As the weather starts to finally warm here in the Great Lakes state, many of us turn our attention to the camper season. Camping is a great spring, summer and fall past time for families across Michigan. Michigan offers hundreds of private and public campgrounds with a diverse variety of camping experiences.
While many campers still rough it in a tent, those taking pull-behind campers, pop-ups and 5th wheels are growing in numbers. Come spring, it will be time to get those RVs out of storage and begin preparing for the camping season. While it is still March and brisk in Michigan, the sooner you can get your RV out and give it a once over, the sooner you can address any possible issues from it being stored over the winter months. Additionally, if you need to take your RV in for service, most dealerships and RV repair shops experience a huge backlog of work, possibly delaying your first trip of the year.
Here is a checklist for you to use to get your camper ready for the season:
Trailer Wheel Bearings
This aspect of camper prep is often overlooked. Without your bearings in proper working order, you are going nowhere except the side of the highway. Make sure you keep a record of when you bearings are repacked. If you are unsure because you purchased the camper from someone, check them. You can either do so yourself or bring them to a dealership. It is worth getting checked out to save yourself from being stranded on the side of the road.
If you have bearings that have buddy zerks, be sure to pump fresh grease into those bearings and get the old grease out.
Another aspect of the camper that will put a real kink in a trip or worse yet, get you a traffic ticket is your camper lights. Be sure to check running lights, brake lights and turn signals. Often times, bulbs can go out or blow, which are easy, cheap fixes. However, sometimes there are broader wiring issues with your ground and hot wires that need to be addressed. Bottom line, don’t wait until the night you leave for the first trip of the year to check!
Propane is often essential for your refrigerator use, cooking and furnace (especially for any spring camping). Check your propane tank levels to see if they need to be refilled. Additionally, run all of your propane lines. Often times, mice or spiders can wreak havoc on propane lines, causing blockages. Test your lines and make sure you are getting a good gas flow and proper ignition. Also, check any valves for leaks that may have developed with any possible freezing or cracking during winter. Spray a mixture of dish soap and water on valves and hoses. If there is any bubbling, you have a leak and you will need to address it.
If your batteries sat in the cold all winter, they are likely low or dead. Be sure to get them tested at a local auto parts store or to charge them. Never assume a battery that has not been trickle charged all winter will be ready to use.
If your tires sat outside all winter and saw the sun, they may have experienced cracking. Additionally, check the overall age of your tires. Like wheel bearings, ignoring your tires is a great way to end up on the side of the highway. Check their pressure levels and be sure to have them inflated to the stated pressure setting on the sidewall of the tire. Also, don’t ignore your spare, be sure that is in good shape as well.
Overall Interior Condition
Make sure everything inside made it through the winter. Check compartments and drawers where spiders and mice may have wanted to make a home for the winter. Doing a visual sweep of the camper’s interior and alleviate any unwanted surprises.
Here in Michigan, we get snow and sometimes a lot of it. If your camper is stored outside, chances are it had snow sitting on it, freezing, then melting. This can cause water damage and leaks in your roof. Check the seams where your walls and roof were fastened or welded together. Additionally, another spot water loves to come in is around any vents or sunroofs you may have so look over those seams as well.
So, with some preparation and routine checks, you can be sure you and your family can experience Michigan’s campgrounds with minimal hassle. Additionally, the earlier you catch any issues, the more time you or an RV repair tech can fix them without putting a delay in your camping season!