TRAVEL ALERTS: Know Before You Go Camping.  WINTER: Snowbird locations and overnight camping.

How to Ensure a Great Start to Your RV Season

With springtime, fast approaching it’s time to start getting your RV ready. Whether you are doing it yourself or having a reputable company do it for you, many things need to be checked to help ensure your RV season is off to a great start.  If you are going to have a company do it for you, book early as dealerships and mobile companies book up fast and you do not want to be disappointed.

Things to consider for the start of the season

Batteries

  1. Check the electrolyte levels of your batteries and top up with distilled water if necessary.
  2. Charge up your batteries and have them tested to make sure they will work for the season.
  3. Reinstall your batteries, watch the polarity, hopefully you marked the cables or took a picture to ensure proper hook up.

Summerize

  1. Flush the entire system; do not forget outside showers, icemakers, washer dryers and dishwashers.
  2. Turn bypass valves, flush and fill the hot water tank.
  3. Change any filters and check flow through taps as the screens may have become plugged. (See also Summerize Your RV)

Seals

This can become a major issue if you do not stay on top of the maintenance needed. You need to inspect inside and outside for potential leaks.

Inside:

  1. Take a very close look in all corners, open up cabinets and feel around for any soft spots.
  2. Check around windows, vents, skylights.
  3. Any discoloration is an indication of a water leak, the paper rippling in corners or soft spots.

Outside:

  1. Check around the sides for any possible cracking or openings in the sealant around the sides.
  2. Use extreme caution when going on the roof; inspect all the sealant for cracking and lifting.

Any sign of the sealant failure will need immediate action. Water will ruin an RV faster than anything will, make sure you use the proper material and sealant for the RV.  Remember if you have factory warranty, it may be required that you have it checked by the dealership.

Electrical and Lighting

  1. Turn on all 12vdc lights.
  2. Turn on fans, stereos and any other 12vdc items.
  3. Don’t forget about porch lights, compartment lights or any other 12vdc items outside

Propane

  1. Check and see that you have propane before starting.
  2. Verify the last time you had a propane system inspection and leak test.
  3. Have a qualified technician inspect the propane system every two years at minimum. If you travel on rough roads, it should be done yearly.
  4. Turn the system on and light all the appliances one at a time; leave the fridge to last to make sure you have propane throughout the system. The fridge can still take many tries to light, as it needs to purge all the air from the line.
  5. Make sure you have water in the hot water tank before testing it. No water will burn out the 120vac element. No water on the propane side could cause the gas valve/thermostat to fail.

120 vac System

  1. Make sure you are plugged into an appropriate power source. Most units need a minimum of a 30-amp service to power everything.
  2. If you do not have 30-amp service and are using an adapter down to 15-amp service be careful not to overload the circuit. Turn on each 120vac item one at a time, making sure not to overload the system.
  3. If you are on 30-amp service you can test your AC, if on a 15-amp service you will not be able to test it completely. You may turn on the fan but the AC needs 20 amps to operate.
  4. With the unit plugged into shore power, check your monitor panel as well. Your battery levels should have all lights turned on which will indicate that your system is charging your batteries.

These tips are just a general guide to keeping your RV ready to go for years to come. Every RV is different so follow the advice of your trusted dealership or mobile technician.

Victor Flint, RSE
Recreational Vehicle Technician instructor for Okanagan College.
Owner operator of Family First Mobile RV Services