Maintaining Your Forest River

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One of the first things you'll want to do as a new Forest River RV owner is to go over the maintenance needs of your particular unit. Even high-quality brands like Forest River require maintenance to keep them operating like new. Plus, performing routine maintenance will help you avoid costly emergency maintenance down the road.

Your Forest River RV dealer serves as a wealth of knowledge when it comes to maintaining your Forest River RV. If you prefer to do very little of your own RV maintenance, you can rely on your dealership to do most things for you. On the other hand, if you're a real do-it-yourselfer, you can ask the techs at your dealership how to perform common RV maintenance tasks like winterizing, battery maintenance and more.

Forest River maintenance falls into two basic categories: routine and preventive. Obviously, the types of tasks you'll perform in these categories depends on whether you own a Forest River motorhome or travel trailer (including fifth wheels and toy haulers). Let's look at some of the tasks you'll need to perform for each type of RV.

Routine RV maintenance includes tasks you do at scheduled intervals. Here are some examples of the types of routine maintenance performed on motor homes and travel trailers:

. Change oil
. Lubricate chassis
. Service transmission

The most important routine maintenance task you can perform is checking your owner's manual and warranty. These documents will spell out exactly which tasks must be performed, when, and by whom. Some routine maintenance items must be performed by your Forest River service center in order to keep your warranty intact. To be safe, consult your Forest River dealer regarding routine maintenance of your RV.

Preventive maintenance, on the other hand, is not mandated by warranty. Rather, it is designed to identify and address potential problems before they arise. Some common preventive maintenance tasks for motorhomes, travel trailers and toy haulers include:

. Check for engine fluid leaks
. Test windshield wipers, inspect blades
. Check brakes
. Check taillights/brake lights/backup lights
. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
. Inspect condition of storage area floor
. Inspect condition of ramp hinges

This list is by no means exhaustive. Consult with your Forest River dealer for a complete checklist of preventive maintenance items for your unit.

One special area of concern to motorhome and travel trailer owners involves how to winterize their RV for storage. Again, the winterizing tasks you undertake will depend on what type of Forest River RV you own. Winterizing is an extensive proposition. In fact, entire books have been written about the process. The following suggestions should serve only to give you an idea of what's involved with preparing your motorhome or travel trailer for hibernation. Check with your Forest River dealer for specifics on how to winterize your RV properly.

Think of winterizing as a way to keep your RV safe during harsh weather conditions. Toward that end, you'll want to empty and clean the water systems (fresh, gray and black) and prepare the chassis and coach.

According to experts, preparing your RV's water system for winter storage is a rather lengthy process composed of about 20 steps. If you're not handy with tools or don't have the time to perform this step correctly, leave it up to your Forest River dealer. The last thing you want is to ruin your water system by allowing it to freeze, especially when this step can be done in advance of actually parking the RV for the winter.

Some tasks, however, have to be accomplished at the storage site. Within the coach, leave all drawers, doors and cabinets open to air. Remove all perishable food items to avoid attracting bugs and rodents. Defrost the freezer and wipe out the refrigerator. Clean the oven. Fold down beds in the cargo area. Inspect the awning and any pop-out canvas fabrics to ensure they're completely dry before storing.

To winterize the chassis, remove the house batteries (the deep cycle, lead-acid batteries, not the engine battery), top off their fluid, charge them and store them in a cool place. Change the generator oil and filter.

Maintaining your Forest River travel trailer, motorhome or toy hauler will bring you and your family years of enjoyment. And, you can rely on your Forest River dealer to perform any maintenance you don't want to do yourself. To find an authorized Forest River dealer for maintenance or service, just click .Forest River RVs. now, and we'll forward your request for information.