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10 RV Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid

RV camping is truly a fun experience for the whole family. But sometimes, no matter how much we prepare, mishaps can happen – resulting in big troubles and costly repairs. There are things you learn the hard way, that’s for sure. After all, RVs are large vehicles with lots of complex systems. Nonetheless, some mistakes can be avoided. Here they are:


1.     Not checking the seals and weather-stripping around your windows.

If you have drafty windows or doors, it’s likely that weather-stripping is required. It’s a relatively inexpensive job that you can do on your own. Self-adhesive weather stripping is the easiest to apply. Proper insulation will keep your RV cool in warmer months and warm in cooler months.


2.     Using your RV refrigerator like the one in your kitchen.

RV refrigerators use a different cooling method than the standard home fridge. It is not designed for cooling lots of items. Don’t pack your RV refrigerators completely full. It works best when there’s some empty space for air to circulate. Consider pre-cooling or buying cold drinks before putting them in the fridge. This way, your RV fridge will not have to work harder to serve its purpose. RV refrigerators also need to be level to operate. Don’t park on a steep incline as this can cause permanent damage to your fridge.


3.     Not covering your roof when parked.

Whether you’re camping in summer or a cold winter day, it’s important to cover your roof when parked. Most RVs are constructed with lightweight materials, particularly the materials used in the roof. Making use of a waterproof tarp cover is an easy, inexpensive way to protect your roof against heavy rain and snow or even extreme sunlight.


4.     Not carefully checking for water damage

Not only can it damage your vehicle interior, but water leaks can also severely ruin your machine. Conduct a thorough check before and after the camping season. With many cracks, seams, and moving parts, water damage is seriously a big deal for every RV owner.


5.     Not going over your safety checklist before any trip.

Are the stairs folded up? Is the antenna down? Are the windows and vents closed?  Are the scissor jacks retracted? Have you checked the oil, fuel and propane levels? How about the interior/exterior lights, generator, air filter, transmission fluids, etc.?  While it may take some time, doing an inspection prior to your trip is important to ensure that your RV is in its best condition. You don’t want to notice problems when it’s already too late.


6.     Not checking your tires.

RV wheels and tires and not only essential to getting you where you want to be. They are also crucial to your safety while on the road. While checking tires is something that you can do by yourself, it’s always a good idea to consult the pros. At the beginning of each camping season, let a tire professional assess your RV tires to know whether they are in proper condition or need to be replaced.


7.     Not securing everything inside.

Securing your RV interior is essential to a stress-free and safe journey. The last things you want to see are your drawers and their contents fell out onto the floor, food flown from your fridge, and all your stuff in a jumbled mess. The best way to secure your cabinets is to pack items close together and line them with thick shelf grip waffle matting. Do make sure that all doors and drawers are properly closed and latched before moving. Small expandable rods are very helpful in securing most items inside your RV.


8.     Loading too much.

People often forget that an RV is basically just a vehicle and all that stuff you bring adds up. You have to be mindful of your RV’s height and weight limitations. When your RV is not balanced, it becomes dangerous and difficult to drive. Bring only what you need. Remember, less is more. Make sure that heavier items are packed low and spread out evenly.  Here’s a list of RV essentials that will help you prioritize the items for your next RV trip.

9.     Cleaning the floors like it’s your kitchen.

Your RV floors can be a home to thousands of germs and bacteria. Thus, cleaning it regularly is important. But you don’t want to overdo it as if you are cleaning your kitchen floor – scrubbing it all the way down with lots of water. Just like the roof, the RV floor is made from lightweight material. Exposing it to too much water can cause corrosion which might require costly repairs in the future.


10. Using the wrong toilet paper.

There is a specialized type of toilet paper used for RVs. Unlike the regular household toilet paper, it’s 100% biodegradable and disintegrates more quickly. This is important to avoid clogging up your sewage system or tank.  Here are some tips for choosing the right toilet paper for your RV.


By learning about these common RV maintenance errors, you lessen the chance of your vehicle getting damaged and your RV vacation becoming a disaster. Happy camping!

These RV Maintenance Tips were provided by our friends at Grizzly Tarps.

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  1. Sam Leash
    24th March, 2021

    That sounds like it would be fine! I have had friends use their own carpet cleaner to clean their RV carpets, so I imagine it wouldn’t be too much different to have professionals clean it. You can always reach out to a local company and ask if they have ever worked with RVs before, as well. Best of luck to you!

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  2. Sam Leash
    24th March, 2021

    Hey Mark, thanks for the info! My RV has an older model Dometic fridge that definitely requires it to be level for proper use, but it’s so interesting to hear tht many newer models don’t require this. I’ll look into it when it comes times to replace my refrigerator. 🙂

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  3. Mary
    20th March, 2021

    Is it okay to have a professional carpet cleaning company shampoo the carpet in our camper. They use water of course but extract it immediately as they shampoo the carpet.

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  4. Mark
    13th March, 2021

    A 12 volt compressor refrigerator does NOT have to be level. I’m not talking about the inexpensive refrigerators you can purchase at Costco. I’m talking about a special RV refrigerator, such as a Nova Kool unit that features a Danfoss/Secop compressor that can be operated at an angle up to 30 degrees.. you wouldn’t want to sleep at 30 degrees.

    Residential refrigerators are not built to the same standards as these for on the road vibrations. They are also used in marine vessels. And, they use 12 volt energy very sparingly so I can run my refrigerator with house batteries and solar panels.

    They are whisper quiet and hold temperature more uniformly than propane refrigerators.

    Most of the newer RVs are being made with 12 volt compressor refrigerators.

    Hope you enjoy your rig, take a look at these new refrigerators when it’s time to replace your existing unit.

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  5. Sam Leash
    11th February, 2020

    Thanks for letting us use your image! Glad to hear you’ve avoided mistakes. Happy trails!

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  6. Brian Gauny
    13th January, 2020

    Thanks for using our beloved RV in your article! Four years old and still looks like new. Happy to say we have avoided all the mistakes in your article!!

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