Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01-12-2015, 04:56 PM   #1
Full Time Adventurer
BoldAdventure's Avatar
2007 27' International CCD FB
Nomadic , USA
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 2,694
Question How do you handle your vehicle maintenance on the road?

I asked this question on Instagram without much input unfortunately: Instagram

I've been changing my oil myself since I was 16yrs old. And if you've followed my feed long enough you know I'm a DIYer and car guy. A matter of fact, I just serviced my front transfer case, rotated my tires and changed my oil this weekend. Next weekend I'm doing a complete coolant flush since my truck is now 5yrs old.

This is the one thing I can't solve outside of Jiffy Lube type places and Costco. Is that just what full-time folks on the road do? Take their rigs to shops or dealers for all service? Do I need to budget for over priced oil changes?

Are there others who get by with the AutoZone/Walmart parking lot redneck style oil change?

Tips, advice, thoughts? Really curious. As much as I see budgets floating around, vehicle maintenance almost never seems mentioned. Let alone where the money went in regards to DIY vs Paid work.

Family of 4 living, working & exploring the USA in our Airstream.
BoldAdventure is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2015, 05:07 PM   #2
Rivet Master
terryV's Avatar
2002 31' Classic
Currently Looking...
Monroe , Iowa
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 649
We were staying at the KOA in Cherokee NC last summer, and I saw a guy one street over changing the oil on his Ford TV. I guess I didn't think too much about it. It all seemed perfectly normal to me.

terryV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2015, 05:18 PM   #3
Well Preserved

1974 31' Sovereign
1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 19,579
When we were fulltiming, there was an area toward the rear of the park where vehicle maintenance could be performed. Not all RV parks are like that, but the ones we stayed at were.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
overlander63 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2015, 05:20 PM   #4
Rivet Master
1999 28' Excella
New Orleans , Louisiana
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 570
Images: 2
Do not see that as a problem. Just bottle up the old and drop off for recycling.
badkat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2015, 05:25 PM   #5
Rivet Master
Wingeezer's Avatar
2005 30' Classic
Burlington , Ontario
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,269
I used to be a DIY guy for all our vehicles - hobby and otherwise - and still do all my own work on a motorcycle and on an older hobby car I still own. That Includes brakes, fluid changes etc and bigger jobs as/when required.

But maybe I am getting lazy, or perhaps it is just because I am getting up in years, but I now leave everything relating to our truck to the local GMC dealer.

In part, I guess it is because today's vehicles are pretty complex and I rely (maybe inadvisably) on our dealer to have all the proper diagnostic equipt. tools and knowledge. I want the truck to be as reliable as possible when I am a couple of thousand miles from home. I am hoping they may spot something in their 6 month services that I would likely miss and that might save me from a breakdown en route - small price to pay.

Also, I suppose I can afford to do that these days more than I could when I was younger, no kids or mortgage to pay for!

Of course oil changes and such things I could easily do myself - but our truck is a diesel so that is a lot of oil to mess around with!

I always try to make sure before we leave on a long trip that all servicing is up to date and therefore only need to take the truck to a repair facility in the event of a breakdown. It has happened a few times over years!

I did need an oil change on the road once - forget how I let that happen - and I just took it to Wally World - not worth my time to mess with it especially when on vacation!

I do carry a diesel fuel filter and tools to change it on the road just in case we get problems with bad fuel - happened to me once.

I carry and OBDII code reader as well to try to help myself to read/reset codes if something should put the truck in "limp mode" on the interstate! That has happened too!

To be honest though, despite being a retired engineer and always an automotive/bike hobbyist, I don't think my skill level relates that well to much of today's advanced vehicle technology - it has passed me by!

Brian & Connie Mitchell

2005 Classic 30'
Hensley Arrow / Centramatics
2008 GMC Sierra SLT 2500HD,4x4,Crew Cab, Diesel, Leer cap.
Wingeezer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2015, 05:51 PM   #6
Avion Owner
PaulnGina's Avatar
Vintage Kin Owner
Good Ol' , USA
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,566
Images: 49
I normally do my own preventive maintenance. If I'm out on the road, I'll have an oil filter and oil with me, and a way to collect it for disposal. If I cannot find a place to do it myself, I'd take it to a local shop to do the work..... under supervision. The first red flag I look for is a place wanting to do it "fast", "quick", "jiffy", etc. Could care less about that. Needs to be done correctly.
PaulnGina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2015, 06:19 PM   #7
Full Time Adventurer
BoldAdventure's Avatar
2007 27' International CCD FB
Nomadic , USA
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 2,694
Originally Posted by PaulnGina View Post
The first red flag I look for is a place wanting to do it "fast", "quick", "jiffy", etc. Could care less about that. Needs to be done correctly.
My thoughts exactly. Being around plenty of automotive forums for the last decade, I've heard lots of stories. I'm also picky about my fluid, filters and such. And some places just want to dump whatever is the cheapest to profit margin for them in your vehicle.

Luckily, outside of oil, a lot of other things have longer service intervals so maybe I will try to time things to be some place I can do the work if I prefer.

Not that I don't want to spend the money on it, just that I grew up being taught and feeling that some things a man should do if a man is capable. Time is certainly money, but somethings just have their own reward and satisfaction when you do them yourself.
Family of 4 living, working & exploring the USA in our Airstream.
BoldAdventure is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2015, 06:26 PM   #8
Rivet Master
Currently Looking...
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 695
I, too, used to do all of my own maintenance. Like Brian, I'm getting older and less agile, so I now let the dealer do more of the work. Now, when there is something that isn't behaving properly I'll try to do some troubleshooting so that I can tell the dealership exactly what causes the problem, or at least what symptoms are present.

The MH is a different story. Oil and transmission fluid changes are annual affairs, and are done at a Detroit Diesel shop. Interior (house) stuff I'll usually do myself, but I did have a shop replace the rear furnace simply because I didn't want to do it myself.
David Lininger, kb0zke
AIR 54240
Heartland mpg 181 (sold)
1993 Foretravel U300 (for sale)
kb0zke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2015, 09:12 PM   #9
Vintage Kin
slowmover's Avatar
Corpus Christi , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 6,302
Images: 1
My truck is my garage for tools and such. I don't worry about the TV, it is the TT which deserves my full attention. Finding a TV tech is no real problem, finding a good RV tech is.

I've worked on cars and such forty years and more. Some jobs I may still do, but raising the 5000-lb front end on my Dodge CTD is not among them. Other jobs are usually a matter of labor cost over parts where air tools are not needed. Pulling the entire dashboard is not fun, but there are three or four jobs to be combined that makes it worth it. The labor cost and chance of a hurried tech make it DIY for me.

Combine jobs to save labor costs. Treat systems not symptoms. Cut 10% or more from service intervals. Keep records. All fuel and all miles. A 10% drop in mpg is reason for investigation. Etc.

Keep very close to factory recommendations and use factory parts. There are no bargains in the aftermarket. Reliability is the priority.
1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
Hensley Arrow. 10-cpm solo, 18-cpm towing
Sold: Silver Streak Model 3411
slowmover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2015, 10:07 PM   #10
graysailor's Avatar

2016 30' Classic
Apache Junction , Arizona
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 693
Once upon a time I did do all of my own oil changes etc.. Now its off to the local dealer. No fuss and no mess.
graysailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2015, 11:16 AM   #11
2 Rivet Member
greenflag's Avatar
2016 30' International
Currently Looking...
Quartz Hill , California
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 80
I too am a car guy. I always did all my own oil changes and minor mechanical work. Now that I am getting up in years I leave all the work to the dealer or my mechanic. In 2013 I left on a five month 15000 mile trip through the Yukon and Alaska. I had all the maintenance done before I left. My mechanic informed me I would need an air filter at my next service. On my way back to the U.S. an oil change came due in Whitehorse, Yukon. The charge for the air filter was $125.00. I could buy the same filter at Walmart fo $60. Moral to the story is carry an extra air filter and fuel filter. Change them yourself if you have the knowledge. I also carry a gallon of coolant just in case.
greenflag is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2015, 04:11 PM   #12
Rivet Puller
SeeMore's Avatar
2004 28' Safari S/O
Marietta , Georgia
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1,056
Images: 3
Like many, I do a lot of DIY maintenance to ensure fluids, parts, filters, etc., meet my standards and quality of work. So, that means prepping my TV before long voyages by doing all the simple fluid swaps and lubrication in the week or two before departure regardless of when it was done last. That way I can carry spare filters, belts, hoses and a catch pan for the inevitable change later in the trip. More major & unanticipated breaks get done on the road by a "professional" wherever I am. Most places I've been frown on campsite indulgences so I find a spot nearby for the maintenance duties. Heck, I got in trouble once for 'washing' my truck at a KOA because I used a wet rag to get rid of squashed bugs on my grill and bumper :'(
SeeMore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2015, 10:17 PM   #13
Rivet Master
cwf's Avatar

1999 34' Excella
Currently Looking...
Round Rock , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5,472
Images: 2
Always have been a 'dimple'... Doing Myself Provides Lasting Enjoyment... when it comes to mechanical 'diy' jobs.

Today, the places that sell the 'oil' will recycle for you. I see guys in front of the 'AZ' here doing them all the time.

No need of spelling out the details on an oil change... you know them.

However, also consider your chassis lube... many times that is overlooked... but, it can be done within a few minutes without a lot of attention... once you know where the zerks are...

For the Antifreeze... that can be hard to capture.. since only once every 5 years, take it to the dealer... much simpler...

Ok.. if that won't work, then one of those large opaque bins they sell at the big box stores.. they are short to fit under beds... with a cover.. you can place the cover over the antifreeze after you capture and minimize spillage. Take it to the local municipality recycling... many have a place these days. Or, take it to a 'radiator shop' and give the owner a $5 to take the fluid off your hands..
Peace and Blessings..
WBCCI# 30676
cwf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2015, 10:40 PM   #14
Rivet Master

2005 25' Safari
Salem , Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,239
Images: 18
Blog Entries: 51
No I don't change my own oil.

Hi, being a mechanic at new car dealerships since 1968, I virtually never changed my own oil. Back then, the lube man changed my oil and I replaced his heater core, window motor, turn signal switch Etc. We all traded labor as per our specialty. I have done almost everything on cars; Engines, transmissions, both stick and automatic, brakes, carburetors and almost everything else. I still let the dealership do my services. I did recently repair my wife's BMW transfer case problem, but that was only because it was simple, and cost me about $100.00 for what the dealer wants up to $2600.00 to fix.

Oh, I almost forgot; I have a shop do it while one the road.


2005 Safari 25-B
"Le Petit Chateau Argent"
[ Small Silver Castle ]
2000 Navigator / 2014 F-150 Eco-Boost / Equal-i-zer / P-3
YAMAHA 2400 / AIR #12144
ROBERTSUNRUS is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How do you earn your income while on the road? BoldAdventure Working on the Road 58 08-19-2016 10:58 AM
What do you carry in your LY road tool kit? RhinoWW Land Yacht/Legacy Motorhomes 10 02-15-2014 10:50 PM
Vehicle Maintenance on the road Uncle Bill Towing, Tow Vehicles & Hitches 2 01-24-2014 04:25 AM
Tow Vehicle Maintenance Safari Tim Tow Vehicles 14 07-01-2007 12:46 PM
OK- what does your A/S weigh & what's your tow vehicle John Our Community 17 03-19-2003 10:38 AM

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:06 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.