Friday, March 30, 2012

Upkeep on an RV

Fulltiming requires that you maintain and take care of your RV. At the risk of sounding obvious, it is your home. Having a mechanical aptitude is invaluable and will save you tons of money. Here in the Eagle Ford, calling (or even finding) an RV mech is an expensive endeavor. The web can be an invaluable resource and even you folks that don't know your wrench from a side cutter might be surprised at what you can accomplish. We have replaced the control boards in our refrigerator and hot water tank, replaced our roof fan, resealed the roof, changed our oil, etc. And that's just a few things we have done. I have heard folks complain that RV upkeep is  prohibitively expensive. I wonder if they are "weekend warriors" and only take the old RV out on sunny weekends a few times a year. A RV needs the wheels to turn and its systems "exercised" periodically. Otherwise you will have breakdowns and unscheduled maintenance. Here's some things we do and you might want to consider. At least once a month we start the "big motor" in the back and run our generator under load. My recommendation to all of you that have a motorized RV, such as a Class A,B or C, is to change the oil yearly if you are unable to make or exceed the manufactures scheduled mileage change. It's cheap insurance and, in our case, allows a mechanic to look in places we might not be able to. Check and inspect your house and chassis batteries regularly. A lot of deep cycle house batteries are not maintenance free, so keep distilled water on hand for them. Unfortunately, you will probably end up changing your tires due to age long before they are worn. You can check on-line to determine the age and life of your tires. Another tip is to go over the entire coach before you move. Make sure the batteries are up-check fluids and make sure the engine will start-make sure the jacks will retract-check tire condition and pressure-check slide out operation-clear the immediate area around and under the coach... you get the idea and you can make up a list that suits you. For all you gate guards out there it is an unwritten rule and common courtesy to try to be off the pad and/or ready to move when vacating a gate. Same rule applies to you campers when checkout time arrives. If you treat your "home" right, yearly oil changes and minor maintenance should be your only expense.

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