RV Brake Maintenance

Brake and bearing systems maintenance in Central Ontario


RV Brake MaintenanceWhen exactly should you do RV brake maintenance? Do motorhomes and fifth wheels have different rules? In this post, we will explain all you need to know about this important topic.


Understanding Motorhome Brakes


Most motorhomes have either hydraulic brakes or air brakes. Diesel powered RVs typically have air brake systems, which don’t use fluid to run. That means you have one less thing to worry about. These systems also don’t use master cylinders, which means that you won’t need to replace that. However, moisture can become trapped in your air brake system, and that can lead to brake failure. 


Part of the RV brake maintenance procedure for an air brake system is replacing the cartridge, which dries up unwanted oil and fluid. If you don’t replace this regularly, the filter may become clogged, leading to low air pressure and potential brake failure. You should check the air brake at least once a year, and it should be replaced at least once every second or third year. Consider carrying a spare in the event of an emergency. Most RV owners with rigs that have air brakes manually drain the air storage tank manually every six months to prevent moisture contamination.


Hydraulic brake systems on motorhomes should be inspected once a year. This inspection should include the linings, drums, brake pads and the rotor. Be sure to look for any wear and tear, starting at the master cylinder. When the linings on your brake pads become worn, the fluid level in the reservoir will reduce, and must be refilled. Always check the tank’s cap for rust, debris or any other contaminants. If any of that is present, the system needs to be flushed.


As part of your RV brake maintenance program, be sure to replace the brake fluid once every two years. It is critical to maintain the highest possible boiling point of your brake fluid to prevent excess evaporation every two years.


Rotors should also be checked for any discoloured heat spots, cracks and deep grooves. Ensure that your brake pads are wearing evenly by measuring it from the top and bottom and from the rotor surface to the metal backing plate. A corrosive build-up on the system can cause uneven wear and reduce braking capacity. 


The wheel bearings are equally important. Do your own basic wheel bearing maintenance by jacking up the side of your trailer, grabbing the wheel, and giving it a hard push and pull. There should barely be any play. If there’s play, you should have it repacked by a professional. However, this test is merely an indication. The best way to tell would be to take it apart.


A professional wheel bearing technician will be able to clean your wheel bearings and inspect each for rough spots, pitting, overheating and wear. 


How to Tell You Need RV Brake Maintenance


The feel of your RV steering wheel can tell you a lot about your RV wheel bearings. Wheel bearing maintenance can help save you a lot of trouble on the road. For that reason, we at Central Ontario RV Rentals recommend that you have them professionally assessed before you go on a long trip at the beginning of the season.


Central Ontario RV Brake Maintenance


Always ask an RV Dealer, RV Parts dealer or RV Service Department if you are unsure how to do proper RV brake maintenance. We are not responsible if you do the above on your own. These are only tips from Central Ontario RV Rentals. For best results ask our service or parts staff at Central Ontario RV Rentals for advice on the best parts and service for your application. We recommend calling an experienced RV Dealer, Parts or Service Advisor to assist you with all your RV needs. Call Central Ontario RV Rentals at 705.458.4774.

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