As winter thaws into spring blossoms, summer beckons with backyard cookouts and campfires under the stars. Like many people in New York, spring also means an overhaul of all the recreational toys and gear that make those summertime adventures comfortable, including the family camper. Here are some considerations when readying your RV for all the camping and travel expeditions ahead.
- Check your tires, batteries, and propane tanks. Chilly winter months and exposure to elements can cause damage and deflation to tires. In fact, RV tires generally lose up to three psi of air pressure each month when stored inside and those kept outside or in colder climes will lose even more. In the best case scenario, underinflated tires can impact general wear and overall handling for your rig; in the worst, they can lead to accidents. Inspect all tires for damage and use a tire pressure gauge to check each tire, reinflating as needed to meet manufacturer's recommendations.
While you're at it, check and charge RV batteries. Check the water level in the battery, adding distilled water as needed to cover the plates and then, with the battery charger turned off, attach it to the RV charger. Turn the charger on and charge to capacity, this could take a few hours or days, depending on battery size.
Finally, inspect propane tanks (and hoses) for leaks, fill or replace as necessary, and reinstall, keeping in mind that some states require regular recertification of refillable propane tanks.
- Inspect the interior and exterior. Check for damage and leaks inside and out, particularly on the roof, and reseal and repair as needed. Inspect for signs of critters and pests, mitigating as needed for safety and cleanliness. Check all battery- and propane-powered appliances to ensure they are in working order. Don't forget to make sure the hitch components are free of rust and functional, as well.
- Clean and restock. Air your RV out and give the interiors a thorough deep clean, paying special attention to windows, air vents, and upholstered surfaces. Restock pantry, cleaning, bathroom, and emergency supplies, replacing expired first aid kit components and all water and air filters. Check all safety devices: smoke alarm, fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector and LP detector to ensure they are in working order.
- Inspect, flush, and sanitize the water system. You will need to flush the system if you added non-toxic RV antifreeze to prevent pipes from freezing. First, drain the holding tank. Then, add potable water, turn the water pump on, and allow all faucets and showers to run for a few minutes and flush the toilet several times. When the water runs clear, close the faucets, and turn off the pump. Next, switch your water heater out of bypass mode; if you did not switch to bypass for winter, you will need to drain the antifreeze from the water heater tank and dispose of it appropriately. Then, replace any water filters you may have removed when storing and dump gray and black water tanks at official sites. Finally, sanitize your system by adding diluted bleach (one-quarter cup mixed with one gallon of water) to your freshwater tank. You will need one gallon of this mixture for every 15 gallons your tank holds. Fill your tank the rest of the way with water, turn the water pump on, open all faucets, and run the water until you smell bleach. Then, close the faucets and allow it to sit for three to 12 hours before draining the system. Refill with fresh water and flush until it no longer smells of bleach. If you find any leaks to the system throughout the process, repair as needed.
- Check your engine and generator. Check engine and generator oil levels and look for any visible damage that might impact function; when in doubt, have them professionally inspected and repaired.
- Make sure your papers are current. Lastly, make sure that your registration, insurance, and emissions sticker (if required) are all up to date and stored in an easily accessed spot in your RV.
Carefully de-winterizing your RV ensures happy campers all season long. For any insurance questions, including those about your RV, call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services today.