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Your Guide to RV Tips and Tricks
If you have an RV, you know that there is a lot more to it than just having a bed in the back and a cab in the front. Depending on the model you get, there can be a lot of different systems you have to manage, and each set requires a fundamental understanding of how it works and what to do when there’s a problem.
For that reason, having a complete list of tips and tricks to manage your RV is essential. As an RV owner myself, I know what it’s like to try and troubleshoot when something goes wrong. It seems like every day brings a new experience that I’m not exactly prepared for.
Since there are far too many tips out there for maintaining your RV, we’re not going to try and come up with a comprehensive encyclopedia for you. Instead, we’re going to show you what kind of tips and tricks are going to be the most valuable, as well as where to find them (and how to make sure that they’re legit).
Let’s get started.
Which RV Tips are the Most Valuable?
Since each RV is different, it’s impossible to say what all is going to apply to you specifically. As such, we’re going to start with the fundamentals and then work our way up to more specialized information that may only apply to those who have the top-of-the-line RV model.
No matter where you fall on this list, you should start with the basics and work your way up. So, with that in mind, let’s begin.
Since your RV requires a motor to get wherever the road takes you, you have to be sure that it’s always in peak condition. If your engine breaks down, you’re not going anywhere. I know all too well what it’s like to be on the side of the road, trying to figure out how I’m going to get my RV back up and running.
One thing to remember is that the engine is usually separate from the rest of the RV. Electrical systems and power are often generated by different batteries and systems, so don’t think that you can drain your engine by using your RV while driving – it doesn’t work that way.
I suggest that you focus on the most common problems that can occur on the road. These issues can include things like jump-starting your battery, refilling and topping off fluids, and changing your oil.
Depending on the size of your RV, you can’t expect a tow truck to be able to bring it into a shop, so breaking down can be an even bigger pain. Also, since many RV owners like to take the path less traveled (I know I do), you might not be found by a technician for a long time.
Just as an engine problem can derail your next trip, having a flat can be downright dangerous. Even if you have dually tires on the rear, blowing one of them can be disastrous depending on where it happens.
The other thing to remember is that you’re not going to be able to carry enough spares. Thus, if one of them goes down, you have to ensure that you can replace both it and the spare as soon as possible.
Since RVs can have much larger and tougher tires than cars, it’s imperative that you look at the type you have and how to keep them in shape. Not only should you understand how to change a tire if and when it goes flat, but look at tips related to other things, such as adding chains in icy weather.
As I mentioned, your RV will have a different set of batteries that control the body of the vehicle. However, if you don’t know anything about them, you’ll probably run them dry without even knowing that there’s a problem.
When looking for tips and tricks, make sure that you’re looking at your specific rig. While changing a battery will be relatively similar across makes and models, the internal electric system will be much different.
Being able to troubleshoot an electrical issue will help you feel more at ease every time you go out in your RV. Thus, if you lose light in the middle of the night, you won’t freak out and wonder what to do.
Water and Plumbing Maintenance
Like electricity, you’ll be using a lot of water when you’re inside your RV. If you’re not sure how to empty and refill your various tanks, then you’ll run into trouble immediately. You need to look up how to check on each type of tank as well as what to do when it gets full. Depending on the state you’re in at the time, there may be some strict rules regarding how you dump waste water.
Thus, when looking up tips and tricks, make sure to be specific to your particular location. If you’re planning on crossing state lines, it’s a good idea to find out any local laws that will pertain to your vehicle.
Similarly, it’s always proper to figure out where you can fill up your tanks after emptying them. I’ve been in situations where I was without water for a couple of days because I didn’t plan ahead, and I can say that it’s the worst. Don’t wait until it’s too late, nor should you just assume that you can fill up anywhere. You don’t realize how precious water is until you’re denied access to it.
This section can be a bit vague, so we’ll break it down even further. However, as a broad strokes kind of thing, you should always just be as prepared as possible for your next adventure. While I do understand the appeal of driving wherever the road takes you, since RVs can’t just go wherever you like it’s imperative that you know what limitations you will experience along the way. Here is a brief overview of the kinds of tips you should watch out for the most.
Places to Stop for the Night
Depending on where you’re headed, you can’t pull over on the side of the road and post up. In some areas, you have to be in a designated space that allows RVs. The benefit of these locations, however, is that they usually have water hook-ups and dumping sites to make your life a little easier.
Weight and Height Restrictions
If you’re used to driving a car, then you probably don’t think about how big your RV is. However, if you ever come to a bridge or an entrance with low clearance, you will discover these things really fast. Avoid decapitating your rig by knowing how tall and wide it is as well as the gross weight. It will come in handy, I promise.
Although I would love to say that you can drive your RV wherever you like and stop wherever you want, the reality is far from perfect. Some places are much more accommodating to this lifestyle, but the fact is that most areas are not built for the RV. Even something as simple as being able to park can be a challenge in a large rig, so you have to plan everything accordingly. Stick to places that are large enough for your vehicle and avoid the ones that will make things like turning around or stopping for the night so much harder.
Exploring Without an RV
Since you can’t drive your rig wherever you like, you should have a plan of action for how to get around that doesn’t involve driving your massive vehicle. My RV is a trailer (more on those kinds of tips in a moment), so I can simply detach my truck, and I’m ready to go. However, if you’re driving a single unit, then you want to figure out a way to get around that doesn’t involve driving it everywhere.
Trailer vs. Motorized RV
For some people, having a trailer setup is so much easier than driving a single vehicle. For others, the idea of towing a massive RV behind them seems like more trouble than it’s worth. If you do decide to go with the trailer, then here are some things to consider when finding tips.
- How to hitch quickly by yourself (comes in handy way more often than you’d think)
- How to keep your trailer secure when it’s detached
- How to load your trailer so it won’t be an issue on the road
- Finding a rig that can tow it properly (weight ratios and ratings)
Also, you should look for particular tips that relate to your specific RV model so that you can be prepared for any problem you may experience.
When looking for these tips and tricks, be sure to visit forums and websites that cater to RVs specifically. Although some of the information can be found on a variety of sites, you want to be sure that the information you’re getting is related to your experience.
The other thing to remember is that if you discover something out on the road, be sure to share it with other RV lovers. Whether you found a great spot to park your rig, or you discovered a better way to deal with your water, sharing this information will help someone else in their time of need.
Thanks for reading my post, and I hope you found this information useful. Happy RVing!
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