We purchase RVs to travel the country and build lasting memories with family and friends. RVs are meant for rest, relaxation and fun, but what happens in the event of an emergency? When you travel to a different camping destination in your RV, on a regular basis, you need to be prepared for an emergency that can happen at anytime and anywhere.

This list could certainly be longer, but I want to offer my top 5 RV emergency items for RV owners.

NOAA Weather Radio1) The first item on my list is a portable weather radio. In today’s world of modern technology some folks think a smart phone with a weather app is all you need to stay informed of current weather updates. The problem with that thinking is we often travel through remote parts of the country in our RVs, where you don’t always have a good cell phone signal. A good portable weather radio can operate on batteries or 120-volt AC power and will warn you of potential weather hazards in and around the area where you are camping. Don’t forget some spare batteries.

2) Next on my list is a reputable RV Emergency Roadside Assistance Plan. There are lots of these plans available so take time to research and select a plan that fits your particular needs. Look for a plan that is designed for RVs, and see what other folks have to say about a particular plan on some of the RV forums. When you breakdown in the middle of nowhere, during your vacation, you will be glad you invested in a good plan. The plan can pay for towing expenses, lodging while the RV is being repaired, fuel, getting in a locked RV or tow vehicle, and to repair a flat tire. Some RVs have tires that weigh in excess of 100 pounds and require special equipment to change the tire. It can be dangerous to change a tire on any RV, and with a roadside assistance plan you don’t need to worry about it.

RV 101 - What's your RV Emergency Weather Plan?3) When you pack the RV for your next trip make sure you include a basic road hazard kit. At a minimum it should include a good set of jumper cables, a
heavy-duty flashlight, one or more reflective warning triangles, some basic hand tools, a fluorescent safety vest, a portable gas can and a good first aid kit if you don’t already have one in the RV. A few simple items can get you out of a jam and assist you in staying safe until help arrives.

 

RVs with Storm Approaching4) I recommend keeping clothing in the RV for all weather conditions. You might be traveling south during the summer months, but you never know when cold or wet weather will hit. And the heat or air conditioner might quit working when you least expect it. It is best to stay prepared by packing warm and cold weather clothing in the RV, regardless of where or what time of year you are traveling.

5) In addition to a good Emergency Roadside Assistance Plan I recommend a reputable RV Extended Service Contract. Again there are lots of these services available so shop around for the best plan prior to purchasing one. The roadside assistance plan helps in the event of an unexpected emergency and the Extended Service Plan helps pay for necessary repairs when there is an emergency. Nothing will ruin a trip quicker than spending $500 or $1,000 of your vacation money on a repair bill when you least expect it.

Happy Camping,

Mark Polk

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Posted by: Mark Polk | 2015

RV Consumer Magazine April 2015

RV Consumer Magazine Cover April 2015It’s time to go camping, but is your RV ready for the 2015 camping season? In this issue of RV Consumer we discuss some post winter checks for your RV, RV exterior maintenance tips, how to give your RV awnings a tune-up and much more to help prepare the RV for camping.

If you have friends and family that RV send them this link so they can subscribe and enjoy RV Consumer too.

Read RV Consumer archives here

Happy Camping,

Mark Polk

 

 

 

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Posted by: Mark Polk | 2015

Green RVing 3 Part Video Series

In our Green RV Series we discuss some simple green RV initiatives you can take prior to leaving on a trip and when you use the systems on the RV after arriving at your camping destination. In the Green RV Series finale we discuss what we as campers can do to contribute to the green RV experience during our stay at the campground. This includes topics like energy savings, water savings, recycling, and using eco-friendly tank treatments and cleaning supplies. Watch the 3 part series below:





Happy RV Learning!

Mark Polk

RV Education 101 http://rveducation101.com/
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Posted by: Mark Polk | 2015

Tow Vehicle Rating Facts & Myths

truck & 5th wheelIt’s no secret that for years truck manufacturers have competed for truck sales by boasting to have the “best in class” tow ratings. I have always taken issue with this because the consumer is the loser in the end. Vehicles go through rigorous testing to determine tow ratings, but the problem is there was never a standard manufacturers had to meet or measure the vehicle against to determine a vehicle’s tow rating. Unfortunately this results in biased outcomes.

Let’s start with some background information

My journey into questioning tow vehicle ratings officially began in 2007 after I watched a television commercial advertising a new Ford F-150 with a fully-boxed frame could safely tow an 11,000 pound trailer. That television commercial culminated in my Let’s Talk Half-Ton Trucks article.

A couple years later I wrote a follow-up article after reading a full-size pickup comparison test conducted by Edmunds in 2009. Of the competitors involved in the comparison Ford had the lowest horsepower and torque ratings, but claimed to have the highest tow rating. In the comparison test Ford came in last place, towing a 6,500 pound trailer with a truck supposedly rated to tow 11,200 pounds! I would hate to see what would happen if you added another 4,700 pounds to the trailer’s weight to get to Ford’s advertised 11,200 pound tow rating. This resulted in my second article on the topic, 2010 Update, Let’s Talk ½ Ton Trucks

Now it might sound or seem as though I am picking on Ford, but they brought this on by the claims they made and advertised to the public. In 2012 a Ford truck owner wrote asking for help in determining what his actual tow rating was. He was confused because what he was told the tow rating was, and what was advertised in Ford’s towing guide were two different things.  After some research I discovered there were two different published tow ratings for the truck in question.  That lead to my Caution-Why Truck Tow Ratings don’t add up article.

During my time spent researching and writing these articles I did get a glimpse of promising light at the end of the tunnel. In 2010 I read information about a new towing standard called SAE J2807. This standard would be developed and used to determine trailer weight ratings for all tow vehicles. I don’t always agree with mandated standards, government or otherwise, but this is one standard I am in favor of. The way it developed, very briefly, was several domestic and foreign truck manufacturers worked with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to establish standardized testing across the board for tow vehicle ratings. The standard was written, revised, agreed on and established with an implementation date of 2013. This gave all of the manufacturers sufficient time to prepare for and implement the new standard. I applauded these manufacturers for voluntarily reaching this milestone, and anxiously awaited 2013 when the new towing standard would be implemented.

Unfortunately 2013 came and went, and one-by-one (with the exception of Toyota) truck manufacturers opted out of complying with the towing standard they all agreed to implement and use three years prior. That led to my SAE J2807 Truck Towing Standard article.

Read More…

Another fun-filled RV camping season will be upon us. There is nothing quite like loading the RV and hitting the open road to discover the next great RV adventure that awaits you. Each year when the peak travel season arrives we like to remind RV owners and travelers to take a minute and refresh their memory on all the safety stuff concerning RVs and RV travel.

Read More…

Posted by: Mark Polk | 2014

RV Consumer Magazine December 2014

RV Consumer Magazine December 2014

RV Consumer Magazine December 2014

In this issue of RV Consumer Magazine get some helpful RV tips and information on RV storage, cold weather RV maintenance, carbon monoxide safety and discover what Mark Polk with RV Education 101 considers to be the top 5 mistakes RV owners make and what you can do to avoid them.

Click here to subscribe to RV Consumer Magazine

Stay tuned for the next issue to get an inside look at what’s new and what’s cool with RVs for 2015.

Happy RV Learning

Mark Polk

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RV Consumer

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Posted by: Mark Polk | 2014

Top 5 RV Cold Weather Maintenance Tips

I would like to offer some simple preventive maintenance procedures you can follow to not only help prepare your RV for cold temperatures, but to also help prevent untimely breakdowns as a result of the colder weather.

Here are my top 5 RV Cold Weather Maintenance Tips
adding air to RV tires1) RV Tire Tips: During the warmer months of the year I constantly remind folks not to check tire pressure when the tires are hot, meaning after the RV was driven more than one mile. Hot weather and hot tire temperatures cause tire inflation to increase. But something seldom discussed is what happens to your tire pressure when the mercury plummets? The answer is, when it’s cold outside the air pressure in your tires drops 1 to 2 pounds for every 10 degree drop in temperature. This means if you have not checked the tire pressure in your RV tires since that trip you took last August your tire pressure could be dangerously underinflated when you head out for the holidays. The best advice I can offer is to get in a habit of checking and adjusting tire pressure monthly, so it is correct regardless of the temperature. This applies to your automobiles as well.

automotive antifreeze 2) Automotive Antifreeze Tips: When you talk about RVs and antifreeze most folks think about the RV antifreeze used to protect the RV water system from freezing. We will talk about that type of antifreeze in a minute but first I want to talk about the automotive antifreeze used in the RV or tow vehicle engine coolant system. Glycol antifreeze does several things to help protect your engine:

a. When it’s cold out it helps lower the freezing point of water.
b. The corrosion inhibitors that are added to the antifreeze help prevent scale and rust build-up in the cooling system.
c. It provides protection against boiling during the hot summer months.
d. It helps keep the engine operating at its most efficient temperature regardless of operating conditions and outside temperatures.
Just like engine oil the antifreeze in your RV or tow vehicle automotive cooling system needs to be replaced at regular intervals. If you have not had this service performed in the last few years check your vehicle owner’s manual for the recommended intervals and schedule an appointment to have it done.

Read More…

Posted by: Mark Polk | 2014

RV Consumer Magazine November 2014

RV Consumer Magazine Cover November 2014

Welcome to another edition of RV Consumer Magazine. In this issue:

  • Get some tips on how to make your fall and winter camping trips more enjoyable and stress-free
  • Discover how and why the axle ratio in your tow vehicle affects fuel economy and towing
  • Read about Mark’s progress on a tow vehicle restoration project for the 67 Yellowstone travel trailer
  • Get another great recipe from The Cooking Ladies
  • Find out what you can do to help protect your RV water system at the campground

Read all of this and more in the November issue of RV Consumer Magazine

Happy RV Learning,

Mark Polk

 

Check out our NEW RV Product Catalog for complete descriptions and top order DVDs, RV books & Ebooks

RV Consumer

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