Know How to Prepare your Camper Trailer/RV for Summer
So, you’re all set for your summer vacation, but is your camper or your RV? Unless you’re on the road full-time, you’ve probably kept your camper tightly locked up during the winter months, and you’re finally ready to dust it off again. But, after sitting for half the year, there are a couple of things you’ll need to do to prepare your RV for the road - here’s everything you need to know.
Clean Out the Water System
If you kept your RV off the road during the winter, you most likely put anti-freeze in the system to keep your water tank from freezing. While this helps keep the water system in tip-top shape, you don’t want to pour a glass before you flush it out first.
Here’s how to do it:
-Mix a cup of bleach with a gallon or more of water, and pour it into the water heater
-Turn on all the faucets in your RV until you begin to smell the bleach running through your system
-Then, let the water system sit for an entire twenty-four hours before you come back to it
-Drain out the bleach/water mixture, and fill the tank with completely freshwater
-Restart the process of running the faucets, but this time, you’ll want to leave them on until the smell of bleach goes away .
-When you no longer smell it, your water should be safe to use or drink
Keep in mind that, since bleach has such a powerful smell, you may need to refill the water tank a couple of times before you no longer smell the cleaner.
Check the Tires
While you’re waiting for your water system to clean out, don’t forget to check the tires. Even if they look fine, the pressure may have fallen throughout the winter, and you could end up driving on a flat. It’s a good idea to visually inspect each tire, tighten the lug nuts if need be, and make sure you double-check the tire pressure before you put it on the road.
Try Plugging it into Shore Power
Once you know your water system is safe to use and full, you can try plugging the vehicle into shore power. Make sure you only try this after you know your water system is full - otherwise, an RV with an empty water tank that’s plugged in could end up burning out a few appliances, or potentially, the entire vehicle.
Change the Batteries in Your Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector
One of the last checks you’ll need to do is a safety check for items like your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. It’s often overlooked for RV owners to swap out the batteries for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors - especially on a regular basis. But, if you replace the batteries every time you prepare the vehicle for the summer, you’ll always have peace of mind that your detectors are working properly.
Test Out Your Appliances and Amenities
It’s not unusual for air to get stuck in your gas line after a long off-season, but you want to get it out before you hit the road. One way to do this is by testing out your appliances, like your stove. Turn on your propane tank, and light all your burners. You can leave them running for a few minutes, but once you’re sure they’re in good shape, don’t forget to turn them off. Along with your stove, you can also check out other amenities. Are your faucets heating up properly, and are you are able to take a hot shower? By testing these facilities out now, you’ll be able to take care of any issues before it’s time for your summer vacation.
Make Sure Your Lights Work
You may not have realized it, but a brake light could’ve burnt out during a long winter. While you’re checking the RV or trailer, ensure that all your lights - both inside and out - work as well as they should. This includes checking brake lights, headlights in an RV, as well as any other electrical lights that may be inside your cabin.
Check Your Fluids
While this may not be a needed step for a trailer that’s getting hooked to the back of your car, you’ll want to check the fluids in your RV before you go for a drive. This includes checking your:
- Motor oil
Some levels, like anti-freeze, could drop during the winter, even if you’re not regularly using the motorhome or RV.
Time to Hit the Road! Set aside a few days to prepare your RV or trailer for the road, but once you’ve gone through the checks listed above, you should be all set for a sunny vacation!