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10 RV Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid

Carrie Price-profile-image
Carrie Price
January 4, 2020

Avoid RV mishaps: Check seals, manage fridge load, cover roofs, inspect for water damage, and use RV-safe toilet paper. Happy camping!

10 RV Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid

RV camping is truly a fun experience for the whole family. But sometimes, no matter how much we prepare, mishaps can happen – resulting in big troubles and costly repairs. There are things you learn the hard way, that’s for sure. After all, RVs are large vehicles with lots of complex systems. Nonetheless, some mistakes can be avoided. Here they are:

1.     Not checking the seals and weather-stripping around your windows.

If you have drafty windows or doors, it’s likely that weather-stripping is required. It’s a relatively inexpensive job that you can do on your own. Self-adhesive weather stripping is the easiest to apply. Proper insulation will keep your RV cool in warmer months and warm in cooler months.

2.     Using your RV refrigerator like the one in your kitchen.

RV refrigerators use a different cooling method than the standard home fridge. It is not designed for cooling lots of items. Don’t pack your RV refrigerators completely full. It works best when there’s some empty space for air to circulate. Consider pre-cooling or buying cold drinks before putting them in the fridge. This way, your RV fridge will not have to work harder to serve its purpose. RV refrigerators also need to be level to operate. Don’t park on a steep incline as this can cause permanent damage to your fridge.

3.     Not covering your roof when parked.

Whether you’re camping in summer or a cold winter day, it’s important to cover your roof when parked. Most RVs are constructed with lightweight materials, particularly the materials used in the roof. Making use of a waterproof tarp cover is an easy, inexpensive way to protect your roof against heavy rain and snow or even extreme sunlight.

4.     Not carefully checking for water damage

Not only can it damage your vehicle interior, but water leaks can also severely ruin your machine. Conduct a thorough check before and after the camping season. With many cracks, seams, and moving parts, water damage is seriously a big deal for every RV owner.

5.     Not going over your safety checklist before any trip.

Are the stairs folded up? Is the antenna down? Are the windows and vents closed?  Are the scissor jacks retracted? Have you checked the oil, fuel and propane levels? How about the interior/exterior lights, generator, air filter, transmission fluids, etc.?  While it may take some time, doing an inspection prior to your trip is important to ensure that your RV is in its best condition. You don’t want to notice problems when it’s already too late.

6.     Not checking your tires.

RV wheels and tires and not only essential to getting you where you want to be. They are also crucial to your safety while on the road. While checking tires is something that you can do by yourself, it’s always a good idea to consult the pros. At the beginning of each camping season, let a tire professional assess your RV tires to know whether they are in proper condition or need to be replaced.

7.     Not securing everything inside.

Securing your RV interior is essential to a stress-free and safe journey. The last things you want to see are your drawers and their contents fell out onto the floor, food flown from your fridge, and all your stuff in a jumbled mess. The best way to secure your cabinets is to pack items close together and line them with thick shelf grip waffle matting. Do make sure that all doors and drawers are properly closed and latched before moving. Small expandable rods are very helpful in securing most items inside your RV.

8.     Loading too much.

People often forget that an RV is basically just a vehicle and all that stuff you bring adds up. You have to be mindful of your RV’s height and weight limitations. When your RV is not balanced, it becomes dangerous and difficult to drive. Bring only what you need. Remember, less is more. Make sure that heavier items are packed low and spread out evenly.  Here's a list of RV essentials that will help you prioritize the items for your next RV trip.

9.     Cleaning the floors like it's your kitchen.

Your RV floors can be a home to thousands of germs and bacteria. Thus, cleaning it regularly is important. But you don’t want to overdo it as if you are cleaning your kitchen floor – scrubbing it all the way down with lots of water. Just like the roof, the RV floor is made from lightweight material. Exposing it to too much water can cause corrosion which might require costly repairs in the future.

10. Using the wrong toilet paper.

There is a specialized type of toilet paper used for RVs. Unlike the regular household toilet paper, it’s 100% biodegradable and disintegrates more quickly. This is important to avoid clogging up your sewage system or tank.  Here are some tips for choosing the right toilet paper for your RV

By learning about these common RV maintenance errors, you lessen the chance of your vehicle getting damaged and your RV vacation becoming a disaster. Happy camping! These RV Maintenance Tips were provided by our friends at Grizzly Tarps.

About Harvest Hosts
Harvest Hosts is a unique RV camping membership that offers self-contained RVers unlimited overnight stays at over 5,623 small businesses across North America with no camping fees. Boondock at farms, wineries, breweries, attractions, and other one-of-a-kind destinations throughout North America, and you’ll get peace of mind knowing that a safe place to stay is always nearby!
Carrie Price-profile-image
Carrie Price
My husband and I were full-time RVers for about two years, traveling to 24 states and three provinces. We traveled all the way from Florida to Alaska and back. While on the road, I used both Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts as well as other apps to find boondocking locations. I joined the Harvest Hosts team in 2021 as part of the Boondockers Welcome (BW) merger as I was the one and only BW employee. I am thrilled to be on the Marketing team at Harvest Hosts to continue my passion for the Boondockers Welcome and RV community.