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Getting the RV Ready for Summer

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The most important resource you have is your owner’s manual. If you don’t have a manual, here are some helpful tips to prepare you for a fast approaching RV trip.

Clean It Out

Remove all protective covers and wash the exterior. Air out the interior by opening all roof vents and windows. Remove any pest control items you may have placed to protect interior and exterior compartments during winter storage. Clean or replace air conditioner filters.

Check the exterior

Inspect the roof and body for signs of damage. Look for deterioration of seals around the doors, roof vents, and windows, and reseal if necessary. Remember, old sealant must be removed before new sealant can be applied. Now is also a good time to lubricate hinges, locks and other moving parts. If you have an awning, roll it out and check for damage, mildew and insects. Inspect the headlights, including high and low beams, the taillights, brake lights, and turn signals. If you have a towable, be sure to examine the hitch system for wear, loose bolts and cracks.

Change the engine oil and spark plugs

Many motor home manufacturers recommend that in addition to regular scheduled oil changes, you should change the engine oil and filter prior to storage and in the spring. During storage, the oil can separate, causing a condensation buildup that may harm your engine. While you’re there, replace the spark plugs. Be sure to set the gaps to the recommended manufacturer’s setting using a gap setting tool. You will also want to check and clean the carburetor or service the fuel injection system, replace the air filter and top off the brake and power steering fluids. Don’t forget to change the transmission fluid and filter.

Check the battery

Clean the cables and terminals with a wire brush, grease and reconnect. Depending on your battery, you may have to fill the cells with distilled water.

Check the cooling and fuel systems

You need to flush and replace the old antifreeze with a proper coolant. Be sure to check for cracks in all hoses and fan belts and replace if necessary. Replace the fuel filter and examine the fuel lines and fittings for cracks and leaks.

Flush the water system

Close all faucets, including the shower head. Drain and flush the nontoxic antifreeze you used in storing your recreation vehicle from your entire water system. You may have to flush the system several times to remove the chlorine taste.

Inspect the tires

Check the tires for cracks, worn treads and correct tire pressure. If you have a trailer, remove the storage blocks or jacks. Tighten the lug nuts to manufacturer specifications.

Prepare for a safe season

Even after all the mechanical components have been checked, you should never set out on a trip without proper safety equipment. Install new batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check the expiration dates on fire extinguishers. Restock the supplies in the first aid kit.

Be sure you’re covered

After making all the routine checks listed above, check your insurance policy and review your coverages to make sure they meet your current needs.

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