Dumb Mistakes RV Owners Make

When you RV as much as we have, you see people do many dumb things that are the result of lack of planning or common sense, or just plain stupidity.

Virginia: Mechanical Failure Causes Motorhome Fire (Credit: Sid Choudhari)

Virginia: Mechanical Failure Causes Motorhome Fire (Credit: Sid Choudhari)

It does not seem possible that people could make so many bad mistakes when they travel by RV—but they do.

Most people who enter the world of RVing do so with little or no prior experience with recreational vehicles. Unfortunately, they often make mistakes that are costly.

Everyone should experience traveling the country in an RV. There is no other way of travel that compares. You can enjoy the scenic wonders of nature without compromising on comfort no matter where you travel.

But along with the countless benefits to traveling by RV, there are numerous details to consider in order to travel safely and ensure that your travels don’t end in disaster.

The most common mistake by RV owners is negligence concerning the maintenance of their recreational vehicle.

Before you hit the road, ensure your recreational vehicle is roadworthy, and that you’re prepared in case of emergency. The proper maintenance of your recreational vehicle is a key to keeping you on the road to safety. An RV that’s mechanically sound will be less apt to break down.

Although it may never seem that anything could go wrong when you’re all packed and eager to leave for your trip, forgetting to check on all the important areas of your RV will, sooner or later, come back to haunt you.

Always check the pressure and condition of your tires before taking your RV on the road.

Always check the pressure and condition of your tires before taking your RV on the road.

Maintenance falls into two basic categories: routine and preventive. Let’s look at some of the tasks you’ll need to perform in each category.

Routine RV maintenance includes tasks required by warranty to be done at scheduled intervals. The most important routine maintenance task you can perform is checking your owner’s manual and warranty. These documents spell out which tasks must be performed, when, and by whom.

Routine maintenance performed on motorhomes include changing engine oil and filter, lubricating the chassis, and servicing the transmission.

Performing routine maintenance will help you avoid costly emergency maintenance down the road. If you neglect your routine checks and maintenance, the cost of repairs increases tenfold when the RV does break down, usually at the most inconvenient time.

Preventive maintenance is not required by warranty. Rather, it’s designed to identify and address potential problems before they arise.

Inspect all belts and hoses for cracking and replace as required.

Inspect the engine, battery, and fluids for proper levels. A good rule of thumb is to check fluids levels—engine oil, power steering, transmission, coolant, wiper fluid—and tire pressure prior to each day of travel. Use your owner’s manual as a guide.

Check headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals.

Prepare an Emergency Roadside Kit, including jumper cables, a flashlight, and ample bottled water.

Ensure your tires have the recommended air pressure, sufficient tread depth, and have not aged out (NOTE: RV tires typically should be replaced due to age after six to eight years).

Correct tire pressure is vital to your safety on the road. Under-inflated tires affect handling and grip, potentially causing irregular or unpredictable vehicle behavior and are more likely to suffer from a dangerous blowout, especially on high-speed Interstate journeys.

Carefully study the parameters of your RV, especially the cargo carrying capacity (CCC), because it’s the maximum permissible weight that can be safely added to the vehicle.

Did you know the height of your RV? Pictured above one of several covered bridges on Ohio's Covered Bridges Scenic Byway. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Did you know the height of your RV? Pictured above one of several covered bridges on Ohio’s Covered Bridges Scenic Byway. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Exceeding the legal weight can make the design of the RV unstable and ultimately lead to various risks when on the road. Overloading is the number one cause of tire failure.

Hitting bridges and overhangs or misjudging the amount of clearance beneath an overpass or inside a tunnel can put an immediate stopper on your road trip. Know the height of your RV and place a sticky note on the dashboard with your exact height (remember to include A/C)

Avoid these common causes of RV accidents:

Fires that occur from leaking LP gas (propane)

Tire blowouts due to overloading or to under inflated or worn-out tires

Ensure that you retract outside steps prior to traveling

Antenna down?

Remember, Safety First, and Happy RVing!

Worth Pondering…

Speed was high

Weather was hot

Tires were thin

X marks the spot

BURMA SHAVE

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