7 Things To Check Before Hitting the Highway

The time to hit the highway is here, and while you’re excited to point your RV towards parts unknown, our team here at Leisure Travel Vans is reminding you to take time to do a quick maintenance check on your unit to make sure it’s in tip-top travel shape.

We took some time to talk to our very own Darrell Heide, Warranty Advisor for Leisure Travel Vans. Darrell has some tips and reminders for you to take note of before you start on your next journey. Proper maintenance and care can be the difference between a great trip and a frustrating experience, and here at LTV, we don’t want anyone to have a lousy time on the road or at their campsite.

Important: If you have any questions or concerns about your LTV, please consult your owner’s manual or a certified Leisure Travel Vans dealer.

1. Change your Water Filter

The water filter should be changed at least once a year. Bacteria can accumulate over a long period of storage, and swapping in a new filter ensures that your fresh drinking and washing water will be as clean as possible.

2. Fill and Run your Water System

After you’ve installed your new water filter, fill up your RV with clean potable water and run your water system. Turn on your taps, your shower, flush your toilet and make sure all water lines are flowing smoothly.

3. Check for Leaks

Take a good look over your RV’s water system for any leaks. Check the faucets, the back of the water heater, any water joints, and most importantly, the toilet and the shower.

4. Check your Fluid Levels

It’s a good idea to take your unit to a qualified service center for a complete drivetrain service at the beginning of every season. However, at the very least, check your fluid levels such as engine oil, DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) if applicable, and coolant. Check all tire pressures and make sure your windshield washer fluid is topped up. Also, don’t forget to check the oil in your generator.

5. Function Tests

Now that your fluids are looking good, it’s time to make sure all your appliances function the way they are supposed to. Check your water heater and make sure you have hot water, check the microwave, check all lighting and your television, and finally, don’t forget to make sure your refrigerator is cooling on all power sources – no one wants to fill their fridge full of groceries only to find out it’s not cooling!

6. The Seal Check

Your window, vent and door seals are made from rubber, and after time (especially in the sunlight) rubber can deteriorate. Give your RV a gentle spray with your garden hose and head inside to check for leaks around those seals. It’s also a good idea to do a seal check after a good, hard rain when you’re out on the road.

7. The Walk Around

Finally, like any good pilot does before liftoff, take a good, slow walk around your RV. Look for anything that may seem out of the ordinary. Inspect your roof, your undercarriage, work compartments and external accessories. It’s always a good plan to go the extra mile now to avoid headaches down the road.

These seven simple steps should be a part of your annual tradition. We want you to get the most out of your Leisure Travel Van, and taking the time and care at the beginning of your travel season to perform routine checks is a great way to ensure you will make the most of your time on the road. Happy RVing!

Photo Credit: Annie Champagne

The Value of Periodic Maintenance

Doing annual maintenance checks can prevent breakdowns on the road

The list looks daunting, but I rotate the tasks throughout the year to help balance the work and the budget.

Every January or February, I have an annual engine maintenance done with oil change, filters and entire check of the engine. For an engine check, go to a dealer that works on your specific chassis. For example, you may have a Mercedes Benz Chassis or a Ford Chassis, so go to that type of dealer to have your engine worked on, then go to the RV dealer or a mobile tech to have RV specific things like slides, jacks, refrigerators, and water heaters worked on.

I have found it helpful to develop a professional relationship with a good mobile tech because they often are used to dealing with multiple systems and multiple problems and are good at troubleshooting. The RoadMy mobile tech is based out of my home town, has performed work on the coach for over four years—knows it well, and I can watch him work. I save a list for him so the mobile charge isn’t hard to bear, and it beats waiting at the dealership.  He meets me where I store the RV or at an area RV park if I am camping locally.

The list that follows is a general overview of anticipated maintenance for our coaches.  Equally helpful might be to find a mechanic you trust to give you advice and keep an eye on your coach.

First, read your entire owner’s manual and follow the recommendations for periodic maintenance.  Then consider the following maintenance schedule, modified according to your manufacturer’s recommendations:

In addition, develop a plan for the following annual checks:

Setting Up A Preventive Maintenance Plan

1608_i-Sense_Voltage_Monitor--lgprodUse a voltage monitor (plugs into outlet and costs about $8) and watch this monitor when plugging into a park pedestal to be sure voltage is adequate to run appliances such as air conditioner and microwave at same time. Watch for power fluctuations when parks fill up or multiple air conditioners begin drawing power. The monitor shows a safe range display. If you are at low end of safe, turn off as many electrical appliances as possible.  For even better safety, consider purchasing a surge protector to protect your electrical systems from sudden power surges which can burn out components.

Learn how to lubricate entry steps and do so a couple of times a year. Use a dry lube (not WD40 or oil because it will draw dirt.)

Run your generator every month for two hours under load (run the air conditioner or furnace and make something in the microwave).

Do a battery check before each trip. Check the water level. If you have a maintenance-free, sealed battery, you can skip this task. Also ask a technician to check the batteries annually. The technician should look at the battery terminals, electrolyte level and amount of charge. A normal operating voltage is 10.5 to 13.5 volts DC.

Also ask the technician to check the condition of the battery cables. You may need to replace cables before replacing batteries. Batteries are the heart of the RV. Replacing them on a regular schedule can give you increased safety and peace of mind. You will need to replace all batteries at once because a bank of batteries is only as good as its weakest link. An easier way to do this is to replace house batteries one year and engine batteries another year. Repeat every three to four years for safety.

Clean excess battery corrosion with one-half teaspoon baking soda in one cup water. Spray in a mister until bubbling stops on top of batteries, then wipe clean. Do this every month or so, and always wear safety glasses.

Add distilled water to the batteries every one to four weeks. Fill to one-quarter inch below top of cells. Use only distilled water.

Keep your air conditioner filters clean inside by removing and washing with mild soap and water. Do so every month or so in dusty parts of the country. If you are driving or camping in areas with leaves, have a technician go up on the roof, remove the outer shroud once a year and blow out any debris. Many air conditioner problems are due to dirty filters. When camping in hot weather, start the air conditioner early in the morning with drapes closed and sun screens in place.