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RV Maintenance Checklist for Beginners

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Highways Agency

So, you’ve completed your shakedown trip, resolved any early problems with the manufacturer, and you’re all set, right? Not so fast. Once you’ve got the initial bugs worked out of your RV, there’s some maintenance you’ll need to do regularly while on the road. Here’s a checklist with just a few of the (many) basics.

  • Check the Tire Pressure: Checking your tire pressure regularly is critical to staying safe on the road. Ask both your RV manufacturer and the tire manufacturer about the proper inflation for your tire size and the weight of your loaded RV. It could be 90 PSI in the front and 105 PSI in the back. You’ll want to weigh each tire separately, if possible, or at least each axel separately. Once you have the proper inflation, install a tire pressure monitor system.
  • Lube the Slide: Once or twice a month, use silicone spray or lithium grease (consult your manufacturer to determine the best product) to keep your rubber slide wipers and rails in good condition.
  • Fill the Batteries: Your batteries are your RV’s lifeline. Check the fluid levels weekly when traveling in harsh environments. Don’t drain your batteries completely; it’s hard on the cells and repeated draining can cause premature damage. As a rule of thumb, don’t let your batteries fall below 12 volts. Also it’s important to understand battery safety, so ask your RV dealer or manufacturer for safety tips with handling the electric system on your RV.
  • Change the Batteries: Be proactive about changing the batteries in your CO2 monitor, fire alarm, and any other alarms inside your RV. A good rule of thumb is to change the batteries when you change your clocks for daylight savings time. It’s an easy task that can save your life in an emergency.
  • Clean up Your Water: Don’t forget to replace any water filters you have on board. Most carbon-based filters last between two and six months, depending on the brand and use. You might have to replace filters more often when visiting places where the water has a high iron content, like Wisconsin, or a high calcium content like the southwest states. We recommend investing in a portable water softener and a distiller to make your water taste better than bottled water no matter which state you’re visiting.
  • Wash Your RV: To maintain its exterior, it’s best to wash your RV often. This not only removes damaging engine grime, road grit, and acidic bird droppings, but it also allows you to really inspect every area of your coach.
  • Change the Engine Oil: Ask your coach manufacturer and your engine manufacturer for recommendations. Typically a gas engine needs an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles; a diesel engine can go for 5,000 to 10,000 miles. Don’t forget to change the oil in your tow car, too.
  • Change the Generator Oil: Don’t forget about your gene! Ask the manufacturer how frequently to change its oil. Typically, however, the intervals are: after the first 50 hours, again after the second 100 hours, and then every 100 hours beyond that (or each year). You should also run your generator for a minimum of an hour per month to keep the fluids inside the small engine fresh and free of corrosion—plus it’s good to make sure the generator is working properly in case you need to rely on it for power.
  • Maintain the Air Brakes: It’s a good practice to drain the air from your tanks once per month to keep water from accumulating and rusting the tank. It’s as simple as using the air dump setting on your leveling controller then switching the settings back into travel mode.
  • Maintain the Water Tank: Purchase a water heater tank rinser (you can find one at most RV stores), drain and spray the inside of your hot water tank to remove calcium buildup. This should be done a few times each year—more often when visiting areas with hard water. You can also purchase an anode rod to keep calcium build-up from attacking your water heater. It’s a simple install, and it will save you money in the long run.
  • Clean the Holding Tanks: You can find a host of tank-cleaning products at your local RV store. We recommend natural enzyme-based products since formaldehyde is toxic and illegal to use in many states. Freshwater tanksshould be cleaned a minimum of two times a year. Black water tanksshould be cleaned regularly when drained. Gray water tanks should be cleaned a minimum of four times a year. (For more info, see RV Sanitation Tips.)


As with any article this should not be your sole source of information and these guidelines are simple bullet points to help get your research started. You are responsible for confirming all details with the manufacturers of your RV and accessories. Gone With the Wynn’s is sharing from their personal experiences on the road and cannot be held liable for any issues you may incur with your RV.