RV parked by a lake at sunset.

Preparing Your RV for the Summer SeasonApril 20th, 2023

If you want your RV to be in tip-top shape for a camping trip in Ontario, it is wise to prepare it at least a couple of months before your departure. Vehicle manufacturers design vehicles to be driven regularly. When RVs sit outside or in storage for many months, they can start to have mechanical problems. Engine fluids may break down, parts may corrode, or animals can nest in them. 

These issues can spell trouble away from home if you do not inspect your RV and give it the proper attention. Furthermore, campers depreciate quickly; if kept in good shape, they are more likely to retain their value.  

With that in mind, we have 10 tips for how to prepare your RV for the summer season. 

1. Inspect the roof

Start at the top by checking the roof for cracks or blistering. The sun and other elements can break down the roof seal. You may need to reseal the roof or even replace it periodically.

2. Inspect the tires for damage and air

RV accidents are often caused by tire blowouts. If possible, store RVs in long-term storage with the tires off the ground to reduce the weight load. Check tires for cracks and bulges. Inspect the treads and tighten the lug nuts. Fill the tires to the appropriate pressure, as they may have lost air while in storage. Do not forget to check the condition of the spare tire. 

3. Perform a mechanical inspection

Check the following parts:

  • Brakes, axles, and differentials
  • Engine air filter, cabin air filter, oil filter, and fuel filter
  • Belts, hoses, and wiring
  • Brake fluid, antifreeze, oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid
  • Lights 
  • Horn

4. Check the hitch and tow

Inspect the hitch and tow for wear, corrosion, and any loose parts. Also, be sure they are appropriate for the load capacity. Pay attention to cables, chains, bolts, hitch pins, and electrical connections. 

5. Inspect and test all areas

Open up steps, windows, decks, etc., to be sure they open and close freely. Inspect slide-out seals, awnings, and slide toppers for damage.

6. Inspect systems

De-winterize your RV if necessary. Inspect the water heater, HVAC components, propane system, and batteries. 

7. Perform a functional test

Run the generator and check fluids and filters. Turn on the stove, water heater, water pump, air conditioning, and vent fans. Be sure all appliances, such as the refrigerator, microwave, and stove, work. 

8. Test all interior and exterior lights

Check all interior lights as well as the exterior auxiliary lights. Check headlights, taillights, and brake lights. Replace any burned-out bulbs. 

9. Inspect your jacks

Jacks should not have any dents, stripped threads, corrosion, or loose bolts. Check out the motor if your RV has electric or hydraulic jacks.

10. Inspect all fire safety equipment

Check the fire alarms, carbon monoxide detector, fire extinguishers, and LP detector. Also, be sure you have a first-aid kit in your RV and another in your car if you are taking it. 

You may be able to perform many of these tasks yourself. Nonetheless, if you are in doubt, schedule an appointment with an RV center to check everything over and make sure your RV is ready for a safe and sound journey. 

Tips for Planning Your Trip

Pre-plan your route, including stops for fuel, bathroom breaks, and meal breaks, so you can make the most of your travel time. Planning also means you will not run out of gas or be unable to find a restroom when someone needs one. 

Plan where to stop for meal breaks, so you can pace your trip knowing that your passengers will not be starving before the next meal. Carry snacks and drinks with you and make sure they are accessible, so you do not have to stop at a restaurant before you plan to.

Tips for Packing for Your Trip

Plan clothing for all sorts of weather – rain, wind, sun, and possibly snow. Make sure everyone has gloves, and take an umbrella. You save money if you do not have to go shopping for unexpected weather emergencies.

Think through the gear you will need once you get to your destination. Depending on what activities you plan to do, consider taking things like hiking boots, hunting equipment, fishing gear, etc. 

Do not forget to take everyone’s regular medications at the last minute. You may not be able to get them when you are far away from home. 

Be sure your loved ones know where you are going and when you plan to arrive. Check-in with them when you get to your destination, so they know you arrived safely. Do the same on the return trip. 

Button up things at home before you leave. Lock the doors and arrange for pet care and your mail. You may want to ask a friend or family member to check on your home regularly while you are away. 

Get all your documents in order. Purchase or update your recreation insurance plan and make sure it is in force on the day you leave. Double-check to be sure drivers have their driver’s licenses and all drivers are properly insured. Take a copy of your health insurance card in case someone needs medical attention on your trip that cannot wait until you return home. 

Tips for Driving

A week or so before you get ready to leave for a trip, take your RV for a car wash so it is sparkling clean. Be sure to clean the headlights, taillights, windshield, and mirrors. 

When you stop, check your black tank level to be sure the sensor indicates it is empty. If it is registering something, there might be a problem with the sensor, and it should be checked. 

Final Thoughts

Be aware that campgrounds are filling up more than usual in the last few years. Also, Ontario parks are limiting camper stays so more people can enjoy the parks. With that in mind, contact campgrounds well in advance as you may not be able to drop in if the closest one is full or they require a reservation. 

Your recreation vehicle insurance agent may also have some valuable resources to share with you about how to have a safe trip to your destination and back, so do not be afraid to ask. Our agents at Duliban Insurance Brokers are happy to help you with your insurance needs on and off the road. 

While you are preparing for your trip, why not give one of our licensed insurance agents a call for a quote on your RV insurance? They may be able to save you money or provide you with extra coverage. 

Call us today at 1-855-DULIBAN!


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