Keep Leaks Away with Preventative RV Maintenance

There is an immense sense of joy that comes with being an RV owner due to all the freedom it affords those eager to travel. Yet when something goes wrong, such as a sudden roof leak, there’s a dread that can occur. Anyone who has gone through the pain of being far from home and having the roof leak knows how important it is to keep to an RV maintenance schedule that can prevent problems on the road.

The rule of thumb is to thoroughly inspect and clean an RV’s roof once every six months. But the frequency at which you should look yours over will depend on its age and if your model of RV is prone to leaks. You also need to know what materials were used in the roof construction.

Before you begin, you need to determine if your roof withstand your weight. Be certain of its load strength before you set foot on it. If your RV doesn’t have a ladder affixed to it, it’s probably not built to hold someone walking on it. Follow these maintenance tips for each type of roof and avoid experiencing the headache that a roof leak will cause:

  • Aluminum
    One of the more durable materials for RV roofs that also requires the least amount of maintenance is aluminum. It doesn’t suffer the same sun damage as fiberglass or rubber and it won’t rust. However, you’ll need to inspect the seams of the roof, as well as carry out frequent cleanings to keep its appearance nice.
  • Rubber
    If your roof is made of rubber, avoid cleaners and conditioners that have harsh chemicals in them, as they will damage the material. Rather, use a mild detergent and a bristle brush that is strong enough to remove grime, but not so strong that it scratches the rubber.
  • Fiberglass
    If your roof is made of fiberglass, use a gentle detergent, as more robust chemical cleaners will eat away at the protective qualities of the fiberglass. To protect from ultraviolet light damage, use a wax treatment roughly once per year. The wax will also remove light oxidation and improve the appearance of your RV.

What to Look for in Your Inspection

As you survey your roof, you’ll need to look for visible signs of damage. Check for holes, cracks or tears. These are clear signs that if your roof isn’t already leaking, it will be soon, which means you need to either make the repairs or take it to a service center as soon as possible.

If your roof doesn’t show obvious damage, it could still fail around the seams of the roofing material. These seams are filled with a sealant (usually silicone) that maintains a semi-solid form so it can flex with material as it moves, either while in transit or due to temperature fluctuations. This sealant has a limited lifespan, so over time, it will begin to crack and allow moisture into the seams. Look for missing silicone and deep cracks (small ones aren’t an issue).

It’s also important to check vents, air conditioning units and any other rooftop structure. These should also be sealed with silicone or a similar product. If you see any gaps or damage, make the necessary fixes.

Preventative maintenance is much easier and less costly than a roof replacement and certainly much less annoying than having to replace interior items that have been damaged because of a leaking roof. If you need assistance with your RV maintenance, bring it into Gray Diesel & Equipment Services. We’ll make sure your RV is primed and ready for the road this travel season.