“Walk Arounds” will save you on expensive repairs. This is simply walking entirely around your RV before you move, anytime you stop; even if it is just for gas during a trip. You may catch a jack that didn’t raise all the way, a storage or service door you forgot to close or popped open, or a tire that is looking low.
Keep your A/C unit on high to help prevent the coils from icing over in the humid environments we have here in Florida. If your AC does stop blowing cool air, run it with just the fan on for ½ hour to 45 minutes and the coils should be thawed enough to once again work properly.
If something electrical stops working check ALL of your fuses and replace any that are blown. Sometimes fuse boxes are mislabeled at the manufacturer or when there have been modifications to the coach. Remember, not all RV’s are built the same, so sometimes during the building process something may get switched by accident.
When buying a new, or used, RV, pay attention to the tires! This is a very costly and frequent repair. If you do not recognize the brand of tire on your RV you should take some time to familiarize yourself with their load capacity and recommended pressure for the weight you have on that axle when fully loaded. Also note the date on the tires so you know when to expect to replace them.
Look for water damage. Look around all appliances, plumbing, windows, doors, and roof. Plumbing and resealing repairs can be expensive.
If you plan on selling your RV, do research on what similar RV’s are selling for on Craigslist, Ebay, and the hundreds of online RV listings. Look how long that RV has been listed to know if that is a reasonable price or not, some people list their RV’s for high dollars but they end up being listed for several years without any offers. Do not expect to make back what you owe. Keep in mind the monthly payments you will be making holding for one, or even several, years by holding onto a high price. Also take time to post good quality pictures so nobody thinks you are hiding expensive repairs.
Stranded Waiting for Repairs
Don’t expect your destination to have readily available service or parts if you are going to a big event such as Daytona 500 or an RV Rally. While there is a lot of preparation for these shows or events, the amount of emergency repairs needed because of improper preventive maintenance often swamps dealerships and repair shops. If you perform proper maintenance before your trip, and test every appliance in your coach, you have better chances of not being left stranded waiting on a part for weeks after the event is over.
Protect those tires!
The tires of your RV go through lots of strains that the typical car or truck goes through. The added weight, the long road trips, and storing for extended periods of time all bring unique unfavorable conditions that affect the life of your tires.
- Prevent Dry Rot! No tire will last forever and usually the number one thing that will hasten its demise is dry rot. If you can, drive a couple miles a week to “exercise” the tires. When you park, cover your tires. This prevents the elements and the sun from affecting the rubber of your tires. If you are going to be storing your RV or tow along for long periods of time or parking in extreme temperatures, keep the tires off the ground. Keeping tires away from exhaust and generators also helps protect against dry rot because exposure to ozone, which vehicle and motor/generator exhaust produce, is a leading cause of dry rot.
- Keeping your tires properly inflated helps prevent dry rot, prevents blowouts, and positively affects your fuel consumption.
- Only clean your tires with products designed specifically to clean or condition the tires. Never use petroleum based products or household cleaners on them, the chemicals in most household cleaners will strip away the natural and factory installed protection the rubber contains.
- Don’t forget to check the condition of your valve stems! A rotted valve stem is just as bad as a rotted tire.
- Block your tires properly. Using blocks that are smaller than your tire’s width can cause excessive stress on the sidewalls or on the tread portion of your tires.
- Park on level ground. Uneven weight distribution will cause some tires to wear quicker than others and a blow out can sneak up on you.
- Replace your tires by time, not miles. Over time your tires will degrade naturally and of course the elements will hasten that. Usually 4-6 years is about all you’ll get out of a well maintained tire before it starts getting close to a blow out, even if you spend most of those 6 years on jacks in storage. But this all depends on the quality of the tire as well. Some brands of tires are known to not last longer than 3 years no matter how well you care for them. Tires for your RV are expensive and you need to make sure you are getting a long lasting quality tire instead of a one that will only last you 3 years and is already 18 months old when you purchase it. Only buy brands you know are quality, and when you buy an RV (new or used) make sure it has a good brand of tire and recently made. Dealerships usually don’t mind changing them if you make it part of the deal.
The date the tire was made can be found on the sidewall; the last 4 numbers on the D.O.T. number will tell you the week and the year it was made. 0612 means that it was made in the sixth week of 2012.