Preventing RV Disasters: 14 Helpful Tips for New RV Owners
Being a new RV owner is exciting. When something goes wrong, however, things can turn from fun to nightmarish pretty fast. We have listed below the 14 issues most new RV owners face, so you can prepare in advance. Ranging from bad odors to mechanical problems, we’ve got you covered.
- Don’t Destroy the Waste Tank. Do not use the same chemicals you’d use to clean the bathroom and kitchen in your home. RV waste tanks are sensitive and can break down easily if you don’t treat them right. Instead of using bleach or harsh chemicals, use laundry detergent or all-natural cleansers that are available in most stores.
- Don’t Run Out of Propane. This is a common mistake RVers make. It’s important to check the tank level before youleave. If you’re planning on RVing for several days, you may want to bring some extra propane with you. Checking the propane level is easy but if you have a hard time reading the gauge you can also check by pouring a cup of boiling water down the side of the tank. Just see where the condensation begins and that’s how much fuel you have in your tank. You may also be able to tell from the sheer weight of the tank. When full, it should weigh about 30 lbs. If you can weigh it for accuracy, that’s helpful too.
- Do I Have to Dump Again? One thing you’ll learn quickly during your RV adventures is that black tank gauges will say your tank is full even right after you dump. This will confuse and perhaps worry you. Don’t freak out! This is one of the most common issues RV owners, new and old, have all the time. Ironically, the problem is easy to fix. You just need to clean your holding tank sensors very thoroughly. We have an article dedicated to show you how to do just that, so visit here for instructions. There are other ways to detect if your holding tank is full, too: it will begin to make gurgling noises and the water will appear bubbly. If you experience these effects, find the nearest dump station.
- Ice It. If you want to have an easier time cleaning your RV holding tank, always drop a couple of bags of ice into it before you go away on an adventure. The ice cubes will work their way around and clean the walls of the black tank.
- Wipe it Down. Prevent mold and mildew in your bathroom by wiping down the shower stall after each use. It’ll also prevent water spots. Buy absorbent cloths and hang them so everyone can use them.
- Stinky RV? Bad odors and gases can easily build up inside an RV. Hopefully you have a working tank vent. If that doesn’t suffice, install a fan to the top of it to draw out the stale smells inside. Airing out the RV every once in a while helps, not an easy thing to do if you’re RVing in winter.
- Practice Makes Perfect. Do you have a lot of blind spots in your RV? A fish eye mirror can help with blind spots and helping you back up. Attach one and practice backing up. You’ll wonder why RVs don’t come already equipped with these handy mirrors. These nifty items won’t necessarily help you at the wheel, however. Even if an RV driver safety class is not required, taking one may not be a bad idea if you feel very uncomfortable driving your rig. Make sure you practice driving in heavier traffic and practice parking (and backing up) many times before you go on a long ride. The more you practice in short spurts, the more comfortable you will feel driving for hours. Here are some more in-depth tips on maneuvering your RV like a pro.
- Disconnect Before Driving. You have no idea how many people forget to disconnect their hookups and drive away while damaging the campsite. This is an absolute nightmare, so stay alert and don’t pull away in a rush. Make it a point to always do a walk-around so that you don’t destroy other people’s property or even hit a child or dog that has gotten loose.
- Clean and Easy Dumping. Get used to it. You have an amazing vehicle that can afford you boundless adventures. But you’ll have to dump the waste. And there’s no way around it. There are right and wrong ways of dumping too. You’ll want to brush up on how to do it the right way before you annoy everyone in line at the campsite’s dumping station. Click here for step-by-step dumping instructions so you can seem like you’ve done the deed hundreds of times before. You’ll want to read this article carefully to avoid getting a mess all over yourself and all around the dumping station (a huge no-no!).
- Don’t Forget the Tires. You’ll want to check your RV tires before you head out and while you’re away. There’s nothing worse than a tire blowout. It could not only ruin your fun, it can be deadly. Most blowouts are avoidable, so visit here to read our in-depth explanation of what else to check for when you check air pressure on your tires and what to do if you’re driving and experience a blowout.
- Turn it off? There’s nothing more embarrassing than not realizing your buttons for the outside speakers are on after your neighbors at the campsite are met with blaring music. In fact, learn what all your on/off buttons do and what functions they perform. And test all systems too. Learning how your vehicle works as you go along is not the best idea. You may damage your rig or have embarrassing mishaps. Your master power switch is an important one to be aware of. Before you assume you’ve blown fuses because you return to your RV to find nothing working, check the master power switch first. Dogs have even been known to turn this switch on and off. No, seriously!
- Fiery Fridge? Yes, RV refrigerators can catch fire and it happens quite often in RVs when the coolant doesn’t circulate properly. This happens if your RV is not level. Don’t think you’re being picky by not parking on a slant: It’s actually a fire hazard. The problem of being on a tilt is very easy to fix with leveling blocks. Get to know how these nifty levelers work.
- Respect the Load Limit. Your owner’s manual should tell you how much weight you can carry in your RV. Don’t try and beat the numbers because you can have a tire blowout or a serious accident. If you’re towing a trailer, make sure the weight is evenly distributed and that you’ve hitched it to your vehicle properly. Follow these steps for towing a travel trailer safely so as to avoid swaying, tail wagging and whipping. Also, make sure you are towing only the allotted weight according to your vehicle type. Make sure to do your research. Don’t get behind the wheel hoping for the best. These numbers exist for a reason and most are found in your owner’s manual. If you have any questions that are not answered in your manual, contacting the previous owner or the dealership would be best. You can also contact the RV manufacturer. Stopping a trailer and other types of RVs can be very different from braking in a car. There’s nothing better than practicing before setting out for a long drive.
- Water and Sewer Tank Levels. Keep these fluid levels low. Mainly, you’ll want to keep the weight in your RV as low as possible and water is very heavy. So, empty your gray and black water tanks and keep your fresh water tank only ¼ to ½ full when you’re driving. Not only does keeping the fluid level low save you gas but it’s also better for the tanks, which are prone to cracking if they are overfilled. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to replenish your water supply once you reach the campsite.
RV Insurance for New RV Owners
New RV owners need adequate coverage. Hopefully you have the right Specialty RV Insurance, not just regular Auto Insurance. Speak with an Insurance Specialist to make sure you have the right coverage and aren’t paying too much for it. Call (866) 501-7335 today for a free quote.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here. Such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.