How Long Does the Equipment in an RV Last?


how long equipment lg

RVs, sometimes being motor vehicles or at least being towed, naturally will have to have vehicle-type repairs over time, but how long does the equipment in an RV last?

Here’s what I’ve learned:

RV appliances often have a 14-year lifespan, whereas equipment such as air conditioning roof units will only last 3 to 5 years. RV batteries often last 5 to 7 years, and RV propane systems usually last 12 years.

But there’s a lot more to know. And, of course, how often you use (or don’t use) the RV is a factor as well as how it’s stored when not in use.

In this article, we’ll look at every single important piece of equipment most RVs will have and get specific lifespan averages for all of them. But we’ll also explore if there are lifespan differences between motorhomes and towed RVs.

Let’s get started.

How Long Do RV Brakes Last?

On average, RV brakes last 12,000 miles. But, under-used RVs may get fewer miles out of their brakes as equipment typically lasts longer when it is used regularly. And city miles versus highway miles also can shorten the lifespan.

Before we explore how long brakes last in a bit more detail, one of the most important things to do is to have them checked on a regular basis.

How one drives is a key factor.

A person who loves speeding would have to use their brakes often, especially if they have to suddenly stop. Tailgating others would also require using the brake often.

And of course, in a huge RV, neither of those things are good ideas anyway!

Naturally, there won’t be much stress on the brake if one drives at a more reasonable pace. The frequency at which one drives matters too.

The type of road one frequents is also a factor.

Driving on the highway is relatively smoother and less demanding on the brakes than driving through rough, bumpy local roads.

RV terms can be a tad confusing. Ever wondered what’s the difference?

In a recent article I published, I explained the different names for RVs and which is better, a travel trailer or a motor home? But I also revealed whether a fifth wheel is better than a motor home.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How Long Do RV Refrigerators Last?

RV refrigerators typically last 14 years on average, with a total range of 10 to 18 years. But propane refrigerators last longer than electric ones as there are no moving parts, and they require less maintenance.

But there are RVers who have refrigerators that lasted 25 years. Let’s look at some of the factors mentioned to see how they affect a refrigerator’s lifespan.

Like most appliances, high-end refrigerators would (all things being equal) last longer than those that are not of the same quality. And those that are maintained regularly would serve you much longer.

The quality of repairs is also vital.

If quality parts are used by technicians who know their stuff, you can be assured it won’t give you any major headache for a long time. Proper usage is also key.

And it’s vital that the refrigerator should be placed on level ground, and its ventilation holes should not be blocked.

Say you’re in the market for an RV, should you get a Class A motorhome or a travel trailer?

This is what I explored in a recent article. In it, I considered if travel trailers are better than motorhomes and whether they are better than Class B or C motorhomes. But I also shared info on how long a Class A motorhome would last.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How Long Do RV Water Filters Last?

On average, RV water filters last three to four months, but a few last up to 6 months before they are due to be replaced. How often you use the water is the most significant variable in the lifespan.

Let’s find out a bit about RV filters.

Hose filter

Hose filters are installed inline on your RV water line. It’s essential for clean and odor-free water, but some sediments and chemicals may still remain. To be changed every three months.

Inline filter

Inline filters have better sediment removal and better filtration capabilities than a hose filter, but water may not flow as you’ll like, and inline filters do not last long.

Canister filter

If you use your RV for months at a time, this is ideal because it does a lot. The more the canisters, the more the power. It removes sediments, carbon taste, odor, and phosphate.

Sediment filter

As its name suggests, a sediment filter is for you if you’re more concerned with removing sediments.

Reverse osmosis filter

This employs a special semi-permeable membrane for purifying water which it forces through the membrane.

Ceramic filter

Ceramic filters are great for removing bacteria and large protozoans but not so great at removing viruses.

Carbon filter

It leverages absorption to remove impurities from water using a bad of carbon.

So, which one’s very good? Standard canister systems are highly versatile in their filtration capabilities and are the most widely used filters in RVs. The more the canisters, the more effective and versatile.

By now, you probably know the different types of RVs available.

But are Class B RVs worth it? In a recent article I published, I looked at why Class B RVs are expensive and which is better: Class B or C? But I also revealed which Class B RV is best for the money.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How Long Do RV Water Pumps Last?

On average, RV water pumps last approximately 7 years. However, newer models may last up to 10 years. The lifespan is primarily impacted negatively by not changing the filter regularly or being connected to a lower-quality water source.

What are some of the major issues to look out for?

  • Leaks
  • The pump not coming on
  • Excessive noise
  • Water not flowing despite water in the tank and the pump being on

In fact, they are signs that the pump should be repaired or replaced.

They’re noisy even when they’re working well, so excessive noise is a surefire sign that something isn’t right. It’s smart to have a basic understanding of how they operate. That way, you can prolong their life.

Suppose you’re on a budget, is it advisable to buy a used RV?

This is the theme of a recent article that I published. In it, I shared the pros and cons of buying a used RV. But I also shared the 1 horror-story scenario to make sure and avoid.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How Long Do RV Engines Last?

On average, RV engines last 20 years on average, or 200,000 miles, whichever happens first. But an underused motorhome may only get 12 years before needing a new engine as engines need to be used on a regular basis to stay in good condition.

So the key is to start it weekly, and drive it, at least a little bit, every month.

Most of us don’t use our RV for camping trips every month. Even those who live in an RV full-time often stay parked for extended periods of time before moving.

Just like the human body, being totally still and sedentary is a bad thing. So even if you only go on 2 or 3 trips a year, make a point to give it some love regularly.

And if you just have it parked in your driveway or at a nearby paid lot, why not make some money instead?

RVShare is a program where you can rent out your RV when you aren’t using it.

If you’ve used Airbnb or VRBO, then you already know how the program works. Just this time, it’s with your RV. You can make up to $22k a year doing it, and still reserve it when you want to use it too!

I started renting out mine 3 months ago, and I’ve already covered about 8 months of my RV payment.

And I wasn’t even doing it during summer yet! Plus, it’s a great way to keep the RV moving rather than sitting and rusting.

CLICK HERE to learn more on RVShare’s website.

How Long Do RV Anode Rods Last?

RV anode rods last about 1 to 3 years, depending on how often the tank is used. One of the ways to prolong its lifespan is to drain your water tank when you are not going to use the RV for some time.

An anode rod helps prevent corrosion in your heater. It attracts sediments and corrosive elements in water so that instead of a situation where the inside of the heater would be corroded, the anode rod becomes corroded.

Heaters are highly vulnerable to rusting because of water acidity, chemical processes, and heat.

An anode rod is a proactive measure devised by the designers of water heaters. Instead of having the heater corroded, the anode rod corrodes and is replaced. A lot better than dealing with a corroded heater, if you ask me.

Can you leave the water pump on?

In a recent article, I addressed this issue. You’ll find out if it’s bad to leave your water pump on in an RV and if it’s ok to run your water pump while connected to city water. But I also shared info on how long an RV water pump can run without water before breaking.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How Long Do RV Solar Panels Last?

On average, RV solar panels last about 20 to 25 years and lose about 1% of their efficiency per year. So by the time they physically need to be replaced, they will also be very inefficient.

Of course, the panels are not the only components that make up a solar system.

In addition to the panels, there are batteries, inverters, and charge controllers. They all have to be taken into consideration in evaluating the system as a whole.

What about batteries for the RV, what’s the difference between those for the coach vs. those for the chassis?

Check out a recent article where I considered whether an RV generator charges the battery and whether plugging in your RV charges the battery. But I also revealed how to charge RV house batteries.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How Long Do RV House Batteries Last?

Properly maintained house batteries should last about 5 years on average. Unlike car batteries, deep-cycle house batteries will need to have the water topped off occasionally to maximize the lifespan.

First off, if you are not a trained technician or a highly competent DIYer, please don’t try to work on the batteries by yourself because of safety concerns. Even if you’re either, ensure that you take the necessary precautions before you do.

The following are a few effective tips that will help ensure that your RV house batteries last:

Regular charges

One of the issues batteries have is sulfation. It occurs when a battery ought to have been recharged but is not, and small crystals start forming on the plates.

If a battery is sulfated for a long time without being charged, it can be ruined! So timely charging is a must. Sulfation starts when a battery is below 12.4- volts or 80%.

Now, a fully-charged battery is 12.7- volts. To make your battery last long, never have them below 12- volts. When a battery is below 12- volts, it is at or below 50% of charge!

A battery that’s discharged to no less than 50% every day would last much longer than one that’s regularly discharged to 20%.

Electrolyte levels

Hot temperatures and overcharging can be highly detrimental to the batteries. In fact, both can kill the batteries. Ideally, if you’re using them a lot and the weather is hot, check the water level regularly and replace them as needed.

Adding distilled water regularly can save lead-acid batteries. Use mineral-free water. Tap water, for example, can trigger calcium sulfation.

Batteries should only be watered after you’ve charged them unless the plates have been exposed before. If they have been exposed, add enough water to cover them and then charge the battery.

But do you need special batteries for your RV?

That’s what I explored in a recent article where I explained how RV batteries work and whether they are deep-cycle batteries. But I also revealed whether all RV batteries are deep cycle batteries.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How long do RV generators last?

As a general rule, built-in RV generators will last 18,000 hours on average. If the RV is used 25 days out of the year and the generator is on primarily while driving, the generator will last far longer than the RV itself. Even heavy usage would still see 11 years of lifespan for the generator.

Many RVs, and especially motorhomes and fifth-wheels will have built-in generators by Onan.

Now small towable RVs might not, in which cases owners sometimes buy portable generators. Portable generators have an average lifespan of 17,000 hours, but because they vary more widely in size, they have a total range of between 10,000 and 25,000 hours of use before wearing out.

But built-in, gas-powered generators are probably most common. The key with these is to make sure you change the oil regularly and the air filter.

Luckily, this is easily done and you can do it yourself in about 10 minutes with oil and filters from Amazon or your local auto parts store.

Don’t believe you can do it?

Watch my video on me changing the oil in my RVs generator right here on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGwI1y2WA9U

How Long Does An RV Last? (See Which RV Components Fail First In Travel Trailers & Motorhomes)

Conclusion

Like most complex systems, an RV has many pieces of equipment that make it work efficiently. They include the brakes, refrigerator, water pump, engine, anode rods, solar panel, house batteries, and the like.

The vital question we addressed in the article is how long each piece of equipment lasts. Some last for a few years, while others last very long.


Image by RJA1988 from Pixabay

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Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell travels on and off with his 3 daughters in a Newmar Baystar Class A Motorhome. He writes extensively on both RVs, campgrounds, parenting on the road tips, remote learning & schooling, and much more!

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