Rv Maintenance Checklist for First Time Owners

RV on hill with a family looking at the sunset

Owning a recreational vehicle can open up an entire world for your vacation experience, from fun weekend getaways to the most comfortable road trip accommodations. However, before you take your first trip in your RV, it's important to ensure that it's draft-proof and leak-proof, with the right RV rubber coating on the roof and anywhere else that needs protection.

Many people may be overwhelmed by preventative maintenance for an RV, but with a few simple steps, you can ensure that you're tackling small repairs or concerns before they become a large repair that can cost a lot of money or even render the RV unlivable. Moisture can get in through the tiniest cracks, and the warm interior of an RV can create the perfect environment for mold to form. Also, pests can get in through small cracks, damaging the RV and causing a lot of problems. Taking care to maintain your RV — even in the off-season — can ensure that it lasts for many years as a pleasant, comfortable home on wheels.

We've prepared an RV maintenance checklist, ideal for first-time RV owners and people who consider their RV an essential part of their recreational downtime.

Monthly Recreational Vehicle Maintenance Tasks

Taking care of your RV can be a little more complex than taking care of your car, but many of these monthly tasks are fairly easy and can even be fun! Set aside one day a month to complete these tasks — and try to find a day with warm weather, not too humid or rainy, to do most of your maintenance and inspection.

RVs don't take well to sitting idle for weeks at a time, just like your cars. Make sure to drive the RV at least once per month, taking care to listen for any funny noises and paying attention to how the vehicle performs. The more you drive your RV, the more you get to know it, and you'll be able to spot mechanical or engine problems while they're still a relatively small repair.

Your other maintenance checklist tasks should include:

  • Run the generator at least 50% per month to avoid the gas going bad.
  • Check your gas tank for leaks or damage.
  • Inspect the batteries, including spare batteries, if you have them, for corrosion build-up. This can cause poor battery performance, or even leave you stranded.
  • Clean the air conditioner. When you're traveling, pollen and road dust can quickly accumulate in the filter and the appliance itself. Clean the vents and intake, and clean or replace the filters.
  • Check under the hood for signs of leaking, low fluid levels or loose hoses.
  • Maintain the recommended schedule of oil and fluid changes for your vehicle.
  • Test all your safety equipment. Clean and test the smoke and CO2 detectors, replace the batteries and check the fire extinguisher expiration tag. The chemicals in fire extinguishers expire and using one that's expired can cause a malfunction.
  • Check for damage to the exterior of the RV, including the roof, for cracks or holes. Even small ones can allow water and insects into your RV, both of which can cause serious damage. If you find cracks, repair them with RV Sealant such as Liquid Rubber RV Roof Sealant.

Annual RV Maintenance Tips

If you're taking care of your RV using the tips above once a month, then your annual RV inspection and maintenance process shouldn't take more than a day. Or, you can break up these tasks into more manageable chunks. We recommend that you keep a maintenance log that details when you do your monthly inspections and what you find, as well as an annual log of your inspections.

Your yearly RV maintenance tasks should include:

  • Service the brakes. Don't neglect the RV brakes — with such a heavy vehicle, having the right stopping power is critical, so make sure that the brake pads are in good condition.
  • Inspect the propane and the entire system.
  • Clean the water system and allow it to dry thoroughly to prevent mold from forming.
  • Apply RV roof coating.

The importance of RV waterproofing of the roof

Save yourself the high costs and headaches that come with leaks, and reduce sun exposure and consequent damage by applying a high-quality roof coating on a regular basis, about every 3-5 years.

How to apply RV rubber coating:

First, it's important to pick a day when it's not raining and don't apply the coating under intense sunlight.

  • Make sure that the roof is thoroughly clean and dry first. Wash it and rinse with clear water.
  • Apply the right kind of primer for your roof type. Liquid Rubber sells different types of primer, so check with the materials of the vehicle and then match it to the primer in our online catalog.
  • Allow the primer to thoroughly dry.
  • Apply Liquid Rubber RV Roof Sealant using a brush or a paint roller, using smooth, even strokes to ensure proper coverage. Take care when applying around the antenna, vents, and seams.
  • Apply the coating in sections, starting with the portion farthest away from your ladder and working your way back.
  • Allow the first coat to dry until it's completely dry to the touch, uniform in color, and with nothing wet underneath before applying a second coat.
  • Apply the second and third coats the same way.

How to maintain your RV roof coating:

Once you've applied your RV waterproofing, it's important to follow the right maintenance schedule to ensure that your vehicle stays protected from moisture and pests.

  • Thoroughly wash your RV roof at least every two to three months — more often if you're traveling through areas with high winds, lots of road dust or pollen, or heavy air pollution. Make sure that you wash off any tree sap and leaves off the roof as soon as possible, as these can cause significant damage to the rubber membrane
  • Take the time to thoroughly inspect your RV roof when washing, looking at all the openings. Check for cracks and damage around the vents, plus storm or hail damage. Quickly repair the damage before water or insects get into your RV

Important note: RV Coatings should not be used on RVs that are still under warranty. Applying a coating may void any warranties, and our product is designed for after the warranty has expired.


It's important to ensure that you complete preventative maintenance and inspection of your RV before the traveling season opens and again once it's over. This includes making sure that the roof is free of leaks that can cause mold and mildew to grow in the vehicle and damage it. Liquid Rubber makes some of the best seal coats for RV waterproofing in the business, with easy-to-follow tutorials and accessories to ensure that every waterproofing project applies smoothly. Liquid Rubber is the best choice for your RV rubber coating. Check out our online catalog and our tutorial videos to learn more!