We’re no strangers to RV problems. In fact, since we bought our RV when it was already 5 years old, it had been lived in and, well, used. A lot. We had to build our RV repair kit from scratch as things went wrong, but there are things you should probably have before something goes wrong so you’re not scrambling during an emergency.
Here are some of the things we simply couldn’t live without in our RV.
EPDM Repair Tape
The very first problem we encountered was our leaky roof. Before we were even ready to tackle tearing it off and repairing everything underneath, we patched it with EPDM repair tape. You can get it in white or black to match your existing roof, and they also make an aluminum variety for aluminum RV roofs.
We got white, because our RV roof is white, although we really didn’t care too much about aesthetics. We just wanted to sleep in a dry bed. Priorities, amiright?
You can get all kinds of EPDM repair tape on Amazon, but the only place that had it in stock near us was Menard’s, and it’s not cheap. We ended up going through one roll when we patched the roof the first time and two rolls when we repaired the roofing.
Now we keep it on hand at all times, because you never know when something else will leak. Unfortunately, RVs are pretty prone to them, even if you buy them new. We’ve used it a couple of times since our big repair, and wouldn’t be caught on the road without it.
Flex Seal Liquid Rubber Sealant
This is another awesome component of our RV repair kit. Flex Seal offers a rubberized liquid that spreads or rolls on like paint. You can also pour it directly on the leak, if you know where it’s coming from.
When it dries, it becomes an impenetrable rubber that nothing will get through. It also comes in black or white, and they sell it at Walmart, which is where we get it when we are in a bind. However, you can also order it on Amazon.
Again, it’s not cheap, but it works. It’s well worth the cost for a pint, quart, or gallon. We keep a gallon on hand because our RV is so large, and the can says it covers up to 150 square feet, but it depends on how thick you lay it.
Flex Seal also makes a spray that’s great for smaller patch jobs or a glue that comes in a tube like caulk. We’ve never used them, but if they’re as great as the liquid is, they’re worth it, too.
The list of tools you should have on hand could go on forever, and RVs have limited space, but you should definitely have the essentials. While you can probably forego the chainsaw and some of the more obscure power tools, you definitely need a drill and a quality set of bits in your RV repair kit, just like you would in your garage at home.
When it comes to taking things apart or putting them back together, you’ll benefit from Philips heads, flat heads, stars, squares, hex bits, and a variety of sizes and shapes.
We got this really awesome set of DeWalt bits at Home Depot, and it has helped us remove cabinets, hang curtains, and repair plenty of other things that have fallen apart.
Make sure you have a socket set, too. Because of all of our roof repairs, we’ve had to take our air conditioner off several times. If we wouldn’t have already packed this, we would have had to buy one.
You also need to make sure you have other little things like pliers, wrenches, zip ties, tape measures, and manual screwdrivers. Bring a toolbox with everything in it that you think you might need, and then some.
We have duct tape in our RV repair kit for any number of embarrassing things around here. Like when the linoleum in the kitchen started pealing and we couldn’t install new flooring right away. Or when the roof was leaking and we taped a trash bag to it. 🤦🏽♀️
However, if you have a good quality duct tape (actual waterproof tape is even better), you can use it for nearly anything, just like you would at home. It even held one of our flashings to the side of the RV after it flew off going down the road. The duct tape held it until we were able to get to our destination and screw it back in.
It was truly a lifesaver on the side of the highway.
Have I mentioned that things break? The use of super glue is a daily occurrence in our RV, especially with 4 rowdy kids who never stop running or yelling. We’ve used it to fix shelves, put trim back up, and put toys back together.
You may also want to keep some wood glue on hand if the interior of your RV has a lot of wood.
While we’re on the subject of sticky things, 3M Commands and hooks are some of the most fantastic things for, well, everything. I use them to hang pictures, curtains, spice jars, and tons of other things.
They make it really easy to take items down for travel and when something and when something does fall or the stickies wear out, you can simply pull them off and replace them!
Every RV owner needs to have a bottle jack. I’m serious. Every. Single. One. You never know when your jacks will fail you or you need to jack your RV up to get one loose. We bought a bottle jack for our RV repair kit 6 months ago and have used it at least 6 times now.
It would have also been handy when we got a flat tire on the RV, but we hadn’t purchased it at the point. We could have changed the tire ourselves instead of calling a tow service and paying out of pocket.
We have a 10-ton toy hauler, and this Husky bottle jack will lift it with no problem.
Unfortunately, RV plumbing isn’t anything like a home septic system. Toilet paper doesn’t dissolve as well as it will in a regular toilet, and while moving your RV will jostle the tank and break things up a bit, sometimes you will have clogs and blockages that nothing seems to fix.
We finally broke down and bought a drum auger for our RV repair kit. You can use it manually or attach it to a drill for more power. It helps you snake the pipes and break up any clumps that keep it from draining.
You can use it in your toilet, your sink, or your shower. It has saved us so much stress. And if you have an RV with only one toilet or one shower, you’ll be so thankful you have it on hand.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
It’s the old science experiment we did as kids, but the chemical reaction it causes can also eat away at gunk in your drain and clean a lot of other things.
When it comes to cleaning up after mishaps or repairs, keeping drains clear, disinfecting, and getting rid of excess moisture, I always keep baking soda and vinegar around. Here are just some of the many things you can use them for.
Dissolving gunk in the shower drain, sink, or toilet
You’re not supposed to use Drano or any of the normal septic tank cleaners in an RV. I know some people who have, but the chemicals can be too harsh for your tank. Instead, sprinkling 3 tablespoons of baking soda in the drain and then pouring 1 cup of vinegar on top will help dissolve some stubborn clogs.
RVs aren’t very well insulated. Whether you have a leak or you’re dealing with moisture build-up in the carpets, you can rapidly develop yucky smells, mold, and mildew. Liberally sprinkle baking soda over your carpets and let it sit for an hour or two. Then vacuum away extra moisture and stink.
Cleaning the kitchen or bathroom
I use both of these in the kitchen. Vinegar and lemon juice is a fantastic disinfectant and will rid your kitchen or bathroom of odors, too. You can also sprinkle baking soda in your sink or over the counter and then scrub away scum and residue with a sponge or a damp rag.
You can also sprinkle it in your shower or directly onto a rag and scrub the shower with it. These are so much better for your RV surfaces than store-bought chemicals and they’re not as expensive as the all-in-one organic cleansers.
From sewing patches in jeans to fixing the stuffy we can’t live without, a sewing kit is a must. I did quite a bit of sewing when we lived in a house, so I packed up a few necessities that I could use on the road. I have needles and thread, ribbon, a tape measure, and extra fabric scraps. You don’t need much, but it’s helpful to have around. I use mine at least once a week.
What are your favorite cleaning supplies? We’d love to learn about something wonderful we haven’t yet discovered. Comment below and we’ll give it a try!