How to Repair and Remodel an RV
12/5/2022 – Good Sam
Two differentiations exist when repairing and remodeling your RV: what you can complete on your own and what requires professional assistance. RV owners tend to do things independently, so it can be tough to know when to involve professional help.
While DIY projects and independence can save you time and money, you need to know your limits. An improper repair, or a task too big to undertake yourself, could cost you.
What’s in your wheelhouse, and what requires further expertise? Of course, this will depend on your skillset. But consider the following examples before jumping in and attempting yourself.
DIY Repair versus Professional
RVs require attentive care to keep them in their best-performing shape, and routine maintenance is critical to prevent breakdowns and professional repair. The work you conduct on your own will prevent you from requiring professional expertise.
Oil and fluid changes, tire pressure, and general knowledge of how your amenities function are key DIY strategies for RV performance–and they’re all things you can accomplish on your own. For items like rooftop A/Cs and refrigerators, routine cleaning can do wonders. For oil changes and tire maintenance, consult your manual, YouTube, and RV forums to see what’s possible to accomplish yourself.
You’ll run into preventative maintenance that requires professionals. For example, tire alignments and engine checks often require tools and equipment most RV owners don’t possess.
With all the various amenities in your RV, a lot can go wrong with electrical. RV power comes from multiple sources, including solar panels, hookups, and the engine, and it has to convert into different types to power your appliances. Add in frequent traveling and changes in how your system is powered, and it’s no surprise many RV owners experience electrical and wiring issues.
You might have luck troubleshooting problems by checking fuses and circuit breakers and using a multimeter. But more often than not, electrical work will involve an inquiry into shop wait times to get an appointment. Your alternative is to contact a local electrician–preferably with auto experience–and ask if they’d be willing to attempt diagnostics.
Fluid changes–like oil, transmission, and coolant–go a long way in keeping your engine in its best-performing shape. Not only should you follow the recommended changes and checks, but get into the habit of checking levels each time you leave the house, campground, or parking lot.
Also, keep your ear (and nose) to the engine, making yourself familiar with how the engine sounds when running normally so you can detect any changes like stutters, pops–or even burning smells.
These don’t always indicate a significant problem, but the best way to prevent big issues is to catch them early. Generally, your role is to complete preventative maintenance and detect changes–not necessarily fix them. Contact a professional to inspect for needed repairs when something sounds or feels off.
For engine repairs, go the extra mile when your rig is running perfectly and invest in an extended service plan that protects your RV from the unexpected. Coverage like Good Sam ESP covers repairs and mechanical problems that would typically cost you thousands of dollars at no fault of your own.
Cosmetic versus Structural Remodeling
You’re sure to find a wellspring of online DIY interior design tips and tricks that will help you personalize the interior of your RV. These options allow you to transform individual rooms to give a new look to your space.
But when you want to make more significant changes–like manipulating the floorplan–you should consult professional help. Here are a few ways to differentiate what you can tackle and what you might want to reconsider for a weekend project.
Interior paintwork gives the feeling of a newly remodeled space on the interior. And it’s a project you can tackle on your own, as long as you know the steps, complete the necessary prep work, and use the correct type of paint.
RV walls can be challenging to paint because of the wallpaper-like material on the walls. Vigorous sanding is required to create a surface the primer will adhere to. While painting, be careful to tape off any components at risk and ensure proper ventilation.
Furniture and bedroom
Give updates to your current setup with new furniture that fits in the same position. This is no small task, though: often, you will need to remove bolts and screws that keep furniture and supports in place. Proceed with caution, and ensure correct measurements before removing the current furniture setup.
Bedding is easier to make a big difference with a slight change. For example, simply upgrade your mattress to enhance your comfort level. Or invest in quality sheets, memory-foam pillows, or a different slipcover pattern. Apply throw pillows on your couches. Many RV owners use sofa slipcovers in their living spaces to change up the room’s feel and protect the original fabric. And accessories like lamps and wall art are low-impact ways to personalize each room, including the bathroom.
Somewhere in-between DIY and a professional project are flooring remodels. Depending on your skill level, you can replace damaged or non-waterproof flooring in your RV. And there’s no shortage of options. Weight and flexibility are essential: the flooring needs to be flexible enough to withstand movement during transport. It needs to be lightweight enough not to overbear the weight restrictions of the frame and chassis.
Vinyl is a popular choice among RV owners who redo the flooring themselves. Not only is it more water-resistant and easy to work with, but when the inevitable peeling occurs, you can replace individual areas instead of the entire floor.
Structural changes and weight
Even if you have experience making significant structural changes to a home, like replacing or moving walls, RVs present a new set of challenges due to weight restrictions. The frame, chassis, suspension, and tires supporting your RV have specific weight tolerances. And the structure of the RV is built around these weight restrictions.
In order to make significant changes to the interior of your RV, it’s best to consult professionals who can assure you remain structurally sound and within the weight limits of your RV’s supporting components.
For repairs and remodels outside of your wheelhouse, ensure you get the best from your RV service provider. For repairs, the best offense is a good defense that goes beyond careful RV operation and preventive maintenance. Instead, you need a trusted plan covering your significant components. Don’t get caught in a bad spot if one of these components malfunctions after warranty. The Good Sam Extended Service Plan protects you from major repair bills caused by mechanical breakdown, and you can drive with the peace of mind that you’re covered.