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How Often Should You Drain Air Tanks on an RV?

How Often Should You Drain Air Tanks on an RV?
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Many people dream of being able to retire so that they can spend more time traveling. Whether you’re retired or not, it’s going to be very beneficial to own an RV.

Having an RV gives you the opportunity to drive around in comfort. It’s easy to take long road trips with several friends and family members coming along for the ride.

Owning an RV will require you to take care of it if you want it to last, though. There are quite a few things that you need to focus on to keep the RV running smoothly.

Many RVs utilize air tanks to power certain aspects of the vehicle. The air tank will power the air brakes, air suspension, automatic leveling, and the emergency brake.

It’s easy to see that the air tank on an RV is going to be an important piece of the puzzle. You have to drain the air tank every so often to protect it from having moisture issues.

If you’re new to owning an RV, then you might be scratching your head about how often you’re supposed to drain the air tank. Is this something you have to do after every time you drive or can you wait for quite a while?

Keep reading to learn more about air tanks and when you’re supposed to drain them. You’ll also get some important information about RV life that will help you to get the most out of your purchase.

Follow the Advice in the Instruction Manual

Following the advice in the instruction manual for your air tanks will be the best thing to do. You should have a manual that came with the air tank or an RV manual that will give you information about stock air tanks.

Inside the manual, there should be a paragraph or two about how often you’re supposed to drain the air tanks. Generally, these manuals will say that the tanks should be drained daily.

Often, people read this and assume that the manual is being overly cautious. It might seem impractical to drain the air tanks daily, but it truly is a good practice.

If you take the time to drain daily, then it does the best job possible of protecting the tanks from moisture build-up issues. Moisture has the potential to wreak havoc on your air tanks, after all.

It wouldn’t be wise to go against the advice of the instruction manual. These manuals were produced by the manufacturers of the air tanks, and they have the best understanding of when these tanks should be drained.

RV enthusiasts will often get into the routine of draining the air tanks at the end of the day. When you stop for the night, it’ll be easy to take the time to drain the tanks before you settle down and get some rest.

Generally, the process isn’t that hard, and it doesn’t take too long to accomplish. It’s just going to be up to you to remember to do what you need to do.

Why Is Moisture Such a Big Issue?

Those who are new to taking care of RVs might wonder why moisture is such a big issue. Can a little bit of moisture build-up truly cause that many problems with your air tanks?

Yes, moisture is going to be very problematic if you don’t take the time to drain the tanks. You’ll always have at least a bit of moisture in your air system due to humidity, but too much moisture will be very bad for the tanks and the instruments that utilize the compressed air in the tanks.

When you have too much moisture in the tanks, it’ll cause things to rust and corrode. The worst thing possible would be having your braking system corrode and stop working reliably.

This is something that could put you in danger while out on the road. There’s a good reason to pay attention to this situation when you’re passionate about traveling in your RV.

Draining the air tanks will ensure that everything stays as safe as possible. It isn’t just something you should ignore.

How Does Moisture Get Into the Tank?

If you don’t have a good understanding of how the air tank works, then you likely don’t know how moisture gets into the tank. Below, you’ll get some information about how the air tank system works in an average RV.

Your air system is usually going to consist of three parts. You’ll have the tank itself, the compressor, and the air dryer.

Moisture in the air gets pushed through the compressor and into the air dryer. Then the air dryer removes the water from the air that is being sent to your air tanks by the compressor.

It isn’t that complicated, but it’s good to know exactly how things work. It gives you a better picture of what is going on.

So when you drain the air tanks, it’s checking to ensure that your air dryer is working as intended. If you go to drain the air tank and a significant amount of water comes out, then that means there is something up with your air dryer.

If the air dryer was working normally, then you wouldn’t see water shooting out during the draining process. This means that you’ll want to get your air dryer looked at by a professional as soon as possible.

Aside from draining the air tanks, you’re also going to need to replace the filter on the air dryer. This needs to be done regularly since the filter will get dirty as it gets used all the time.

This is another situation where you’ll need to check the manual to see how often you’re supposed to change the filter. Just follow whatever advice the manual has for you and everything will be fine.

It’s notable that living in a particularly humid area can change things. The air dryer will need to work harder if you live in a humid environment, and this might mean that you’ll need to change the filter even more often.

Fully Drain RV Tanks Before Long Trips and Storage

If you’re going to be going on a big trip soon, then it’s imperative to remember to fully drain the air tanks. This is just going to ensure that everything is ready for your trip so that you can have a safe experience.

Likewise, you’re going to want to completely drain the air tanks when you’re about to put the RV into storage. People often store their RVs in garages when they aren’t going to be used for several months.

Forgetting to drain the tanks before storage would be a very bad thing indeed. It could allow moisture to sit in the tank for many months.

This moisture could easily cause things to corrode, and it could mean that your RV won’t work as well as it should when you want to use it again. If you want to keep your RV in the best condition, then you should remember to drain it completely before storage.

Try to keep this in mind for the future. Whenever you’re getting ready for a trip you’re supposed to drain the tank completely first, and you need to do the same thing when you get back.

RV Safety Tips

Going out in your RV is going to give you a sense of adventure. You want your adventure to be exciting, but you also want it to be safe.

Aside from draining your air tanks, it’s also going to be a good idea to take care of other aspects of the RV before a big trip. For example, you might want to change the oil and check to see that everything is working as intended.

If you’re someone who has a bit of mechanical knowledge, then you might handle this by yourself. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to take your RV to get serviced before you start using it for the season.

Do this every time you’re going on a big trip to keep yourself safe. There’s no reason to take chances with your life, and you also want to protect your investment in the RV.

Final Thoughts

Knowing more about air tanks should make it simpler to understand what needs to be done. You need to drain the air tanks quite often if you’re going to keep moisture build-up from becoming problematic.

It’s generally recommended to follow the advice in the instruction manual. This should tell you how often it’s recommended to drain the air tanks.

Most manuals say that you should drain the air tanks daily. Some RV enthusiasts might tell you that you can get away with waiting to drain the tanks for a week, but this can depend on many factors.

You’ll likely have the best experience if you just follow what the manual tells you to do. The manufacturer knows what’s best for maintaining the equipment and the RV.

Keeping your air dryer in good working order is of the utmost importance. If you go to drain the air tank and water shoots out, it’s a sign that your air dryer isn’t working properly any longer.

This means that you should go get things serviced very soon. The problem should be able to be fixed so long as you turn to a professional.

Always do your best to take care of your RV so that you won’t encounter problems while out on the road. It’ll ensure that your road trip experience is as entertaining and safe as it can be.

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