The "Safety Tip of the Month"
"do it now, fall clean-up"
Wow! it really is hard to believe that its Fall already, officially signaling an end of summer and RVing for some. Of course, there are many more who continue to enjoy the RV lifestyle on a year-round basis; for those lucky individuals Fall may only mean that it is time to head south with stops to visit family and friends along the way.
The changing of the leaves and the southward migration of birds and RVers also means that now is the time to complete a few of the essential annual or bi-annual maintenance items that must be tended to. Along with setting all the clocks backward by one hour at the end of "daylight savings time" for most of the country it is also a good (logical time) to compete the following:
* Lets get started with the old standby from your days of home ownership. It is pretty well an established fact and recommended by virtually all fire departments that you should replace the batteries in all your smoke and fire detectors in your RV and home. While doing this, be certain to test each detector to verify that all is well and that it will perform its vital function when called upon.
* Your Fall maintenance period is also the proper time to complete a check of your fire extinguishers. Just follow the information in June 2004 tip of the month.
* Many RVers will be putting away their RVs about this time of the year making this the perfect time to have the RV fully serviced. You know the usual; full lubrication, oil change, wheel bearing pack, change all filters including fuel, oil and air. Check and repair all of the vehicle and RV systems and fill the fuel and propane tanks.
* Don't overlook the batteries, they have provided essential service all summer and now it the time to check the water in the cells, clean all terminals and charge. After completing this have the batteries tested to ascertain that they have adequate capability to provide another years service. If you must place you RV in long-term storage in cold weather (burrrrrrrrr!) you may want to disconnect or isolate the batteries to prevent parasitic battery drain from depleting them over the winter. Remember a discharged battery can freeze and will be damaged in the process. If you have 120 VAC power available during storage and a quality multi-stage (smart) charger in your RV you can leave it plugged in and it will take care of itself; if however, you have a simple battery converter in your RV leaving it plugged in all winter it will generally boil the water from the battery also rendering it useless. Under these circumstances it is generally best to disconnect the batteries during storage.
* For those lucky RVers whose season continues throughout the year it is likely (if their average RVers) that they have completed about 10,000 miles by this time so the same essential services are due on their RVs as well.
* Tires are one of the most critical components on your RV. Fall is a great time to check them in detail. Give them a thorough going over looking for signs of deterioration in the sidewalls or bottoms of the thread grooves; verify that the "DOT date code" identifies that they are less than 5-7 years old and that they did not experience any sever cutting of the tread rubber or sidewalls during the previous year. If your rig has duals on the rear remember the inner tire must also be inspected with the same conscientiousness If older than 5-7 years, feel free to store the RV on them over the winter but spend your winter shopping for replacements to be installed at the first sign of spring. If the date code does not indicate 5-7 year age then they can be put into storage by parking them on a suitable vapor barrier (when stored on concrete/blacktop) and topping off the air pressure to the desired level. Be sure to check all valve stems for leakage and install a metal valve caps as a further protection from leakage.
* Fall is also a great time to give the RV a good cleaning inside and out and to top it off with a good coat of wax. One those RV which utilize a rubber roof, this is the time to first completely clean it and the apply a "rubber roof treatment". Nothing is better than coming out for the first camping trip of spring and finding it clean and ready to go.
There is certainly much more that could be added to this list but I think that you probably get the idea. Fall is maintenance time and your RVing experience will be enhanced by doing a thorough job now and each Fall in the future.
Safe travels until next month.
Copyright © 2004 The RVer's Ultimate Survival Guide