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Hobby & Recreational Vehicles

How to Prep Your RV for Summer

Have you been counting down the days? We sure have! With summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to get your camper or RV de-winterized and ready for another season of adventures!

No matter how well you take care of your RV, they degrade naturally in storage — batteries can run down, electrical parts can corrode, and gaskets can get brittle and crack. So, before your first trip, it’s a good idea to run through this checklist to get everything ready for miles of fun, family time and memory-making.

Rinse and repeat. Refill, flush and test your fresh water tank and fresh water systems: faucets, hose spigots and other drainage valves. Look closely for leaks. If you used RV antifreeze over the winter, be sure it’s completely flushed from the system.

Inspect the awning. Make sure your RV’s awning mechanisms are lubricated and working properly. Also it may be time to coat your canvas awning with a UV-blocking solution to extend its life.

Checking Your RV’s Propane/Liquefied Petroleum (LP) Systems

Getting your RV ready for summer should include a thorough review of all LP systems. Look carefully at the LP tank, lines and pressure regulator and be sure that no damage occurred during your RV’s winter hibernation. Also, check in on these LP-related items:

LP hosing and external tank condition. Much like your home, propane in your RV heats the interior, warms the hot water and cooks your food. Test all appliances that run on propane. Your local RV dealer can help you assess the condition of your propane system if you’ve got any questions.

Check the propane exhaust lines. Look at the exterior vents for rusting, removing any debris, clogs or other items that might restrict the flow of exhaust. All connections, unions and pipe fittings should be reviewed for rust, fatigue or issues that compromise LP gas appliances.

Test the water heater. You may have an electric or propane-burning water heater in your RV. Check out your owner’s manual to determine the type of heater you’ve got onboard and follow their recommendations for inspecting and troubleshooting.

Power up. Test the water pump by turning on each water faucet and outlet across the RV, look for lapses in pressure that may indicate a failing water pump.

Safety standards. Replace the batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Look at your fire extinguishers and review expiration dates and pressure levels.

See the lights. Test interior and exterior lights, switches, electrical connectors, surge protectors, outlets, etc.

Review the fluids. Check engine oil, transmission and brake fluid, coolant and filters (including the air conditioner!)

Repel the Rodents from Your RV

Hopefully, before you put your RV to bed last fall, you took a few practical measures to deter pests. By preventing vermin from turning your ride their winter getaway, you could be saving yourself headaches — and thousands of dollars. Here are a few simple ways to repel rodents from your RV:

Inspect the underside. Check underneath your camper or RV for signs of rodent damage or nesting.

Look carefully for indications of rodents. Look inside the RV for small holes where the floor and wall meet. If you find black pellet-sized droppings, that’s another sign that mice are near.

Prevent infestations with beadlets. Spice up your interior with rodent-repelling peppermint beadlets. They’re proven to fend off rodents and other unwelcomed guests.

RV Spring Cleaning Made Easy

There’s more to cleaning up than dusting off the cob webs and wiping down the windows. Because you’ll want to thoroughly clean your RV from top to bottom, you’re best approaching the job in small phases. That way you won’t be overwhelmed.

Required reading. Take a look at the owner’s manual for details on recommended cleaning, tips and their advice on how to extend your RV's life. Often manufacturers will indicate types of cleaners, solvents and ways to clean that work best for your ride.

Wipe down the walls. Because spiders and other insects nest over the winter in your RV, they’ll typically lay eggs in the springtime. Unappealing as this may sound, thoroughly wiping down the walls can free up the RV of these freeloaders.

Wash windows, screens. The collected soot should be washed away from both sides of your windows. Think about picking up a squeegee with an extension arm that can be used across the summer so you can continue to enjoy the amazing views.

Wipe down door and roof vent seals. Any seal locking out the elements from your RV should be wiped down. Small amounts of debris can lead to cracking or breaking of the seal, eventually giving way to expensive leaks.

Fight the mold and mildew. Moisture is no friend of your RV. Keep down the dew by running your AC over the summer when humidity is high. Use a bleach-based surface cleaner to wash up those dark and musty areas.

Visit the fridge. Use a strong surface cleaner to wipe down the fridge and freezer before turning it on.

Swap out the linens. If your sheets and bedding have been dressed across the beds all winter long, they’ll likely need a thorough laundering.

How to Wash Your RV’s Exterior

A sparkling clean RV inside and out can inspire dreams of getting into the middle of nowhere. But before you go, there are a few ways to clean up so your adventures are safe and you’re ready for anything.

Clean up the storage area. Grab that mold-fighting solvent and spray down your storage area, focusing on the corners. If water’s been pooling in there, replace the gaskets or fix that leak before you hit the road.

Wash the exterior. Again, defer to your manufacturer’s recommended cleaning methods. Power washing can help pull out grime and release the bugs from the front of your RV, but use it carefully. Getting too close with the nozzle can harm these seals. If you’re worried, try using a soft bristled brush first so you don’t damage your rig.

Don’t forget the undercarriage. Mud, grease and last year’s grime may be clinging fast to the underside of your RV. By cleaning that out with a pressure washer or by riding it through an RV washer, you can help to reduce noxious fume buildup in the cabin and keep the rust down too.

Give your RV tires a little TLC. Remember to inspect those RV tires for sidewall cracks, looking between the treads. Don’t forget to check your air pressure — from interior tires as well. Replace any worn or damaged tires. Wipe them down with a sunscreen-based gloss coat to keep them shiny and looking fresh.

Power up the generator. Check the electrical generator to be certain its exhaust system is in good condition and doesn’t leak. Verify that all light switches, appliances, fuses and breakers are functional as well. 

Take a brake. Inspect brakes, bearings and hydraulic or electric controls, and repair or replace any worn components. Inspect shock absorbers, springs, etc. Where possible, lubricate the chassis.

RV parking items. Inspect all leveling jacks used when your RV’s parked. Use a wire brush to scour away rust. Also, look at your parking chocks and consider replacing those that look worn or prone to failing. The last thing you need is an unexpected roll after setting up camp!

Tow-ready. Check all components of the towing system including the hitch, receiver and wiring harnesses.

Check the tech. Wipe down all roof-mounted satellite antenna equipment with manufacturer-recommended solvents. Dust and other debris can block your signal if left unchecked.

Customizations and mods. Check the manufacturer’s manual for maintenance instructions specific to the additions and modifications you’ve made to your RV.

Check in with an RV dealer. If you’re not sure how to inspect these systems yourself – or don’t have the necessary tools – no worries! Simply get in touch with a trained technician at your local RV dealer. Taking the time to check out your camper or RV before you hit the road will help you relax and enjoy the adventure ahead!

Meet Your Agent and Verify Your RV Coverage

While you’re sprucing up your RV for the season ahead, check in with your American Family Insurance agent and schedule an insurance review. By bundling our products, you may be able to save on your premium. Plus, your agent will also help you get the most out of our MyAmFam app which can also save you money.

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Related Topics: Travel , Recreational , Boat , Snowmobile , RV