Pre-Trip RV Maintenance: What You Need To Know

Last updated on September 4th, 2021 at 12:58 am. Originally published on September 10th, 2015

The countdown is on! In just a few days you will be leaving on your next RV adventure. What should you do to prepare? Believe it or not, many RVers neglect to take the time to properly prepare their RV for travel. Annual maintenance is an important part of RV ownership. Even if you have been living full-time in your RV, you still need to perform regular checks to keep your rig in top shape.

Here are a few MUST KNOW RV maintenance tips that will keep give you peace of mind ensure that your next trip is a success.

Tip 1: If You Have a Travel Trailer

It’s easy to hook up your trailer and hit the road without ever thinking about the strain on your trailer hitch. The A frame section of your trailer has many areas that need to be inspected. Look for cracked or worn welds that can easily break if you hit a rough section of road. Make sure that the nuts and bolts are tight around the coupling and any other area where metal is holding connections. Nuts should be checked often as the vibration and jolts of the road can lead to damage.

Check to see if your trailer brakes are fully functional. Check to see if both the jockey wheel and hand brake are easy to maneuver. If not, add lubrication and remove any built up rust.

What about the safety chain? Are there signs of cracking, broken links, or overall wear and tear? If so, replace the chain before travel.


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Tip 2: Underneath Your Trailer, 5th Wheel or Motorhome

Out of sight does not mean out of mind with an RV. Don’t forget about the underneath of your rig. Climb under and see what is happening. Are there nuts and bolts that need to be tightened or are missing? Check around the suspension and axles. If you are not sure what to look for, look on YouTube for a few training videos.

Your wheels and tires are important! Take the time to check for cracks or stress on the tire rims and check the pressure in your tires. Do you see wear, cracks or any damage to your tires?

What about your chassis? Look for rail and cross member concerns. Do you see any rust or fractures from the wear and tear of the road? If so, get to a professional immediately.


Tip 3: What’s On The Outside Counts

Water is an RVer’s enemy. Any space water can seep into may result in mold or moisture damage. Check for tiny gaps in your window and door seals. Look at all the seals and if they are cracked, dry or broken take the time to replace them. Check your awning. Are there gaps that allow water to drip down into your rig?

How’s your sealant? Inspect the windows, doors, basement storage doors and all moldings around the RV. If you see signs of splitting or cracking you need to replace the sealant. You may need to cut out the old and replace it with new. Remember when buying sealant to do your research. There are many new products on the market in a variety of colors. Check online RV forums and ask people what they are using.

Take a few minutes to roll out your awning. Are there any cuts or tears? If you see any holes you may want to use a vinyl or canvas repair kit. Helpful suggestions can be found on both Facebook RV groups and RV Forums such as

If your RV uses propane be sure to check all the fittings and regulators for leaks. Also, check the dates on your tanks. Propane tanks expire and require recertification to be filled. Make sure your tanks are safe and up to date. An easy way to check a gas leak is to spray some soapy water on the gas connections. If a leak is present there will be a bubbling where the soapy water meets the escaping gas. If this happens, it’s time to get your tanks and fittings looked at.



Tip 4: Check The Inside

If your RV has been taking a winter nap, you may want to get inside and do a thorough cleaning. While you are cleaning check for signs of moisture on the walls, under the sink or along the plywood. Do you see any water marks, discoloration or signs of drips? Any of these could indicate that you have a leak. Check your plumbing, your roof and the joints see where the water may be coming in.

The cushions on your couch, dining set and mattress can start to stink if moisture is present inside your rig.If anything needs to be dried out, remove it from the rig, place it in the outside air, spray it with Febreeze and give the RV some serious ventilation. While your cushions are drying locate and eliminate the water leak. It’s important!

Test all of your electrical switches including your slide and awnings. Plug things into your outlets. Turn your water pump on and off. Is everything working properly? Turn your appliances on. Try your 12V power. Plug in your shore power and check your house batteries and generator.

Tip 5: Give Yourself An Extra Weekend

It’s better to be safe than sorry. Smart RVers know to book themselves at a local RV park for a weekend prior to travel. During this weekend plug into the power, check the sewer and fill the water tanks. This is the perfect time to check everything, tape loose or exposed wires, tighten up the nuts and bolts and generally inspect for travel safety. An RV park with full hookups is equipped with the power you need to know if everything is operational. These two test days are the perfect dry run before your big adventure.

What do you think? Are there tips and tricks I missed? What would you add to the pre-trip maintenance list? Add your thoughts in the box below. Your comments and insights are appreciated. Also, share these tips with all your RVing friends! Thanks for reading.

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