Travel Trailer Maintenance Tips

Like any other vehicle, travel trailers need care and maintenance. The last thing you want is your travel trailer or any of its systems to break down during a vacation or weekend getaway. Here are some travel trailer maintenance tips to keep your RV looking great and keep you safe on the road.

Major steps to help you take care of your travel trailer

  • Exterior routine inspection and maintenance
  • Wash the exterior
  • Avoid power washers
  • Interior routine inspection and maintenance
  • Interior vacuum, dust, and wipe
  • Clean floors
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Disinfect counter-tops

Detailed steps are provided in the travel trailer maintenance guide below.

We are going to g over what you need to do to keep your travel trailer in optimum operating conditions. We have separated this guide into the following sections. Exterior, Interior, Systems, and Winterizing. Let’s begin.

Travel Trailer Exterior Care

Taking care of the exterior of your camper involves a routine inspection, preventive maintenance, and cleaning.

Routine Inspection

Walk around the exterior of your travel trailer and look for the following:

  • Loose or missing screw or nuts
  • Deteriorating rubber seal around storage panel, hose inlets and outlets, and other areas where seals are used.
  • Check around the perimeter for damage or obstruction if your travel trailer has a slide-out. Even though it’s part of the systems check can take the time now to make sure your slide-out is operating smoothly.
  • Check for cracks in the fiberglass if you have it, and check for signs of rust

Once you are satisfied everything is in order, and no repairs need to be made, it’s time to wash the exterior of your travel trailer.

How To Wash Your Travel Trailer

To wash your travel trailer, follow these simple steps.

  1. Use a soft-bristled brush. A soft bristle brush is recommended since you won’t damage the exterior of your travel trailer. Get a brush that has an extendable handle for those hard-to-reach places.
  2. For a rubber roof, use a cleaner that will help protect the roof from the sun.
  3. Use a soap designed specifically for the vehicle or travel trailers. You don’t want anything harsh that may damage the paint and seals.
  4. Keep your slide-out running smoothly by using a slide-out lubricant.
  5. After you have completely washed your travel trailer, let it dry fully.
  6. Apply a coat of wax to all exterior surfaces. Don’t wax in direct sunlight; only do it after the surface of your travel trailer has cooled.

Can I Pressure Wash My Travel Trailer?

One of the questions I am often asked is if you should power wash your travel trailer. In our opinion, you should not, since a power washer is typically too hard on many of the seals and surfaces on a travel trailer.

The only place we would use a power washer would be a rubber roof, and even then, with extreme caution, and the tires.

Travel Trailer Interior Care

The interior of your travel trailer needs just as much care as the exterior as you spend quite a bit of time in it. Keeping the interior clean will make your travels comfortable and healthy.

You don’t want an unhealthy, smelly, or unsanitary living environment in your RV so take the time to clean the inside properly.

It won’t take much but some elbow grease and typical household products, so let’s get started.

Vacuum, Dust, and Wipe

The best tool to use for vacuuming the interior of your travel trailer is a small portable vacuum with an assortment of attachments. Black and Decker portable vac that we highly recommend. It’s affordable and works very well.

BLACK+DECKER Flex Handheld Cordless Vacuum, Eggplant (HFVB320J27)...
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You will also need a duster, preferably one with a long handle to get to those hard-to-reach places.

Use the vacuum on your floors, drapes, blinds, and upholstery. Use the vacuum attachment vacuum drawers, inside cabinets, along with window edges, and just about any nook and cranny you find.

Once you are done mopping, use a good disinfecting antibacterial wipe on your countertops and cabinets. This will make for a safe food prep environment.

Floors

Wet mop floors (tiled floors, bathroom floors) using a household floor cleaner, preferably a no-rinse cleaner. You can go over the floors again with a squeezed mop so your floors can dry a bit quicker.

Bathrooms

You can purchase cleaners specifically for the surfaces you will find in a travel trailer bathroom. They might not contain any harsh bleach or abrasive that can damage the surface.

For the shower, use a squeegee, and wipe all surfaces and fixtures with the cleaner you purchased. Use a scrub brush and cleaner for the toilet, and you should be good to go.

Prepare For Your Trip

Before you set out on your trip, you should check a few things. Check your fluid levels, including your grey water tanks, battery acid, LP gas, and black water tanks.

Having RV batteries that are in good condition is important for any trip you take. I wrote an article on the best RV battery for your RV. I think you’ll find it helpful.

Every travel trailer should have a fire extinguisher; if yours does not, go ahead and add one. It’s a good safety item to have. Make sure you check the fire extinguisher often. You should also have an LP gas leak detector in your travel trailer.

Check it often, about every three months, along with the carbon monoxide and smoke alarm batteries. Do not neglect this as it can save your life.

Before you hit the road, inspect the tires carefully and repair or replace them as needed before you load up. Tires can easily start to crack and rot from sitting in the sun. Think about purchasing RV tire covers; they will prolong the life of your tires.

Before pulling out of the driveway, inspect all your mirrors to ensure you have good visibility around your travel trailer. Make sure you know your blind spots before you also hit the road.

If you tow a travel trailer, check your towing equipment and hitch. Maintain it as necessary. Inspected it regularly and grease if necessary

Just like an automobile, your travel trailer has lights that need to be inspected. Ensure the brake light is working properly as it is one of the most important lights on your travel trailer.

Another major item to inspect, which many people forget, is your roof. Sometimes low-hanging branches cause damage to the rooftop. Make sure you inspect it and make any necessary repairs.

If your travel trailer has an awning, ensure it is in working condition and has no tears. To avoid mold and mildew, let it dry before rolling it up.

How To Clean Your Travel Trailer Awning

Before cleaning your travel trailer awning, you need to know whether it’s a fabric awning or vinyl. Cleaning and caring for your fabric awning will be different than your vinyl awning.

Fabric Awning – This breathable material can withstand UV rays and is designed to dry quickly. Fabric awnings have a special finish that makes them water and oil-based stain resistant. This finish can fade over time. If not treated, a fabric awning will become permanently soiled and can leak.

Vinyl Awning – When cleaning your vinyl awning, do not use any cleaners that contain bleach or harsh chemicals. These are harmful to the vinyl. Not using these harsh cleaners will extend the life of your awning.

Wash your awning with a high-quality cleaner made to work on outdoor vinyl. We recommend this cleaner.

303 Marine Multi-Surface Cleaner - Safely Cleans All Water Safe......
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Last update on 2022-10-30 / Paid Affiliate Link / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Once you have thoroughly washed your awning, let it dry and treat it with a surface protectant made for vinyl like this one.

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Regularly reapply a coat of the protectant spray so your awning stays cleaner longer.

10 More RV Maintenance Tips

The following ten travel trailer maintenance tips can ensure the longevity of your vehicle and boost its performance, ultimately saving you money on repair or replacements.

1. Check the Roof

The roof of your travel trailer is mostly overlooked by many of us. Travel trailer roofs are made from materials such as rubber and fiber class.

The maintenance will be done depending on the material. In addition to regular maintenance, you must check your roof before every trip to find any leaks or cracks.

If there is any, fix it fast before heading towards your destination. You can use sealants to patch the RV’s roof leak. Make sure that the sealant is compatible with the roof material.

For regular maintenance, inspect the roof every three months. Check the roof edges, skylight, vents, or air conditioning unit for leaks.

2. Tighten Wheels

Your travel trailer is simply a house on wheels. The wheels are exposed to road conditions during trips. Regular traveling or traveling in unfavorable conditions can make wheels lose.

Therefore, you should always keep a screwdriver and wrench to tighten your wheels whenever required. Pay attention to finding out the things attached outside that might cause a security risk.

Driving with loose nuts or wheels can cause accidents, and you might lose the wheel on the road. Just imagine what will happen if your vehicle loses its wheel while driving. Always take extra care to avoid such a condition.

3. Check Seals and Seams

You need to inspect the external seals and seams. Without regular maintenance, there might be dirt buildup around the seals. So, clean the slide-out and then lubricate the slider mechanism to boost performance.

You can also use lubricants for window seals. Buy the one that is specifically designed for window sealing. Lubrication will ensure easy movement of your windows.

Also, look out for holes and cracks. Water penetration can damage your wheel significantly. If a leak goes unnoticed for a long, then mold or rot might develop.

4. Change Oil Filter, Oil, and Coolants (Motorhomes)

Like your car, your RV must regularly change its oil and oil filters. It is important to boost the efficiency of your engine. If you avoid changing the oil regularly, it will not only affect your engine’s performance but will also seize your engine.

Oil and oil filter change will cost you around $10,000. You will have to spend much less on changing oil only. It is suggested to change the oil after every 3,000 to 4,500 miles.

In addition, you need to change coolant, air, and fuel on a seasonal basis. Proper maintenance is important to ensure the smooth functioning of your engine.

5. Inspect RV Batteries

Regular checking of batteries is one of the most helpful camper maintenance tips. Can you imagine a situation with a dead RV battery in the middle of a trip? It is horrible. All RV batteries are not the same. Some have water levels; others do not demand maintenance. The objective is to charge your battery fully before any trip.

RV batteries are designed to last for three to five years. After this period, the battery will not work efficiently, and you need to replace it.

To learn more about the RV batteries we think are the best, check out this article I wrote called 10 Best RV Batteries.

6. Check Your RV Tire Pressure

You need to check the RV tire pressure before the trip since overinflated tires might explode, causing damage to your RV. It might cause a road accident. Underinflated tires will create problems as well. They will create control problems while generating more resistance. All these will affect gas mileage.

If your camper doesn’t have a tire pressure monitoring system, I recommend the following.

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If your RV has been sitting for a long, then it is important to check the tire pressure and fuel to ensure a safe ride.

7. Maintain Your RV’s Brake

Brake plays an important role in the safety of any vehicle, and your RV is not an exception. You must maintain your RV’s brake to ensure your and others’ safety on the road. You should always keep it at the top of your checklist.

In addition, check your wheel bearing and lubricate them with the right oil in the summer. Make sure that enough material is left on the brake to function smoothly.

If you do not maintain your brake properly, it can cause accidents putting your life at risk. Also, you will have to replace the brake frequently without maintenance.

Brake replacement will cost you anywhere between $300 and $500. Replacement means replacing the seals and repacking the wheel bearing.

Another article I wrote that you might be interested in is Do Travel Trailers Have Brakes?

8. Follow the Regular Servicing Schedule

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for servicing, oil, and filter change. If you ignore the manufacturer’s instructions and delay servicing, you might need to spend up to $9,000 in repair. So, be regular about the servicing and schedule an appointment much before to work as a reminder.

Also, run the generator regularly even if the RV is stored. Any irregularity might cost around $400 to repair the unit’s carburetor.

9. Check the Electrical Connection from RV to Tow Vehicle

A proper electrical connection from RV to the tow vehicle will ensure the safety of your RV trip. This electrical connection will transmit the signal from the tow vehicle to an RV and will turn on RV’s brake light when you hit the brake.

The electrical connection is important to ensure your daily and night safety.

Also, the electrical connection will enable the tow vehicle to charge the RV battery throughout, ultimately offering good brake activation with a fully charged battery.

10. Maintain Your RV Awning

A maintained RV awning will look and remain clean. That will prevent mold and mildew growth. Also, regular inspection will enable you to repair the possible damages early.

If you do not clean the awning, then the accumulated dirt might cause nest build-up and damage. For repairs, you will have to spend up to $600 depending on the damage.

When damage is severe and repair is no longer option, you will have to spend between $1,300 and $1,400 for replacement.

Follow these simple RV maintenance tips to maintain your RV and prevent unfavorable conditions.

Travel Trailer Maintenance Tips Summary

Keeping your travel trailer clean is going to add many years of safe and sanitary enjoyment, as well as protect your investment. It does take some effort to keep your travel trailer looking great, but in the end, it is well worth it.

Don’t overlook this important aspect of owning a travel trailer. If you liked this article, please share, and don’t forget to look at our best travel trailers article. Also, consider RV winterizing if you live in an area where the cold months may get below freezing.

If you need to hang pictures on your RV walls, here are five easy ways to do it without drilling.

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Ray & Tammy Roman

Ray and Tammy Roman are the co-owner/authors of Go Travel Trailers. They have been featured in AARP, RV Today, and Porch.com, among others. When not writing about RVs and the RV lifestyle, you'll find them fishing, vacationing in Red River, NM, and spending time with family and friends.