10 Essential RV Spare Parts

Water pressure regulator

Carry these inexpensive items to save time, money and trouble on the road.

Finding an RV repair shop while you’re on the road can be a challenge. While RV repair shops are numerous, they’re not as common as general automotive repair shops and parts houses. It’s not practical to carry an extensive complement of spares due to space limitations, but the following is a list of several that are pertinent for consideration, along with comments on what to do if you don’t have a specific spare.

LP-gas regulator: When a regulator malfunctions, creating excessive or inadequate gas pressure (you’ll notice a difference in flame height at the gas range), it can be a trip-breaker if you’re dry camping and need gas for the refrigerator, not to mention having to take cold showers. A regulator is an easy spare to carry. $25.

Regulators LP-gas Hose
A regulator is an easy spare to carry.

Water pump parts: Impeller parts or an overhaul kit can be handy if debris causes malfunction in one of the pump valves. If the pump motor won’t run, check the fuse and electrical source to make sure power is available at the pump. If you choose not to carry spare parts and the pump fails, you can temporarily use the low-point drains or tank drain to get water in a bucket or pan for everyday needs, including toilet flushing, in event of a pump failure. $20 to $30.

dump valves
Don’t leave home without an extra dump valve!

Water pressure regulator: This item is important to avoid water system damage from excessive pressure while connected to city water. In lieu of a replacement regulator, just fill the tank and use your on-board water pump. $11.

AC generator filter: Handy if you need an oil change and the local RV repair shop doesn’t have the filter in stock. $10 to $15.

AC generator filters
AC generator filters only run about $15, so there’s no reason not to have an extra on board.

Thermocouples and electrodes: More essential in cold weather, these spares for a water heater and furnace might save a trip. Universal thermocouples are available to fit water heaters as well as furnaces, but electrodes must be specific to the appliance. Thermocouples $7 to $10; electrodes $13 to $40.

12-Volt-DC fuses: A good selection of fuses is essential, because you might blow two or three while testing what appears to be a short circuit. $10 to $15.

bulbs and fuses
Carry an assortment of commonly used bulbs and fuses for your motorhome.

12-Volt-DC light bulbs: Carry two or three spares for the most common incandescent lights. For fluorescent lights, replacement bulbs are fragile to store and you might just wait for replacement at the next parts supplier. $8 to $10.

Sewer drain cap: It’s good to have an extra one if you forget to secure it and it flies away. $4.

Sewer drain cap
It’s a good idea to have an extra sewer cap handy, just in case.

Oil: Always carry at least a quart of motor oil. A quart of transmission fluid also is desirable for periodic topping off. $3 to $5.

Other essential or handy RV items: Flashlight batteries, nylon cable ties, silicone or other sealant, duct and electrical tape, and a set of tools for the level of maintenance/repair of which you are capable.

To find spare parts, check local RV dealers and parts/accessory houses. Numerous mail-order sources also are available via the Internet by searching for a specific component part.

On the road, dealerships for your specific brand may be the first choice (the only choice if the warranty is still in effect); independent RV repair shops can address many non-warranty issues.

Parts for gasoline-powered motorhome chassis are available at specific-brand dealerships or at RV dealers authorized to perform warranty work. Diesel-powered chassis usually can be serviced at name-brand truck-repair shops (i.e., Cummins or Caterpillar), or at some full-service RV dealerships.

Along with spare parts, essentials should include reference material that could be helpful, such as an appliance manufacturer’s troubleshooting guide and a parts list for your specific water heater, refrigerator or furnace. These usually can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website.

And don’t forget to perform recommended maintenance on schedule to minimize component failures.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I always buy a spare fan belt, Fuel filter and tdc sensor. Even if you do not have the skills to replace these at least you have the correct part and do not have to wait a week for them to come in.

    • Consider converting light bulbs to LEDs to reduce battery drain and increase the life of the bulb. They come in daylight and warm white. Anticipated life is around 50,000 hrs.

  2. While some may consider the prices a little high when compared to incandescent bulbs, it is a good idea to convert as much of the lighting on a coach to LEDs. They have a suggested life of 50,000 hrs and use something like 1/10th of the amps for more light. They are available in daylight and warm white. Conversion will drain the batteries far less than if the “standard” incandescent lamps are used.

    Just a thought.

  3. I converted my 12 volt fluorescent light fixtures to LED also. Here’s how: Turn off DC power to the light at the fuse or breaker panel. Remove the fluorescent bulb(s), the bulb sockets, and the electronic ballast, leaving only the on-off switch and 12 volt wires that enter the fixture. From a roll of self-adhesive LED strips, and at the cut markings, cut a suitable length of LED’s to match the length of the original tubes. Observing the polarity ( + & – ) markings, solder some #18 insulated wires to the power tabs on the strips (two or more strips can be daisy-chained together). Remove the paper backing and self-adhere the strips to the inside of the fixture. Connect the #18 wires to the + & – power feed to the fixture (usually the white wire is (-), and the black wire goes through the on/off switch to the (+) connection on the LED strip. Restore power at the fuse or breaker panel and verify operation. The LED strips are brighter and use much less power than the fluorescent lights. If you are handy with tools, solder and low-voltage wiring, this is an inexpensive alternative to replacing the entire fixture.

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