Maintenance Tips to Extend the Life of Your Camper Trailer

Towing a camper trailer through the bush by a lake

Your camper trailer is a bit like your family car...

Except your family car probably isn't doubling as a tent and bashing down off-road tracks!

So, if your car requires regular maintenance, it's fair to say that your camper trailer needs some attention too!

At Camping Adventures, we sell Lifestyle Campers and Patriot Camper Trailers, and we also offer services and repairs for all types of camper trailers, caravans, and RVs. It's fair to say that we know a thing or two about taking care of camper trailers.

With that in mind, here are some key maintenance tips that will help you get the most from your camper trailer.

1. Give Your Canvas Some Love

Man Preparing A Meal Under Awning Of an Off Road Camper

The majority of camper trailers have some mesh sections, and taking care of these areas is important.

The "tent" portions of your travel trailer can get in all sorts of trouble, from rips and tears to mould damage. Here are some tips for protecting your canvas:

  • Avoid packing away a canvas that is wet or damp whenever possible
  • If you need to pack away wet canvas, make sure you open up and dry out your canvas thoroughly and as soon as possible
  • Hose down tent sections regularly to prevent seeds, dirt, bird poo, and other contaminants from damaging the fabric
  • To remove mould on canvas, dry it out in the sun and brush off or vacuum up the dry mould spores
  • You can also try off-the-shelf mould removers or a combination of 25ml of white vinegar and one litre of water to spray and scrub off the stubborn mould
  • Zip up all the doors and windows before packing the canvas away

2. Tackle Rust Early

There's nothing more terrifying than a reddish-brown all over the steel parts of your camper trailer. This is a sign that your camper is beginning to rust.

Your camper trailer spends a lot of time exposed to the elements, so a bit of rust is early inevitable. Drawbars, poles, and the chassis are all areas where you might find rust, as well as the kitchen area of your camper.

When you spot signs of rust and corrosion, you can take a few steps to stop it from spreading.

  • Repair scrapes, chips, and paint damage ASAP to prevent rust from developing
  • Try Rust Guard treatments or options like lanolin and fish oil
  • Swap out rusted screws and other corroded components if you can
  • Small areas of rust can be removed with sandpaper. These areas should be coated with a protective treatment once the rust is removed.
  • Areas with threaded screws can be sprayed with WD-40 to prevent premature rust build-up

3. Be Aware of Your Wheel Bearings

Camper trailer wheel bearings are one of those things that you should check before every trip.

Simply jack up your camper trailer and rotate your wheels one at a time. If the rotation is smooth and not excessively noisy, your wheel bearings are probably in good condition. It's also a good idea to ensure your wheels aren't loose when you move them from side to side or top to bottom.

If you're having issues, you can remove the wheel bearing cap and grease the wheel bearing. Alternatively, you can ask an expert to remove, adjust, grease, and repack your wheel bearing.

4. Get Greasy

Speaking of grease, it's a good idea to grease and lubricate various areas of your travel trailer regularly.

Grease not only keeps your moving parts moving but also creates a barrier that protects against rust, water intrusion, and anything else that could get into your camper.

As well as wheel bearings, it's a good idea to grease couplings, wheels, axles, axle springs, winches, suspension components, and all your grease nipples.Any parts that are responsible for locking, latching, sliding, rotating or movement will also generally benefit from either greasing or spray-on lubrication.

5. Keeping Your Water Clean

That's enough about grease. Let's talk about something a lot cleaner. Water, or more specifically, your water tank.

The last thing you want is polluted water. Here are a few ways to keep your camper's fresh water tanks clean.

  • Always empty the remaining water at the end of a camping trip and give it a clean on the inside and out

  • However, if you're storing your water tank for months at a time, keep it full. This helps to keep out oxygen and prevents a quick build-up of bacteria and algae.

  • When your water tank starts to look or smell funny, it's time for a thorough cleaning.

    You can sterilise and sanitise water tanks with household bleach, but it will need serious diluting. 1/4 cup of bleach will require about 55 litres of water. Afterwards, flush out your tank with fresh water.

    The classic vinegar and bicarb soda combo is another option, which is less abrasive and less resource-intense but also less effective. However, if you keep up regular maintenance, it's a great option. Try 2-3 litres of water in a bucket with half a cup of baking soda and one cup of vinegar. Note, the bucket will need to be half empty as the reaction will cause the mixture to rise rapidly. Afterwards, flush out your tank with fresh water.

    The third option is to look for an off-the-shelf antibacterial cleaner from somewhere like Bunnings. Always follow the instructions on the bottle when using these products.

6. Gas and Electricity

Man twisting the knob on a gas bottle

Just like the gas bottle on your BBQ at home, it's important to check gas connections, components and fittings for leaks before use. This is especially important if it's been a while since you've used the gas in your camper.

You can identify gas leaks by spraying or lightly pouring soapy water over gas connections. If soap bubbles form on your gas hoses and gas fittings, have your camper looked at by a qualified professional ASAP.

A bit of simple maintenance can help keep all your electrical components in good working order. Pick up a contact cleaner for electrical parts and give your auxiliary plugs, Anderson plugs, and tail lights a once over. 

7. Take a Closer Look at Your Battery

Battery terminals can take a bashing in unsealed and off-road environments, so it pays to ensure they're in good working order after a particularly bumpy ride.

A battery that's cracked, swollen, or otherwise damaged should also be replaced before you use it again. If your battery looks OK but seems to be letting you down, pull out a multimeter and give it a test. Compare the reading you get to the battery's label. If it's very low or zero, your camper trailer battery probably needs replacing.

8. Seal the Deal By Taking Care of Your Seals

To take care of seals, grab an old dishcloth and use it to wipe down all rubber areas before you throw it away. This will ensure your seals are clean and aren't affected by dirt and debris.

You should also adjust your latches, ensuring there is a small gap between the over-latches and the door. This ensures your doors aren't rubbing on your latches.

Generally speaking, latches should be tight enough to provide a good seal but not so tight that the latches become fatigued.

9. Other Maintenance Tips and Advice

  • Ensure there is adequate tension in all bolts and nuts before you travel
  • Perform a handbrake adjustment once your handbrake gets above approx 6 clicks
  • Check tyre wear and tear regularly and look for signs of damage
  • Check the condition of the spare tyre before travelling
  • Get a wheel alignment done as necessary
  • Test all lights before travelling, including brake lights
  • Check tyre pressure regularly - 40 PSI for the open road, adjust up or down based on conditions
  • Adjust brake shoes when brakes are loose
  • Apply silicon spray on your zips and move them backwards and forwards to keep them in good condition
  • Drench the canvas areas of your camper with clean water a few times a year. This helps to remove grime, prevent odour build-up, and improve waterproofing. (Water helps to swell fibres and seal gaps in your canvas, preventing future water leaks - this is known as seasoning).

10. Professional Camper Trailer Maintenance Is Key

Camping Adventures offers maintenance services and repairs for Lifestyle Camper Trailers and Patriot Campers, as well as the Complete Campsite range.

At 1000km, you get a FREE safety inspection when you buy a new Camper Trailer from us.

At 10,000km or every year, we recommend a major service (Annual maintenance is also important for trailers under warranty!)

We can also complete a minor service before or after your trip if necessary.

Here are just some things Camping Adventures can look at in your next service:

  • tyre pressure and condition
  • airbags
  • suspension bushes
  • DO35 hitch
  • suspension swing arms
  • shock absorbers
  • fuel tank (if fitted)
  • batteries
  • Anderson outputs
  • rooftop solar panel (if fitted)
  • water tank fittings, valves, hoses, and taps
  • gas struts
  • awnings
  • door and seals
  • and much more!

Exact service inclusions will depend on the type of maintenance you're booked in for and your general service and repair requirements. 

Chat with the Team at Camping Adventures Today

The combination of on-the-road care and a proper maintenance schedule will greatly extend the life of your trailer.

Camping Adventures is the home of off-road campers for sale in Tasmania and Victoria.

We are the Authorised Dealers and Service & Warranty Agents for Lifestyle Campers and Patriot Campers. Additionally, we offer complete servicing and installations for any type of caravan, camper trailer or other RV! So, whether you need services for Lifestyle Camper Trailers in Melbourne or Patriot Camper Trailers in Hobart, we can help you!

Book a service today or visit our showroom to discover the best range of off-road camper trailers in Australia!

Back to blog