The harsh winter elements can certainly take its toll on a motor home, especially for those that haven’t been properly winterized or stored. Before breaking out the RV for the first big trip of spring, it’s a good idea to make sure that certain annual maintenance items have been completed.

Organize your storage compartments. Ensure that all appliances inside your RV (TV, microwave, refrigerator, heater and air conditioner) are in good working condition. Your hot water system should be functioning properly, and chemicals should be added to the backwater holding tank through the toilet. Pressure-test the fresh water structure and verify that the freshwater and dump hose are working properly.

Test the pressure gauges on fire extinguishers and make a note of their expiration dates. Change smoke alarm batteries and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they are in working order. A roadside emergency kit containing motor oil, brake and power-steering fluid, a gas can, road flares, jumper cables and other basic tools should be checked and restocked as needed.

Trailer brakes and wheel bearings should be repacked annually, while generators should be carefully checked before the season begins. Change spark plugs, oxygen sensors, air and fuel filters, and diesel exhaust fluid in preparation for warm weather; also, consult the upkeep list for items such as wire and hose inspections, belt, and wheel alignment.

All interior and exterior lights should be tested and, if necessary, repaired prior to the year’s first journey. Often, the problem is not limited to burnt bulbs; it could also be corroded terminals or ground connections. Check your vehicle’s chassis for damaged / loose springs, shock absorbers and such; on trailers, pay close attention to spring equalizers and worn shackles. Every two years, you should check the brake fluid and drain the air brake tanks of moisture. Tires should be inspected by a professional tire tech; in addition to setting tire pressures, tires are prone to wearing out and a professional is trained to spot sidewall cracks and other damage.