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Hobby & Recreational Vehicles

Year-Round Maintenance Tips for Your RV

Keeping your RV in top shape can help ensure that it’s going to perform safely and reliably. If you vacation with your RV without retiring it for the winter, you’re going to need to take care of that recreational vehicle regularly. Take a look at our go-to RV maintenance tips and get a more dependable ride out of your rig — by keeping it in top condition all year long. Watch this short video, then keep reading for the details.


    [Narrator] RVs can be great for more than just summer vacation. They can be a wonderful way to explore the countryside year-round.

    Proper maintenance will help ensure your RV is safe and reliable on the road no matter what the season.

    Good maintenance of your RV includes inspecting things such as the roof seals, tires, brakes, and overall wear and tear. A great place to start is the exterior of your RV.

    Careful inspection of the roof and seams can help identify any potential leaks that could damage the electrical wiring or develop mold and mildew over time.

    So what are some steps you can take to ensure your seals and seams are watertight?

    First, consider hiring a certified RV professional to inspect the roof and reseal areas if needed. Have them check the seals around the skylights and vents and make any needed repairs or replacements.

    You'll want to clean and lubricate all of the RV’s slide outs and seals, too. Make sure to remove any buildup to ensure the mechanisms are unobstructed and can run efficiently.

    Next, let's move on to the RV's tires.

    It's a good idea to keep track of how many miles you've traveled with your RV so you can know when your tires should be inspected or replaced.

    Consider installing tire pressure monitoring systems to make sure your tires are properly inflated.

    Check the lug nuts on your RV's wheels before each trip to ensure they're tightened with the proper torque rating.

    When your RV is not in use for an extended period of time, cover the tires and coat them with a UV sun protectant to help prevent any premature aging.

    Much like your car or truck, your RV likely has brakes that need to be maintained for safe operation. Review your RV's owner's manual for recommended brake service schedules.

    Be sure to have the brake fluid flushed according to the service schedule. If your brakes need to be replaced, make sure to request that the wheel bearings are lubricated and repacked with grease after replacement.

    Now that you've checked these major components, it's equally important to inspect the general wear and tear your RV can experience over time.

    You'll want to keep tabs on the following.

    RV battery life. Be sure it's charged before your next trip or replace it if it's not holding a charge.

    Leveling stabilizers. Make sure they're fully withdrawn before moving your RV.

    Carbon monoxide detectors keep you and your family safe.

    Back up camera. Install or upgrade yours to make it easier to back up safely.

    Awning. Wrap it up every time you're expecting foul weather.

    Generator oil. Make sure to change it regularly.

    Water waste system. Flush it on a regular basis with plenty of water. Be sure to refer to your RV's owner's manual or manufacturer's guidance for specifics for these tasks as well as additional required maintenance.

    Once you've checked and maintained the parts of your RV you've got one last thing to check before you can hit the road. Your insurance.

    You can get a custom policy for your RV with all the coverages and discounts you need from your local American Family agent.

    Contact them today for your personalized quote.

    And remember, by keeping tabs on the maintenance of your RV you can continue making lifelong memories in it year-round.

    [American Family Insurance jingle]

Check Your RV’s Roof Seals and Seams

Roof leaks in RVs are a common problem, especially among older models. In addition to damaging the interior of your RV, water damage can also wreak havoc on the wiring within your walls and build up mold and mildew. Here’s how to check your RV’s roof for leaks:

Have a certified RV professional inspect your roof. Because we don’t recommend getting on the roof yourself, have an RV pro look at your roof and re-seal any areas that appear to have lost their caulking.

Check in with the skylights and vents. Any hole cut into the roof poses a leak risk. When vents and skylights start to leak, it’s usually because their seal is degraded. While your RV’s in the shop, have the pro examine condition of these features and their seals as well.

Manage the slide outs and their seals. Extend the slide outs, then wash and wipe them down. Be sure to remove dirt buildup around the seals. Lubricate the slider mechanisms to keep the control motors running efficiently. Slide out window seals should be conditioned with manufacturer-recommended lubricants, too.

Maintaining Your Tires and Lug Nuts Is an Ongoing Effort

Keeping a close eye on your wheels can really pay off, especially if you’re putting the miles on month after month. By tracking your distance traveled and paying attention to what your tires are telling you, those tires can last longer and perform reliably across the whole camping season:

Keep a log of miles traveled, or use an app. A journal detailing miles traveled can help you remember when your tires are due for inspection or replacement. Take a look online for apps that track miles for you and let your smartphone handle the details.

Install tire pressure monitoring systems. These also can hook into an app, and will notify you when trouble is detected in your tires. You’ll also be able to check in and get a status on your tires with details on the PSI in each tire.

Tighten the lug nuts regularly. Each time you embark on a journey, take a few moments and inspect each tire. Get out that torque wrench, look at your owner’s manual and be sure your lugs secure.

Mask your RV’s tires and UV treat them. Each time your RV’s parked for a period of time, be sure to cover them with covers to extend the life of the tire. Also, coat them with a UV sunscreen to keep the sun from aging them prematurely.

How to Maintain Your RV’s Brakes

There are few systems more important on your RV that its brakes. Take a look at your owner’s manual and get the brakes inspected on that recommended schedule.

Get a status on your brake pads. When taking your rig into the shop, request an estimate of how much padding remains on your brakes, in millimeters. Also ask how many millimeters new pads are shipped with. The difference between those numbers will give you an idea of how much life you’ve got left on your pads.

Flush the brake fluid. On your manufacturer’s schedule, have your brakes serviced and flush the brake fluid.

When replacing brakes, lubricate and re-pack the wheel bearings. Although this is usually performed with a brake replacement, remember to request it.

Manage Wear and Tear on Your RV

Even though your RV may come equipped with factory-issued gear, you may be better off upgrading. Here’s a list of items that wear out quickly or are not quite as reliable as they should be.

Keep an eye on your RV battery. Be sure your battery’s fully charged in the days before hitting the road. Use a trickle charger to bring up the voltage or replace the battery if it’s not responding to charging.

Mind your stabilizers. Be sure your stabilizers are fully withdrawn before moving your RV. They’re designed to keep the RV steady as you’re walking around. Don’t use them to lift the RV up if you have to change a flat because you risk damaging them.

Repel the rodents. Remember to clean your RV regularly to keep pests and rodents away.

Install carbon monoxide detectors. Knowing that each space in your RV has a dependable CO monitor can help you rest more easily.

Upgrade your backup camera. Having confidence that your backup camera’s seeing everything you need to back up safely key. Look for a wide-angled camera with HD, one that sends the video to an easy-to-see display.

Keep your awning safe. It’s easy to forget how vulnerable your awning is to damage. Wrap your awning up every time you’re anticipating foul weather, and consider investing in awning stabilizing hardware to keep it secure.

Change the oil in your generator regularly. Per the owner’s manual, be sure you’re swapping out the oil in your generator to keep it running smoothly.

Maintain your waste water system. Consult your RV manufacturer’s guidance on recommended septic chemicals. Be sure you’re flushing with an adequate amount of water and flush on a regular basis.

And there you have it! Your RV’s in top shape and ready to go. Remember to check in with your American Family Insurance agent to custom build a policy that fits your needs. With great protection for your investments, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the road ahead, wherever it may lead.

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