Our last blog was about the most common types of caravan and motorhome repairs. Today, we want to tell you about water damage – what to look out for and how to prevent it.
Before any journey in your motorhome, bus or caravan, you should check all your fluid levels: engine oil, petrol, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant, and windshield washer fluid. Many of you may already do this but how often do you check for the most common fluid of all: water? Water damage can create serious problems for your RV. Water damage may start off small but can quickly spread and can be costly to fix. Fortunately, the signs of water damage can be quick to spot if you know what to look for.
- Check around windows, skylights and doors for any bubbling or discolouration
- Inspect inside cupboards and compartments or anywhere that may have been pierced on the vehicle’s outside (and not just through accidents – check around screws and where addenda like flags or mirrors have been attached) – look out for cracks
- Look out for stains, which may present as darker patches of the panelling or wood or bubbles and bumps in the linoleum or panelling
- Keep a nose out for any strange smells – that may mean mould or mildew and both mean moisture
- Run a hand over the panelling to make sure your lamination has not bubbled or is peeling off
- Keep an eye out for any metal items that have rusted
- Make sure there are no unexplained damp spots or discolouration on carpets or ceilings
- Beware of any random indentations on the side walls or soft, spongey patches on the roof
- Examine all roof and body seams for signs of separation or cracking
When it comes to water damage, prevention is the best cure. Small patches of water damage are easy to contain and fix, but once the water has affected large areas of your RV, the more involved fixing it becomes.
As well as cosmetic damage and prematurely ageing your vehicle, water may create problems with your electrics if it leaks onto any exposed wires or goes where it shouldn’t. It may also, over time, speed up the rusting of your chassis or the rotting of your wood. This is why RV enthusiasts must be ever vigilant when it comes to water!
If there are drips underneath your vehicle, check to make sure you know where they are coming from. Most likely it will be your A/C or fridge, but it’s best to know in case it’s something more serious, like a leaky battery or brake fluid, loose pipes, an unsealed roof or water damage.
So how does water get into RVs?
Leaks are the main culprit, so make sure you check check check for them! Check the connections coming to or from appliances like fridges or kettles. Make sure your pipes and tubes are properly sealed.
Condensation also can create moisture, so if you boil a kettle inside the RV, make sure the windows are open or the exhaust fan is on. Keep wet clothes in the bathroom with the window and vent open, and an exhaust fan on. After showering with the fan on, wipe down any excess moisture.
Water damage may also occur due to high humidity. In Australia, especially for those who are travelling up north, not much can be done about this. A/C can help take some moisture out of the air, but otherwise we suggest buying dehumidifiers or charcoal briquettes for when your RV is not in use or for when you are trekking the tropics.
Dehumidifiers are also a good idea for when you are not using your vehicle. A lot of water damage can occur if your vehicle has been neglected or improperly stored during the off season. Before you pack up your RV for the year, check again to see if any water can get in. Try to remember any leaks that you noticed when travelling (it helps to write these things down if you can’t fix them right away), and make sure that your vehicle is being stored somewhere dry with good drainage and low humidity.
When storing your vehicle, be sure to use a humidifier or charcoal bricks to suck out moisture from the air. It is also a good idea to keep the kitchen window and roof vent slightly ajar to allow for circulation, which will help stop the moisture from being trapped in your RV for long periods of time. Make sure your vehicle is somewhere dry though! Store it on gravel rather than dirt and try to park it in the sun. If you have a window and vent open, this will help moisture evaporate, keeping your vehicle healthy and dry.
If you are worried about having any water damage or would like some advice or a quote on fixing it, contact Road Trek today. Road Trek is a complete one-stop service shop. This means that we can identify your water damage problem, contain it and replace it, whatever its size. This is one of the many benefits of being a part of the Nationwide Spare Parts Network: we will have the part you need. We are able to cater for all sizes of repairs and refurbishments. Our warehouses can provide you with all the parts and services you need to contain, fix and prevent water damage in your motorhome, caravan, bus or RV.