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Getting Your Rig Ready for the Summer Season
Your summer RV travel plans are probably well underway, and the last thing you’ll want to work into those plans is an unexpected repair. So we asked an expert, Tim Hulett, for some advice on maintenance tips to keep your RV running smoothly.
Hulett and his wife Tracy own Mohave RV Repair in Fort Mohave, Ariz. They also own Sourdough Campground in Tok, Alaska. Between Tim’s 26 years of RV repair experience and five years as a campground owner, he has plenty of RV expertise to share. Here are the tips he offered to make sure your rig is ready for summer travel:
Check your tires. Look for signs of weather cracking—small cracks in the sidewalls mean it is time to replace the tire. Sometimes these cracks are just a normal sign of the tire aging, but if they are deep enough, it can mean that it’s time to replace the tire. Also, before you take off on any trip, be sure to check your tire pressure.
Have your brakes adjusted. This should be done every 3-4,000 miles as part of your routine maintenance. Having your brakes properly maintained helps keep you and others on the road safe, of course, but it’s also important to note that damage caused by improperly maintained brakes can be costly.
Have your wheel bearings checked. Wheel bearings help your wheels turn smoothly by minimizing friction, so having worn wheel bearings can be dangerous. Be sure to have yours checked every 10,000 miles.
Change your water filters. To ensure that your water supply is clean and pure, be sure to change your filters every six months.
Have your roof inspected. Your roof may be easy to overlook because of the “out of sight, out of mind” theory. But RV roofs need to be cleaned and sealed on a regular basis. (The frequency depends on what part of the country you live in or travel to.) Also, plastic roof vents can become brittle over time, and if wind starts to rattle them and causes them to shatter, you could be left with a 14-inch hole in your roof.
Check your rig for reverse polarity. This is a potentially dangerous or damaging situation that occurs when a hot wire is crossed with a neutral wire. It can lead to a shock or shock hazard. Reverse polarity can also cause a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to shut down unexpectedly. GFCIs play an important role in protecting people from an electric shock. They also protect wires and receptacles from overheating and possibly starting on fire, so when they shut down, it’s important to find the cause.
To check for reverse polarity, you can purchase a special detector, but almost any of the newer surge protectors also check the circuit for an open ground and open neutral and reverse polarity. In addition to checking your rig, Hulett recommends checking the pedestal at your campground before you hook up your RV.
He also stressed that if you detect reverse polarity or another electrical issue, it’s important to have the repair work performed by an experienced electrician. He’s seen cases where owners try to do their own electrical work to save money, but in the end, it costs them twice as much to have their work redone (due to their lack of expertise) than it would have if they had the issue resolved by a professional in the first place.
Once you get your rig ready for summer, you’ll have plenty of days of happy camping ahead. Not sure where you want to head next? Use our convenient “Find a Park” feature to quickly find your next great camping destination.