When you own an RV, there are a lot of things to maintain. If something is in disrepair, nothing reveals it like going on a long trip. In this blog, we consider the many areas for maintenance before taking your rig out for an extended vacation. From it, you can create a checklist unique to your vehicle and your concerns.

This is the first part of a three-part blog. In this chapter, we will look at how to clean your rig, and how to lubricate important areas. In later chapters, we’ll explore other aspects of preparing for a long journey.

Cleaning your RV
Again, you’ll want to make your own list, specific to the vehicle you drive. A clean vehicle makes a good impression. Also, it stays in good repair as you face weather and hazards.

Exterior
Always clean the roof first. Dawn or a similar grease-cutting detergent will work fine. The dirt will wash down, so the side walls come second. While on the roof, clean out the gutters and any channels for directing water. You may want to use a hose. Also look for any minor damages (e.g., screws sticking out, puncture holes, etc.) and make necessary repairs.

After you finish washing your side walls, wipe your windows carefully with Windex or a similar product. Clean out your bug screens and window housings. You should give your rig a healthy coat of wax. You will likely encounter all manner of dirt and dust on your journey, not to mention bugs.

When you get to the awning, use a bleach solution to wipe it down. Read your manual to make sure your solution is safe for your awning fabric. You should also treat the top side with a UV-resistant spray to protect it from the sun.

You should empty out the storage areas and wash (or vacuum) them out. When you remove the stored items, take inventory. Use this opportunity to remove things that you no longer need.

Check your tires. Make sure that they still have plenty of tread on them for your journey. Check the tire pressure and fill them as needed. Clean the wheels carefully. Remove any accumulated brake dust from each wheel assembly.

Interior
Clean the appliances thoroughly with warm, soapy water. Next, empty and defrost the refrigerator. Also, you may benefit from using a heavy duty oven cleaner and scrubbing tools to clean your oven.

For the rest of the interior, choose a reliable all-purpose cleaner. After emptying each cabinet and shelf, go over them with warm, soapy water. Use mild abrasive pads and extra elbow grease where necessary. Also clean all walls, floors, ceilings. Potentially spread the job over two or three days to allow each area to dry.

Lubrication
Your RV has many components that require consistent lubrication to ensure proper function. If you neglect these areas before a long trip, you might face significant challenges. Make sure you read your owner’s manual to identify the proper lubricant required by each component.

Doors
Go over each door hinge and catch to make sure it functions smoothly, with no squeaking. A lube that repels water works best.

Landing Legs
The process of extending your landing legs should go smoothly, with no issues. If you experience any difficulty, you may need to add the appropriate lubricant.

Entrance Steps
Your steps should extend smoothly. Apply lubricant to make sure that they stay in good repair and are easy to use.

Rear Stabilizers
After cleaning them, apply the appropriate lubricant to the rear stabilizer jacks to make sure they function normally. Check for any loose nuts or bolts and tighten as needed.

Slide out Rails and Ram
These features make use of gears that need proper lubrication. Be sure to check them, ensuring that they have sufficient lubricant to extend all the way. If any parts are dirty, clean them.

Hitch and Pin Box
This is one of your most important components. Check your kingpin and hitch to make sure they have the proper lubrication.

Other External Features
Your TV antenna, waste valve rods, awning winch, and other features all may require lubricant. Without it, they can fall into disrepair.

Clean and Functional
Make sure you clean these parts whenever they’re dirty. You know they’re too dirty if the grime hinders their normal function. Also be sure to check each mechanism for any loose parts like gears, screws, nuts, or anything else. Now is the time to catch such problems and fix them, not when you’re out on the road. There, you’re miles away from any mechanic, let alone your mechanic of choice.

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3 of this series, where we will explore electrical and mechanical systems, sewer and water tanks, safety checks and other topics!