March 21, 2014

Spring 2014 is here!

By: Rob Lowe

It looks like the long and cold winter is finally behind us. For those living in "snow country”, we no longer need to worry about digging out our RV, however if it was stored outside this past winter, the snow and cold may have increased the probability of damage. With the heavier snowfall, some flexing of the roof may have occurred. Look at overall roof structure looking for cracks or sagging. If there is some structural damage take the RV to your RV dealer for a thorough inspection. You may have winter damage that may be covered by warranty or be covered as insurance claim. Check the integrity of the sealing around all roof penetrations and openings. If there is any evidence of cracking or gaps, then re-apply a Lap Sealer to correct the issue. It is a good idea to clean and treat the rubber roof on RV’s so equipped.


Coming down from the roof check the caulking around all windows for damage or voids. The extreme cold may have cause abnormal contraction and separation of the caulk from the window or door frames. It is a good time to check all body panel seams as well. Inspect the area around any added components on the side walls such as access hatches, marker or running lights and areas where the sidewalls meet the end walls.

On the ground, check the tire pressures in all tires and bring them up to the recommended cold tire pressure to carry the load at each wheel position. Tires will lose air even if they are not "leaking” air and need to be regularly checked. It may make sense to install a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Your local RV dealer may have some spring specials or you can check online.  While you are looking at the tires, check the date code found in an area molded into the sidewall of the tire with the letters DOT#### where the first two numbers are the week of the year, and the last two are the two digit year. For instance DOT4207 tells you that the tire was produced in the 42nd week of 2007 or about the third week of October. They are over six years old as of this writing. Carefully inspect the sidewalls and tread for any cracking in the rubber and if any is found take the RV to a qualified RV Tire dealer for a thorough inspection. Some makers that make tires designed and manufactured specifically for RV use, suggest having the tires annually inspected after 5 years and replacing them no later than 10 years. Others suggest that maximum is 7 years. Note that this time frame is from the tire production date not the age of the RV. In some motorized RVs it is possible that the chassis could have tires up to 2 years old when the RV body was manufactured and the unit sold as a ‘new’ RV.  
Check the operation of all lights and safety equipment as well. Now is the time to ensure that all breakaway systems operate as they should. Lubricate all hinges, door locks and latches. I recommend using Corrosion Block® spray on the locks to lubricate them and stop corrosion from the dissimilar metals found in locks. Latches can be lubed with a dry lubricant or a penetrating step lubricant such as Kwikee’s KwikLube®. Of course, a Heavy Duty silicone will also provide good lubrication on many components.    



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