5 Things You Should Know About Travel Trailer Repair
Travel trailers will all need repairs at some point. Having the work done at a service center can be costly and can affect your personal schedule and planned trips.
Doing your travel trailer repair yourself is a great idea. It can save you money, get you on the road faster, and is the best way to learn about all the ins and outs of your travel trailer.
All this being said, there are some things you need to know before starting your travel trailer repair.
RV plumbing is pretty basic and something most RVers will be comfortable tackling.
There are a few things to know before jumping into an RV plumbing project. The water lines, fittings, and faucets in your travel trailer are not the same as in your house. This will mean for some materials and parts, you won’t be able to pick them up at your local hardware store.
A popular plumbing upgrade is to replace the cheap and often small sinks and faucets. Although quite manageable for most DIYers, you will run into some connections and fittings that do not match. You will have to utilize reducers, connections, and some not-so-common fittings to combine the two plumbing systems.
One plus to RV plumbing is it uses Pex lines and fittings, so no copper lines to solder and make exact cuts on.
Electrical is often an area where people tend to use trades or service providers instead of doing the work themselves.
If you are not confident in working with electricity, having the work performed for you is always the safe bet.
For those taking on the task of electrical in their travel trailer repair, you will have to familiarize yourself with not one but two electrical systems. Your travel trailer will have a DC electrical system similar to your car and a 120V system similar to your house.
Knowing the difference between the two and being familiar with what system controls what items in your travel trailer is important. Another challenge with travel trailer electrical is the use of different colored wires on the same circuit.
The blue wire coming from the back of your thermostat may not be blue where it connects to the furnace. Again, understanding electricity and how to test and trace circuits is important.
Travel trailers use a variety of materials for construction. Wood, steel, fiberglass, plastic, and aluminum can all be found on the same unit.
Travel trailers can get pretty beat up traveling bumpy roads and being exposed to the elements year-round. Maybe there are some big renovations in your future. Whatever the case is when it comes to travel trailer structural repairs, there are a few things you should be aware of.
Build quality oftentimes is not what you might see in a house. Travel trailers are built quickly and in many cases cheaply. Mismatched components are sometimes used, the way things are attached or connected can be questionable, and things may be pieced together.
Structural integrity is a critical part of any travel trailer, so when you notice something wrong it should be dealt with immediately. Water damage is an example of this. The location of the damage may not be where the water is originating from. Travel trailers have lots of items mounted to and protruding through the outside surfaces.
Much of the travel trailer repair on the interior of your trailer will be similar to home repairs. But travel trailers also have the auto mechanic side to consider.
Brakes, bearings, suspensions and all the things that make your travel trailer mobile at some point will also require repair.
Before performing repairs on any of the items that require the trailer to be raised off the ground or have weight removed from the suspension, there is an important consideration.
How will you safely raise and support your travel trailer? Unlike most vehicles, travel trailers are very high and supported somewhat centrally on the axle or axles. This means they can be very unstable and difficult to support. Having the proper equipment to raise and support the trailer is a must.
Doing your own travel trailer repair can be intimidating for many. You are a plumber, electrician, carpenter, HVAC tech, and mechanic all in one.
How will you ever know all of these things? You probably won’t and really don’t have to. For every repair you have to do on your travel trailer, there are hundreds or thousands of other people who done that same repair.
The RV community is a huge knowledge base of information and support. You can learn how to do most things from the abundance of DIY Youtube videos. Online forums such as iRV2, this DIY RV blog, and Facebook groups along with RVers in your area will have the answers. As long as you are willing to learn, the support is there.
Doing your own travel trailer repair will inevitably come with some headaches. Performing the work yourself, however, will become easier as you tackle repairs and become more familiar with the many workings of your travel trailer.
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.