Maintaining Your Dutchmen

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You've made your decision, written a check, and now your new Dutchmen fifth wheel sits in your driveway or back yard, waiting to give your family years of enjoyment. So, what next?

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

Your Dutchmen RV dealer serves as a wealth of knowledge when it comes to maintaining your Dutchmen travel trailer. 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.

Dutchmen maintenance falls into two basic categories: routine and preventive. Let's look at some of the tasks you'll need to perform in each category.

Routine RV maintenance includes tasks you do at scheduled intervals. Most warranties for travel trailers, including Dutchmen, require the owner to inspect certain systems and structural components regularly and report any defects to the dealer in order to obtain warranty work. This means you should schedule inspections of window seals, LP regulator pressure and structural seams during the warranty period in order to keep your travel trailer warranty intact.

Because travel trailers don't have an engine, much of their maintenance falls under preventive rather than routine. Preventive maintenance is designed to identify and address potential problems before they arise. Let's look at some common preventive maintenance tasks for travel trailers:

. Grease wheel bearings
. Check brakes
. Check taillights/brake lights/backup lights
. Replace air conditioner filters
. Test refrigerator in both A/C and propane modes
. Check water level of batteries
. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
. Inspect condition of awning fabric
. Check generator engine and filters

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

Two maintenance areas of special concern to travel trailer owners are the roof and the batteries. The roof is often neglected when it comes to preventive maintenance, yet it is costly to repair or replace. And RV technicians report that a high percentage of service calls could be avoided simply by maintaining batteries. Let's look at how to perform these two critical tasks.

Maintaining your RV's roof requires actually getting up onto it. Whenever you walk on your RV's roof, tread lightly. Be aware that if your travel trailer doesn't have a built-in ladder, it could be an indication the roof is not meant to be walked on. Before attempting roof maintenance, consult your owner's manual or your dealer for more information on whether or not you should walk on your travel trailer's roof.

Many travel trailer roofs are coated with a rubber material, but there are many other materials used. To be safe when cleaning your roof, never use solvents, citrus-based cleaners or products containing petroleum in any form. Instead, use a mild detergent (such as dishwashing liquid) along with a medium-bristle brush. Some experts recommend spraying the sides of your RV with water before rinsing the detergent off the roof in order to avoid streaking or damage to the travel trailer's exterior finish. Water can highlight small holes, so make a detailed visual inspection immediately after rinsing to check for holes along seams.

Battery maintenance can help you avoid aggravating problems such as appliances not working except on propane. Keep in mind that RV batteries are lead-acid, deep cycle batteries. They are not sealed, like car batteries commonly are. You will need to monitor your batteries. fluid levels regularly . every month or so. If necessary, add distilled water to bring the fluid level to within 1/8. of full. If you plan to put your travel trailer into storage, remove the batteries, top off their fluid, charge them, and place them in a cool, dry place. Remember that stored batteries constantly are discharging, so monitor the fluid and charge levels regularly to avoid overly discharging them or allowing them to freeze.

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