Spring is here, and it’s time to get that travel trailer out on the road. If your travel trailer has been sitting all winter there are a few things you should check before you head out. Even if you’ve been camping over the winter, the arrival of spring is a good reminder to check out some of these essentials.
- Inspect your tires.: Your tires can lose up to 3 PSI per month. So they should be checked regularly during camping season, but especially after your trailer has been sitting. Low pressure can cause excessive wear, poor handling, and heat buildup that could lead to a dangerous blow out. Your trailer should have a sticker near the front of the trailer that shows that correct tire pressure. Use the pressure on this sticker rather than the “ Max tire pressure” shown on the tire. The manufacturers of your trailer have determined the correct amount of inflation, and filling it to the max allowed by the tire will lead to overinflation, and some of the same issues as underinflation such as uneven wear and poor handling. This is also a good time to inspect your tires for wear. Tread should be at least 2/32 of an inch deep. There are wear bars on your tires, and if you’ve reached them, it’s time to get some new tires ASAP. But you can also use the penny test. Simply place a penny in the tire’s most worn groove. Make sure you have Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tire should be replaced.
- Clean the roof and inspect it for leaks: Ideally you do this at least every 6 months, and the beginning of spring is a good time. Your trailer roof takes a lot of abuse from UV rays, bird droppings, and more. Missing a leak, or postponing s repair can be very costly in the long run, so better to inspect early and often. Be careful when inspecting your roof, as not all RV roofs are designed to support a person standing on them. Use a ladder to take a good look at the roof, paying special attention to all seams and roof penetrations by items such as air conditioners and TV antennas. If you see any potential leaks, either take the trailer to the dealer for repair, or if you are handy you can patch it yourself. Be sure you use the correct product for making any repairs. There are plenty of RV roof repair products on the market, just be sure to stay away from ordinary silicone sealants like the ones you would use to seal up your bathtubs or windows at home. If you aren’t sure what you are doing, it’s better to leave it to the professionals. Of course you can keep your trailer clean, and protect it from UV rays and pollutants with one of our trailer covers, and that will help keep your roof in tip top shape. But you should still do regular roof inspections, and repair when needed
- Check your battery: If you have a flooded lead acid battery with little caps on top, you should remove the caps and make sure the plates are covered with water. If the cells aren’t covered, add distilled water until the cells are completely covered. If there are no caps, you have a maintenance free battery and don’t have to worry about adding water. Did you have your battery on a maintainer/ charger? Hopefully, so, as that will help keep your battery in tip top shape. Either way, you should buy yourself an inexpensive multimeter, that can monitor DC voltage. A fully charged 12 volts battery should show 12.7 volts at 100% charge. A battery that is below 50% will only show 12.1 volts. If you have fully charged your battery, and are getting less than 12.5 volts ( 80%) then it’s time to either replace the battery or take it to the shop for further testing.
- Check your appliances: It would really stink to get to your campsite, only to find out that one of your appliances isn’t working properly. So if you haven’t used them in a few months, be sure to run quick test. Items like refrigerators and hot water heaters that run on LP gas as well as AC electricity should be checked in both modes. You’ll want also want to run the water pump, heater, and air conditioner to make sure that are all working properly. Don’t forget the LP leak and carbon monoxide detectors, these are the most important of the bunch!
- Sanitize your plumbing system. This is actually pretty easy to do, it just takes a little time and some household bleach. We wrote a whole post about it last month.