by Tim Collard
Originally published in the Rodeo Connection

Hi Folks, my name is Tim Collard. I have been asked to share a bit of my wisdom with you. So, who the heck am I? And what do I do?living quarters berth

Quite simply, I am a mobile repair guy that works on RVs and horse trailers. I am an RVDA/RVIA Master Certified RV Technician and have been self employed in this industry for nearly two decades working in Calgary and the surrounding area.

I am also the producer and host of “The RV Walk-Thru”, a 72-minute video that shows people how things work on RVs. The video is almost five years old and still quite popular. Also I am an “expert” for a site called “Just Answer.com” where people have to pay money for my advice on RVs. Here, you get it for free - what a bargain!

Another thing - one of my passions is horses. My wife and I enjoy camping and riding the back hills and mountains. I’m a team roper when I have time and someone lends me a horse (the one I ride today has no interest!)

So enough about me, let’s talk about you and your horse trailer or RV. Some of you will be pulling your rigs out of the snow banks and getting them ready to travel. I’m a big fan of preventative maintenance, so here are a few things to do before you head out:

 

Propane System
It’s recommended that you should have a qualified person check your propane system every two years for leaks and proper operation. It’s a simple test, only takes about 15 minutes and it puts your mind at ease. Safety first.

altBatteries and Charging System
Sometimes the most overlooked thing is the batteries. In most of today’s RVs and LQs, the batteries are the heart of the unit. Without them the unit is dead. Our fridge, furnace, water heaters and other appliances will not run without battery power. Check the fluid in the batteries, make sure the posts and all connections are clean, and have them tested if they are more than a couple of years old.

One of the best battery chargers is the converter that is in your rig. Plugging it in and leaving it alone for about a week or more before heading out is one of the best things you can do for your batteries. They become “Sulphated” after time. What that means is the plates inside become contaminated with sulphur and the only way to correct this is by charging them for a long period of time. The converter is a self regulating charger and will re-condition batteries better than any charger you have on the farm.

Water System Check
The best time to check for water leaks is after de-winterizing your unit after you have fresh water in your tank, turned on your pump and let the system pressure up. Now, sit down and listen for the pump to come on. If your system is sound, the pump will be quiet, if it cycles on and off, you have a problem.

altWheels and Brakes
The industry standard for re-packing of wheel bearings and having the brakes adjusted is every two years or 16,000 KM (10,000 miles). Now, I know some of you can put that many klicks on in a few months, but the consequences of not paying attention to this can be costly and time consuming. To have them serviced without any major parts is about $250. To change out an axle because of lack of maintenance can run in the thousands. Keep an eye on the condition of the tires and their pressure and don’t forget the spare.

Refrigerator
When we use the propane to cool our fridges, it will eventually create a rusty, sooty kind of powder in the chimney of the fridge. If enough of this powder falls down over the burner assembly, it can shut the fridge down. Every year you should have someone blow out the chimney and burner assembly to clean it out. If doing it yourself, wear eye protection as it can get messy!

Water Heater
Just like the fridge, we should blow out the burn chamber. On the bottom, where the fire starts, is where you want to put the air hose. The hole just above that is where the soot and dirt will be coming out, so stand aside when doing this! If you don’t you’ll look like you just came out of a coal mine! (And don’t forget the glasses!)

altFurnace 
There is not much you can do to the furnace to prepare for the summer. I would suggest you open the doors, turn the thermostat right up and let'er buck for about 10 minutes. Any issues (like mice or other varmints nesting in your system) will show up. Better now than at the rodeo, right?

Awnings
On a sunny day, extend your awning to air it out. Trapped moisture will cause mould and mildew and can ruin the fabric. Simply rolling it out and washing it down with a mild dish detergent mixture and a good rinsing will do it a lot of good. Run the awning in and out a couple of times to make sure it’s working properly and check to ensure the travel locks and all the hardware are secure. We see too many of these trophies in the ditch or the dumpster.

Well, I think I’ve run out of space and must end this. These are just a few suggestions to get you started for the season. Common sense and a little care can save time and bucks. If you have any questions or suggestions I would enjoy an E-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . I’m always looking for subjects to chat about.

Be well.