My RV tips for beginners were not written for professionals that already know what they’re doing. This is for people that are complete newbies to their RV and need help. However that doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t learn a thing or two if you still know a lot about RV’s. Let’s get started.
Maintaining your RV is the single most important skill you could possibly have as an RV owner. Without this knowledge you will be paying for repair after repair making your RV so much more costly in the long run, when this doesn’t have to be. Perform these general RV camping tips at least once a year so you won’t be paying for costly repair bills all the time.
When Placing Your RV In Storage
Before you place your RV into storage for winter, follow these steps to ensure no problems arise when you get your RV out at summer time.
- Fill up the gas tank to the top to prevent any condensation getting inside your tank
- Flush and empty all water and storage tanks and empty all the water lines
- Remove all batteries and disconnect power IF there is potential danger of freezing
- Take out all food in the refrigerator and cupboards. Clean and defrost the refrigerator. Don’t forget to leave a box of baking soda inside the refrigerator and leave the door slightly open
- Close the vents and windows. Cover all exterior outlets and vents
- Don’t forget to cover your wheels and tires
This is just some RV basics for beginners. If you want to store your RV in the winter and you live in a cold climate area, then you will need to contact your local RV dealer so they can help you take all the proper steps to fully winterize your RV.
How To Clean Your RV Fans (At Least Once A Year)
Cleaning your fans isn’t the greatest job, but it has to be done and it’s very important that it does get cleaned.
- To make things easier, buy a couple of paint brushes from your local hardware store. This is to get up into the fan blades to remove all dirt and dust. One brush should be a small brush, and one should be a small sponge brush
- Remove the RV Fan cover
- Spray your sponge with a cleaner or degreaser
- Run the brush along the edges of the fans and along the surface, you might have to do this a couple of times. Don’t forget to clean behind the blades!
- While you’re cleaning your fans, the fan covers will have to be soaking in hot, soapy water. Rinse and dry.
RV Fans need to be cleaned once a year, maybe more if you’re visiting dusty areas. You may also have to clean your oven fans, so check those often as well.
Maintaining Your Batteries (At Least Once A Year)
To maintain your battery life, be sure to clean all cables and terminals at least once a year.
- Remove cables from battery
- Scrub with a wire brush and a mild solution of water and baking soda
- Don’t forget to scrub your terminals as well
- Be sure to check ALL cables to make sure they are not cut, corroded or bent
- Be sure to check that they’re attached to the cable ends firmly
- Reattach all cables to terminals
- Positive to positive and negative to negative, don’t mess that up!
Your batteries will last MUCH longer and perform better if you complete this simple maintenance tip at least once a year.
Maintaining Your Air Conditioner (Before A Camping Trip)
Make sure you keep cool the whole summer by checking your air conditioner and making sure everything is working fine.
- Remove your foam filter and wash it (If it has one)
- If it’s got a non-reusable filter then you need to replace it
- Check the air conditioner and the housing
- If you can see that it’s loose or cracked, the seal could be damaged (This prevents water and moisture from getting into the RV)
- Make sure to look at the condenser fins to see if they’re damaged or bent. (These are replaceable if they’re damaged)
- Wash the exterior of your conditioner to remove all bugs, tar, and all other debris on the unit
- When you’ve checked everything, be sure to turn the air conditioner on and test it before you leave
If this seems like too much hard work, you can simply take it to your local RV service center and have them do it for you a lot quicker, which will get you on the road a lot faster too!
Cleaning Your RV Tires (At Least Once A Year)
- Grab a soft brush and cleaner (Formulated specifically for your RV tires)
- Clean the road grime, dirt, tar and other debris off your tires and wheels
If you drive in rocky and dusty conditions you should also check for wear and tear more often, you may also have to clean them more often as well
Look out for “dressing” products that is designed to make your tires look shiny. Much of these products contain petroleum derivatives, which can actually speed up the deterioration of your tires and may cause them to crack a lot sooner. Clean them regularly and your tires will definitely last longer. Make sure you keep them properly inflated too, which will add MORE time to their life.
More RV Tips
- Looking for a motor home over 37 feet? Strongly consider a diesel engine.
- Keep your tank full at all times, which will leave you happier when your idling in rush-hour traffic on 1/4 tank of gas.
- Solar power DOES work.
- If you’re going for extended travelling, a mobile phone is a must.
- Take a portable heater with you when an over-worked, propane-gobbling furnace temperature drops
- A water filter is a must.
- If you can’t get the hang of backing up, consider practicing in an empty parking lot until you get comfortable
- Don’t use high beams when going through fog – Use fog lights.
- A huge downer of RVs are water leaks. Check all seals around doors and windows to make sure they aren’t worn
- To prevent your RV from getting dirt and debris after hiking and adventuring, wear one pair of shoes outside the RV and another pair for inside.
- If you let your dog sleep with you once while camping, he’s there for life.
- Use the same cold-weather tricks you use at home on your RV as well. Weather-strip around the doors, add rugs for more insulation, and strongly consider using heavier drapes and curtains.
- For people standing behind the RV during back ups, if you can not see the driver, then he can’t see you, so remember that.
- Use a polarity tester before plugging in cords to prevent you from getting possible shocks or even worse.
- If you don’t want to miss important calls from your home, get an answering machine that allows you to access your messages while on the road.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of pre check-ups before heading on your journey. Check all lights, signals, tires, trailer hookups, tow bars or dollies.
- Try not to drive during the day time, hot-weather driving is harsh on the vehicle. For less impact on your vehicle, travel in the mornings and later afternoon.
- If you’re buying a tow vehicle, make sure to get the biggest engine you can.
- Never buy a RV from someone selling them in a vacant lot, no matter how good the deal is.
- Realize that it can take your RV the length or more of a football field to come to a complete stop.
- To save fuel prices over the long run, go for an aerodynamic RV.
- ALWAYS remember to reverse SLOWLY.
- Clean your engine once a year. Cover all components, such as air intake, fuse box, distributor and filter. Warm up the engine to loosen gunk (Never let your engine get too hot) and spray with degreaser.
- Oxidation on your RV’s roof is unavoidable, however keeping your roof clean will lessen the effect. Do this by removing all debris and washing the roof with water. Use a cleaning agent (One that is specifically designed for EPDM rubber) of your choice and follow the instructions on the letter. Make sure to do this 3-4 times a year. You can buy patch kits for tears and rips.
- If you don’t know something, don’t be afraid to ask the people in the next campsite.
If you’re still stuck with your RV mechanical/general problems, then I highly recommend you ask your question down below and I’ll be happy to answer 🙂
10 thoughts on “Beginners Tips For New RV Owners”
Thank you so much for sharing your expertise on RV maintenance. My dear neighbor has an RV in his background and I want to help him take care of it before the summer ends. I will share these helpful tips with him!
I appreciate your feedback Grace. It’s really important to look after your RV otherwise you end up paying A LOT on repairs, something I don’t enjoy haha. Yes you should share these tips with your neighbor!
Hi, Brandon. Thank you for your sharing!
I don’t own RV so I’m a newbie to it. But, if I bought an RV, I would definitely read your post again and take it as a guideline.
Because I know nothing about RV so I have one question. In your post, you mention “Don’t forget to leave a box of baking soda inside the refrigerator and leave the door slightly open”. Why should we do this? Is it because the baking soda can absorb the bad smell in the refrigerator?
Hey Anthony, thanks for reaching out and asking me a question 🙂 You just answered your own question haha. Yes, this is to prevent bad smell from arising while you have it in storage. Good to hear from you, good luck!
That was a very good post about camping had alot of information that people will find helpful. I also love camping my parents have owned a bunch of RV’s over the years we went camping all the time. Good work on the post keep up the good work and look forward to reading more about camping.
Hey Jeff, that’s great that you are a fan of camping. I’m an avid camper and also do the odd hiking trip every now and again, good to keep you fit and for longevity.
Great article! I have been thinking about getting an RV but i have always wondered about how much maintenance it would take. There does seem to be a lot you have to do but not overwhelming. I do have a question about the gas you said to leave full. Do you find that having alot of gas in the engine in the winter and not running it eats away at the seals in the engine? Also do you put a locking gas cap on?
Thank for the information
Hi Calvin, yes RV’s do take a lot of maintenance but if looked after properly – it will literally last you over a decade maybe even 2 or 3 if you properly maintain it! And you will also save money in the long run because you won’t have to spend a lot of money on expensive hotels anymore 🙂 And to answer your questions – No, and Yes.
So many great tips. We have been traveling in our fifthwheel full time for over a year and love it. We have a home that is rented out, but we don’t want to go ‘home’ now. Thanks for the blog.
Oh great, stay out and explore as much as you can, because when you get home you’ll miss every second of outdoor adventuring, lol.
Thanks for stopping by,