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Freedom, fun and the great outdoors — RVs offer a home-away-from-home on the open road. But keeping your RV in good condition requires careful maintenance. LINK visited two instructors from SAIT’s Recreation Vehicle Service Technician Apprentice program, Robin Bunker and Warren Thunstrom (RVST ’04), to ask their prescription for making your RV roadworthy this spring.
A carbon monoxide sensor, a propane detector, a smoke detector and a fire extinguisher are all mandatory in every RV. If you already have them: check their batteries, check their best-before dates and test the extinguisher. If you don’t: install them yourself — and be sure to use RV-specific models — or have them installed by a certified RV dealer.
RVs are heavy and often parked for long periods so RV tires will dry out and crack long before their treads wear out. Check the tire pressure and — more importantly — check the sidewalls for cracks that could cause tire failure on the road. Crawl under your RV to check the sidewalls facing in — that’s where this crack was found. Look for the best-before date code on your tires and consider replacing tires more than five years old.
Use a water repellant spray lubricant on door locks and compartment locks at the start and the end of the season to prevent rusting.
Unless your RV is covered, sun and weather can damage the roof. Climb up to inspect roof seams and seals around vents and antennae. Look for brittle seals, cracks or gaps that might let rain or water seep in. Reseal if needed.
Put on your safety glasses and gloves, then open your RV’s battery packs to check the electrolyte level. Top up with distilled water if necessary. Make sure the connections are clean and the battery boxes are mounted securely.
Lower your RV’s awning to make sure it’s working. Use an awning cleaner (available from RV dealers) to clean off dirt and tree sap without damaging the fabric.
Look in compartments and drawers for mouse droppings or signs of chewing and nesting. At the end of every trip, remove all food from your RV.
Check your headlights, tail lights, brake lights and signal lights before you hit the highway.