Spare parts for Airstream road trips: 21 tips

Back in February, we shot a video about the tools we carry on long trips, and exactly why they’re essential. (You can read the blog and see the video here.)

This week we’re following up with a discussion of the spare parts, tapes, and lubricants that we also bring on every trip. In the course of shooting this 23-minute video we came up with 21 separate tips for you, so it’s probably worth your while to watch the whole thing.

If you prefer to read the Cliff’s Notes version, here’s the summary of the tips:

  1. Choose spare parts based on your travel style & abilities
  2. Carry spares of cheap consumables like grease
  3. Bring spares that are hard to obtain on the road
  4. Tapes: Teflon, butyl, electrical, silicone, masking, body
  5. Threadlocker: great for screws that keep backing out
  6. Consider bringing spares of “dumb but essential” parts
  7. Light, small, handy items like zip ties and storage bags
  8. Gloves! Mechanics and vinyl
  9. Spare propane hoses and tools needed to change them
  10. Lubricants: silicone spray, Boeshield T9, grease, etc
  11. Little items: drain plug, fuses, latches, rivets
  12. Hensley owners: get the spare parts kit
  13. If you might replace the drain plug: 15/16″ socket
  14. Your Fantastic Vent and power hitch jack may need a glass fuse!
  15. Extra #8 wood screws for furniture
  16. Replacement refrigerator bulb
  17. “Travel size” containers of glue, lube, cleaner, etc
  18. De-Oxit and burnishing tool for electrical connections
  19. Organize your supplies into kits
  20. Pre-made kits available in the Airstream Life Store
  21. “Free-flowing” Y connector for big rallies

Adjusting the cabinet hinges and changing the mattress

How do I adjust the spring hinges of the Airstream cabinets so they close like new?

The hinges are not difficult to adjust, but you do have to pop the cover off the inside rectangular portion of the hinge to get to the screws. If the door is not closing properly, or is no longer hanging straight you can make the adjustments with a simple screwdriver.  Instructions are found on pages 37-38 of Airstream Life’s (Nearly) Complete Guide To Airstream Maintenance.

If the door is not staying shut due to a weak spring, then the hinge will need to be replaced. The hinges in the newer model Airstreams are typically a high end European cabinet hinge and if you need to replace them you can find them in most of the big box stores. Be sure to take one with you, to match the sizes!

What options are there to replace the odd shaped queen mattress of the Airstreams? Factory replacements take a month to get and cost over $1000! There has to be a replacement option that is more economical and just as nice as an original Airstream queen mattress.


It used to be that there were no good options, but not anymore. The Airstream Life Store can deliver an exact duplicate of any Airstream mattress made in the last 20 years, to your door, in a week or two (depending on your location). Best of all, they’re much more affordable. Check them out here.