The Essential Guide to Basic Camper Maintenance

07 June 2024

Buying a camper is a rite of passage for road-tripping adventurers — one that comes with its share of responsibilities. As you prepare for camping season and map out your destinations, it’s essential to prioritize camper maintenance and safety.

With routine care and preparation, you can keep your camper in prime condition and enjoy RV adventures for many years to come. Read on for our essential guide to camper maintenance and ensure the safety and comfortability of your home on wheels.

Check & Clean the Exterior

Check for signs of leaks and cracks in your vehicle’s exterior, including the roof, window seals, and ventilation areas. Inspect for chewed wires and holes — the handiwork of rodents and other pests. Repair these areas promptly before they become bigger problems and leave you and your passengers vulnerable to the elements or mechanical issues.

Give the exterior a good cleaning with an RV-friendly cleaner and microfiber cloth. Apply treatments such as UV-protective wax and sealant for protection against sun damage, corrosion, and rust. If your camper has an awning, check that it’s functional, secured, and free of dust and tears.

Conduct Routine Maintenance

Tire blowouts, broken belts and sides, jammed or broken locks, plumbing problems, and other mechanical issues can put a damper on your travels. Before you hit the road, inspect your camper's major systems, including electrical, propane, plumbing, and, of course, what's under the hood.

Ensure pipes, faucets, lights, and outlets are in good working order to avoid unpleasant surprises on the road. Check your tire pressure, too — including the spare — at least monthly and ideally first thing in the morning when your tires are cool.

The classic “penny test” is an easy way to check the tread: Simply insert a Lincoln penny upside down into the tread. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, that means your tread has worn down, and it’s time to replace your tires. RVs over 10,000 pounds typically require a tire replacement when the front tires reach 4/32-inch tread depth. Also, get your tires rotated every 5,000 miles and have them inspected for uneven wear patterns, which signal alignment issues.

Tidy Up Inside

A clean, comfortable space is essential for enjoyable travels. Clean your cabinets, countertops, bedding, floors, and other interior spaces. Inspect cushions, pillows, and mattresses for signs of wear and tear, and replace items that have outlived their usefulness.

Test your major appliances, including the refrigerator, stove, and heating and cooling systems. Keep the interior well-ventilated, clean, and dry to prevent mold and mildew, which can make your camper smell musty and negatively impact your health. Thoroughly vacuum upholstery, cupboards, drawers, and floors, and disinfect surfaces with antibacterial cleaner — then crack a few windows to let your camper air out naturally before your travels.

Practice Emergency Preparedness

You can’t be too prepared when it comes to RV travel. Pack an emergency kit with first aid supplies, stock up on clean water, and pack extra flashlights and batteries. Be sure you have the correct size generator for your needs; consider factors like your need to charge appliances, electronics, and heating and cooling elements.

A crash course in safety procedures is never a bad idea either, especially for newer drivers or passengers. Get familiar with emergency exits and protocols in case of unforeseen events, and make sure everybody is on the same page to prevent chaos during trying times.

Keep Your Camper Running Smoothly

Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a novice explorer, your camper is more than just a vehicle — it's your ticket to new experiences, freedom, and unforgettable memories. With proper care and maintenance, you can keep your ride performing optimally, always ready for the next exciting escapade.

Find the right camper for you at Kerola's Campers and get out there — your next adventure awaits!