An Annual Maintenance Checklist for RV Owners

car maintenance and repair - mechanic writing checklist paper on clipboard


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car maintenance and repair - mechanic writing checklist paper on clipboard

It's That Time of Year Again

As an RV owner, one of the most important things you can do to ensure your RV stays usable year after year is keeping up with routine maintenance. Unfortunately, many RV owners have no idea what kinds of things they should be doing in terms of RV maintenance. Others may be aware of what they need to do, but feel overwhelmed by it all.

If you fall into either of these categories, we're talking to you. We’ve compiled an RV maintenance checklist that is easy enough for anyone to follow. Keep up these motorhome and travel trailer maintenance tips, and you can rest assured you’ll be enjoying years of camping fun in your rig.

Related: 22 Important Things to Consider Before Buying an RV

Travel by Motor home
checking RV tires

Examine Tires

Avoiding blowouts is crucial for ensuring your safety while traveling in an RV. Therefore you will want to check the pressure of each tire and add air to any tires that may need it. Additionally, check for wear and tear, making sure that no places are worn excessively, bubbling, or showing other signs of damage.

Related: Ultimate Guide to RV Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

Red and white colored modern Volkswagen Multivan California Ocean (Transporter T6). Is parked on the country road. LED headlights closeup
Dmitrii Guldin/istockphoto

Check Headlights and Brake Lights

Brake lights and headlights are also important parts of traveling safely. Make sure yours work before each road trip.

Smiling Caucasian Men Washing His Motorhome RV Camper Van

Clear Roof of Any Debris

RV roofs have a tendency to gather debris. Letting this sit can cause damage to the roof. It can also be dangerous if it flies off the roof during travel. Therefore, you will want to clear it before you leave.

Retired Woman on the Road Trip with Her Dog

Monthly RV Maintenance Tips

The following motorhome and travel trailer checklist includes everything you’ll want to do to your RV on a monthly basis.

Related: How to Choose the Best RV Size for You

man driving RV
Ziga Plahutar/istockphoto

Drive Your Motorhome

Axles and engines don’t do well when sitting still for long periods of time. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get out and drive your motorhome at least once a month, even if you don’t have a trip planned.

Related: 18 Reasons You Really Don't Want to Buy an RV

RV Generator

Run Your Generator

Gas goes bad when sitting still for too long, and generators don’t like being unused for long periods anyway. Avoid any problems by running your generator at about 50% load at least once a month.

Related: How to Select the Best RV Generator for Your RV

RV batteries

Top Off Batteries

Did you know RV batteries need to be refilled occasionally? Be sure to check the water level in your batteries monthly and refill with distilled water wherever necessary.

Related: 7 Things You Need To Know About Your RV Battery

RV Air Conditioning

Clean the Air Conditioner

Air conditioning units have a tendency to become clogged over time. Keep yours in tip-top shape by cleaning the vents and intake, and cleaning or replacing the filter about once a month when the A/C is in use.

Related: RV Air Conditioner Repair: Tips & Tricks

RV check engine

Check Under the Hood

Motorhome owners should take a look under the hood of their RV once a month or so to make sure there are no signs of leaking and that all clamps and hoses are securely attached.

Checking RV Appliances

Test Safety Equipment

Test and clean your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector regularly, and replace batteries that need to be replaced. Additionally, you will want to check that your fire extinguisher is still in good working order.

Chipmunk Spring Time

Look for Cracks

Avoid an RV infestation by checking all around your rig for pest access points. Little critters only need a hole about a quarter-inch wide to enter your home-on-wheels, so look closely for cracks and holes and fill them if necessary.

Class A RV Motorhome with Slide Out
Cheri Alguire/istockphoto

Lubricate the Slides

Slides are wonderful things to have on your RV. That said, they do come with a bit of added maintenance. You see, RV slideouts should be lubricated once in a while to ensure they continue to pull in and out smoothly.

man is doing the maintenance of a camper trailer. He is applying a sealant around the windows and other parts of the trailer.

Check Your Seals

Water leaks are an RV owner’s worst enemy. Avoid water damage by regularly checking your RV’s exterior seals for places where water might enter and sealing up any problem areas using RV sealant.

RV winter
Ziga Plahutar/istockphoto
In auto repair shop...Car mechanic is changing engine oil

Check and Change Motorhome Fluids

Your motorhome is just like any other vehicle. This means you will need to change the oil once every 3,000 miles or so. While you’re at it, check the other fluids and filters and replace or top off anything that needs it.

Cleaning RV

Deep Clean

Make sure to deep clean your RV at least a couple times a year. Old food dropped under furniture, unknown water spills, and other common messes can cause bigger problems down the line, especially if left while the rig goes into storage.

Related: Easy RV Cleaning Hacks for People Who Hate Cleaning

Camper Van RV Washing

Clean and Wax

Nobody wants a dirty or dull-looking RV. Keep yours clean and shiny by giving it a good wash and wax a couple times a year.

Measuring Trailer Tongue Weight

Weigh Your RV

Having an overweight RV can be extremely dangerous. For this reason, it’s incredibly important to keep tabs on the weight of your rig, especially if you’ll be adding new cargo. Make sure to weigh your RV at least twice a year.

Related: Trailer Tongue Weight: How to Measure & Calculate It

Deploying rv stabilizer jack

Treat Metals

Lubricating metals that rub against other metals helps keep those things moving. This includes jacks, hitches, and fold-up stairs.

Related: How To Choose A Travel Trailer Hitch

Checking the technical condition of a car with the help of a checked checklist
Ralf Geithe/istockphoto

Yearly RV Maintenance Tips

Run through this RV maintenance checklist at least once a year to keep your motorhome or trailer in good shape.

Upkeep Is Expensive, Too

Service Your Brakes

Obviously, you will always want to be keeping an eye on your RV brakes. However, provided no red flags are jumping out at you before the one-year mark, we recommend having your brakes serviced by a professional every 12 months or so.

Prioritize Fundamental Features

Inspect Your Propane

Propane systems are another thing you’ll want to be watching year-round. However, making a point of having the whole system inspected once a year can really help you avoid having problems.

Related: The Ultimate RV Propane Tank Guide

Woman Doing Maintenance of Camper Trailer

Reseal the Exterior of Your RV

We mentioned checking seals regularly above. However, even if you don’t find any obvious issues during those monthly inspections, resealing the exterior of your RV yearly is a good way to prevent future leaks.

RV Water Tank

Clean Your Water System

Nobody wants funky water in their fresh tank. To avoid this, clean the system once a year. Simply dump a cup of bleach into the fresh tank, fill it with potable water, let it sit for a day, and drain. Afterward, fill the tank with portable water again and run the faucets until the bleach smell is gone.

Auto repair shop

Finding RV Maintenance Pros

Many of the things on this list can be done by individual RV owners. That said, there are some tasks that will need to be done by a professional. To find a professional in your area, we recommend calling nearby RV dealerships or searching online for “RV repairs near me.”

Paying with credit card at car service

RV Maintenance Costs

If you choose to do the majority of your maintenance on your own, the cost of RV maintenance shouldn’t be too high. Still, this is something you will want to add to your annual budget to ensure there’s never any stress when it comes time to take care of your tiny home-on-wheels.

Conduct Regular Maintenance

Recommended Amenities

It's not that you can't drive your rig without these things, but they will really come in handy if and when certain scenarios present themselves.

Related: 18 RV Accessories to Buy at Costco

Replacement RV Smoke Alarm, White
Camping World
First Alert SCO5CN Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
Amerex B417, 2.5lb ABC Dry Chemical Class A B C Fire Extinguisher
First-Aid kit with all essential elements
Vitalii Petrushenko/istockphoto
Fire engine arriving at accident scene

Road Flares

Road flares are something you don't think you need until you need them. Clear signage in the event of an accident keeps you safe until help arrives.

RV driving through Arizona

Check It Off and Head Out

Once you've gone through your maintenance check list, you'll feel much more confident (and safe) heading out on the road. Be responsible now so you can adventure more later! If you don't have an RV of your own, don't let that stop you. Rent one today — the open road is calling! 

Related: 25 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying an RV 

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