Your Yearly Travel Trailer Maintenance Checklist
Whether you're a full-time RVer or a weekend warrior, you need to create and follow a regular maintenance schedule for your travel trailer. Taking care of your towable RV will ensure that you and your family have smoother, safer, and more fulfilling adventures.
In addition, keeping your pull-behind RV in immaculate shape will prolong its life, reduce repair costs, and boost its resale value. In this post, we'll walk you through the annual maintenance steps you need to take. Let’s get started.
Just because your travel trailer doesn’t have a transmission or engine doesn’t mean you should overlook maintenance. There are still parts and functions of your rig that need to be inspected for damage or wear, and replaced, serviced, or cleaned up if necessary.
Some types of travel trailer maintenance need to be done frequently, some before each trip, while others are less frequent but no less important. Here are the things you need to take care of before a trip, monthly, seasonally, and annually.
Here are the things you need to do before embarking on an RV camping trip.
Before you hit the open road, inspect your tires for signs of cracks, irregular wear patterns, tread separation, and bulging. Make sure the tires have enough tread depth to allow safe driving. If they’re worn out, invest in trailer tires that are engineered to support your type of trailer. Make sure the tire pressure meets the manufacturer’s recommendations as well.
Properly functioning trailer lights are a must for safety. Before your mobile abode leaves the driveway, make sure there are no burnt-out bulbs or loose connections. Test the tail lights at night to ensure they are all working and aren’t dim or flickering. If they aren’t working, you can replace bad bulbs or clean the trailer plug and socket connectors.
If your travel trailer has been in storage for some months, it may have accumulated a lot of debris on the roof. Letting dust, dirt, leaves, or any foreign object sit on your roof for extended periods can cause damage. Therefore, you’ll want to inspect and clean the top of your trailer before you travel.
Here’s the travel trailer maintenance checklist you need to use on a monthly basis.
Motorhome manufacturers recommend operating the generator under at least 50% load once a month. When a generator is idle for many weeks, the fuel starts to deteriorate, resulting in hard-starting and surging problems. Running it also helps lubricate the internal components and also eliminates any moisture buildup that can cause damage.
Are you aware that 85% of lead-acid batteries made in the US die prematurely? Fortunately, checking and maintaining your battery monthly can help you get a longer service life. Recharge your battery once a month, don't overcharge it, never let the charge fall below 30%, and only use distilled water to top it off.
Regardless of your trailer's slide-out mechanism, you need to keep the rollers and rails lubricated to prevent malfunction, wear, and rust. Lubrication can be done by applying dry slide-out lube or even a little baby powder. It's also essential you check your owner’s manual before you start the work.
Carefully inspect the exterior of the trailer, including the roof, windows, racks, transition molding, and body for cracks, tears, or holes, and take a close look at the seams and seals. If there are signs of damage, use a sealant that's compatible with your trailer's material to fix the issue. If ignored, these gaps will allow water and pests to seep through to the interior.
Run through this travel trailer maintenance checklist at least once every few months to keep your towable dwelling in good shape.
Start by cleaning the vents and intake, then inspect, clean, or change the air filter depending on how frequently you use the AC. Go on the roof, check that the air conditioner is securely mounted, and look for signs of physical trauma and UV damage. Also, make sure you give the entire AC system a test run every few months.
Regular RVers need to deep clean their campers at least every three months. Those who use their trailers infrequently should wash their trailers at least twice a year. Remove cabinets, drawers, and cushions for easy clean-up. Wipe down walls, windows, and RV appliances. Vacuum the floors, clean the ceiling, and get the bathroom sparkling again. Next, wax your RV to keep the paint in good shape.
Knowing you have all the safety devices installed in your RV isn't enough. You need to ensure they are doing their job correctly. Test the carbon monoxide detector and fire alarm, replace safety device batteries, and ensure the fire extinguisher is in good working order. Also, inspect your propane systems.
Perform the following maintenance tasks annually.
Servicing your trailer brakes improves braking stability and reduces the risk of jackknifing in an emergency stop. Regardless of the type of brake system your trailer has, have them inspected by a professional to ensure they fully release when the rig is in motion and apply correctly and evenly when the camper is coming to a stop.
Your onboard freshwater, gray water, and black water tanks need a good wash at least once a year. For the freshwater tank, turn off your water heater, drain the water, add 1/4 cup of bleach for every 16 gallons of water, then fill the tank with clean water. For the septic tank, remove any debris using a macerator, fill up the bottom with water, and treat with an enzyme-based product.
Travel trailers are a great, affordable way to travel and have fun with your family and friends. However, you need to be on top of maintenance to get the most out of your towable abode. Note that every trailer is a little different, so it’s wise to check your owner’s manual for recommended maintenance specific to your rig. Happy travels!