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Routine Maintenance

A reader of this weblog wrote in to say:

" I know your trip is about the experience, not technical issues, but it would be interesting to know routine maintenance needed for a new Airstream on a weekly and monthly basis and your checklist for setting up camp and leaving camp."

Good questions. Actually we have remarkably little routine maintenance on the Airstream. Mostly we try to clean it periodically, inside and out. As I wrote in a previous blog entry, cleaning outside is either a matter of visiting a truck wash or borrowing a friend's driveway. It seems to need cleaning monthly, and more often when we tow near the ocean or in cities. Inside, we use a little Dirt Devil handheld vacuum and a whisk broom, along with the sort of cleaning supplies you'd use in your house. The nice thing about a trailer is that it cleans up fast, so housework amounts to about 15 minutes.

Every time we dump the holding tanks we add a little enzyme chemical and water to the empty tank, to help keep them working properly. Sometimes we add a little Calgon water softener too, to help keep things from sticking to the insides of the tanks.

Every week I check the tire pressures, check the lug nuts for tightness, and look for damage under the trailer. I also need to start checking the battery fluid levels -- haven't done that yet.

About every two or three weeks I clean the pivot points in the Reese hitch and re-lubricate them. That takes about five minutes.

A basic tool kit in the rear compartment handles any minor repairs we need to do along the way. I carry a bag full of tools and supplies: screwdrivers, rivet gun, pliers, hitch grease, pressure gauge, various kinds of tape, glue, cordless drill & bits, and spare hardware (rivets, bulbs, screws, etc). Most of it hasn't been needed -- it's just left over from when we were touring in a vintage trailer.

Pre-departure checklist is another matter. There are many details to attend to, so we have made up a two-page list. It took a few weeks to fine-tune this list (getting everything in order and dividing the work between two people). It includes things like turning off electronics, folding up the step, checking the propane, securing personal items, and closing roof vents. We'll have an article on this subject in a future issue of Airstream Life magazine, with lots more detail.

Once you get the hang of your particular trailer or motorhome, and figure out where everything goes during travel, routine maintenance and packing are a breeze. It all becomes unchallenging, like refueling your car and refilling the wiper fluid. Overall, I think it's easier than a house.


I have a question. Is Eleanor doing any of the driving so that she could do it should you get too ill to do it all?

Hope you are all well and having a fun vacation.


As many of us have developed checklists, perhaps you might solicit some from your readers. Then, you could consolidate them into one Uber-list.

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