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Spring Clean
As there’s no better time than spring to do a big clean-up of your motorhome, Malcolm Street shares a few tips for getting your RV into tip-top condition.
Words and Images by: Malcolm Street

Given the large size of the Australian continent, the climate from the top to the bottom is quite different. In the southern regions, there is much more of an obvious change between the seasons – something in the RV world that is marked by the south-north-south ‘Grey Wave’ of travellers, who move north in winter and do the reverse in summer. In the north though, it’s warm or wet or both!

All of which makes the term ‘spring clean’ very much dependent on where you live, and may well be better termed ‘yearly clean and check’ (YCC) or something similar.

Spring is nearly upon us, and the Grey Wave will indeed be heading south once again. So whether you are returning from a long trip, or considering your next one, or even putting your RV into storage for a while or the reverse, it may well be time to consider a YCC. So here’s a few thoughts.

An annual inspection inside and out is a good idea. For no other reason other than to just check over everything and make sure your RV is in good order. Particularly in the south, winter months are often better for this purpose – it’s a good time for washing and drying.

When emptying the cassette, keep the neck of the cassette close so there is less mess to clean up

It might sound like an arduous task, particularly for long-term travellers, but it’s not a bad idea to head inside and turn out every cupboard and check over everything. This not only gives the  opportunity to note any hitherto-unknown water leaks, normally indicated by stains or mould, but to also check for any unwanted small-sized travellers, both living or dead! In dark corners, having a good sniff and using a torch will tell you all you need to know. Not so much with posture slat beds and seat bases, but in older motorhomes, mould caused by condensation can be a problem. Consequently, a check under cushions and mattresses isn’t time wasted.

A check that all doors and windows open and close properly might sound like an obvious one, but sometimes those that don’t close properly are indicative of something more serious. Frequently, there’s not much maintenance to be done on most RV items, but appliances like the hot water heater can benefit from the occasional flush and a check on the sacrificial anode. Similarly, the fresh and more particularly the grey water tanks can do with a flush and an environmentally friendly treatment.

Of course, everything inside can always do with a good clean, like the fridge, microwave oven, upholstery, and curtains. Anyone who travels with a pet should pay special attention to upholstery where the pet may sit.

Checking up high and down low

Not to be forgotten are the seals in various places – door, windows, external bin doors, and even the toilet cassette. In the latter case, failure could be messy.

Outside, there is plenty that can be done. Doing a thorough wash means that an inspection can be done at the same time. Giving your vehicle a good hose down will also reveal any external bins that are leaking. Out of sight, and often out of mind, is the roof area. A good ladder is certainly essential for safety  reasons, but the various hatches and any solar panels are always in need of a clean from time to time. Treat any acrylic windows with care when cleaning, and it’s best to have a dedicated soft brush for this job.

Awnings don’t require much attention, any operational issues are readily identifiable, but a brush and hose down when doing other general maintenance isn’t a bad idea at all. If nothing else, getting rid of leaf marks improves the general appearance.

Slightly trickier are the underneath areas. Unless handy with a mechanic’s creeper, then realistically only a check on anything hanging down, or leaking pipework or water tanks, is easily done. Whilst looking underneath, inspect the tyres. Naturally everybody keeps them at the correct air pressures but tyres degenerate, and not just with tread wear, so a regular inspection is good, particularly if dual rear tyres are fitted. Any wall damage on the inner tyre is not easily seen.

Giving everything a good wash

These days, there is much maintenance that can be one on 240V or 12V electrical systems. 12V batteries are mostly sealed but that does not mean they should not be kept clean to avoid unwanted discharging between the terminals, nor all loose connections tightened up. Solar panels also don’t require much attention, apart from the previously mentioned clean.

All of the above might seem like either a boring chore or totally obvious information, but however it is viewed, it’s just like the engine/transmission components – regular checks and maintenance will ensure getting the maximum out of your pride and joy.

Tags: cmca motorhome caravan rv camper trailer spring clean rv maintenance how to clean rv how to spring clean your rv yearly check up on rv checklist for spring cleaning rv checking electrics of rv checklist for maintaining rv
Category: Features
Written: Sat 01 Sep 2018
Printed: September, 2018
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