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Tips to Ready Your RV for Spring Camping

Dreams of warmer weather have been on our minds here in Texas constantly and cabin fever officially set in January! For those of you who own an RV, we know you’re ready to hook it up and get away for the weekend but before you do, here are a few steps to make sure your RV is ready for that first spring trip:

Check the exterior: After a long winter like we’ve had here in Texas, water leaks can be one of the biggest problems so check the roof; vents; doors; caulking around the windows and air conditioners to make sure there aren’t any crack or missing caulk. Serious water damage can happen to your RV even with the smallest holes and cracks.

Check the tires: Make sure to check your tires for any cracks between treads or sidewall cracks. If you notice any, you should treat this seriously and get them replaced. Tire pressure should be checked. Refer to your owner’s manual to select the right tire pressure recommended for your tires. In some cases, you should find a decal with the recommended pressure on it inside a cabinet.

Check and clean appliances: Spider webs, small critters, nests and dead insects need to be removed from the outside access covers for your water heater and refrigerator. To clean up all the dust and dirt from being in storage, do a thorough cleaning with household cleaners. Do NOT blow high pressure air up the refrigerator chimney, but you can use light air pressure from a compressor to clean out the burner area. When in doubt, always consult your RV’s service department for proper cleaning directions for your appliances.

Inspect batteries: You should inspect your batteries before each season to make sure they are in good working order. Make sure to always wear protective gloves and safety glasses. Make sure all items in your RV are turned off and the main power switch is off then disconnect shore power.

Disconnect shore power and make sure all items in your RV are off and the main power switch is off. Clean corroded terminals, battery trays and connections. An easy solution to use is hot water and baking soda to clean batteries. Check fluid levels if possible. This is also a good time to have your battery tested but make sure to disconnect and reconnect it properly.  Rule of thumb: Do not add a new battery with a bank of old batteries.

Check liquid propane (L.P.) using these steps:

  • Make sure all L.P. appliances and items are turned off.
  • There is no smoking, open flames or sparks close by.
  • The leak detector inside the RV is turned ON.
  • Open the valves on your propane tanks. Smell around the area for any leaks.
  • Check the valves and regulators by using a soapy water mixture. If you detect a leak, have a professional inspect and repair it for you. Sometimes the seals dry out over the winter months causing new leaks that didn’t exist before storage.

Check the water: Test your water pipes and lines before you head out on a trip. Make sure all faucets are closed and that the hot water heater bypass valve is in the “normal” position before filling your RV with water. When filling your RV up for the first time, it’s best to use your city water connections but you can also use your fresh water tank and pump.

Allow air to escape until the water flows steady by turning on a hot and cold water faucet during the filling. Check for leaks outside of the RV by inspecting the water heater over pressure safety valve and the water heater drain plug. Turn off faucets and disconnect from your city water connection after the water runs steady. Now you can move on to filling the onboard tanks. Open a hot and cold water faucet until the water flow stops – close the faucets – switch the fresh water pump on. Wait 20-30 minutes to hear if the pump cycles on again after the pump starts running. A pressure drop or leak can be indicated if the pump cycles on. The system should be ready for use if the pump does not cycle on. To make sure all RV antifreeze is removed, run enough water through each faucet. If you’re not sure what to do, contact your RV’s service center.

Check and test appliances: It’s time to test your appliances after you have tested the L.P. and water systems. Check the L.P. gas leak detector to make sure it’s on. The next step is to light a stove top burner which will fill the L.P. lines. Light your refrigerator next but before testing your water heater, make sure it is filled with water.

Check and test generator: You will need to check certain functions on your generator to get your generator ready and to start it. This can be tricky if it has been sitting for a long time. The usual reason your generator won’t start is due to lack of fuel in the lines. Prime your generator (if you have a prime feature) until the indicator light turns on for the fuel pump. To deliver fuel to the carburetor, run the pump for about 20 seconds. You will have to crank it until it starts if you do not have a prime feature on your generator. After about 15 seconds of cranking, let the starter rest to cool. Once it’s been started and has been running awhile, check oil levels and air filter for nests and debris.

Inspect hoses: Before using it, inspect the sewer hose for any tears or holes – remember – sewer hoses have a limited lifespan.

Check waste tank valves: You should always check the valve seal on your waste tank. To make sure it is opening and closing properly, carefully work the handle in and out in short increments. It is a good idea to make sure your tank is empty before doing this. You can always take your RV to a dump station before you perform your inspection. You can purchase a valve lube in the parts department if your valve seal is hard to open – they have a tendency to dry out which causes them to stick.

Inspect awnings: Inspect the fabric by rolling out your awnings. Go over the entire awning and inspect for runs, holes or tears of if anything has become detached. Take it to a professional if you’re having difficulties opening it yourself. Do not attempt this yourself as the spring tension might need adjusting and they can be very tricky.

When in doubt – call a professional to help you. They will have you up and running just in time for the spring camping season!

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