Preparing for RV Season

Get your RV set for the road

To prepare your RV for that first day of travel, follow these tips — and refer to your owner's manual for specific maintenance instructions.

Clean and air out the RV.

Remove any protective covers and wash the exterior. Open all roof vents and windows. Remove any pest control items, and clean or replace air conditioner filters.

Check the exterior.

Inspect the roof and body for signs of damage. Reseal around the doors, roof vents and windows if necessary, and lubricate hinges, locks and other moving parts. If you have an awning, roll it out and check for damage, mildew and insects. Inspect the headlights, including high and low beams, as well as the taillights, brake lights and turn signals. If you have a towable, examine the hitch system for wear, loose bolts and cracks.

Change the engine oil and spark plugs.

Many motor home manufacturers recommend that you change the engine oil and filter in the spring, because during storage, the oil can separate, causing condensation to build up — potentially harming your engine. While you're changing the oil, replace the spark plugs and set the gaps to the recommended manufacturer's setting. Also, check and clean the carburetor — or service the fuel injection system — replace the air filter and top off the brake and power steering fluids. Change the transmission fluid and filter, too.

Check the battery.

Clean the cables and terminals with a wire brush, then grease and reconnect them. If necessary, fill the cells with distilled water.

Check the cooling and fuel systems.

Flush and replace the old antifreeze with a proper coolant. Replace any cracked hoses or fan belts, and the fuel filter. Examine the fuel lines and fittings for cracks and leaks, too.

Flush the water system.

Close all faucets, including the showerhead. Drain and flush the nontoxic antifreeze from your entire water system, and repeat as needed to remove the chlorine taste.

Inspect the tires.

Check the tires for cracks, worn treads and correct tire pressure. If you have a trailer, remove the storage blocks or jacks. Tighten the lug nuts to manufacturer specifications.

Prepare for a safe season.

Install new batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check the expiration dates on fire extinguishers and restock your first-aid kit.

Be sure you're covered.

Review your RV insurance policy to make sure it still meets your needs, and make sure you know how to file a claim.

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