illustration: Jason Schneider

RV Prep Guide: Spring Trailer Tune-Up

By Kellie Davenport

Melting snow means one thing to RV-loving Albertans: Camping season is just around the corner! But before you hit the open road, it’s important to be prepared—by performing necessary seasonal maintenance. “The last thing you want is to be stuck out on the highway with a flat tire or some other breakdown,” says Brandon Klassen, supervisor of AMA’s roadside assistance network. As an avid RVer, he knows “you just want to get to your campsite and not have to worry about a thing.” No matter the type of RV you own, a spring trailer tune-up goes a long way when you’re on the road come summertime.

Start with a thorough visual inspection. Closely examine tires; head/brake lights; hitch; seams, vents and windows for leaks; hydraulic jacks and awning (if applicable).

Inspect frames, seals and ledges—from both interior and exterior sides—for any signs of water damage. Reseal or repair holes and leaks. For more extensive damage, consult a certified RV technician.

RV tires can lose two to three PSI every month while sitting over winter. Use a tire pressure gauge and check your owner’s manual to see how much air you should add.

Open doors and windows to air out the RV. Look for signs of rodent intrusion and water damage on walls and floors. Turn on the furnace, water heater and refrigerator.

Renovation tips for sprucing up your trailer

Check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. And be sure you have operational fire extinguishers, which typically last up to 15 years. If there’s no expiry date or inspection sticker, test the handle and nozzle: If they’re wobbly or cracked, get a new one.

Since you likely used non-toxic RV antifreeze when winterizing the unit, you’ll need to flush out the lines. Turn on the water pump and all faucets, indoors and out. Allow them to run a few minutes to purge the antifreeze.

Like tires, battery power diminishes while an RV is inactive. If you removed the battery for winter, make sure it’s fully charged before reinstalling it. If the battery remained in your RV, check its charge or call CAA Battery Service for a test (it’s included with an RV membership).

Propane tanks have a shelf life: They need to be recertified every 10 years. Make sure yours isn’t expired and ensure you have a functional propane detector, in case of potentially fatal leaks.

Why trailer sharing is the latest camping trend

Before you even think about taking your RV out on the road, check that your insurance and registration are up to date. Make sure you’ve also got AMA’s RV membership so you’re covered for tows if you run into trouble on the road. Choose from Plus RV or Premier RV (which includes a longer-distance tow and convenience tows for things like seasonal tire changes).

Got a new trailer? Visit AMA Registries for your trailer registration. You can also replace a worn-out trailer plate. If a motorhome is your RV of choice, sign up for Vehicle Registration Auto-Renew.

Refresh your driving skills with a brush-up course. AMA’s half-day class helps new and experienced RVers strengthen their skills when handling an RV, camper or trailer. $389 for members.

Research shows that more than 9.1 million households in Canada are “camping households,” with one or more people who camp at least occasionally.

Members save 15% on regular-price parts and service at Go RV. Purchase a new or pre-owned model and get a 1-year AMA Plus RV membership, plus free firewood, propane and RV supplies for life.