Maintenance Tips: How to Keep Your RV in Top Condition

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Keep your RV in top condition for safe travels, cost savings and maximizing your resale value. Wash, check, flush, clean and apply a healthy dose of founding father, philosopher and inventor Benjamin Franklin’s axiom, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” when it comes to your RV.

Whether you vacation is in a motorized RV or a towable, RV maintenance is a big job, but ignoring routine maintenance and cleaning your RV inside and out can lead to big trouble and big expenses. Establish a routine for daily cleaning and checklist for throughout the year to keep your RV in top condition.

Interior Maintenance

While it’s easy to fall into the vacation “daze” during your time at the campground or park, keeping an RV in top condition requires some daily effort.

Carpets and upholstery can either create the impression of a tenderly cared for RV, or be a telltale sign of lackadaisical care.

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Vacuum or sweep daily:  The grit carried in from the great outdoors will stain and eventually wear out carpet and floor coverings. Consider a shoe container or rack placed just outside the RV entrance, or just inside, so outside shoes don’t bring dirt inside.

If it’s been a great day on the trails or at the beach, spread a towel or blanket across the sofa or chair before you take a seat to protect upholstered furniture from hard-to-remove grime and oils. While you’re doing a quick vacuum, use the attachment to snag crumbs and debris from under the cushions and in the cracks of upholstered and leather furniture.

Don’t stow your RV for the season without checking carpets for any untreated stains or moist spots that may worsen while the RV is closed. Schedule a deep cleaning of all flooring once a year.

Wipe surfaces, appliance basins and bowls with a mild cleaner while using your RV; allowing grime and soap to build up may require a stronger cleaner that is not suitable for RV materials and could result in discolored or pitted bowls and basins.

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Once a year, plan a deep cleaning, including wiping down and drying walls, trim and ceiling, treating woodwork with wood cleaner, and cleaning and degreasing in and around cooking areas.

Check drawers and cabinets before and after each trip for spills and messes – once a year empty drawers and cabinets throughout the RV and vacuum out any crumbs, dust and spills. Clean out drawer glides as thoroughly as possible to keep them working smoothly and looking like new.

Exterior Maintenance

Extend the life of your RVs exterior by storing it under cover when not in use.  However, even the most carefully stowed RV needs a regular bath to stay in top condition, and a twice a year, top-to bottom deep clean and wax.

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While maintaining your RV is a big job, the consequences for improperly storing, washing and waxing your RV come at a steep price: A faded, oxidized finish will be difficult, maybe impossible, and surely expensive to restore to near factory showroom shine.

Start your big wash from the top down. Scrub the roof first, washing dirt downward as you clean.

Extend and wash the awning as well. Let the awning and RV dry completely, using a towel or chamois where necessary. While you’re waiting for the RV to dry, use the time to check the seals around the windows, doors and storage compartments.200121599-001


Use a buffer to apply a wax specifically formulated for RVs. While it may feel like digging out of prison with a teaspoon when working on a big RV, don’t rush the job. Work in two-foot sections, applying the wax, and allowing it to dry to a haze before wiping off. The wax is like a sunscreen for your RV that protects its finish, preventing cracking and fading.

Finish with soap and degreaser treatment of the tires, followed by a water-based tire dressing. Use the opportunity to check the pressure and wear on the RV’s tires. If the RV has been sitting uncovered for a season, check the tires for dry rot or cracks.

Treat hinges, locks and exposed metal with a spray lubricant to prevent rust and to keep parts moving freely.

Keep it Running

When it comes to keeping your RV systems running safely and smoothly, don’t skimp. Check fluids before every trip. Test the electrical systems before heading out, and make sure the generator and water systems are in safe working condition before you leave home.

Schedule regular visits to the service center of a trusted dealer like Crossroads Trailer Sales, where professionals will give your RV a thorough evaluation and provide maintenance to keep your RV in showroom condition.

Regular maintenance of the operating and environmental systems in your RV not only mean safe and hassle-free camping, but it ensures your RV will maintain more of its value. A record of regular inspections and maintenance, and replacement of key components, will add up to a greater return on your investment.