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  • Writer's pictureBill Lindemulder

RV Maintenance - What to do and When?

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

As an RV Repair shop in Calgary, one of the most popular questions we get, especially from new RV owners, is what needs regular maintenance and when. The biggest problem with this question is that you are going to get different answers depending on who you ask – the manufacturers, RV dealers, and the average RV owner may all have their own opinion or recommendation for RV maintenance. As specialists in RV repair and maintenance, we here at Wild Mountain RV base our advice on the years of experience we have working on all years, makes, and models of RVs.

Basically, the maintenance falls into the following 4 categories. Note, this does not include regular maintenance for motorized RV’s (motorhomes), as the maintenance schedule for the chassis manufacturer should be followed by a vehicle mechanic (not an RV Technician).

  1. Axles (trailers only) – Should be completed every 2 years, or every 10,000 km, which ever comes first. This is the most important part of your regular maintenance as it covers most of the components required for safe towing of your RV. The following should be done during the Axle Service maintenance:

    1. Repack the bearings – this will include inspecting and replacing the bearings if necessary. Some axles have grease nipples on their ends, where the selling feature was that you never need to repack the bearings. This is not true. We will have a future blog to explain why, but in general, using these will often result in blowing out the grease seals resulting in grease covering your braking assemblies.

    2. Test and adjust all brakes.

    3. Test the emergency breakaway system.

    4. Inspect the suspension components.

    5. Inspect tires.

    6. Check all exterior lights.

  2. Propane System – we here at Wild Mountain RV recommend a propane system service every 2 years. This service ensures proper operation of all the propane appliances. We perform the following during the Propane System Service:

    1. Check the system for leaks.

    2. Check the operating pressure and adjust the regulator is necessary. LP regulators do have a lifespan, and once they can no longer be adjusted to bring the pressure up to proper operating level, then it needs to be replaced.

    3. Clean out the external burner areas of the fridge and the water heater.

    4. Test all propane appliances for proper operation.

  3. Water System Service – the water system needs to be winterized every fall and de-winterized every spring. Some RV owners prefer to ‘blow out’ their water system in the fall instead of winterizing with RV non-toxic antifreeze. Caution should be taken if this is the winterizing method used as it is difficult to get all the water out of all the lines, especially if there are low points where water can collect. We always recommend using RV antifreeze for winterizing. The following should always be included in a Water System Service

    1. Winterizing should include – draining the water heater and freshwater tank, bypassing the water heater, filling the water lines with RV non-toxic antifreeze from the water pump through the rest of the system, ensure the p-traps are filled with antifreeze. Owners need to ensure their waste tanks are empty as well.

    2. De-Winterizing should include – flushing the water lines with fresh water to clear out the antifreeze, check the system to leaks, set the water heater to the ‘summer’ position ready for use.

    3. Sanitize the water system – this is not necessary for regular maintenance but should be done 1 or 2 times yearly if the water system is used to drinking water, or if the RV used water from a suspect source.

  4. Exterior seal inspection – this should be done twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. This should include:

    1. Roof inspection – this is the most important thing RV owners can do to prevent water damage to their trailers and motorhomes. All the items on your roof (ie: vents, antenna, skylights, transition mouldings) have seals over and around them. This seal is called ‘lap sealant’. Lap sealant has a lifespan of anywhere from 4 years to 10 years+. The indication that your roof needs to be resealed is when this lap sealant starts to crack. The cracks are not always the cause of the water leaks, but the sealant often starts to ‘lift’ at this point and water can intrude underneath. At Wild Mountain RV we inspect every roof that is in for our Pre-Season maintenance packages and will estimate for touch ups or complete roof reseal as needed.

    2. Mouldings and Flanges (windows and doors) – most mouldings on RV’s have 2 types of sealant. The first is the seal that is under the flange or moulding. This seal is most often Butyl seal, but sometimes foam. This is the primary seal of any moulding or flange. The secondary seal is often silicone on the outer edges of the moulding or the flanges. This seal acts as a second line of defence from water intrusion, but also prevents the butyl seal from drying out.

    3. Slideout seals – usually consisting of a bulb seal and a wipe seal. These seals need to be inspected for tears and other damage.

As you can see, RV maintenance is not extensive, but if you keep to this schedule of these 4 items you will be saving yourself thousands of dollars down the road in repairs. Too see our full list of Maintenance packages go to https://www.wildmountainrv.ca/maintenance-service .


Trailer Bearing Repack
Trailer Bearing Repack

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