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How to Save Your RV From an Early Death: 13 Advice & Tips

Writen by Dane Heldt

Fact checked by Robert Clark

how to save your rv from an early death

RVs, or recreational vehicles, are the key to memorable long-distance trips. Many people even live full-time on RVs, which means they spend most of their lives in their vehicles. With the many benefits RVs bring in your life, you’ll want to extend their life for as long as possible. So it is essential to service and maintain your vehicle correctly.

If you don’t know where to begin, this article is for you. We will provide a list of things you need to do to prolong the life of your rig. In the long run, these will save money on repairs and give you more peace of mind when driving.

Here’s a quick rundown of things you should do with your vehicle periodically.

So, without further ado, let’s find out how to save your RV from an early death!

13 Ways to Save Your RV From an Early Death


1. Keep Your RV’s Awning Maintained

Sun, wind, rain, and hail can damage your RV’s roof. Therefore, it is essential to regularly evaluate your RV’s awning to detect signs of deterioration in time, especially if you know you are driving in a problem condition.

A few cleanings per year is enough to care for your RV’s awning properly. It is okay to wash the roof with a gentle solvent and water solution to keep it clean. Besides every six months, it is wise to inspect the RV’s roof seams and seals for any leaks.

Moreover, you should cover your RV roof with a sealant to prevent long-term water damage, which can cost hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars for repairs if not promptly remedied. It is alright to get metal RV covers to protect the RV roof better.

RV’s awning replacements can range from $1,300 to $1,400.

2. Check Tire Pressure and Tighten the RV’s Wheel Lug Nuts


Before embarking on any RV ride, it’s essential to measure the tire pressure and tighten your RV’s wheel lug nuts for safety reasons.

By regularly checking your vehicle’s wheel lug nuts, you can rest assured that they won’t come loose during your ride. Driving with a loose nut is very dangerous, and the worst that can happen is your vehicle loses its wheels while riding.

It’s also important to check your RV’s tire pressure. Overinflated tires can explode, damage your vehicle, and cause you to have an accident. Meanwhile, if your RV has underinflated tires, you may have trouble with control problems. In addition, it will generate more drag, consuming more gas.

3. Keep Your Generator Flowing

If you think that overusing, or using something too often, is the only cause of its shortened lifespan, you are wrong.

Leaving the generator idle for too long can result in you needing to replace it sooner than necessary. The fact is that gasoline usually has a shelf life of about 1 month. It will then decompose, resulting in damage to your generator’s internals.

Therefore, we recommend running your generator at about 50% load for 2 hours once a month to ensure it is primed and ready to utilize. Otherwise, it may lead to carburetor varnishing, decreasing the gasoline’s ability to operate your generator correctly.

4. Maintain Your Wastewater System in Its Good Condition

You need to ensure that you use chemicals compatible with each system, including gray or black water systems. If you do not maintain the water system of your RV, it will build up over time, clogging the system, valve seizing, and failure of the operation.

5. Keep The Brakes Of Your RV Maintained


The brakes are crucial not only with RVs but also with any vehicle. Therefore, they should be at the top of the list of your RV’s parts that need regular maintenance.

Especially during the summer, your brakes can dry out to the point of failure, putting you and others in danger. So it is essential to maintain the wheel bearings. Ensure they are nice and lubricated throughout summer days

Beyond that, you also need to regularly check the brake lights on the recreational vehicle. Before joining any journey, check if your brakes have lost their sensitivity.

Brake replacements may range from $300 to $500 and usually include replacing the seals and repacking wheel bearings.

6. Open The Vents

Not every option for maintaining your rig requires spending a lot of money. By opening the vents, you can help keep your vehicle in good condition for a long time.

Depending on your location, the temperature inside your rig can reach up to 130 degrees during hot summer days. Getting too hot inside can cause the most durable materials to deteriorate quickly and fail sooner than expected. For instance, seals, seams, wallcoverings, and flooring will degrade quickly, requiring your repairs or replacement sooner than expected.

By opening the vents, airflow throughout your RV will be improved, maintaining a consistent internal temperature.

7. Treat And Clean The Slide Outs


You will need to clean your RV skids regularly to remove dirt around and in the seals. Otherwise, you may face problems sealing the camper. To clean the RV’s slide-outs, it is essential to lubricate all slider mechanisms they run out and in smoothly and quickly.

As for your window seals, you can keep rubber pliable and fresh by applying lubricants, so they make good seals. Plus, it will allow the window to move with ease.

If an RV’s windows start to catch, the felt they slide into may tear and require replacement.

8. Replace Fluids

To prevent overheating in your recreational vehicle, especially on hot summer days, you should pay attention to all of the fluids in the rig.

Always check your levels before taking your vehicle out. Once you detect your brake, steering, windshield washer, and transmission fluids are low, it’s time to top them up immediately.

9. Check The Battery Life

Batteries are also one of the essential parts of an RV, which requires regular maintenance. With proper care, batteries can last up to 5 years. Some models have water levels, and some are maintenance-free.

It is wise to do your best to keep the battery fully charged at all times. Without the battery, your entertainment vehicle will lose power, leaving you in a very uncomfortable situation along the way.

10. Change The RV’s Oil

We recommend seasonal oil changes to ensure that everything is lubricated and operating in top condition. In particular, for recreational vehicles, it is wise to change the oil every 3,000 to 4,000 miles or annually (spring is the ideal time).

However, if you do not change your oil, your engine will go bad quickly and could require expensive repair services or lead to you having to buy a new one.

11. Replace Your RV’s Fuel, Coolant, Air, and Hydraulic Filters

Like the RV’s oils, you need to seasonally change your RV’s fuel, coolant, air, and hydraulic filters. We typically recommend checking out the fuel, coolant, air, and hydraulic filters every time you change the oil.

12. Check Out Your RV Gauges


Checking your RVs gauges should also become part of your routine. It includes keeping an eye on oil pressure, engine temperature, charging, brake health indicators, etc.

13. Properly Store Your Vehicle When Not in Use

Here is a checklist of tasks to perform before storing your RV:

  • Put the RV supports down to reduce the weight of your vehicle. It will not only extend the life of your tires but also help prevent them from forming flat spots.
  • Don’t forget to add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank and change the oil to prevent condensation and corrosion.
  • Pick up some tire shields or covers to put over your tires to protect them from UV rays.
  • Remove the RV battery and store it in a dry place.
  • You should run the engine to operating temperature once per month during the hot summer days.

Closing Thoughts

Generally, taking care of your RV should not really be a painful task. It’s relatively easy and only requires a few minutes of your focus a few times a year to ensure everything is working correctly.

Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will know how to save your RV from an early death. Just follow this guide, and it will last a lifetime with you!

Thank you for stopping by, and happy fixing!

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