe down, lubricate runners if it is a “slide-out” type

  • The dinette table - clean, check and repair chipped edges, clean and lubricate stantion or folding legs (if applicable)

  • The kitchen sink and faucets - clean sink, faucet, and drain

Bathroom

  • The ventilation fan - clean, lubricate according to manufacturer's recommendations, and vacuum the screens

  • The bathroom (all components) - clean shower, sink and their drains, clean toilet, lubricate gasket

General Interior

  • The smoke detector (battery) - test, change the battery, wipe down the unit housing

  • The CO2 detector - test (wear ear plugs!)

  • The water filter - change cartridge (this may be on the exterior in some units)

  • The air return filters - clean all return filters; replace if torn

  • The cabinets and drawers - empty each drawer and cabinet, wipe down, check for any damage, put in new shelf liner

  • The seats, couch, and bed - clean seat and couch upholstery, turn mattress over

  • The walls, window coverings - clean interior of windows, vacuum and/or wipe down blinds and shades

  • The floor - sweep and mop

  • The TV and stereo, speakers - wipe down units and vacuum speaker covers. Lubricate adjustable arm for TV if wall mounted

In all it takes a full weekend to complete our fall maintenance checklist, sometimes a bit longer if we have to schedule service or repairs with a dealer. We handle the small repairs ourselves and research upgrades and modifications to make the RV more comfortable. Once we've finished we give the whole unit a thorough cleaning and wax the exterior. Then we load up the storage bays, interior cabinets, and drawers again. If we won't be traveling for a while, we don't put food, paper products or clothing in the unit. Instead, we make a packing list and tack it to a note board in the RV as a reminder to pack the basics!


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