By Chris Dougherty
Certified RV technician
Through the years I have seen people with RV damage that they could completely avoid simply by paying attention to their unit and taking care of it. Here are my top five ways to ruin an RV:
#5. Weight and balance. If this were about highway safety this would be #1. Many RVs are overweight on at least one wheel position, which can lead to premature axle component wear and tire failure. Tire blowouts are a leading cause of damage to RVs. Watch your weight! Stay within the parameters set by your RV manufacturer.
#4. Mice. You’d be amazed at the damage mice can do to an RV. They will chew anything to get what they want, where they want, including cabinetry, wiring, plumbing, electronics, etc. Then there’s the filth. Mice leave trails that other mice can follow … and do. Once it’s there, it’s there forever.
#3. Winterizing. It is inevitable that every year an RV shop will see at least one coach damaged in some way by insufficient winterization. Someone forgot to drain the water heater, or only allowed the system to drain without blowing it out and adding antifreeze. Toilet valves and ice makers are particularly susceptible.
#2. Cleaning. Ever hear the saying “A clean machine is a happy machine?” Your RV machine needs cleaning and attention. Soils will wear into the fabrics, paints, flooring and other surfaces. You’ve made the investment to buy a coach — protect your investment by keeping it clean.
And the #1 RV wrecker out there: Water. Leaks are the #1 cause of RV damage. Almost all RVs are made from materials that are moisture sensitive, just like your house. The only thing is, your RV needs to be lightweight to travel on the road as well as put up with a hurricane and an earthquake every time it goes down the road. Because of this, and the normal twisting and racking that goes on, seals will fail. Maintaining the seals is imperative to keeping your RV in good condition for a long time.
In addition, leaving vents open without covers causes a lot of damage, as does storing your RV for the winter in snowy regions without an RV cover. Take care of these five things, and you’ll be well on your way to keeping your RV in great shape for years to come.