Snowbirds & RV Travelers - - News - Words & Photo Cour­tesy of Kal Tire

The brakes on your RV are of­ten at one of two ex­tremes: un­der in­cred­i­ble stress as you brake your way down a steep moun­tain, or they’re sit­ting, un­used, while your ve­hi­cle is in stor­age or parked at your favourite RV play­ground.

Be­cause of th­ese stresses and sea­sons, not to men­tion the crit­i­cal role the brake sys­tem plays in stop­ping your RV in time, spring is def­i­nitely the time to per­form a brake in­spec­tion—start­ing with brake fluid.

Brake fluid is the lifeblood of your brake sys­tem. It keeps the sys­tem mov­ing and com­po­nents per­form­ing at their best. Over win­ter, there’s a chance this fluid can ac­cu­mu­late mois­ture, and that can end up caus­ing se­ri­ous dam­age, from cor­ro­sion and leak­age to over­heat­ing.

Healthy brake fluid is clear and trans­par­ent, much like cook­ing oil. When it needs to be re­placed, it’s darker, but a sim­ple visual won’t tell you if con­tam­i­nat­ing mois­ture is present, so it’s al­ways best to be sure with a pro­fes­sional brake in­spec­tion.

An­other rea­son why hav­ing good

im­n­pdor­tant brake fluid is so is you don’t want to risk that fluid boil­ing and/or evap­o­rat­ing un­der ex­treme heat, which is much more likely in a large ve­hi­cle like a mo­torhome that’s gen­er­at­ing more heat while brak­ing.

Once you know your brake fluid is in good shape, it’s im­por­tant to have the brake sys­tem in­spected over­all. When RV’s have been sit­ting all win­ter, the brake calipers haven’t been rid­ing on the slides, so it’s im­por­tant those—along with all fric­tion points—are checked and lu­bri­cated.

An­other brake el­e­ment to have in­spected is the emer­gency brake. Af­ter hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres of driv­ing, RV emer­gency brakes are very sus­cep­ti­ble to com­ing out of ad­just­ment.

That’s be­cause most mo­torhomes don’t en­gage their emer­gency brakes un­til they have trav­eled a sig­nif­i­cant dis­tance. And many don’t re­verse for even longer pe­ri­ods of time (just think of all those pull-through park­ing RV sites). Selfad­just­ing shoes on drum brakes found on mo­torhomes re­quire the back­ing up mo­tion to trig­ger the ad­just­ment process. The prob­lem is, you may have al­ready trav­eled hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres with­out ever once hav­ing backed up, leav­ing your brake shoes out of proper reach of your brake drum. The re­sult is your brakes and your emer­gency brake come out of ad­just­ment.

You might be able to tell if the e-brake were out of ad­just­ment if the hand lever or the foot pedal inches up a lit­tle more than usual.

Again, when you con­sider the very im­por­tant work that your brakes do to keep you safe, it’s im­por­tant they are prop­erly main­tained.

That all-im­por­tant spring brake in­spec­tion is also a good time to have an oil ser­vice per­formed to help en­sure your en­gine’s go­ing to be per­form­ing at its best for road trip sea­son. At that time, Kal Tire en­sures you know if your whole Class C mo­torhome is road trip-ready by per­form­ing a True Ser­vice In­spec­tion. Our re­port uses green, yel­low and red col­umns to in­di­cate the con­di­tion of im­por­tant ve­hi­cle com­po­nents and help you spot signs of is­sues early on. Happy brakes, happy sys­tems, happy trails.

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