Ahh, the freedom of RVing. Visiting new places on your own terms. Pulling up and powering up when and where you want. Cooking your own food indoors or over a fire.The dark side of RVing, like owning any vehicle, is unexpected mechanical failure. Emergency repairs are stressful and often dangerous and expensive.
If you can’t afford maintenance, you can’t afford to own an RV
Ignore or delay maintenance of your RV, and you’ll at least pay more in time and trouble.
Preventive Maintenance (PM) checks on your RV are designed to prevent or identify potential problems that could lead to mechanical breakdown, malfunction or failure of a part or system.
Preventive Maintenance Tips for Your RV from Vancouver Axle: Systems Covered in our 58-Point Inspection & Diagnostic Road Test
Signs of a misaligned suspension in an RV include uneven tire wear, excessive vibration throughout the coach while towing, and lower gas mileage on your tow vehicle. Getting an alignment helps your tires run cooler and last longer. Beeline equipment offers an outstanding alignment. During an alignment, a technician gets a good view of your axle and suspension parts like leaf springs, bushings, air ride suspension systems, shocks, and more. An alignment job is a good time to have parts replaced if anything’s wrong.
Vancouver Axle inspects alignment, mounts tracking, and oil leaks.
With an RV, wear and tear on your brakes depends on your tow loads, whether you “summer” in your RV or live in your RV, miles drive, and how you brake (be gentle).
A common and potentially deadly brake failure situation is brake line failure. Front brake lines can look good on the outside, but if the brake hose has collapsed on the inside, they could shut off your brake fluid. If you bought your RV used, replace the front brake lines. It could save your life.
Electric brake systems have been standard on most trailers for decades. A few exceptions are hauling trailers, which use hydraulic, or surge, brakes, and some large fifth wheels, which use air brakes. Electric brakes do not self-adjust, so periodic adjustments are needed to keep shoes and drums correctly spaced. If your brakes get hot or don’t hold when you drive, your shoes may be dragging against the drum. A simple adjustment will correct it.
Vancouver Axle inspects pads, rotors, calipers, shoes, drums, hardware, brake hoses, fluids, ABS systems
Driving a Class A RV is like driving a bus and gets especially tricky on uneven roads, mountain roads and dips. When your RV becomes harder to steer, pulls to one side, continues to bounce after hitting a bump, driving can be uncomfortable and risky. From loose nuts and bolts, worn struts, loose power steering belts, to low levels of power steering fluid, an inspection is in order.
Vancouver Axle inspects kingpin, steering box, tie rods, ball joints, universal joints, springs, shocks, air bags, wheel balance, axle driveline analysis
Shifting problems in your RV can have many causes—from a bad speed sensor to the worst case of needing to rebuild.
Check your transmission fluid level often. Notice a burnt smell? Is the internal filter clean? Is the color red (automatic transmission fluid usually is). Fluid that’s brown is dirty or burned and needs changing. Check shift linkage.
Get your transmission inspected before you go. An ethical shop will find the real problem, which might be a simple fix.
Vancouver Axle inspects fluids, leaks, mounts, hangers, and linkage
Oil level and condition is critical to RV engine performance. Change oil and filter per factory recommendations. Fix leaks around the oil filter, oil pan, and rocker arm covers.
Flush and drain cooling systems at least every two years. Maintain radiators, radiator hoses, and water pumps. Fix leaks and loose connections. Hoses should feel firm, not soft or cracked. The battery should be clean with tight connections. Protect engine wiring, which can wear from engine movement or rough roads.
Vancouver Axle inspects hoses, belts, mounts, fluids, oil leaks, water leaks, battery, generator, radiator, coolant, air cleaners, oil levels, power steering, A/C compressor
Tires and wheels keep your RV in contact with the road. Prevent tire blowouts while RVing. A flat tire that shreds or throws pieces can do serious damage; if it creates sparks, you could have a fire.
Some Causes of Early Tire Failure:
- Overloading Tires: Weigh your vehicle, fully loaded (including all passengers, cargo, and anything you tow behind the RV). It’s the only way to know for sure. Don’t exceed GVWR, GAWR, GCWR, and don’t exceed tire ratings. Weigh each axle end separately to ensure you’re not exceeding tire ratings and to assure loaded weight is properly distributed.
- Underinflating: Check tire inflation daily with a quality gauge and adjust it each day that you move or drive your RV. The tires may look okay, but you can’t be sure until you check their pressure. Tires can lose up to two pounds of pressure per month. Always check tire pressure when cold; never when hot.
- Exposure to Ozone and UV rays. Ozone in the air can cause dry rot—often prominent in sidewalls of tires. When not in use, cover your tires to block out UV rays.
- Not Rotating Tires. Check manufacturer’s recommendations for schedule…but if one tire wears faster than another, have it checked.
- Using Old Tires. Even if tires look good, check for dates of manufacture. Tires made in America show a DOT number on the inside sidewalls, which tells you how old the tires actually are (usually the last 3 or 4 digits; 0411 would mean the fourth week of 2011). If you buy a used RV and can’t find the DOT number, have them professionally inspected.
- Rims should be free of dents. Tighten loose lug nuts.
- Check wiring of external lights for tight connections, breaks, and signs of malfunction. Inspect your hitch for missing or damaged parts. Clean dirt and grease and apply fresh lubricant to all moving parts. Don’t over tighten nuts and bolts. Inspect the breakaway cable. Does the lock function correctly?
Vancouver Axle inspects tires, air pressure, lights, windows, wipers, mirrors, hitch, leveling jacks, and connectors.
Your RV suddenly loses all power. Maybe you notice less power going uphill. The causes vary from bad O2 sensors to bad or plugged catalytic converters. Good mechanics are hard to find on the road, where you’re at the mercy of the mechanic who’s available (who might replace your converter when the converter simply needs unblocking). Get an inspection before you go.
Vancouver Axle inspects muffler, catalytic converter, tail pipe, hangers/mounts
Don’t wait for RV emergency malfunctions and unpleasant surprises: book preventive maintenance for your RV at Vancouver Axle now!