RV Maintenance Tasks You Should Take Care of Before Heading on a Long Trip

2 Dec

We have grown accustomed to using a series of appliances on a daily basis. Even in our homes, there is more stuff that can break down than it used to be. Fixing them when you are at home is easy, you just pick up the phone and half of the repair is done.

Cruising in an RV is slightly different. You can count on a mechanic along the way, but that is not always the case. When systems fail in your caravan, most of the time you are your own greatest asset out there. Depending on style of routes you cover there might not even be a mechanic close by. And sometimes the cost of bringing him to your RV/boat will be higher than the repair itself.

This is one of the central reasons you should be able to fix these things on your own. The RV and boating communities are very helpful by nature and maybe you can find a happy camper, pun intended, that is ready to help. Otherwise you need to solve the issue on your own.

Well, there has to be a price to pay for enjoying the mobility and freedom of having a home on wheels.

Fixing Small Electrical Components

Auto car repair service center. Two mechanics - man and woman examining car engine

While issue with a tiny light indicator in your regular home is not a big deal, in an RV every data input is consequential. Caravan electrical accessories serve several critical functions. Having a ‘dead’ indicator on a switchboard or circuit breaker in your caravan can affect the decisions you make regarding the route for the following few days. If your switchboard isn’t capable of giving you a clear signal that the fan works – you can live with that. But if you don’t have info on your fridge (working/not working) would you just proceed with the itinerary? Would you leave a dock with a switchboard that can’t indicate if your bilge pump or navigation instruments are operational?

Obviously you need to be able to fix your caravan electrical equipment. And not all of them are critical. Sometimes you just need to change a power switch. Or you need to tweak the power distribution so you can plan you electricity expenditure in advance. Before you can delve into these challenging repairs you need to build your own inventory of spare caravan electrical accessories. Store them in a translucent box or in any other way that will allow you quick access if the repair is time sensitive. Not having spare electrical supplies in your caravan can put you in very bad situation on the road.

Changing a Tire


This one would stare straight in your eyes if it could. Flat tire brings your RV adventure to an immediate halt. In theory, you can proceed and drive with a flat tire to the next gas station or populated area, but don’t forget that this is not your car. Caravans are hefty and if you choose to drive with flat tire your wheels may suffer structural damage. And you will end up getting more than what you bargained for.

Such repairs are your responsibility. To put it in a perspective: if you are on a boat in blue water and your rudder or your autopilot breaks, who’s fixing it? Same goes for your tire. And lets hope it is tire, not tires. Learn how to jack up your caravan. Always have a spare tire. Inspect the spare tire closely before installing it. Work the wheel wrench to secure the tire into place.

Do Some Basic Plumbing

If you have a black water tank then you know how unpleasant spills can be. They have the potential to ruin the whole experience. Either the mascerator pump breaks down or you have a leaking waste water valve – you know the drill. To avoid all this foul mess go for composting toilet. It will save you a lot of trouble.

Even if your tanks are in top shape then you still have all those water pipes that distribute it across. There are filters that ought to be maintained (especially for your potable water). Get familiar with your water system. Installing as much shut off valves is one of the greatest recommendations you’ll ever hear regarding plumbing issues in an RV or a boat. When issue arises you can use these stop valves to localize the issue. Don’t know about you, but I would choose a mess in one branch of my water system over dealing with spillage that is all over the place. Any given day of the week.

Keeping It Water Tight

replace battery and alternator

In a caravan you are looking at leaks from the roof. That is the major one, thought your windows can fail you too. Water ingress can destroy a brick house let alone your RV. Same goes for your boat during a week long crossing – who’s gonna make sure it’s water tight? Having only one faulty hatch in the rain on the open sea (with waves splashing over as a bonus) has the potential to wreak havoc in your cabin. So you need to be on top of your game with this one.

First off you you need to be able to identify the leaks. And then you need to be able to apply sealant. It is fairly straightforward fix, but one that requires patience and perseverance. Perform regular inspections for wear and tear. Follow the hatch sealing manual, get your hands dirty and you are good to go.

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