Summer has arrived, and while you might be ready for a family camping trip or road trip, can you say the same about your RV?
If you don’t live in your camper full time, then you probably winterized it before storing it up last winter. And now, you have to find out how to get a camper ready for summer.
You’ll want to begin your preparations a week or more before the day you intend to embark on the camping trip to ensure you have time to replace or repair any necessary parts and pack for your trip.
How To Get A Camper Ready For Summer
There are various checkups that need to be carried out in your camper, and we’re going to be talking about the essential ones:
1. Store Your Batteries Properly
Caring for your batteries before storing your camper will ensure that you come back to meet a healthy battery. This is because batteries lose a percentage of current through internal discharge when in storage, a stored battery loses up to 10% current per month.
So if it was fully charged and frequently checked on when in storage, it should be in good shape and ready to use when you return, but if that wasn’t the case, you would need to fully charge your batteries.
To check the charge of your battery, you will need a voltmeter; before using a voltmeter to get the current percentage of the battery, you want to sure your RV is not connected to electricity, or you will get a false reading.
A fully charged 12-volt RV battery will actually read about 12.7 volts. If your battery reads just 12 volts or below, it should be charged before you take your RV on the road.
To charge your battery, all you need to do is get your battery charger and Connect the red cable to your RV’s red indicator. Repeat with the black cable to the black indicator. You want to Make sure your voltage is set to 12 volts, then Turn your power on the charge.
You want to make sure the battery charger remains in the off position while you connect it to the RV charger. Charging your RV battery may take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days, depending on how low the current percentage is and the battery size.
If the battery water level is low, you will need to top it off using only distilled water after fully charging the batteries. Also, check the battery connections to make sure that they are clean and that the terminals have not corroded due to acid leakage during the winter.
You want to also check all sides of the battery, including the bottom for cracks, as this tends to happen, especially during a severe winter freeze. If the batteries are cracked, you will need to replace them.
If the batteries are still in good shape, then once the batteries are fully charged and topped off, you can reinstall them and connect them properly to your RV.
2. Take care of Your Camper Tires
Just like your RV battery, the tires also loses up to 3 psi of air pressure per month when in storage, so before hitting the road with your camper, you will need to check the tire air pressure using a quality tire inflation gauge.
You want to check the pressure of the spare tire as well, and if it is low, you want to reinflate the tires to match the manufacturer’s recommendation based on the load.
If you are unsure of the correct tire pressure for your camper, you can check your owner’s manual. You will also need to change or grease the bearings and maybe rotate them.
Also, check for signs of wear, such as cracks in the sidewalls and worn-down treads; if you see any of these signs, you might have to replace the bad tire.
3. Water System
There are actually two tasks to carry out in a winterized camper to prepare it for use; first, you need to remove the antifreeze from the plumbing system, and you also need to sanitize the RV water system so it can be safe for use.
To remove antifreeze from your plumbing system, you need to run fresh potable water through the entire plumbing system until all traces of the RV antifreeze is removed. You also should not change the water-heater bypass until all of the antifreeze is gone from the water system.
If the antifreeze was added directly to the freshwater holding tank during the winterization process, then the first step is to drain any remnants of antifreeze from the tank.
Then add potable water to the freshwater holding tank, and turn the water pump on and open all of the water faucets. When you see clear water running through the system, turn off the pump and close the faucets.
You want to make sure you run fresh water through the entire plumbing system, including the outside shower (if you have one), toilet, and even washing machine.
Next, take the water heater out of bypass mode, if it was bypassed, if it wasn’t, the antifreeze needs to be drained from the water heater tank and collected in a bucket or other container.
Once all traces of the antifreeze have been removed, you can reinstall any water filter cartridges that were removed during the storage process.
The antifreeze that was in the plumbing system is now in the gray and black water holding tanks and will need to be emptied when you have access to a suitable waste disposal site.
If After flushing your water system for several minutes, and the water still has a residual antifreeze taste as opposed to a clean and fresh taste, you can add baking soda to help eliminate this unpleasant taste.
Simply sprinkle baking soda directly into each drain or dissolve it in water and pour it down the drains. Flush the system again until the water tastes clean.
The second line of action is sanitizing your water system; sanitizing your water system will help to remove mold and mildew that might have grown in your holding tanks over the months of storage; here’s a detailed step by step process on how to sanitize your water system.
4. Refilling Propane Tanks
If you have a 3-way power system where propane is one of the power options, if you make use of refillable propane tanks, take them to a propane station and have then refilled, then take it back to your RV and reinstall the tanks back on their mounts and connect the hose.
You want to Make sure the hose is fitted tightly by turning on the propane valve a little bit to open the gas line. Then using a sponge or spray bottle, Apply soapy water to each of the hose connectors. Check to see if any bubbles form, as that is an indication that there may be a propane leak.
Tighten the fitting and repeat the process to make sure it is tightly connected. After reinstalling your propane tank, you want to test run all your propane-powered appliances by opening the gas line and testing each appliance.
If you notice any appliance showing any sign of default, seek the services of RV maintenance professionals because propane is highly flammable and should be handled by professionals.
You also need to test run your stove by turning on the propane tank and lighting the burners. This will help release any air that might have gotten stuck in the gas line during the off-season. Don’t forget to turn them off after you’re done testing them.
Once you are done testing the LP gas appliances, quickly plug the unit into electricity and test all 120-volt appliances and accessories for proper operation.
Before testing items like the microwave and roof air conditioner(s), you want to Make sure you have an adequate electrical source (30-50 amps depending on your unit)
5. Replacing Air Filters
Changing air filters is a very important step, and although they may, it may seem like a trivial step, replacing your air filters will help to improve the air quality and your overall RV maintenance.
6. Water Pump
You want to check and see if the RV’s water pump is working properly. To do this, you have to make sure all the faucets are closed as well as the outside shower and then turn on the electric pump. Allow the pump to reach its full pressure level; this will take a couple of minutes.
Then turn on the pump, it should eventually stop running; if it doesn’t, you’ll need to check if there’s a leak in the line or the pump.
7. Safety Devices
This is a very important step that should not be skipped. Before heading out, you want to make sure all the safety devices are functioning properly. You want to reinstall any dry-cell batteries or fuses that were removed from the battery-powered safety devices.
Test run the carbon monoxide detector, LP gas leak detector, and smoke alarm. You also want to Make sure to inspect all fire extinguishers, make sure they are not expired, also ensure that they are serviceable and fully charged.
8. RV Engine And Generator
If you have a motorized RV, you want to check the engine’s fluid levels and that the lights are fully functional. If the engine fluid level is low, you want to find the cause and rectify it immediately.
You also need to check the fluid levels of the power steering, transmission, engine oil, brake fluid, engine coolant, and windshield washer fluid and refill them if anyone is low.
Start the engine and check for proper readings on all gauges and verify that all dash lights, headlights, taillights, and windshield wipers are working.
If your RV is equipped with an onboard generator, you want to check the oil level and service the generator according to specified intervals found in the owner’s manual. Also, check the exhaust system for any damage.
You do not want to operate a generator with a damaged exhaust system, as it can cause serious harm to the generator.
You also need to test run the generator; if it was used occasionally during the storage period, it should start up with ease, but if it wasn’t, you would need to run it for a few hours with a half-rated load.
9. Cracks And Leaks
Cracks in your RV’s exterior can cause water and/or air leaks. Check the sealant around windows and doors, as this is a common area for cracks and leaks. Inspect your RV to ensure no cracks, leaks, and/or water damage has occurred during the winter season.
In the end, it’s up to the RV owners to ensure their RVs are protected and taken care of, hence the winterization process before storage. But if you are worried about how to get a camper ready for summer, you shouldn’t be.
As the de-winterizing process are easy steps to take to ensure you’re all ready for the spring, summer, & fall camping seasons.
From checking the exterior for cracks and checking on your tires to checking on the interior appliances and cleaning-up, there are a number of steps to take to prepare for a great camping season.