11 RV Maintenance Blunders That Can Lead to Big Problems

3 shares Because of the freedom, flexibility, and affordability it offers, the RV lifestyle is more popular than ever. However, while there’s a lot to…

Because of the freedom, flexibility, and affordability it offers, the RV lifestyle is more popular than ever. However, while there’s a lot to love about RV life, it requires quite a bit of responsibility and RV maintenance to enjoy it fully.

To help you stay on the straight and narrow and make the most of every RV trip, here are a few common blunders both new and experienced RVers can make that could lead to major issues.

1. Having Too Much Weight

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One of the biggest mistakes new RV owners make is putting too much weight inside their travel trailer, motorhome, or fifth wheel. In addition to potentially damaging the frame, axles, and floor of their RV, excess weight also puts unnecessary strain on their tow vehicle.

Knowing your tow vehicle’s towing capacity and your RV’s payload capacity is important to prevent overloading. 

2. Failing to Secure Loose Items on Travel Days

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Another common mistake any RV owner can make is forgetting to secure everything inside the RV before hitting the road. Certain appliances and pieces of furniture, such as TVs, chairs, and anything else that isn’t bolted to the ground, can move during transit.

Unfortunately, these moving parts are prone to damage if you hit the brakes too hard or take a corner too fast. Therefore, you should always do a walk-through before putting all the slide-outs in to ensure everything is secure and where it belongs.

3. Forgetting to Check Tire Pressure

Man checking tire air pressure MSN
Image Credit: NewAfrica/DepositPhotos.

Forgetting to check your RV tires is probably the most common maintenance mistake RVers make. You should check your tires every month and every time you start driving your RV.

You see, the tires that are installed on your RV during manufacturing aren’t exactly the cream of the crop. In most cases, RV manufacturers use the cheapest tires available to save money. As a result, they lose air very easily, increasing the chances of a blowout.

In addition to checking tire pressure, you should also check the overall condition of the tires before every RV trip. Make sure they aren’t too bald, and there aren’t any cracks or bulges in the tire sidewalls. If there are, you should have the tires replaced as soon as possible.

4. Not Covering Your RV Tires

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No matter how often you check and clean your tires, they’ll experience natural wear and tear. However, they’ll wear out even faster if you keep them uncovered during long stays at campgrounds or RV parks.

Investing in tire covers to protect your RV tires while your rig is set up at a campground or parked in storage is a good idea. Tire covers prevent foul weather and UV rays from damaging your tires and give them an extra year or two of life.

5. Overloading Your RV Fridge

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In general, RV appliances are more fickle than the appliances you use in your home. This is especially true when it comes to your RV refrigerator. RV refrigerators are smaller and have less power than standard fridges. As such, you need to be careful not to overload it.

When you put too much water, food, and bottled beverages in your RV fridge, it can become overworked and malfunction. This often results in costly repairs or replacements, both of which we’ve had to do in the past.

6. Forgetting to Dump and Flush Your Tanks

Liz Wilcox gives tips on how to pick the best RV Motorhome
Photo Credit: Liz Wilcox

Rule number 1 for taking your RV camping: always dump your holding tanks before you hit the road. Failing to flush your black and gray tanks will add a ton of weight to your RV. Additionally, the longer you go without flushing your black tank, the more likely toilet paper will build up and clog.

In addition to regularly dumping your holding tanks, it’s also important to flush your black tank at least once weekly to prevent clogging.

7. Improper Winterization

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If you live in a cooler climate and store your RV during winter, it’s important to winterize it before storing it. Otherwise, your water lines could burst, and your water heater will most likely malfunction when you attempt to turn it on in the spring.

Conversely, it’s also important that you properly de-winterize your RV when you take it out of storage and set it up for the first camping trip of the season.

8. Not Servicing Your Air Conditioner

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If you’re a creature of comfort (like me), having your air conditioner give out is near the top of your “worst nightmare” list. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what will happen if you don’t service your AC regularly.

In addition to having a professional perform annual AC service, you can do some things yourself. That includes cleaning the air filter and making sure debris doesn’t collect around the outside of the AC.

9. Not Having Your Electrical Systems Checked

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While your AC is inspected, cleaned, and serviced, you should also have your electrical systems tested. This is a good way to prevent blowing a fuse, overloading a breaker, or damaging your control board.

It’s also a good safety precaution, as overloaded fuses and breakers could become fire hazards if they aren’t properly grounded, which is a risk with older RVs.

10. Not Checking Seals and Seams

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Water leaks around windows and through the roof are some of the most common RV problems. The sealant used around windows and roof corners on most RVs works great for a time but will eventually wear away in the sun.

As such, it’s important to check seals and seams periodically to ensure they’re still intact.

11. Forgetting to Retract Your Awning

Man retracting awning along the side of RV.
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Last but certainly not least, don’t forget about your RV awning. The awning is one of the most fragile components on your RV, as even a slightly heavy wind can tear the fabric or bend one of the awning arms.

To prevent this, you should retract your awning anytime wind is forecast or if you plan to leave your RV for an extended period of time. If you prefer to keep your awning extended, you should strap it securely to the ground to keep it from flapping in the wind. 

Author: Jalin Coblentz


Jalin Coblentz has spent the past three years living full-time in an RV with his wife and their Goldendoodle, Harper. They have traveled and lived in more than a half-dozen different states, including New Hampshire, Ohio, Maine, Michigan, Florida, Montana, Colorado, and Utah, living life one campground at a time. When he's not hiking, golfing, or walking the dog, Jalin enjoys writing about the ups and downs of RVing and helping others who are interested in pursuing a similar path.

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