RV maintenance tips

Recreational Vehicle Maintenance Tips

Updated March 4, 2024 . AmFam Team

If you vacation with your RV without retiring it for the winter, you’re going to need a strategy for controlling wear and tear. Take a look at these tips for regular maintenance on your RV and learn how to extend the life of your rig with a little scheduled TLC.

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.

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.

Tools & Resources

Explore our tools and smart tips.