Common RV Problems and How to Fix Them

hands fixing RV window with caulking

Whether you're on the road again or just a ramblin' man with an RV, when you run into a problem, don't turn in your keys and park for good. You can diagnose and troubleshoot common RV issues to save some green and get back on the road to nowhere.

RV Maintenance

It's important to perform basic maintenance on your RV at least once or twice a year. This includes a trip to an RV mechanic or specialist who can give your house on wheels a once-over and a professional cleaning. If you want to DIY the cleaning process, you definitely can—just be prepared to put in the time and effort.

man changing filter in RV air conditioner

You will need to clean the inside and outside of your RV with homemade or RV-specific cleaners. Make sure everything gets a good scrub down and polish, and make sure to clean out your drainage and plumbing systems.

When you're proactive about your RV care and maintenance, you'll find yourself spending more time road-trippin' and less time parked on the patio.

Plumbing Problems

If you've got a clogged pipe or other plumbing problems in your RV, there are a few DIYs you can try before you call in a plumbing professional.

If your toilet is constantly running or won't fill all the way with water, check valves and seals. All of the bumping around on the road could have loosened something. If your toilet is clogged or overflowing, you can use a plunger just like you would at home. You can also use an RV-specific drain cleaner in your toilets and sinks to help keep things flowing smoothly.

If you've got a burst pipe, it may be because you didn't empty your water tank before winter hit. This kind of damage does need to be taken care of by a professional but is a plumbing nightmare that can be avoided if you empty your tank before winter. This only applies to RVs that stay parked outside during the cold months.

Tire Troubles

If you run into tire troubles while you're homeward bound, you're not alone. Before you hit travel a thousand miles, make sure to check the air pressure in all of your tires. It's also good to take a look at the tires and check for wear and tear and determine the state of the tread. Also, make sure you've always got a spare.

If you need to change our RV tire and throw on that spare, pull off the road to a safe place—preferably a well-lit parking lot. Have everyone exit the vehicle and use multiple jacks to lift the RV. Put a jack in front of and behind the flat wheel.

Then loosen the lugs, remove the flat tire, and replace it with the new tire. Secure one lug on the tire and place the rest of the lugs on the tire loosely. Then lower the jacks and tighten the lugs on the spare tire and make sure they are very secure. This holds your wheel in place so you can get everything on tight.

If you get stuck, head to Youtube and watch a video of someone changing a tire on your specific RV make and model.

hand holding tire pressure screw stopper

Window Worries

You were born to be wild and on the road, so don't let leaky windows or doors stand in your way. A simple caulk job can usually get the job done quickly and efficiently. Grab water-resistant window and door caulk at a local hardware store and apply it to the leaky areas. Apply the caulk liberally and then smooth it down with a gloved finger.

You can caulk around other leaky areas too, but if your door is the culprit, you may need new weatherstripping. Weatherstripping is an inexpensive item at a hardware store and can be easily applied to your doors. Remove the old stripping with a knife and put the new stripping on following the instructions on the box. It's a project that takes less than an hour and has major benefits.

As a general rule, it's a good idea to keep a copy of your owners manual in the RV, and know the number of an emergency RV service, just in case you run into a problem you're not ready to tackle. With a little luck (and some DIY) you'll find yourself traveling on in no time.