RV Maintenance to Keep Your Motor Home Running Efficiently

If your plans for vacation or retirement include RV travel, you may need tips to help keep your RV in top shape. Here are a few points to consider:

Beware of RV battery drain:

Even when you think you’ve turned off everything in your RV that uses power, there may be some power thieves still at work. Some of the worst offenders are the 12-volt clock, and the LP (liquid petroleum) gas detector. With a little luck, your RV has a battery disconnect switch so you can be sure you are turning off all the 12-volt users. If not, you can purchase one and install it on your battery post. When you’re not using the RV, just flip the lever up to disconnect your 12-volt battery.

RV tires and gas mileage:

As gas prices climb, you need more than ever to add miles per gallon to your RV’s performance. You can stretch your gas mileage by making sure your tires are properly inflated. The Tire Safety Council suggests that you check your tire pressure at least once a month for the best gas mileage and safety. Under-inflated tires have greater rolling resistance, which reduces mileage and causes faster tire wear. And another small matterâÂ?¦ proper tire inflation adds safety.

Don’t rely on the tire pressure listed on the tire itself. The Tire Safety Council recommends you rely instead on the tire pressure in the owner’s manual, or listed on the driver’s doorpost, or on a placard in the glove box or fuel compartment door. This is the pressure recommended by the manufacturer.

Check the tires when they are cold, defined as driven less than a mile after many hours of non-driving. Use your own gauge, since gauges at service stations tend to be inaccurate due to exposure to weather and hard use.

According to Goodyear, common causes of RV tire damage include:

– Underinflating the tires. Goodyear recommends checking inflation weekly.
– Overloading RV tires. Check the load on each individual tire, and compare it to the load tables in your owner’s manual.
– Heat build-up from driving in excess of 75 mph. RV tires are made to withstand certain temperatures, and driving too fast tests the limits your tires can handle. Too much heat, caused by too much speed can cause the treads and belts and other structures to separate.

Here’s a general tip for stretching your gas dollars. Avoid filling the tank when the weather is hot. Morning fill-ups will net you more mileage. Here’s why: gas is more dense when it is cool. As the liquid in it expands, the active ingredients do not. The gas pump measures the volume, not the density. So when you buy gas during the heat of the day, you are paying for more liquid which has no go-power and will contract when the weather cools down.

RV exterior:

Before you hit the road, give the exterior of your RV an inspection, looking for cracks and separations. If you tow your RV, inspect the hitch for cracks and loose bolts and other wear. Check the spare tire to make sure it is usable. Put your head under the RV and breathe deeply. If you smell gasoline, diesel, or liquid petroleum gas, you’ve got trouble. Turn off all pilot lights and get to a repairman. Look around for leaks. If you find one, note the area of the RV where you found it, then move the RV and look again. If there truly is a leak, get a certified RV tech to look at it.

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