Conduct maintenance checks for a safe and enjoyable season.
When winter gives way to spring, the camping and boating season aren't far behind. Before you hit the highway or the open water, make sure your gear is as ready as you are.
Camper or Motor Home
When you stored your camper or motor home last fall, you made sure systems were cleaned, fluids were drained and everything was prepped for winter. Take some time this spring to make sure winter storage or uninvited critters didn't cause any damage.
- Check for leaks around window seals, doors, roof vents and seams.
- Check brake lights and turn signals on trailers and tow vehicles.
- Test wheel bearings to make sure they are properly greased and have no play or wobble.
- Check tires for proper tread and pressure. If tires are worn, cracked or show signs of bulging, replace them immediately.
- Check all outside storage compartments - including the water heater - for debris or cobwebs.
- Check all gas lines and valves for leaks or damage.
- Inspect all water and sewage pipes, hoses and fittings for leaks or signs of wear. Drain antifreeze from holding tanks and flush thoroughly.
- Clean and test batteries.
- Install fresh batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Test appliances after getting the gas and water systems running.
- If your RV has a generator, test it for ease of starting, efficiency, exhaust ventilation and proper operation.
A lot can happen to your boat while it's in storage. Give it a thorough inspection before hitting the water. Nothing is more frustrating than being stuck in the middle of a lake with a non-operational boat.
- Give your engine a professional tune-up to maximize fuel efficiency and performance.
- Inspect the fuel system for leak or damage. Replace any damaged or broken components and verify all hoses, fittings and clamps are properly secured.
- Check all fabric (tops, sails, seats, etc.) for signs of mold, mildew or tears.
- Check the water pump and thermostats to prevent overheating and make sure water flows properly through the motor. If you drained the cooling system last fall, don't forget to fill it.
- For outboard motors, check your oil reservoir. Also check the power trim and gear oil. Change the engine oil and filter if you didn't last fall.
- Replace fuel filters.
- Check battery strength. Electronics such as a stereo, GPS, radio and radar can drain a battery.
- Check electrical connections by removing the terminals and use a wire brush to clean them, along with all cable ends. Electrical systems should be regularly inspected by a qualified technician.
- Check hoses, cables and belts to make sure there is no deterioration or damage. Cracks or swells on the outer jacket of control cables may be a sign of damage or excess wear. Repair or replace worn items immediately.
- Inspect propellers for signs of damage.
- Make sure your life jackets are in good condition and that there are enough for all passengers.
- Be sure all fire extinguishers are the correct type for your boat are fully charged and are stowed properly.
No matter what kind of camper, motor home or boat you have, always consult your owner's manual for complete instructions on preparing it for the season. If you're unsure how to do any of the steps or don't have the necessary tools, have the work done by qualified mechanic.
Once you're ready for the highways or waterways, go out and have a great summer!