RV maintenance mistakes

10 Common RV Maintenance Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

According to statistics, 77% of RV owners camped in their RV in 2021. That was an increase from the previous 62% experienced in 2019.

Travel trailers are more common among campers because they provide more travel flexibility. Your RV will give you and your family that home-away-from-home feeling.

Regular RV maintenance is vital if you want to enjoy the full benefits of owning an RV. After all, managing your travel trailer is a full-time job.

Identifying and sorting out common RV issues can relieve you of the high RV repair costs.

Keep reading to learn the common RV maintenance mistakes to avoid.

1. Failing to Inspect Before Purchase

Failing to inspect your RV before purchasing is a common maintenance mistake. Even though you’re in a hurry to buy an RV, never forget to give the vehicle a thorough inspection.

The first thing you should do before buying a family RV is to ask for all its maintenance records. That way, you will know whether the RV has had any major damages or accidents.

You can always take the trailer to an RV maintenance and repair expert for a thorough check-up. Doing so will allow you to identify all the issues the RV might have and to know if they are major or minor problems.

Your RV dealer will also point out the issues that require immediate repair. A thorough inspection will allow you to also know about any future repairs your RV will need.

2. Not Doing RV Roof and Leak Repairs

Having water leaks in your RV is a scary possibility, even though they are inevitable. That’s even so because the top-quality RV roofing material eventually caves in to the pressure of the elements.

With time, the roofing sealants will harden and crack even though they are high-quality. Unfortunately, roof leaks will wreak serious havoc, especially when it’s raining at your campsite.

Water damage will:

  •  Damage your interior
  •  Cause a dangerous short-circuiting in the electrical system
  •  Damage delicate moving parts
  •  Cause rusting on the metal

Always ensure you’re ahead of this constant threat by minimizing the chances of having water leaks. But luckily, through some preventative maintenance steps, you can fix the water leaks in your RV.

Ensure you always store the travel trailer under a UV-resistant, waterproof cover. Storage with a roof or an indoor RV storage facility is better.

But, affording to rent an RV storage facility can be challenging, so it’s best to go with a high-quality cover. That way, you are sure your investment is safe anywhere you park outdoors under a waterproof and UV-resistant cover.

Even though the covers might at first seem expensive, they are cheaper than doing major repairs on your RV due to water damage. Also, it is a single expense compared to the regular storage facility renting fees.

Another great way to fix or avoid water leaks is to apply a new RV roof sealant coating annually. Doing so will prevent any seal breakages — ensure you stop them before they start to appear.

Lastly, check your travel trailer for water leaks before and after taking it out. Also, check under the storage — do so before and after every trip.

3. Ignoring Weight Limits

According to statistics, over 50% of RVs exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). Most RV owners overload and mishandle their stowed cargo.

On top of being a costly RV maintenance mistake, overloading the RV is often very dangerous. Each RV, despite its size, will come with a specific GVWR marked on a label.

The GVWR consists of the travel trailer’s weight and the cargo on your RV. Note that the GVWR can add up very fast without your knowledge.

The best way to identify your GVWR is by visiting an approved scale. You can find a scale at truck stops, but you have to pay a small fee to have your travel trailer weighed.

You should visit the RVSEF post to gain insight into the RV weight measurements. You will know more about the measurements of your tow vehicle, axle, hitch weights, and tongue.

A vital point to note is that you won’t receive compensation if your RV is overweight in case of an accident. You can also receive a hefty fine if that is to be the outcome of the accident investigation.

4. Disregarding Clearance Limits

After knowing your RV weight limit, also learn about its width, height, and length limits. Failing to know all these measurement limits can lead to costly RV maintenance mistakes.

You can easily damage your RV’s bumper, top, mirrors, and AC unit. Many RVs lose their AC units on the infamous 11-foot 8-inch bridge.

Your RV manufacturer will provide you with all the measurement specifications for your RV. But, sometimes, some error occurs, especially when you factor in the height of the AC.

So, ensure you measure for yourself up to the AC unit’s top to know the actual height of your RV. Also, always ensure you’re paying attention to the clearance signs of tunnels and bridges when traveling.

Always plan ahead of your RV trip — the RV LIFE Trip Wizard will be a great resource to find all low clearance hazards to avoid. While on their website, you will input your RV weight and planned route for it to show you any low clearance hazards on your way.

Ensure you get familiar with the clearance under the RV. Some RVs are too low, and you might be unable to move on specific terrains after sticking on a rock.

5. RV Toilets and Water Systems

Failing to have a fully functional RV toilet will make your camping adventure very unpleasant. Always check on the toilets and other plumbing systems before every trip.

The good news is that you can DIY most RV plumbing issues since they are simple. For instance, too much toilet paper is the usual cause of RV toilet backups and clogs.

Also, too little water will cause the potty not to flush properly. Another common mistake is leaving the black water drain pipe open when hooked to a sewer connection.

Doing so will allow first the drainage of the liquid waste. That will cause a sticky sludgy clock in the waste holding tank and drain pipe.

That’s a clog you wouldn’t ever want to deal with during your trip. But, once you experience a clog, you can fix the issue by snaking the drainage line.

To properly do it, use the RV’s exterior and not through the inside of the RV. Depending on your RV drainage clog level, you can successfully use hot water to unclog it.

But, you might not adequately perform the unclogging task without the necessary skills. Some RV cleaning products might also negatively interact with the toilet chemicals.

If the clog is bad enough, you need to call a professional for help. But, comprehending the above tips will help avoid the future clog issue.

Leaky pipes are other common plumbing problems. If you regularly fix your pipes at home, you can easily fix your RV plumbing issues.

But, note that the parts in your RV as specially designed to withstand vehicle motion without breaking. To prevent freezing, you must also winterize your pipes during the cold season.

6. Not Cleaning Up

Always ensure you clean up your RV after every trip. For instance, ensure you leave your campground clean after use. Dispose of all the trash you gathered during your camp.

There are RV cleaning products that will help in thoroughly cleaning your snowmobile camper. Return everything to its best working condition.

You can avoid delays during your next trip by ensuring you clean the RV after all your trips. Failing to clean your RV well can lead to unpleasant odors and discomfort during your trip.

Let’s talk about the dirtiest part of your RV — the tanks. You should properly maintain your RV tanks to prevent clogged or overflowing tanks.

Failure to do so results in very costly repairs. Always ensure you close the black tank until the need to dump arises. After dumping, fill the tank with water and flush to remove any stuck debris in the system.

Ensure you use RV toilet paper which is fast-dissolving. Also, avoid putting grease, hair, food, or solid substances in the gray tank to prevent clogging.

A sink strainer will aid you in catching solid substances before getting into the drain. Note that over-cleaning the RV floor is a big mistake.

The floor material is light and doesn’t handle a lot of water. Power washing RVs’ floors can lead to corrosion and rust issues needing costly repairs.

You can seek professional help to clean your RV floor or research more cleaning methods.

7. Not Keeping Up With Your RV HVAC Maintenance

Often enough, the RV’s AC is not just a luxury but a necessity. Most campers plan trips during summer when temperatures are high, hence the need for a fully functional AC in our RVs.

It’s very disheartening to plan a nice and cool trip only to find out your RV HVAC system is malfunctioning. But, there are some RV HVAC repairs you can DIY.

An unclean RV air vent filter can make the AC unit vents produce warm instead of cool air. You can fix the problem by replacing the vents regularly.

A busted thermostat can also significantly cause your RV AC failure. A busted thermostat will not promptly communicate with the RV AC unit causing a malfunction.

You can use some common hand tools to replace the thermostat. If you have an older RV model, this will provide you with a great chance to upgrade your thermostat to a digital one.

8. Neglecting Your RV Brake Repair

Stopping is very important when driving your travel trailer. Over time, some braking components begin to wear and break down.

The stopping friction is what causes the components to break down. You should regularly top off the brake fluid and replace the rotors, drums, or brake shoes when needed.

But, you need proper equipment if you’re going to DIY RV brake repairs.

9. RV Slide Out Problems

RV slide-outs are excellent for adding extra space. The technology can experience corrosion and rust and can malfunction due to aging.

But, whatever makes the slide-out technology amazing is the risk factor. Even so, regular maintenance on the moving parts will leave it working in optimal conditions for a long time.

Never forget to lubricate the slide-out arms to add to the lifespan of the moving parts. Doing will also be good at preventing sticking problems.

You can buy any RV part lubricator to handle the slide-out maintenance. Leaks are also common problems with the slide-out arms due to the many seals and seams infiltration.

Always check and double-check to spot any water damage caused by leaks on your RV slide-out arms. You can promptly fix them if they arise.

10. Not Taking a Complete Walk Around

When your RV is in motion, it often causes an earthquake to affect everything inside the vehicle. Before any trip, go through your RV interior checklist to see if everything is in good working condition and secure.

Some of the problems you can spot by taking this crucial step are:

  •  Broken closet doors
  •  Falling off bumpers
  •  Propane leaks
  •  Unsecured hitch
  •  Slide not fully in
  •  Shattered shower doors
  •  Broken leaf springs

Note that the above are just but a few problems you might experience if you fail to check around your RV before any trip. Also, check the tire pressure and the condition of the windscreen wipers.

Avoid the Common RV Maintenance Mistakes

The above tips will ensure you rest easy since you now know the RV maintenance mistakes to avoid. Most RV issues don’t have to be a nightmare since you can fix them easily.

Always ensure you leave your travel trailer in good working condition. Your camp should be enjoyable, stress-relieving, and an awesome experience.

At Camping Buffs, we will teach you all there is about maintaining your RV in good condition for your camping needs. That way, you will truly enjoy your camping experience.

Visit our site today to learn how to plan memorable camping experiences.