Over the last few months, an increasing number of Airstreamers have been asking us about how their appliances work, where they can find a specific replacement part, and how to troubleshoot a problem.
Because questions like these are beyond the scope of what we do at the Airstream Life Store, we typically suggest these folks consult their Owner’s Manual, contact a dealer, or call Airstream factory customer support (937-596-6111).
But the recent rise in questions made us wonder whether Airstream owners aren’t aware of the many resources available that can answer questions like these.
So we decided to compile a list of easy to find resources that we not only recommend, but that we use ourselves.
First, know thy Airstream
It’s surprising how many people who contact us don’t know basic information such as the length of their Airstream, recommended tire pressure, or floor plan. This information is essential for troubleshooting and getting answers to common questions.
So, before you seek help or consult a resource on this list, your first step is to know a few details about your Airstream.
As the first few pages of the Newbie’s Guide to Airstreaming suggests, write down the following information, and keep it handy:
- Airstream year, model, and floor plan—for example, our Airstream is a 2020 Globetrotter 23FB (FB stands for Front Bedroom)
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Date you purchased your Airstream
- Dealer’s name and contact information
- The code numbers from your entry door keys
The Newbie’s Guide to Airstreaming book comes free with your Airstream. So there's no need to buy it if you are waiting for delivery.
You should also write down a few essential pieces of information from the Federal certification label, located on the front street side corner of your Airstream:
- Factory manufactured weight
- Gross vehicle weight rating
- Gross axle weight rating
- Recommended tire pressure
Now that you’re armed with the right details, getting answers from these 7 resources will be more productive.
1. Airstream Owner’s Manual + product manual packet
The Owner’s Manual comes with your Airstream and is a terrific reference guide when you are hunting for answers. In addition to the standard liability statements you’d expect, the Owner’s Manual is a treasure trove of answers to common questions such as:
- How many gallons does the fresh/gray/black water tank hold?
- What’s the size of my hitch ball?
- What’s included in my Airstream warranty?
- How do I level the trailer?
- What’s ok/not ok to put into the toilet?
- How do I read the water or sewer tank level?
- How do I dump the black and gray water tanks?
- What should I use to clean the aluminum inside/outside the trailer?
- What size generator is needed to power my Airstream?
In addition, the Owner’s Manual includes:
- List of replacement parts
- Basics info about your batteries, tires, solar panels, water and electrical system
- How the switches, fans, appliances, exterior components, etc. work
- Diagrams of your floor plan
- Schematic drawings of the electrical system–including circuit breaker layout
- Steps for winterizing the Airstream
If the salesperson didn’t review the Owner’s Manual with you during the walk-through at delivery, you’ll probably find it in the overhead compartment above the dinette. Look for a plastic or cloth briefcase, inside which is the Airstream Owner’s Manual as well as a bunch of product owner manuals for appliances and other products in the Airstream. By the way, this little briefcase is also where you’ll probably find the Newbie’s Guide to Airstreaming book.
Tip: If the Airstream Owner’s Manual is missing, you’ve lost it, or you’ve purchased a pre-owned Airstream and the manual was not included by the owner, Airstream, Inc. has a solution. They’ve posted the manuals for every year and every model here: https://www.airstream.com/owners/manuals/
This site has How to Videos made by Airstream service center staff, as well as answers to FAQs. It’s organized by product type (trailer or motorhome) and model, which makes it easy to find the videos and answers for your specific Airstream.
Admittedly the FAQs are minimal. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, click the blue “Support” button on the bottom right of the page and type in your question. You'll get a bunch of possible help topics. If none of those match, you can send a message to Airstream service staff.
3. Airstream factory customer support line: 937-596-6111
This is the phone number to reach Airstream-employed product experts and service technicians. I recommend adding it to your phone contacts so when you need it, you've got it.
4. The Airstream Parts Book
Every year for decades, Airstream has put out a book of parts used in each product. It's well-organized and laid out by section, with drawings that indicate the location of the specific part, as well as the part number.
If you are looking for a specific replacement part, this book is a goldmine!
You can view or download Parts Books dating back to 1964 HERE. Enter your product name and year.
5. Your local Airstream Club unit and region
I wrote a recent blog about the benefits of joining a local Airstream Club unit. One of them is that you can learn about Airstream maintenance and repair tips from workshops given at unit rallies, and unit members themselves.
Getting tips and DIY recommendations from experienced Airstreamers is a good way to build relationships with unit members, and these people often become a go-to resource for questions and sticky maintenance issues. Ask around for the do-it-yourselfers in your unit and you’ll quickly be introduced to the trusted person who has been vetted by unit members as giving sound advice.
6. Airstream’s Document Archive
This archive is both informative and historically interesting. Search or sort by model and year (back to 1930!) to find floor plans and specifications, as well as historic articles and photographs.
When Airstreamers ask us about vintage parts, we send them to Vintage Trailer Supply. Expanded several years ago, this online supply company also has a bricks and mortar store in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
Why aren't there any online forums, Facebook groups, or Instagrammers on this list?
Simply put: it’s a crapshoot whether the information you get online is accurate or not. When we review conversation threads, we find about half of the advice being given is just plain wrong.
Stick with advice from credible sources like Airstream, Inc., RVers who are experts in specific fields (for example, Cherie Ve Ard and Chris Dunphy at RV Mobile Internet), and people you trust.
Our best advice for online forums is to use caution. Evaluate what you read or watch on YouTube using logic and common sense. And don’t take advice from some random Airstreamer without verifying its accuracy first. What you save by getting "free" advice could cost you a lot more in compromised safety or lost dollars down the road.