The Ultimate RV Maintenance Checklist: How To Guide

RV Maintenace Checklist 1

Table of Contents

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Owning an RV is an incredible adventure, but there are responsibilities that come with it. Whether your rig is old or new, it is essential to maintain it. An RV is a substantial investment, and regular RV maintenance checklist helps you protect it.

In this article, you will learn about why RV maintenance is important, the different types of maintenance, and what must be maintained. In addition to learning the basics, I have also included a comprehensive RV maintenance checklist that you can print off and fill out. Let’s get started!

Why RV Maintenance is Important?

Maintaining your RV is crucial for ensuring its longevity and safe operation. There are many common problems that can occur in an RV that are completely preventable.

With all the working parts, it is easy to let time pass or forget to examine something. Having an RV maintenance schedule helps eliminate oversite and creates a routine.

Types of RV Maintenance

Preventative Routine Maintenance: Preventative maintenance is when you perform scheduled checks to prevent potential problems before they arise. Preventative maintenance usually involves cleaning, inspecting, lubricating, adjusting, and servicing the RV so that problems can be identified early.

Scheduled Maintenance: Scheduled maintenance is when you follow specific manufacturer’s guidelines for the unit. Most of these maintenance tasks are based on time, mileage, or hours of usage.

Always refer to manufacturer’s guidelines and owner’s manuals for the necessary maintenance timeline. Neglecting any scheduled maintenance can void warranties.

Emergency Maintenance: Emergency maintenance is needed when there is a failure that occurs unexpectedly. These failures usually require immediate action.

Lack of preventative and scheduled maintenance can lead to emergency situations. In addition, catastrophic events can also result in the need to perform emergency maintenance.

NOTE: Always refer to appliance and RV owner’s manuals and follow manufacturer’s recommendations for appropriate maintenance.

RV Maintenance Schedules

Monthly: Basic checks and tasks to keep your RV in good condition.

Quarterly: More in-depth inspections and maintenance tasks to address wear and tear.

Annually: Comprehensive checks and services to ensure your RV is in top shape.

Pre-trip: Essential tasks before hitting the road for a worry-free journey.

Monthly Maintenance

Defrost the Freezer: This step helps with preventing frost buildup in your freezer. Some people place thin plastic sheets against the freezer wall which allow for quick and easy defrosting. When defrosting the freezer, also use a Qtip to clean any debris from the drain hole inside your refrigerator.

Clean Dehumidifiers: Dehumidifier tanks can become grimy over time. Take the tanks out and clean them with soap and water. Take the time to clean dust that may have accumulated around the air flow vents. Additionally, replace any full Damp Rid packs.

Mold Check: Inspect hidden areas for mold or mildew growth. Important places to check are under bed and furniture mattresses, inside cupboards, and in closets.

Clean Washing Machine: If you have a washing machine, it is important to run a cleaning cycle to reduce stagnant smells or mildew. Run a cleaning cycle using vinegar or a specially formulated product for washing machines. Always refer to your owner’s manual for maintenance recommendations.

Check Water Connections: Visually inspect water fixtures for any leaking faucets or water damage. Inspect the water connections for each fixture. RV water connections can loosen over time and after travel. Inspect for leaks and tighten each connection if loose.

Generator Run: Turn on generator and operate under an electrical load for at least two hours. After running the generator, check and top off the oil levels. Always refer to the owner’s manual for manufacturer recommendations.

Battery Check: Inspect your house battery for signs of damage and corrosion. If you have lead acid batteries, check the water level and top off with distilled water while wearing gloves.

Dryer Vent Inspection: If you have a vented dryer in your RV, it is important to check the dryer vent and ductwork for any lint buildup. Clear and lint buildup and ensure that the clamps are still tight on the dryer and the exterior vent connection.

AC Filters and Ducts: Access your interior RV AC air filters and clean them. Additionally, vacuum any ductwork to address dust and debris that may be inside.

Underbelly Inspection: Visualize your underbelly material and check for any sagging, cracks, leaks, or other damage. Patch or use expanding foam to address any large holes that would allow for animal entry.

Safety Detectors: Test and dust off smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detectors, and propane leak detectors. Always test safety equipment to ensure proper function.

Fire Extinguisher Check: Inspect the body for damage, check the expiration date, and ensure the gauges are within the normal range.

Exterior Inspection: Walk around the entire RV, looking for cracks or damage.

Vents and Pests: Check exterior vents for signs of pests, nesting, or debris. Clear out any debris and consider installing protective devices to limit pest access.

Towing Package Inspection: Inspect the towing package on both the RV and towing vehicle (if one is used). Look for signs of shifting and separation. Look for cracks, paint shifting, and rusted bolts.

7-pin Connector Check: Inspect your connector for rusting or damage. If preferred, apply dielectric grease to reduce future debris.

Propane Tank Inspection: Inspect all propane tanks for rust, damage, or signs of corrosion. If any tank is found to be damaged, immediately remove it from service and replace the tank.

Tire Check: Inspect tire condition and pressure. Assess wheels for signs of damage, uneven wear and tear, and inflate to the appropriate tire pressure. Make sure all lug nuts are tightened.

Seals and Caulking: Inspect all seals and caulking. If any cracked or damaged seals are found, remove, clean, and reapply using the appropriate sealants. Never use silicone on the exterior of an RV.

Slide-outs: Inspect slide-out cables for signs of fraying and clean with dry lube. Inspect the slide-out seals and use seal conditioner if desired. Refer to the owner’s manual for manufacturer recommendations.

Awning Inspection: Check for damage and smooth extension and retraction.

Emergency Toolbox and First Aid Kit: Inspect each and replace any items that have been used or expired.

Quarterly Maintenance

Smoke/CO/LP Detector Dates: Check dates and replace units if necessary.

Roof inspection: Visualize the RV roof and remove any debris and assess for any damage.

Washing Machine Inspection: Inspect water connections and fittings. Ensure all connections are secure. Check for any leak at the fittings and underneath the unit.

Battery Connections: Inspect the battery for any signs of damage. Inspect for signs of corrosion and tighten any loose connections.

Breaker Panel Check: Turn off the power to the RV, remove the cover to the breaker panel. Once the wiring and connections are exposed, inspect for loose connections. WARNING: Always ensure the power is off before touching anything connections.

Deep Clean Interior: Clean and dust walls, ceilings, floors, and other surfaces.

Clean and Wax Exterior: Wash your rv exterior using RV safe soap and washing brushes. Once the rig is clean and has dried, apply wax protectant.

Lock Lubrication: Inspect all locking mechanisms and apply dry lubricant, like graphite or dry lock lubricant. Only use products specifically for locks. Other lubricants can cause the pins to get gummed up.

Cabinet Door Inspection: Inspect all cabinet doors for proper function. Tighten all hardware to ensure doors remain secure.

Water Softener Inspection: Inspect your water softener (if equipped). Refer to the owner’s manual and backflush as directed.

Awning Maintenance: Inspect all arms for damage and use dry lubricant on the hinges. Clean the underside of the awning fabric and treat for any mildew or mold issues. Refer to your owner’s manual for maintenance direction.

Wheel Inspection: Inspect wheels for any cracks or damage. Inspect the tires for damage, leaks, or uneven wear and tear.

Suspension Maintenance: Check suspension for signs of damage and apply grease to wet bolts with a grease gun. (NLGI-2 Grease). These should be greased at least once a year, and if you travel more, it should probably done more frequently.

Water Filter Replacement: Replace any water filters.

RV Weighing: If you have added additional equipment to the RV, it is important to ensure you have not exceeded the manufacturer’s recommended weight.

Jacks, hitches, and fold-up stairs: Inspect each for damage and smooth operation. Lubricate moving parts with dry lubricant.

Black Tank: Inspect the black water tank and grey water tank. Ensure the valves work appropriately. Replace any valves that are not working.

Annual Maintenance

Appliance Cleaning: Inspect and perform a deep clean on the vents, furnace, water heater, stove and refrigerator.  

Sink Drain P Trap: Inspect the sink drainage pipes for any leaks. Place a bucket underneath for any water spillage and remove the P Trap. Clean out any material that may be building up in the bend. Reattach the P trap and run water to ensure no leaks are present.

Window and Screen Inspection: Clean all windows and inspect screens for tears or other damage.

Door Lock Batteries: If you have battery powered keyless entry locks, replace your batteries.

Propane System: Inspect the tank, lines, and regulator for damage and leaks. Replace any parts that are found to be cracking, damaged, or leaking.

Exterior Seals: Remove old sealant on the exterior and apply new sealant.

Sanitize Fresh water Tank: Sanitize freshwater tank with bleach as recommended by the manufacturer.

WARNING: If your water heater has an anode rod, DO NOT run bleach through it.

If you have no anode rod, turn off the water heater, let it cool before running bleach. Refer to your water heater manual for manufacturer’s recommendations.

Water Heater Maintenance: Turn off the water heater, let it cool, and then drain out the water. Use a water heater flushing wand to flush out any buildup. Check the anode rod and replace, if necessary.

Air Conditioner maintenance: Inspect and remove the AC shroud. Inspect and clean the AC coils. Inspect and clean the drip pan.

Service Brakes: Disassemble the wheels, inspect, and clean the wheel bearings. Inspect the brake pads and then repack the wheel bearings with grease. If you are not comfortable doing this, take your RV somewhere for this particular maintenance to be done.

Generator: Change the generator oil.

Tire Rotation: Inspect and rotate the tires.

Motorhome Maintenance

Fluid Level Check: Top off levels as needed.

Oil Change: Check the engine oil and perform an oil change as required by manufacturer recommendations.

Air Filter: Inspect and replace the air filter as needed.

Leak Inspection: Check for any signs of leaks in and underneath the engine compartment.

Coolant Levels: Check the coolant level and top off as needed.

Radiator: Inspect the radiator hoses and clamps to ensure they are secure and undamaged.

Air conditioning: Turn on the air conditioner and ensure that both hot and cold air works.

Belt Check: Ensure all belts are in good condition.

DOT Lights Inspection: Verify all DOT lights function appropriately and replace any bulbs that are not working. Do not forget the brake lights.

Windshield Wipers: Replace the windshield wiper blades as needed. Test the windshield wipers and ensure they work on each setting.

Battery Check: Inspect, clean, and tighten connections.

Tires: Check the tire condition and ensure there is no damage and they are inflated to the correct pressure.

Engine Warm-up: Start the engine and let it warm up.

Dashboard gauges: Visualize the dashboard gauges and ensure they are functioning. Pay attention to any alerts that indicate an issue.

Pre-Trip Maintenance

Appliance Shutdown: Turn off furnace, water pump, water heater, pilot lights, and refrigerator.

Antenna and Roof Vents: Lower and secure any antennas and roof vents that can be opened.

Window and Door Closure: Secure all windows and doors.

Item Securing: Ensure all loose items are safely stowed.

Trash Management: Secure trash cans and remove trash.

RV Exterior Check: Inspect all exterior compartments.

Propane Tank Closure: Close propane tanks.

Generator Check: Inspect and ensure it’s in working condition.

Slide Retraction: Retract all slides.

Jack Check: Ensure jacks are retracted.

Wheel Chock Removal: Remove and store wheel chocks.

DOT Lights Verification: Confirm all lights are functioning.

Brake Inspection: Check brakes for proper function.

Tire Check: Inspect tires for any issues.

 Leveler Removal: Remove and pack levelers.

Awning Retraction: Retract and secure the awning.

Exterior Furniture and Equipment: Secure and stow.

Hose, cord, and fitting inspection: Inspect and store hoses, cords, water regulators, and fittings.

Emergency Gear: Inspect and ensure emergency gear is readily available.

Stairs: Fold up the stairs and secure them for travel.

Printable Checklists

Are you the type of person who likes to have physical maintenance checklists to go through while doing your preventative maintenance checks? Click here for printable checklists!

Before you buy a new or used RV, it is essential to understand what you are looking at and how to spot potential issues. You can hire an inspector, or you can educate yourself on the basic things to look for. Check out my article on how to inspect your RV for information and checklists!

This post may contain affiliate links. Check out our disclosure for more information.

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