RV And Camper Spring Preparation Checklist
Now that the days are getting longer and the temperatures are beginning to warm, our thoughts turn toward Spring and the start of camping season. Many of us attend local RV and Camping Shows and begin making plans for the warm weather months. We start to shop for the latest and greatest RV accessories and remember that we need to replace that one thing that broke toward the end of last year's camping season. But, the very first steps we take to de-winterize and prepare the RV, camper or travel trailer for the road may be the difference between many safe and successful trips or being bogged down with constant repairs. The following checklist contains several helpful hints to get your camper or coach equipped and ready to go!
- WASH - The best place to start is with a thorough wash and detail to remove any dust, dirt and grime from last season or from Winter storage. Use a gentle car soap or RV wash and wax soap to wash and protect painted parts and sealants. You may need a stronger bug and tar remover cleaner to remove those stubborn, stuck-on bugs, tar and tree sap or use a powerful black streak remover to get rid of unsightly black streaks on fiberglass, aluminum or painted surfaces. And don't forget to wash the undercarriage of your camper or coach. Extendable handle wash brushes make the washing process easier, avoiding the need for ladders. Clean and shine your wheels with a recommended wheel cleaner or tire shine product. And finally, polish your chrome bumpers, grill, mirrors, trim, etc. with a quality metal polish for a long lasting, radiant shine. A specialized awning and vinyl cleaner by Camco can be used to remove mold, mildew and stains from your awning. Once your trailer is washed and dried, it is time for inspection.
- INSPECTION - Inspect the outside of your RV or camper first. Check the seams of the roof for missing or cracked sealant. If necessary, remove old sealant and use a self-leveling sealant from Dicor to create a fresh, new waterproof seam seal. Pay special attention to the corners of the camper and check the sidewall seams as well. Re-seal those seams where necessary to keep water from seeping in. A professional 410 Seal Tech Inspection is recommended to be sure to find each and every leak. A technician will start the fan to pressurize the inside of the coach, then using a soapy solution spray each seam and watch for bubbling which indicates a leak in the roof seams or window molding. The Hanna Trailer Supply Service Center offers this service for $175. RV roof leaks can be particularly damaging from the top down, causing a roof bubble in the underlying fiberglass insulation which is un-repairable. Be sure to protect your RV roof seals to prevent catastrophic damage.
- TIRE AND WHEEL MAINTENANCE – Check the air pressure in each tire and inflate tires to the recommended PSI. Inspect your tires for cracks and wear or dry rot from storage. There is a helpful FAQ on HannaRV.com titled: “How often should I check for tire wear? What should I look for?” to help assist in this process. It is better to find out now whether your tires need to be replaced or not, before the Summer travel season really gets going. Tow-behind camper trailers may need to have the bearings re-packed and/or replaced. Electric brakes must be checked and manually adjusted. Make sure to remember to tighten all the lug nuts on each wheel before traveling.
- BATTERY MAINTENANCE – First, inspect the battery for cracks which may have been caused by the battery becoming frozen over the Winter. It is time to replace the battery if there are any cracks. If no cracks are present, disconnect and clean the battery connections with a corrosion resistant cleaner and lubricant such as Corrosion Block CB-12. Check the fluid levels in the battery, then charge the battery until full charge has been achieved. Re-connect the battery, and you are ready to roll.
- FILTERS AND FLUIDS – For RVs that did not have their automotive fluids and filters checked prior to storage, now would be the time to complete any oil and filter changes. Check fluid levels for your brake fluid, anti-freeze/coolant and windshield washer fluid and make sure each is filled to the proper level. If you have a generator, this would be the perfect time to service the oil and filters on your generator to prepare it for hours of use.
- AIR IT OUT – Now it is time to move to the interior of your RV or camper and open it up to air out musty odors. A thorough cleaning of the interior, including carpets, floors, cushions, counters, sinks and showers will remove most of the dust and foul odors. Tougher odors may require an air freshening product, like DampRid Odor Genie. Find all the necessary cleaning supplies on the HannaRV.com Cleaners and Supplies page. While cleaning, check for and remove any insect or rodent nests, and prevent future intrusion by mice with Earth-Kind Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent Pouches or the Mouse Free RV Protection System.
- LP GAS APPLIANCE CHECK – First, check for any rodent damage like chewed wires and hoses. For LP hoses, use Camco Gas Leak Detector spray to identify any leaks. Repair or replace your damaged hoses and electrical wiring. Clean each of your LP appliances, then test them by lighting and running them for a time. If your LP gas appliance is not running properly, have it serviced by the Hanna Trailer Supply Service Center or your local RV and camper dealer!
- DE-WINTERIZE WATER SYSTEM – Drain the fresh water tank, then rinse it out and fill with clean water. Run the water pump to send the clean water through the lines, flushing out any remaining RV antifreeze. Check the water lines for any leaks, which may be indicated by noises which occur when the water pump is running. Once the clean water has completely flushed through the system, remove the water heater bypass kit to prepare for hot water use. Repair any leaks in the water system. Check the water filter canister in your pop-up or travel trailer and inspect it for cracks, which can occur if the canister froze over the Winter. If the filter was left in the canister over Winter and froze, it must be replaced before the next use. You can easily find the Forest River canister and filter and other filters available on HannaRV.com! Camco RV Spring Fresh Water System Cleaner and RV Fresh Tabs are also recommended for a thorough cleaning of your fresh water system. Use them as directed. Fill the fresh water tank and drain a few times after sanitizing and before use.
- PREPARE EMERGENCY KIT – To ensure proper safety, it is always useful to have an emergency kit packed with essentials and stored in a handy location on board your coach or camper. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be tested and an extra set of batteries for each should be included in the emergency kit. A fully functional fire extinguisher is a necessary piece of equipment. You definitely want to include a first aid kit in your emergency kit, or replace any parts of the first aid kit which may have been used the previous camping season. A basic tool kit and duct tape are recommended. And a few automotive emergency items would also be helpful when needed on the road. A set of jumper cables, gas can, road flares and wheel chocks are included in most automobile road emergency kits. And don’t forget a rechargeable flashlight!
Looking for help with your RV or trailer repairs and de-winterization inspections, choose Hanna Trailer Supply’s Full Service RV, Camper and Trailer Repair Center for all your service needs. Our technicians have the repair knowledge and parts inventory to service all makes and models of RVs, motor homes, and camper and travel trailers. Contact Hanna's RV de-winterization experts at (414) 762-7950 to make your appointment with us!
SERVICE CENTER DE-WINTERIZATION AND INSPECTION SPECIAL – Hanna Trailer Supply is now offering a De-Winterization and Water Tank Sanitation Service for just $99.99 when you mention this article. Your service will include a FREE 5-point, 5-star inspection of the roof, lights, fluid levels, belts and hoses, and tire check with fill and set of proper tire pressure. Simply mention this article when you call to set your appointment – It’s that easy!
At Hanna Trailer Supply, we offer an extensive selection of RV parts and accessories, RV covers to protect your investment, Tent and Pop-up Camper parts and accessories, and even camping supplies that are sure to make your whole camping experience even more fun this year. HannaRV.com is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for your online shopping convenience, with fast and free shipping on most products. Wishing you and yours the best camping season ever, from your friends at Hanna Trailer Supply!