Motorhome Repair And Maintenance Can Be Performed Throughout The Year

Motorhome repair and maintenance issues are just a fact of life. The question is, how do we go about accomplishing these tasks? Maintaining our rigs can be a chore that we put off until the end of the season, or we can go about it a little bit sooner.

Can Small Motorhome Maintenance Be
Treated As A Hobby?

Can repair and motorhome repair maintenance be treated as a hobby? Although we had visions of camping by the river/sea/lake when we bought our rigs, a lot of us have found enjoyment in just dinking around with our small motorhomes.

There is always something that needs to be serviced, cleaned, or even potentially modified. I think this is half the fun of ownership.

This leads to the question... Do we have to perform all of our RV maintenance at the beginning and the end of the season? Wouldn't it make more sense to spread things out a bit when possible?

This concept came to my attention when we were crabbing at Doran beach in Bodega Bay a couple of years ago. We happened to camp next to a fella with a sweet little 30' rig. I actually forget the manufacturer's name, but it was very clean motorhome.

Bodega Bay Fishing

Crab Fishing At Doran Beach County Park

As I remember it, this owner would spend about an hour each day polishing or cleaning something. It wasn't a big deal, but it did bring to my attention a truism that is easily overlooked. Essentially, it is easier to clean something that is already clean.

So, this brings up a point. Is it worth our time to do a little bit of motorhome repair and maintenance on a regular schedule, or should we wait until the end of the season to catch up on things?

I'm thinking that cleaning and polishing stuff should and could be done throughout the year while we are using our rigs for recreation. We can put off doing major stuff like oil changes and the like after the end of the season... but you don't have to.

Potential Ongoing Motorhome Issues

Here are some potential motorhome repair maintenance issues that can be addressed on an ongoing basis:

  • Battery Maintenance

    • Electricity wants to go to ground. Dirt is a conductor and dirty terminal posts will allow current flow to escape from the battery. We all know that a dirty post can cause potential phantom load issues and keeping them clean will go a long way toward a long healthy life for your expensive deep cycle battery.

      • This type of voltage drain can also be called an "electrical energy vampire". An energy vampire condition normally occurs on some appliances and/or various types of electronic equipment when they go to a "STANDBY" mode. This is a situation that allows some power to remain on when you push the "OFF" button.

        The problem of dirty terminals will result in a voltage vampire condition that causes a voltage drain because the battery is not as isolated as well as you may think.

        This lack of isolation results in a voltage leak to ground. This will cause your battery to potentially die faster than it should.

        Think about it... How hard is it to go out and clean your battery terminals? Plus, when you do this type of motorhome repair and maintenance, you will have one less thing to worry about.

    • While you're at it, this would be a good time to check the water in your battery/s.

    • If you use your batteries, you will need to put distilled water in them periodically. You will also want to carry some distilled water with you for this purpose. It is not good to be out in the middle of nowhere and have low battery water issues because, if your batteries run dry, your batteries will die.

  • Motorhome Tires

    • Motorhome repair and maintenance on your tires can, and should be done regularly. Proper inflation (don't forget the spare!) and inspection of the treads can keep you safely off of the side of the road. It is amazing what you can find stuck in the treads just waiting to work its way into the tire.

    • Checking the tread depth on your tire can reveal unusual tread wear patterns. Tread wear can indicate potential issues with shocks, alignment, etc. Why wait until your tire has prematurely worn out before action is taken? Catching alignment and wear issues early will save dollars.

  • Motor Generator

    • If you are not dry camping and you tend to spend a large amount of time connected to the shore power, you may neglect the motor generator.

      Running these units at least an hour per month will go a long way to keeping them healthy and ready to supply electricity when you REALLY need it.

  • Motorhome Repair and Maintenance On Your Roof

    • You probably shouldn't be crawling around on your roof while camping. However, did you scrape a tree limb while setting up camp a couple of days ago? Is is possible that you made a tear in your roof barrier? Generally, it is a good idea to check this out before the summer showers come. If needed, it is possible to do a quick fix with a piece of EternaBond tape.

    Potential RV Problems That Can Be Addressed
    After The Camping Season Is Over

    Not all motorhome repair and maintenance can be accomplished on the fly. There are some things that should be done at the end of a long adventurous season. For example, a thorough inspection and cleaning should be performed on the roof before winter arrives.

    Actually, it may also be a good idea to perform a pressure test so that you can spot the small, hidden leaks that tend to sneak up on us. By and large, it may be a good idea to perform inspections and maintenance on all of the following items before you put your rig away for the winter.

    • End Of Year Motorhome Tire Inspections

    • Winter Battery Care

      • Make sure that your battery is isolated and not allowed to freeze. You may want to bring it in out of the cold. It just depends on where you are located.

      • Most of the time you can use a little battery tender to maintain the proper storage voltage during the winter. Basically, you should probably clean your terminals, check the water levels , and exercise your batteries throughout the winter season.

    • Overpressure Bubble Testing

      • Depending on where you are located and what the weather conditions are, it may be a good idea to perform some type of overpressure check on your Class C Motorhome. An overpressure test with a good bubble solution will find all of those small leaks that can drive you crazy and potentially do great harm to your motor coach.

      • Developing and performing a full weatherization and damage prevention process is a good idea at the end of a season. Frozen and broken plumbing is not the way you want to deal with beginning of next spring.

    • Pest Control

      • A good way to prevent the encroachment of critters looking for a warm home during the winter months is to remove ALL food and potentially tasty stuff from your rig (like toothpaste) so you will not attract unwanted guests.

      • As a matter of fact, large animals, like squirrels, opossums, raccoons, etc. can potentially find their way into your motorhome. You do not want to leave anything open that will allow access for these critters.

    • Motorhome Repair and Maintenance On Your Awnings

        At the end of the season, you should clean all debris away from your awnings. This is a good time to wash and dry your awnings.

        If you are using a manual awning with a pull down strap... you may need to replace it. They sometimes break after years of exposure to ultra violet rays. This is a repair and maintenance project that simply canot wait until the end of the season.

    • Slide Extensions

      • You should also look over your slides. Make sure there are no leaves and other debris where they shouldn't be.

      • If you are using a rack and pinion type of motor driven unit, you may want to lube things up a bit.

      • If you are using hydraulic slides, check your hydraulic fluid level... What does the manufacturer say about how often you should change your fluid?

Some Additional Areas That May
Be Easily Overlooked

    • If you have an automated entrance step, it should be lubricated as per manufacturers' instructions.
    • Using a dry graphite lubricant on all of the locks will help keep the lock action performing up to standard and not sticking at inconvenient times.
    • Change out the batteries in your smoke/carbon monoxide alarms in the fall and spring.
    • Check the expiration date on all fire extinguishers.
    • Change out your charcoal water filter before the season begins.

    The above motorhome repair and maintenance suggestions are not meant to be conclusive. They are just ideas on where to look for issues. Every situation is unique. Always check to see what the operating manuals say about your equipment.

    The manufacturers' guidelines are there for a purpose. Following their advice on preventive motorhome repair and maintenance will go a long way towards keeping your Class C Motorhome trouble free and running smooth.

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