We left our tiny home in Arizona and hit the road for 5+ months in our travel trailer (her name is Shirlee). Now that we’ve fully retired and will be spending so much time on the road in Shirlee, we have a slightly longer list of must-dos to get her ready before heading out! We should have been doing these all along, but it’s better to start a little late than never!
1Lube the slide outs
I can’t stand the word LUBE (Carter loves this word!), but it’s a necessity for our trailer! 😊 If you don’t want to wake up the entire campground when you’re trying to close up and get on the road at 5:00am, it’s definitely a good idea to lube the glides that help your slide outs open and close. We also lube the stabilizer jacks so they don’t make that awful screeching noise.
For the slide outs, we use 3-IN-ONE RVcare Slide-Out Silicone Lube. For the stabilizer jacks, we use good ol’ WD-40. We take both products with us so we can lube the glides and jacks anytime we hear a squeak.
2Shock the water system
After sitting in storage for 6 months, we always shock and flush our water system. What does that mean? We use 1 ¼ cups of bleach (fragrance free) in our 90-gallon water tank. We fill the tank ¼ full, add diluted bleach, and finish filling the tank. Once we’re full of water, we let the hot water tank fill and run the cold and hot water through each faucet (including our outdoor shower). We let the chlorinated water sit in the tank and faucets for 12+ hours, drain all the water, and then fill it back up with fresh water. We run each faucet till we can’t smell bleach anymore.
We always book a full hookup site so we can drain and fill with fresh water. But, even with full hookups, once we’ve shocked our tanks, we don’t drink directly from the faucets for a few days. We bring plenty of bottled water with us to drink, brush our teeth, and cook.
3Replace anode for hot water system
The hot water heater anode attracts/neutralizes minerals that would otherwise decay your hot water tank. We inspect our anode every year. Since we’re in our travel trailer 5+ months of the year, we replace the anode annually. You might not have to depending on how much you use hot water and how hard the water is.
It’s easy to inspect and replace the anode as you’re shocking the water system, so we just do it at the same time.
4Inspect the roof
We inspect our roof before each summer to ensure we don’t have any cracks, leaks, or damage. While we’re up there, we reseal around the antennae, skylights, fans, etc.
It’s easier to do all of this when you have access to plywood and a ladder while you’re at home. We use the plywood to distribute weight more evenly on the roof. If you’re a smaller person, you may not need the plywood. But, since Carter is NOT a small person, we use the plywood! 😊
5Inspect the tires
One of our good friends once said, “your tires are the only thing between you and the road.” His words seem so simple, but how many times have you seen RVs on the side of the road with blowouts?
We use a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) on our travel trailer and truck tires and carry a Viair air compressor with us. Before we leave for the summer, we inspect the tires, rotate when we see uneven wear, and reconnect the TPMS sensors.
6Pack the wheel bearings
Packing wheel bearings is a dirty, annoying job, so we hire a mechanic to pack the wheel bearings for us. This process generally costs ~$100 per axle plus parts; and every dollar spent is well worth it. Without packing your wheel bearings, you run the risk of your wheels literally falling off. We’ve all come up behind a trailer with a wobbly wheel (pass them as soon as possible!). More than likely they’ve never repacked their wheel bearings.
7Charge the batteries
We always say a little prayer that our batteries aren’t completely dead when we take our travel trailer out of storage. Assuming the batteries aren’t dead, we plug our trailer into shore power overnight. This process helps the batteries recharge and extends their life a little. Once we’re on the road, we run the generator while we’re boondocking to help recharge the batteries.