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Get your RV ready for summer travel

Bring on the season of camping

With Memorial Day just around the corning, many of us are preparing to take our RV out on its maiden voyage of the year. However, just like you take your sweet time waking up from a long nap, there’s a process to follow in “waking up” your RV. Get your RV ready for the summer travel ahead by following these tips.

Time for a shower

Whether your rig has been in storage, or hiding under a tarp, after winter there is probably a decent amount of accumulated dirt and grime on your RV. Your first step in getting your RV ready for summer is a thorough wash and wax. The most efficient way to clean an RV is to start with the top and work your way down. Always make sure your cleaners and wax are RV friendly. After the whole rig (including roof) has been scrubbed down, give it a good shower with a power hose.

In the midst of your cleaning, make mental notes of areas that might need repair. The roof is one of the primary areas that tend to show wear – look for cracks, missing seals or areas that need to be caulked. Taking care of those repairs now will save you from expensive water damage, and literal rain on your summer parade.

Tire Time

When an RV tire sits idle all winter, it’s going to lose pressure. Consequently, before you hit any kind of road you need to check all of your tires with a tire gauge, and then inflate them to the recommended level. While filling the tires, also examine the treads and sidewalls of the tires. You’re specifically looking for bulges, cracks or uneven wear. Tire tread looking quite worn? It’s smart to replace the tires before summer travel. Also, remember that it’s recommended to rotate your tires every 6-8,000 miles. Are you due for a rotation?

Engine check

When you take the RV out of storage, go ahead and turn that key in the ignition and let the engine purr for a few minutes. Listen for any new or unusual sounds, and check the dash for any warning lights. Once the engine has warmed up inspect your fluid levels – the engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, windshield washer fluid, and coolant. Your engine oil should be replaced about every 5,000 miles, so take note of whether that needs to happen before hitting the road.

If you have a generator, now is also a good time to check its functioning. Start the generator up and verify its both running smoothly and producing clean power output. Check to see if the generator oil needs replacing. This is typically recommended every 100-200 hours.

Flush the Water System

Before storing your rig, you likely winterized your water systems. This process involves purging all water from tanks and pipes and afterward filling them with RV antifreeze to prevent any damage during the winter. If you winterized your water system, the first step is flushing this toxic antifreeze out of the entire system using an RV flushing wand attachment.

You will want to run gallons of fresh water through the system. Then, check all of the valves and faucets for any remaining traces of antifreeze fluid until the water runs clear. Even if you didn’t formally winterize your water system, it’s still wise every spring to thoroughly drain and flush your rig’s fresh water tank before filling.

Tackle the inside

Now it’s time to tackle the inside of the RV. Just like the outside, this starts with a good and thorough cleaning to get rid of all the winter dust. While doing this, don’t forget to clean out fridges, microwaves and ovens so you have a clean start to the season. After cleaning appliances, verify that all of them are in good working order. It’s better to realize the oven isn’t functioning now than in the middle of your first trip.

Part of the cleaning job is also declutting cabinets and storage areas. The lower the weight of your rig, the better your gas mileage. And with gas prices the way they are, you’re going to want to go as low as you can go. Thoroughly analyze all items in the RV and determine whether they are necessary. See if you can simplify dishes or accessories to lighten the load.

In Case of Emergency

Lastly, make sure your RV is ready to handle emergencies. Verify that smoke alarms are functioning with fresh batteries, and check to make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher handy. Inspect your first aid kit for any supplies that have expired or need replenishing. Make sure you have emergency essentials in your RV like flashlights, spare batteries, glow sticks, blankets, backup power sources, jumper cables, and a tool kit.

Now you’re ready to enjoy a summer of travel in your RV!

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