Sometimes problems can happen. I know, it’s a shocker. We want to help you be prepared in the unlikely event that you have a slide out problem while using the Schwintek slide out. Unlike the traditional slide, there is no crank handle for overriding the controls, so here is a video on some troubleshooting tips by the manufacturer of the slide out, Lippert Components.
In the camping off season it is easy to forget your about your trailer. With the holidays, winter break from schools and everything else that seems to crash at the end of the year, your trailer sits silently under the snow and ice, waiting for the chance to get out camping the next season.
You should probably make some time, however. Here in Michigan this last two weeks, we have seen major snow falls, super-cold temperatures (thank you Polar Vortex), major thawing, and even rain. These conditions can add up to major issues in your trailer, and checking the trailer out now, can help avoid major repair bills three months from now.
The super-cold temperatures followed by the thaw and rain can wreak havoc on your trailer’s caulking and seals around windows, doors and storage compartments. With expansion and severe contraction happening, caulking can break loose, and invite water in to visit. Never good.
Checking for the first sign of any water intrusion will ensure that by the time camping season rolls around, you will be able to use it when you want to, and not have your RV sitting in the service department. When the weather breaks near the spring, RV dealer service departments get very busy, and repair times can last weeks before being repaired or even looked at extensively. The off-season is the time to handle a lot of the service issues, considering you aren’t actually using it right now.
For more information about checking your trailer for water damage, watch this video. Another thing you can do to help protect yourself from the elements between checks, is to cover it. For more information on my personal opinion on covers, read this article on the subject.
Remember, this time of year can breed problems for months, and a little time now can save you a lot of time, money and aggravation later on.
One of the most common questions I get almost every day, is “how often do I need to re-caulk my roof?” My answer is almost always the same: If you need to ask, it’s probably time.
Most manufacturers recommend at least checking your roof every three months. It helps to use a good Rubber Roof Cleaner before doing any good inspection, preferably using a cleaner designed for use on a rubber roof that will add some extra UV protection. As an added benefit, regular washing of your roof will cut down on black streaks on the sides of the unit saving you time and energy.
When you look at your caulk, you are looking for small cracks, edges that are lifting up a little or areas that have gotten very thin over time.
If you see any of this, then it’s time to peel up the old stuff and run a new bead. People ask at this point, “Can I just go over the top with new caulk?”, and to that I say, I don’t suggest it. Old caulk doesn’t adhere to the roof as well as it used to, and if you apply new caulk over it, then the bottom layer is still not sticking well. Besides, you will use much less caulk if you aren’t trying to cover all the old stuff as well as the seam. So clean it up the best you can, and start fresh.
Next is choosing the right caulk for the right job. On the flat surface of your roof, use a self leveling caulk or “Lap Sealant” for this job. It is liquid enough to actually fill in air gaps and seams in your bead. It settles to create a uniform thickness. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO USE A LARGE BEAD! The trick is to cover the seam, and any screws, and the edge of whatever you are caulking around (TV antenna, refrigerator vent, etc…). The point is to cover any place water can get in.
No other single maintenance job is quite as important for long-term health of your trailer. One bad caulk job can cost thousands of dollars to repair, and is many times not covered under insurance. If you are worried or aren’t sure what you are looking for, call us and we can inspect it for you and give you some suggestions.
This time of year, it is important to do a thorough checkout of your RV for loose or damages seals, as well as the rest of the things you need to do to fully winterize your trailer. No matter if it is a 5th wheel, travel trailer of a pop up camper. These items are probably the number 1 on the list of important seasonal checks.
Here is a video from the folks at RV Education 101, quickly explaining what to do to check out your trailer.
If you want a practiced eye looking at this stuff, feel free to call us and we will check it out for you.