Top RV Maintenance and Repair Tricks with NRVTA

Published on July 26th, 2022

RVshare recently hosted an RV owners meetup webinar alongside Director of Education and head trainer at NRVTA, Todd Henson. NRVTA trains RV owners to become experts of their own vehicles, as well as provides training for those wishing to become an RV technician or inspector. We’re thrilled to work with Todd, and to offer RV owners 5% off a course with code RVSHARE.

The goal of this meetup, as well as NRVTA, is to empower RV owners to conduct their own maintenance on their RVs whenever possible, as opposed to relying on pricey visits or long wait times at a service center.

We covered topics such as:

  • What does the RV repair industry look like right now? A lot of our owner’s are having trouble finding a service center.
  • How can learning a few simple repair tricks help RVshare RV owners?
  • How often should RV owners get their RV serviced?
  • A lot of our RV owners have issues with their fridge – what is the most common cause for the fridge not working properly?
  • The most common thing that is broken on an RV is the retractable awning – any tips on how to repair or prevent damage?
  • What is the most common AC issue on RVs?

Plus a few more quick hits that are always up for debate amongst RV owners:

  • Insects
  • Generators
  • Unwanted smells
  • Interior and exterior damage repairs

Todd shared that 80% of things that go wrong, we can repair ourselves, we just need to be taught how. Knowing basic maintenance and repair can help owners be more successful with their rental business.

man opening hatch on an rv

Why is it So Hard to Get into a Service Center?

There are 11 million households in the RV space, with only about 2,500 certified technicians. There simply aren’t enough service centers for how many RVs are on the road, meaning you could be waiting months for repair. NRVTA trains people to work on their RV themselves, or create a mobile RV technician business to help other RVers.

Common Problems RV Owners Can Fix Themselves

Refrigerator

Most RV refrigerators are propane or electric, absorption style, which is different than residential style (in a house). Absorption style does not defrost like a residential.

RV refrigerators have drip tubes that connect to the outside to get rid of moisture. They have caps on the end that sometimes fall off or are removed unknowingly. It’s important to keep those on to keep the tubes closed and sealed. You also can’t push food against the wall, as air needs to be able to circulate.

RV freezers simply do not perform as well as conventional, so never put warm food in the freezer, cool it first.

Quick tips: After a rental, unplug the fridge and open the door to allow it to defrost. Or, place something on the back of the freezer wall (saran wrap is a great option, or a very thin cutting board) and the ice will build up there instead and you can just pull it off.

Awnings

There are many different types of awnings, and some are easier to fix than others. Think of them as huge kites and be mindful of wind gusts. The way they are made, if they are set up nice and level, a gust of wind will come in and take it off. It’s better not to set an awning perfectly level, instead tilt it down.

Don’t leave awnings out if it’s raining, if you roll them back in wet, you will get mold. Also, if you’re at an RV park and you’re the only one with the awning out, chances are you’re doing it wrong and in this case, follow the crowd. Never keep the awning out if you plan to leave your campsite. The weather can turn quickly and you won’t be there to roll it back in.

Quick tips: If there is any gust of wind, bring them in. Awnings should only be used on a still day.

Hydrogen peroxide + water gets rid of mold.

Insects and Rodents

Remember that while camping outdoors, we’re in their territory. Part of nature is dealing with these critters. For bugs, keep them out to begin with. They like the smell of propane. There are screens that go over your propane devices that keep bugs out and help you avoid bugs building their nest inside. If you are under warranty be mindful that manufacturers will void your warranty if you put the screens up.

Don’t use the furnace until winter and you’ve had a chance to clean it out. Start vacuuming and cleaning it out in the fall. A telltale sign of an insect/rodent being in your furnace is soot. Soot means there is an obstruction of some kind. Clean and service the furnace before you need it.

Ants are a big problem. If your RV is under an RV and a tree limb touches it, ants will likely come down. They’ll come up water hoses and power lines, anything on the ground. You have to put down poison or another preventative measure.

Quick tips: Lights help prevent rodents (under the frame lighting). There’s no foolproof way to keep them out.

Place poison or other ant deterrent at any site that connects nature to your RV (ie hoses) and don’t let any tree limbs rest on your RV.

Cosmetic Damages

When RV rentals are getting turned over quickly, you’re bound to have scratches, dents, etc. that you want to fix before the next rental.

If the side is fiberglass, find a buffing agent to take it out. Use suction cups to pull out the dents a bit. Suction is much more effective in the heat than cold.

Quick tip: Make note of any dings or dents before and after your rental takes off, so you know whether the renter is responsible for damage or if it was already there.

AC Units

Airflow is king. That means clean out/change filters more often than you would at home. It’s better to change them out than clean them. Old filters are flimsy and stretch out when washed. If you replace often, it will take longer for the coils to get dirty. When the coils get dirty it negatively impacts air flow, and the compressor is working harder. Do not double up the filter or use a HEPA-style filter. Clean the coils 2x a year by spraying them clean.

Quick tips: Park in the shade when possible.

Never double up filters or use a HEPA filter.

Generators

Make sure your renters know that generators are not as powerful as being hooked up to electricity. Also note that they burn a lot of oil. It’s important to check the oil levels, as generators drink it up quickly. There is a float valve that will shut the motor down if there’s not enough oil. If it starts and stops that’s a telltale sign there’s not enough oil.

Make sure the AC is not already on when you start the generator. Let the generator run 15-20 seconds before adding on any heavy load. That will help extend the life and not flip the breakers.

Quick tips: Keep oil on hand.

Let the generator run before adding a heavy load, like AC.

man working under the hood of an rv

Thank you to Todd and our owners for participating in our meetup. Empowering RV owners to maintain their vehicles not only saves a lot of time and money, it can help you be even more successful in your rental business.

RV Owners Home Study Course

This program is perfect for RV owners who want save time and money by learning how to maintain and repair the majority of issues on their own RVs. The RV Owners home study course comes in two options. 

Online & USB

  • The USB version is $297 and includes booklets, a tweaker screwdriver, and a USB Drive with all of the HD videos. It also includes a copy of the online version. This is perfect for RVers who may not have access to good wifi or likes to have a physical copy. 
  • The Online version is $197 and includes all of the same videos laid out in chapters using our online portal. It’s good for RV owners who have good wifi, doesn’t want to wait on UPS, or likes to keep everything digital. 

If you’re interested in learning more about NRVTA courses (and 5% off!) visit here and use code RVSHARE.

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