Maintaining Your Winnebago

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You've made your decision, written a check, and now your new Winnebago sits in the driveway, 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 Winnebago require maintenance to keep them running efficiently. Plus, performing routine maintenance will help you avoid costly emergency maintenance down the road.

Winnebago 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 required by warranty to be done at scheduled intervals. Here are some examples of routine maintenance performed on motorhomes:

. Change oil
. Lubricate chassis
. Service transmission

You should not attempt to perform these tasks yourself, as doing so may void your warranty. In fact, 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. While your motor home is under warranty, you'll want your authorized Winnebago service center to perform all routine maintenance. If you purchased a used motorhome, you still will want your Winnebago dealership to provide routine maintenance, such as oil changes and transmission service, so that you know it's done according to manufacturer specifications.

Preventive maintenance is not required by warranty. Rather, it's designed to identify and address potential problems before they arise. Let's look at some common preventive maintenance tasks for motor homes:

. 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 Winnebago dealer for a complete checklist of preventive maintenance items for your unit.

Two maintenance areas of special concern to motorhome 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 motor home 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 motorhome's roof.

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