Sometimes when you camp in your RV the RV power cord is not long enough to reach the campground electrical connection. When this happens you need an extension cord that is compatible with the electrical system on your RV. Valterra Products has you covered with their full line of Mighty Cord RV extension cords and detachable power cords.
Awnings are a great feature to have on your RV. There are several different types of RV awnings and they serve different purposes. There are window and door awnings that provide shade and keep rain away from your RV windows or entry door. There are slide-out awnings that protect the slide-out roof from debris and water. And there are patio awnings. Patio awnings extend the living area of our outdoor world. Similar to the front porch of your home, the patio awning provides us with shade and cover from a light rain when we want to sit and enjoy the great outdoors.
The awnings on your RV will provide years of reliable trouble free operation, if you take the time to do a little preventive maintenance and cleaning.
When you are getting ready to take a trip in your RV there are lots of things that need to be done. Planning the trip itself can be overwhelming. Travel guides, magazines, state tourism boards and Internet sites offer valuable information to help you plan your next RV trip. To help make planning your trips a little easier I wrote this trip planning checklist. This is an excerpt from my Checklist for RVers e-book
Here are some tips to help you plan for your next RV trip:
- Route your trip on a GPS designed for use in RVs or from an Internet trip planning site.
- Plan your itinerary to include what campgrounds you plan to stay at.
- Give a family member or a friend a copy of your itinerary and contact information.
- Make campground reservations well in advance, especially during the peak travel season.
- Limit your traveling to 350 miles a day or less. Not only will your trip be more enjoyable, but this will allow plenty of time to get set-up at the campground before it gets dark outside.
- Make sure your emergency roadside service plan is up to date. If you don’t have an ESP you should consider getting one prior to leaving on your trip.
- Check and refill any prescription medications you will need for the duration of the trip.
- If you’re under a doctor’s care take a copy of your medical records.
- Check the weather conditions where you will be traveling each day. Add a good weather app to your smart phone if you don’t already have one. Your phone may not always get a signal so take a weather radio receiver with you.
- Don’t travel in the RV when there is bad weather, or during periods of high winds.
- Add emergency contacts or other important phone numbers to the contact list in your phone.
- Take a spare set of eyeglasses or reading glasses.
- Take a spare set of keys for the RV and tow vehicle if applicable.
- Make sure you have all your owner’s manuals and warranty information for the RV.
- Take passports (if necessary) and check expiration dates.
- Take a copy of your extended service contract in the event you need repairs on the road. If you don’t have an extended service plan you might want to consider getting one, especially for extended RV trips.
- Conduct pre-trip checklists on your RV and on the tow vehicle if applicable.
- Make sure everything is loaded in the RV.
- Complete the home security checklist.
- Make one final walk-around of the RV.
- Have a safe trip!
This trip planning checklist does not cover everything required to plan an RV trip, but it’s a good start. You can add to this list to tailor it to your specific needs.
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Posted in Beginning RVer, General, RV Campgrounds, RV Destinations, RV Maintenance, RV Safety, RV Tips & Hints, RV Tires, RV Types, Trailer Towing Topics | Tags: how to plan an RV trip, RV 101 checklists, RV checklists, RV destinations, RV trip planning, RV trip planning checklist, RV trips
Today we’re going to tackle an RV floor covering do-it-yourself project in our used RV project 5th wheel trailer.
The original floor covering in the RV is showing some age and we thought it would be a fun weekend project to replace it. When it was time to decide on a new floor covering we wanted something that was rated for commercial traffic, and that looked good too. After some research I found Infinity Luxury Woven Vinyl. Infinity LWV products are popular in the marine industry and they are making a presence in the RV industry too. Infinity offers numerous collections of luxury woven vinyl products in more than 100 colors. We decided on the Linen luxury fabric because it highlights some of the RV’s interior treatments.
Infinity luxury woven vinyl is anti-microbial, soil and stain resistant, fade resistant and easy to clean. It has a dense cushion backing, and its pet friendly which is great for us. Here is how we installed Infinity LWV flooring in the RV.
The first step of the pre-installation process was to determine where we wanted the new flooring and then remove the existing flooring, which in our case included carpet and vinyl.
With that done we can start on the installation. It’s important to note when you work with this product it must be rolled face out, with the cushion in. Do not crease the fabric at all. The warranty is voided if it is rolled wrong, creased, or if the product was cut, fitted or installed. Let’s get started.
Note: Prior to cutting the product inspect it for any problems. If the fabric does not meet your expectations contact Infinity’s customer support.
Preparing the Floor for Installation
When temperatures drop we winterize our RVs so we won’t have problems next spring, but winterizing your RV is only part of preparing the RV for winter storage. Lots of folks don’t think about it, but proper RV storage procedures are just as important as winterizing the RV’s plumbing system.
Here are my top 5 RV storage tips:
These RV storage tips do not cover everything you need to be concerned about when storing your RV, but it’s a good start.
RV Storage Tip #1
When preparing the unit for storage I always wash the exterior and clean the interior thoroughly. Make sure all awning fabric is clean and dry before stowing the awnings. This is a good time to inspect all of the roof seams, body seams and window sealant for any cracks or openings that would let water penetrate the surface. Water can get in the smallest openings so it’s important that you closely inspect all of the sealants. Consult your RV owner’s manual or RV dealer for sealants compatible with any surfaces you are resealing.
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Posted in Beginning RVer, RV Batteries, RV Electrical System, RV Maintenance, RV products, RV Safety, RV Tips & Hints, RV Tires | Tags: how to store your RV, RV maintenance, RV storage covers, RV storage tips, RV storage tips and tricks, RV winterizing, Storing your RV
Question: Can you tell me the correct pressure to inflate my RV tires to prior to taking a road trip? My travel trailer tires show a max psi of 70lbs on the tire’s sidewall. I can’t seem to get a straight answer from our local shops, and I want to make sure I don’t overheat or damage them. Thanks for any information you can provide.
This can be a bit confusing, but I’ll try and explain it. Tire manufacturers publish tire load and inflation tables for the tires they manufacture. In a perfect world you would know what the actual load placed on the tire is and you could go to the load and inflation tables for precise inflation pressures based on that load.
Of course things never work out that way. Since we know this isn’t always practical there are a couple methods to help determine tire inflation pressure. On the front left corner of the travel trailer you will find a Federal Certification Tag or label and a Tire and Loading Information label. These labels display information on tire inflation pressure, Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR). The tire inflation you see on this label is based on the trailer’s designed load limits. If no additional weight is placed on tires this inflation pressure is accurate. The question is how much weight is placed on each individual tire? The only way to answer that is to have the RV weighed by individual tire position. If you can’t or don’t weigh the RV by individual tire position using the information on the certification label is the next best thing.
The inflation pressure molded into the sidewall of the tire is the maximum amount of air pressure you can ever inflate the tire to if a full load was placed on the tire. You can locate the maximum load range on the tires sidewall.
Question: We own a motorhome and my question is; when we are not using it, and this could be for several months at a time, should I start the engine periodically?
Mark’s Answer: The quick answer to your question is yes, but there are other factors that need to be considered too. You didn’t mention if the motorhome was gas or diesel, or if it does or does not have an on-board generator.
The primary reasons for starting an engine during storage is to keep engine components lubricated and to prevent the fuel from tarnishing and gumming up. Both of these conditions can result in expensive repair bills to correct the problem. Diesel fuel can tolerate storage better than gasoline, but you still have concerns about keeping engine components lubricated.
Here’s what I recommend:
The first step is to change the oil and oil filter on the engine and generator prior to storage. Acids accumulate in used engine oil and can corrode engine bearings.
Next, add a fuel preservative to the fuel tank if the RV will sit idle for more than a couple months at a time. You can purchase fuel preservatives at your local auto parts store. Purchase enough to treat the amount of fuel in the fuel tank. Add the preservative and run the engine and the generator long enough for the preservative to get through the entire fuel system.
Note: I also recommend filling the tank with fuel to reduce the amount of condensation.
These preventive maintenance steps will help, but I still recommend starting and running the engine and generator at least monthly when it is in storage. Running the engine allows the oil to lubricate the dry components of the engine, and it helps keep the RV batteries topped off.
I also recommend starting and running the generator on a monthly basis. Make sure you run the generator with at least a half-rated load for an hour or two. You can locate generator load ratings in the generator owner’s manual.
Welcome back to another edition of RV Consumer E-Magazine. In this cold weather issue Mark discusses important topics like winterizing your RV, cold weather maintenance and RV storage. This issue also features a fall and winter camping tips article and three RV videos of the month.
RV Education 101
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Posted in Beginning RVer, Free RV Consumer E-Magazine, General, RV Batteries, RV Campgrounds, RV Maintenance, RV products, RV Safety, RV Tips & Hints, RV Tires, RV Types | Tags: cold weather camping tips, Cold weather RV tips, RV magazine, RV maintenance, rv storage, RV tips, RV winterizing
Periodic roof inspections and maintenance can extend the life to your RV roof and the work is not difficult for RV owner’s to perform.
Today I want to discuss the correct way to apply new lap sealant on your RV roof.
To get many years of reliable service from your RV roof it’s important to properly maintain the roof. A major component of RV roof maintenance is inspecting the roof sealants periodically. If there is a way for water to penetrate the sealants it will find it.
Caution: Safety first, whenever you are working on your RV roof exercise caution. A fall can result in serious injury or death.
When you inspect the sealants on your RV roof the key is to look closely for any cracks or separation in the old sealant where water could penetrate the surface. This means getting on your hands and knees and really inspecting all of the sealants.
Prior to resealing any sealants on the roof you need to thoroughly clean the old sealant, and the surrounding roof surface so the new sealant can adhere to the surface. I use Dicor Rubber Roof Cleaner to first clean the area, followed by some denatured alcohol on a clean cloth as a final preparation.
If the old sealant you are resealing has lifted or separated from the surface of the roof and can be removed go ahead and remove it. Otherwise it’s best to leave it alone and seal over the old sealant.
Make sure you use the correct sealant for the roof’s surface. Consult your RV owner’s manual or local RV dealer for the proper sealant. Use a standard caulking gun and run a bead of caulk over the area you are resealing. If you are sealing a crack or separation in the old sealant you don’t need to apply as much sealant as you would for a new application.
Touching up old sealants on your RV roof is not difficult and it can help prevent costly water damage. Click here to watch the video
To learn more about using and maintaining your RV visit www.rveducation101.com
Have you ever arrived at your camping destination only to realize the RV sewer hose wasn’t long enough to reach the sewer drain outlet? I think this happens to most of us eventually. To help solve the problem I recommend keeping some RV sewer extension hoses on hand in the RV.
There are several different types and sizes of extension hoses available.
For starters lots of RVs have offset drain outlets inside the sewer compartment making it difficult to connect to the RV drain outlet itself. There are 2-foot extension hoses, referred to as compartment hoses to help solve this problem. Some of these extension hoses have built-in rotating fittings making it easy to connect to those tight compartment fittings.
The day will surely arrive when you need additional length hose to reach the campground drain outlet. There are 5 and 10-foot extension hoses available to add length to your sewer hose. Connecting two hoses together is easy with the standard bayonet fittings.
Keep in mind you get what you pay for; like everything else some RV sewer hoses are better than others. The vinyl wrap the hose is made of comes in different thicknesses, and heavier vinyl hoses are less prone to pin holes and wear. Some RV sewer hoses are made with better connectors for a secure leak- free connection at the campground.
You will be glad you have extension hoses on hand when you need them. I personally keep a 2-foot, 5-foot and 10-foot extension hose in the RV, in addition to a 20-foot drain hose. Research the various brands of extension hoses available and purchase a couple different size hoses just in case. If your RV travels take you to different campgrounds I can almost guarantee you will need extension hoses someday. Watch the video
How much water should I add to my RV battery?
That’s a good question, but before I answer your question let’s talk briefly about checking the electrolyte levels in your lead-acid batteries. Checking the water level in lead-acid battery cells on a regular basis can save and extend the life of your RV batteries. The more a battery is used and/or charged the more water evaporates from the cells. I recommend checking the water level monthly and after each RV trip. If you leave the RV plugged in, constantly charging the battery, you should check the water levels bi-monthly.
Next it’s important to know you only add water to a fully charged battery, unless the water level is already below the plates in the cell. If the water level is below the plates add just enough water to cover the plates and recharge the battery. When a battery is fully charged the water level is at the most accurate level. This is when you should check battery water levels.
Note: If you are not comfortable working on or near lead-acid batteries have a qualified RV repair facility perform the battery maintenance for you. When you work around batteries wear goggles and gloves, remove all jewelry and do not smoke or use any open flames.
To answer your question when you add water to a battery you only fill the cell to 1/8 inch below the bottom of the fill well or split ring. If you look inside the battery cell you will see a plastic ring that extends down inside the cell roughly 1 inch. This is what is referred to as the fill well or split ring. The electrolyte solution in lead-acid batteries is a mixture of sulfuric acid and water. If you add too much water a couple things will happen that can be detrimental to the battery and to you.
- Adding too much water can deplete the required electrolyte solution of acid and water resulting in compromised battery performance.
- Adding too much water will result in corrosion caused by overflow during charging. Sulfuric acid is extremely corrosive and can can ruin paint, burn your skin and damage clothing.
Over filling a battery is bad, but even worse is when a battery is under-watered. When a battery is not recharged in a timely or when the plates are not covered by the electrolyte solution the plates begin to sulfate. The sulfate material attaches to the discharged or exposed portions of the plates and begins to harden into crystals. Eventually the sulfate material cannot be converted back into active plate material and the battery is ruined. Battery sulfation is the number one cause of battery failure. Always make sure the plates are covered by the electrolyte solution. When you add water to a battery only use mineral free water, distilled water is best.
Follow these basic battery maintenance procedures and add years of life to your lead acid RV and automobile batteries.
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Posted in Beginning RVer, General, RV Batteries, RV Electrical System, RV Maintenance, RV Safety, RV Tips & Hints, RV Training | Tags: add water to RV battery, battery electrolyte, RV battery maintenance, RV battery safety, RV battery sulfation, RV battery tips, watering RV batteries
When I was a teenager and went tent camping in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania we packed coolers with ice to keep our food cold and frozen. I remember making runs to the local country store every couple days to pick up more bags of ice for the coolers.
Those days are long gone. Now when we go camping, tailgating, to a sporting event or on RV trips we take a portable refrigerator/freezer by Dometic. They come in a variety of sizes (from 28 to 95 liters) and with numerous options to meet your specific needs. If you are on-the-go and need to keep drinks or food cold or frozen these portable refrigerator/freezers by Dometic are essential equipment.
We started with a smaller portable unit and when our needs changed we checked out the new CFX-95DZUS Dual-Zone Portable Refrigerator & Freezer. It is loaded with features and options, but the most unique feature is the separate compartments so you can refrigerate and freeze at the same time. One compartment is 54 liters and the other compartment is 40.5 liters for a total storage capacity of 94.5 liters. The dual-zone feature is available in the CFX-65DZUS and CFX-95DZUS models. On the CFX-95DZUS model you can set either compartment anywhere from -8 degrees F to +50 degrees F so you can make either the 54 Liter side or the 40.5 liter side freeze or refrigerate (or both sides freeze or both sides refrigerate).
It comes with removable wire baskets for easy loading & cleaning. The CFX-95DZUS holds 117 12-oz. cans so keeping your kids entire sports team hydrated, or keeping beverages cold for an outdoor party is easy. It also features a dairy compartment for perishables.
The tough and tested exterior is made to endure the harshest outdoor environments. It has durable latches, hinges, and drop-down handles designed to stand the test of time. It operates on 12-volt and 24-volt DC power or 120-volt AC power. Just plug it in and the powerful but energy efficient compressor starts cooling immediately. There is a USB port to charge a mobile device, and it has a built-in battery protection feature that can be set to Hi, Med, or Low when you are using 12VDC. This feature prevents the vehicle battery from draining if the 12-volt outlet stays powered when the vehicle is not running.
The features don’t stop there. When it is turned on you will notice a digital temperature display and a soft-touch control panel. The temperature an be set from -8°F to +50°F (-22°C to +10°C). The memory feature maintains presets if the system is turned off and there is a quick-chill turbo feature too.
The CFX-95DZUS model also has an iOS & Android app to control the portable cooler functions with your smartphone. I mentioned earlier that these portable refrigerator freezers are great for RV trips, back yard BBQs, sporting events, camping and tailgating. If you are active and on-the-go and need to keep food and drinks cold or frozen check out these versatile portable refrigerator/freezers by Dometic
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Posted in Beginning RVer, General, RV Campgrounds, RV Destinations, RV products, RV Tips & Hints, RV Types | Tags: coolers for camping, Dometic portable refrigerator freezer, dometic rv products, portable coolers, portable freezer, portable refrigerator freezer
This article pertains to deep-cycle lead-acid batteries used in RV applications. Properly maintained deep-cycle batteries should last for 6 or more years. Unfortunately some RV owners replace RV batteries every year or two. Extending battery life is not that difficult, it just requires some basic care & maintenance.
Today I would like to offer my top 10 tips to extend the life of your RV and automobile lead acid batteries.
Caution: Always keep safety in mind when working around lead-acid batteries. Lead-acid batteries contain sulfuric acid that is extremely corrosive and can cause severe burns or blindness. The hydrogen gas produced by lead-acid batteries during charging is very explosive. When you work around batteries you need to wear goggles, gloves and remove any jewelry. Do not smoke or use any open flames around batteries
My Top 10 RV Battery Tips
- Routine maintenance and recharging a discharged battery as soon as possible will extend the life of the battery. The leading cause of dead lead-acid batteries is sulfation. When a battery is in a low state-of-charge small crystals start forming on the plates (sulfation) and if it remains in this condition for an extended period of time, without recharging, the battery is ruined. Sulfation starts when a battery’s state of charge drops below 80%, or 12.4 volts. Recharging a battery in a timely manner helps prevent sulfation.
Whenever I discuss RV roof care and maintenance I like to start with the basics, washing the RV roof.
Caution: Safety first, whenever you are working on your RV roof exercise caution. A wet roof can be extremely slippery and a fall can result in serious injury or death.
I personally use Dicor’s Rubber Roof Cleaner, but regardless of the cleaner you choose never use products that contain petroleum distillates, citric ingredients or harsh abrasives on your RV roof. These chemicals will damage rubber roof membranes.
I like to start at the front of the RV roof and work towards the back of the RV. Start by rinsing the roof to remove any loose dirt or debris. Next, spray the roof cleaner on the roof surface. I use a medium bristle brush attached to a broom handle, but you can use a sponge or other cleaning cloth if you prefer.
I like to work in 3 X 3 foot sections at a time. Scrub the roof surface in a circular motion so the cleaner can really work into the roof’s surface. After a section is cleaned rinse it thoroughly with water.
Note: It’s a good idea to keep the sides of the RV wet so rinsing the cleaner from the roof’s surface does not leave any streaks or stains on the sides, front or rear of the RV.
It may be necessary to repeat the cleaning process on stubborn stains, or on a roof that has not been cared for properly.
That’s really all there is to cleaning your RV roof, and this simple preventive care and maintenance procedure can add years of life to your RV roof.
It’s important you know what type of RV roof you have so you can properly clean and maintain the roof. For the most part there are two categories RV synthetic roofs fall into:
1) Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer or EPDM
2) Thermal Poly Olefin or TPO.
You may have heard various techniques for determining the type of rubber roof you have, but you need a sure-fire method, so there are no questions left unanswered.
You should be able to locate this information in the RV owner’s manual. If not, the easiest method I know is to go inside the RV and locate an overhead roof vent. Using the proper type screwdriver remove the vent trim ring. Most RV manufacturers will leave a section of the roofing material stapled to the inside of each side of the framed vent opening. If possible remove a staple so you can look at both sides of the roofing material. If one side is a white or a dove color and the other side is black it is EPDM. If the roofing material is all one color, top and bottom, it is TPO. Some TPO roofing has a fleece backing too, but the thing to remember is if the roofing material is all one color it is TPO.
If your RV roofing is EPDM, and you want to make repairs or touch-up the sealants you can use Dicor lap sealant.
If your RV roofing is TPO you need to do a bit more research prior to using any sealants. Beginning in 2011 new forms of TPO roofing entered the RV marketplace. Basically if the TPO roofing was manufactured in 2010 or earlier or if it has a fleece backing you can use Dicor lap sealant for repairs and resealing. If the TPO roofing was manufactured in 2011 or later, or if it does not have a fleece backing you need to use the Dicor Ultra Sealant System for resealing and repairs.
My favorite pastime is traveling the country in our RV. I enjoy visiting new and interesting places, and experiencing new adventures in the RV. I also enjoy keeping up with my favorite satellite programming during our RV road trips. There is nothing quite like settling in the RV at night and watching your favorite show or a good movie on TV. The last thing you want to do is ruin your evening trying to set-up the satellite antenna, or acquire a good signal.
What I want in our RV is a super simple portable RV satellite solution. After some research I discovered the Carryout G2+ automatic satellite antenna by Winegard.
Let’s start by looking at a few concerns you might encounter with RV travel and satellite TV reception:
- Ease of set-up
- Accessing the satellite signal
- Viewing TV using more than one satellite receiver
Ease of Set-Up
If you’re like me you don’t want headaches and stress when it comes to setting up a satellite system in the RV.
I found the Carryout G2+ set-up to be really easy. You make a few simple connections and before you know it you are watching your favorite TV program. The G2+ system is compatible with multiple satellite providers. We use Direct TV and that is the default setting on the power inserter, but it can easily be changed. Just follow the settings in the instructions to change the switches to a different provider.
Next you simply connect the supplied 25’ coax between the G2+ and the power inserter, connect the 3’ coax between the power inserter and your receiver, and connect an HDMI or coax from the receiver to the TV. After the connections are made power up the receiver, the TV and the power inserter and the automatic antenna will start searching for a signal. That’s all there is to it. It literally took less than 20 minutes to set the system up right out of the box.
Accessing the Satellite Signal
One thing I really like about the Carryout G2+ is that it’s portable.
It works great for RVs, and it can be used on other camping trips, for tailgating, backyard BBQs and more. The G2+ also offers several mounting options. Some options include temporary tripod and window mounts and there are more permanent roof, ladder and vehicle mounts. My primary goal was to use the G2+ on the RV so I opted to convert the portable Carryout G2+ into a permanent roof mount using the roof mount kit available from Winegard.
The G2+ features the latest technology in satellite acquisition. It is small, but powerful and it is fully automatic. What that means is after the connections are made the automatic antenna quickly goes to work locating the maximum signal strength. Keep in mind if there are trees, buildings or other obstacles in the path no satellite antenna will get a signal, but with a clear unobstructed view to the southern sky the G2+ quickly locks in on the strongest signal.
Viewing TV using more than one Receiver
For the past 8 years or so we used and enjoyed an older Winegard satellite antenna on our RV. It works great, but one disadvantage is you can only connect the antenna to one satellite receiver in the RV. This meant if someone was watching TV in the living room and someone else was watching TV in the bedroom both viewers had to watch the same channel. When we decided to upgrade the antenna one requirement was the new antenna needs to have the capability to connect to two receivers in the RV.
The Carryout G2+ solved this concern too. The antenna has two output connectors, one for the main receiver connection and another for a second receiver. You simply run a separate coax from the second antenna port to another receiver in the RV. Now you can view any program you want on both TVs as long as both programs are on the same satellite.
If a portable satellite antenna is the best choice for you, based on your needs, I highly recommend the Winegard Carryout G2+. It works great for someone on-the-go and as a temporary or permanently mounted antenna for your RV. The G2+ is compact in size, easy to connect, and easy to use. It really is a super simple portable satellite solution.
For more information on the Winegard Carryout G2+ and other satellite solutions visit www.winegard.com
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Posted in Beginning RVer, RV Campgrounds, RV Destinations, RV products, RV Tips & Hints, RV Types | Tags: portable RV satellite, RV satellite information, RV satellite installation, RV satellite system, RV satellite tips and tricks, Winegard Carryout G2+, Winegard satellites
There has always been confusion when it comes to the type of tires used on travel trailers and 5th wheel trailers, or any type trailer for that matter. I think lots of folks are somewhat familiar with what are referred to as P-rated (passenger) or LT-rated (Light Truck) tire designations because that is what we use on our automobiles, SUVs and trucks. When you purchase a travel trailer or 5th wheel trailer and the time comes to purchase new tires people are confronted with a new type of tire designation, ST-rated or “Special Trailer” tires.
Before we get into what “ST” tires are I want to talk briefly about some misinformation concerning ST trailer tires. ST tires get a bad rap in general for several reasons. In many cases the reason for tire failure on a trailer is due to overloading the tire, improper tire inflation, the age of a tire or constant exposure to the elements. I can’t tell you how many times I hear stories about tires that only have 10,000 miles and plenty of tread failing for no reason. What doesn’t get mentioned is the tires are 7 or 8 years-old, have cracks in the sidewalls, and are exposed to the sun and other elements every day. In other cases some folks fail to mention a tire was overloaded by 300 or 400 pounds and the tire failure occurred while towing the trailer at highway speeds in 90 degree temperatures. I am not saying this is always the case or reason for trailer tire failure, but it is in many situations.
With that said the designation ST stands for “Special Trailer” tire. ST tires are designed specifically for use on trailer axle positions only. They are not designed for steering axle positions or the traction requirements of a drive axle. ST tires have strengthened sidewalls to help prevent the tire from rolling under the rim in turns and when cornering. The majority of ST tires have a maximum speed rating of 65 mph. ST tires feature materials and construction designed to meet the higher load requirements and demands trailer towing places on a tire.
There has always been controversy surrounding whether to replace ST tires with a good quality LT tire. There are some LT tires I think would do the job on a trailer, but at the end of the day if ST tires are properly matched for the application, properly inflated, properly maintained and not overloaded they are the right tire for the job, in my opinion.
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Posted in Beginning RVer, RV Maintenance, RV Safety, RV Tips & Hints, RV Tires, Trailer Towing Topics | Tags: RV tires, special trailer tires, ST vs. LT tires, trailer ST tires, trailer tire tips, trailer towing tips, what does ST tire mean
When summer temperatures arrive you want to make sure your RV refrigerator can deal with the heat. Today I would like to offer some tips and tricks so the RV refrigerator can do its job more efficiently.
The initial cool down process can take four to six hours. I recommend turning the refrigerator on the day before you plan to leave on your trip. To maximize efficiency it’s best if the food you put in the refrigerator is already cold, and food you put in the freezer is already frozen. Do not over pack refrigerator. Air needs to circulate through the compartment for best results. In most situations you have access to a grocery store while camping, so a two to three day supply of food should be sufficient.
A simple solution to assist with air circulation is to purchase an inexpensive, battery operated refrigerator fan. Install the batteries and place the fan in the front area of the refrigerator compartment blowing upwards. An inexpensive battery operated fan like this can improve the refrigerator’s efficiency as much as by 50%.
When you arrive at the campground the RV needs to be fairly level for the refrigerator to operate properly and for optimum performance.
Heat created by the cooling process is vented behind the refrigerator. Periodically inspect the back of the refrigerator and the roof vent for any obstructions like bird nests, leaves or other debris that might prevent heat from escaping. The outside temperature directly affects the operation and efficiency of your RV refrigerator too. When it’s hot out try parking your RV, with the side the refrigerator is on, in the shade.
Try to limit how often you open the refrigerator or freezer doors and the length of time you leave the doors open. Every time the door is opened it can lose a few degrees of cooling.
Last but not least I recommend keeping a small thermometer in the food compartment. Food can begin to spoil at temperatures above 40 degrees.
RV absorption refrigerators do a great job for RV owners. It will do an even better job, and last longer, if you apply these simple tips and tricks to maximize the refrigerator’s efficiency.
Just in time for the hot weather! Watch this short “10 tips for hot weather RVing” RV how-to video to help you prepare the vehicle for the heat, and show you what you can do to keep the RV cool at the campground too.
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Posted in Beginning RVer, General, RV Batteries, RV Campgrounds, RV Destinations, RV Maintenance, RV Safety, RV Tips & Hints, Trailer Towing Topics | Tags: hot weather camping tips, hot weather RV maintenance tips, hot weather RVing, how to keep RV cool, RV 101 RV summer safety awareness program, RV air conditioner maintenance, RV hot weather tips, RV summer camping tips, RV summer safety
In this special edition of RV Consumer Magazine readers can take a trip through RV time at the RV/MH Hall of Fame Museum, and read an informative article on how to protect your RV water system. You can also test your RV knowledge by playing a crossword puzzle on RV fresh water systems.
To view the PDF version, click here.
To view the flipbook version, click here.
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Posted in Beginning RVer, Free RV Consumer E-Magazine, General, RV Campgrounds, RV Destinations, RV History, RV Maintenance, RV products, RV Safety, RV Tips & Hints, RV Training, RV trivia, RV Types | Tags: antique RVs, RV Hall of Fame Museum, RV history, RV museum, RV water filters, RV water filtration, RV water system
RV 101® by Mark Polk – In this RV how to video learn how to install and program the Tire Minder TM77 Tire Pressure Monitoring System on a motorhome.
I get asked this question a lot. What are the pros and cons of covering your RV? My answer is always, the pros outweigh the cons 10 to 1. The only real cons I can think of is putting the cover on and taking it off.
I am extremely fortunate because we have a garage large enough to store our RV in when we aren’t using it. Prior to building the garage I always kept the RV covered when it sat idle for a couple months at a time. Mother Nature can wreak havoc on materials made of plastic, fiberglass, rubber and vinyl, which is basically the exterior of your RV.
The sun is the primary threat to an uncovered RV, but wind, rain and snow aren’t far behind when it comes to damaging the RV’s exterior. It doesn’t take long for ozone and ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun to damage an RV. Early signs are when the paint on the exterior begins to fade. Eventually you start to notice other products like rubber, vinyl and plastic drying out and cracking.
Another problem is black streaks on the sidewalls of the RV. When it rains dirt and debris from the RV roof runs down the sides of the RV leaving those notorious black streaks. If you ever tried to clean black streaks from the side of a RV, especially one with corrugated aluminum siding, you know how difficult it can be. If you don’t get the black streaks off of the surface in a timely manner they get embedded in the paint and are nearly impossible to remove.
Covering the RV may not prevent all of this, but it helps slow the aging process down. A good quality RV cover also helps protect the RV from possible water damage when it is in storage. Anywhere the RV manufacturer cut an opening in the RV has the potential to leak, especially if the sealants have not been inspected and resealed on a periodic basis. An RV exposed to the elements for months on end can have a water leak you are not aware of, resulting in thousands of dollars in damage the following spring.
This equates to recouping the cost of a good RV cover over one winter.
I mentioned “a good cover” a couple times, and this is important. You not only want a cover that properly fits the type and size of your RV, but you want it constructed from material that can withstand the elements. You also want a fabric that is breathable. This lets air circulate and keep surfaces dry which helps prevent mold and mildew. Never cover your RV with one of those blue plastic tarps. Tarps or covers similar to that promote mold and mildew, and keep moisture and water in rather than allowing it to evaporate and stay dry.
With a little preventive maintenance and a good quality RV cover you can keep your RV looking like new and in better condition for many years to come.
Take a minute to think about the water system on your RV.
First, consider that you add and use water from a different source every time you take the RV camping. Second, consider that some water remains in the RV water lines and in the fresh water holding tank, even after you drain it. This water could potentially sit for several months at a time between RV trips and during storage.
These two points alone should convince you that filtering your RV water makes sense. I always recommend folks sanitize the RV water system every spring when you take the RV out of storage, and any time you detect an odor in the plumbing system. I will save sanitizing the RV water system for another post, so we can concentrate on water filtration.
After making the decision to filter your RV water you need to decide on the best water filtration system for you. There are several different ways you can do it.
- One option is to filter all the water coming into the RV. Some people like this option because even the water you shower with is filtered. There are water filtration systems that can be installed directly into the RV’s plumbing system, and other water filters you simply connect in-line using the RV drinking hose.
- To go a step further there are water filtration systems that use a single filter cartridge and others that use two cartridges, which usually means there is a sediment filter and a some type of carbon filter used in the system.
- A third option is to only filter the water you use for cooking and drinking. In this case the water filter is usually installed in-line under a counter at the sink, or sinks you drink from in the RV.
There are numerous brands of filtration systems to choose from, and many are designed specifically with RVs in mind. Water filters are not difficult to install. You can do-it-yourself, or take the RV to your local RV dealer and have the installation done.
Regardless of how you do it, I personally think filtering the water is a smart decision and You can rest assured the water you drink, cook with and shower with is safe to use.
Your RV generator is powered by an internal combustion engine. When it comes to maintenance internal combustion engines need two things to operate properly and help prolong engine life; it needs fresh air and clean oil.
In 15 minutes you can change your generator engine oil and filter and clean or replace the air filter. Here’s how you do it.
The first step is to start and run the generator for a couple of minutes. This warms the oil up making it easier to drain the crankcase. Just keep in mind the engine, oil filter and oil itself will be warm so be careful. Shut the engine off, place a drain pan under the oil drain plug or tube and drain the old oil.
When the oil stops draining you can remove the oil filter. Note: Not all generators use oil filters, and depending on the type and model of generator the location of the filter can vary. Consult your generator owner’s manual for more information.
Wipe the area where the filter installs with a clean rag. Put a thin layer of clean oil around the rubber gasket on the new oil filter and reinstall the filter. Snug the filter to get a good seal, but do to overtighten it.
Using a funnel add the recommended type and amount of new oil to the crankcase. Consult your generator owner’s manual for oil viscosity and capacity.
Start and run the generator for about 30 seconds. Shut it off, wait a few seconds and check the oil level. Adjust the oil level as required. Check for any oil leaks around the oil filter and oil drain plug or tube.
Internal combustion engines are basically big air pumps. The engine needs clean air to operate properly. Remove the air filter housing cover and check the air filter for cleanliness and for any dirt and debris.
Sometimes it’s possible to clean an air filter, but for the cost of a new filter it’s easier to just replace it, and your engine will thank you for it. Usage on a generator is based on hours. Check the hour meter and record the oil, oil filter and air filter replacement in the maintenance section of the generator owner’s manual.
That’s all there is to a 15 minute RV generator service. Follow the service intervals recommended by the generator manufacturer and your generator will always be there for you when you need it.
Mark J. Polk
RV Education 101
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Posted in Beginning RVer, General, RV Electrical System, RV Maintenance, RV Safety, RV Training | Tags: how to replace RV generator oil and oil filter, replace RV generator air filter, RV generator maintenance, RV generator oil change, RV generator service, RV maintenance
One reason RV travel is so popular is you can travel with your pets. Today I would like to offer some tips to make RV travel with pets as comfortable as possible for you and your pets.
Consider the campground you are staying at. Are they pet friendly? Do they even allow pets? It is unfortunate, but some areas or campgrounds you plan to visit might have Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) or ban particular breeds of dogs. We always call the campground in advance to check the pet policy prior to making reservations.
- Always keep in mind RVs can get extremely hot or cold inside depending on the outside temperature. Always make sure there is some type of ventilation and heat or air available when pets are left in the RV.
- Never leave your pets in an RV for long periods of time without checking on them periodically.
- Always have fresh drinking water available for your pets. You never know the quality of the drinking water when you travel so it’s a good idea to take a container of water from your home that your pets are accustomed to, or use bottled water. Don’t forget to take the brand of pet food your pet is accustomed to.
- Pets should always travel in a pet carrier or crate for personal safety.
- Get a current health certificate from your veterinarian before traveling, and take the pet’s medical records with you.
- It’s a good idea to have some photographs of your pets in the event they get lost or separated from you.
- Update all vaccinations before leaving on your trip and take a proof of rabies vaccination.
- Take flea, tick, and heartworm medications if you will be on extended RV trips.
- Take your veterinarians regular phone number and emergency phone numbers. Get the phone number for a local veterinarian when you arrive at your destination.
- Your pet’s collar should include identification along with basic information such as your name, address and a cell phone number. You can include an e-mail address too. Microchip your pets so people know how to contact you in the event your pet gets lost.
- Take a harness, tie out anchor and a leash or chain. Give your pet plenty of room to move, but be cautious of traffic and obstacles they could get hung or caught on. We use portable exercise pens.Make sure there is shade. Never leave pet unattended.
This doesn’t cover all the information and concerns involved when traveling with your pets, but it’s a good start.
Water damage is at the top of my list for maintenance concerns on RVs, and most of the time it originates at the roof. There are numerous reasons for this. Every where the manufacturer cut a hole in the RV roof has the potential to leak, and everywhere the sidewalls and end caps meet the roof is another potential source for water leaks. When you add all of the twisting and flexing that takes place on the road it’s just a matter of time before sealants give way to water damage.
The good news is a little preventive maintenance helps avoid this costly damage from happening to your RV. Sealants used on RV roofs do a good job, but eventually they dry-out crack and allow water to penetrate the surface. RV manufacturers are aware of these issues and if you read your owner’s manuals most manufacturers require routine inspections of the roof and sealants for the warranty to remain effective. The reason for this is simple, periodic inspections of the roof seams and sealants will reveal problems that can be corrected before it results in expensive repair bills.
There are safety concerns anytime you work on the RV roof, and if you are not comfortable doing this type of work have it done by a reputable RV repair facility. You also want to make sure the roof on your RV can support your weight. Some RV roofs are not designed to be walked on. Always exercise caution when you work on the RV roof, a fall can result in serious injury or death.
I always say the key to these inspections is getting on your hands and knees and thoroughly inspecting the seams and sealants. A small crack or opening can allow water to penetrate the roof’s surface. If you find a potential leak you want to seal it with a sealant designed specifically for the roofing material on your RV. Consult your RV owner’s manual or local RV dealer for proper sealants. It’s not necessary to completely remove the old sealant unless it is cracking or peeling away from the surface. Clean the area thoroughly (you can use denatured alcohol on a clean cloth) and seal the area with a compatible sealant.
If you get into a habit of periodically inspecting and sealing the RV roof you will extend the life of the RV and avoid any issues with your RV warranty. For more information on you RV roof, roof maintenance and helpful videos click here.
When you go camping you depend on your deep cycle batteries, especially if you are dry-camping. To make sure your batteries are up to the task and to help extend the life of your batteries there are a few simple preventive maintenance (PM) checks we can perform.
Before we talk about lead-acid battery maintenance we need to discuss battery safety. Lead acid batteries contain sulfuric acid which is extremely corrosive and can cause severe burns or blindness. When you work around batteries you need to wear goggles and gloves, remove all jewelry and do not smoke or use any open flames. If you are not comfortable working on or around batteries have this maintenance performed by an authorized service center.
Battery maintenance is actually very simple. If you perform these PM procedures on a routine basis you can extend the life expectancy of your RV batteries.
The first thing you want to do is visually inspect the battery for any obvious damage. Any fluid on or around the battery may be an indication that electrolyte is leaking from the battery. A damaged or leaking battery should be replaced immediately.
Inspect the battery terminals, cables, and connectors for any damage and for good connections. Look for any signs of corrosion. Corroded battery terminals or swollen and corroded battery cables will severely reduce a battery’s performance. Clean any dirty battery terminals and connectors using a 50/50 mixture of baking soda and warm water. When you finish cleaning the cables and connectors spray the clamps with a battery terminal protector to assist in preventing corrosion.
Check the battery water levels. Checking the electrolyte on a regular basis can save your flooded lead acid batteries. I recommend checking it monthly. If you leave the RV plugged in, with the battery charging constantly I recommend checking water levels bi-monthly. Single stage battery chargers can overcharge a battery and boil off the electrolyte. When you add water only use mineral free water. Distilled water is best. Only fill a battery cell to 1/8 inch below the vent well. Overfilling battery cells will cause battery acid to overflow. Water should only be added after fully charging the battery unless the water level is already below the plates. The plates need to be covered at all times.
Another tip is to always recharge a battery as soon as possible after it is discharged. The leading cause for dead lead-acid batteries is sulfation. Sulfation starts when a battery is in a low state-of-charge, and if it remains in that condition for extended period of time, without recharging, it will be ruined.
These are simple preventive maintenance procedures RV owners can perform to help prevent battery issues, and extend the life of your RV batteries.
In this RV DIY® video host Mark Polk, with RV Education 101, demonstrates how to reseal RV corner molding using Seal-Tite™ Corner Seal by Seal Design an affiliate of Dicor.
Corner Seal Provides Better Leak Protection than Caulk-and-Molding Alone
When unfinished ceilings and walls join, large gaps can form between the unsealed edges. This is especially true when joining corrugated metal RV siding and metal S-Lock. Oftentimes the caulk in a caulk-and-molding system will not properly cover these gaps, or the leg of the molding does not extend far enough down the RV surface.
RV DIY® with Mark Polk – RV Water Heater Maintenance Tips: Cleaning and flushing the RV water heater on a routine basis can help extend the life of the water heater.
Is it time for new flooring in your RV? In this RV DIY® video Mark Polk, with RV Education 101, demonstrates how to upgrade your old RV flooring with new Infinity Luxury Woven Vinyl flooring.
Happy RV Learning,
Getting to your favorite camping destination is half the fun as the saying goes, but getting there safely is the most important thing.
When you tow a trailer or drive a motorhome it takes longer to stop than it does in an automobile. The heavier the vehicle or truck/trailer combination is the longer it take to stop it.
The Braking Equation
Understanding the braking equation can help, especially in an emergency braking situation. When you apply the brakes to stop a vehicle there are four phases that comprise the braking equation.
The four phases are:
- Perception time: The time it takes to recognize you need to stop.
- Reaction time: The time it takes to apply the brakes.
- Brake lag: The time it takes after you apply pressure to the pedal until the brakes start to engage.
- Stopping distance: The distance you travel after the brakes engage.
Now let’s take a closer look at what you can do to improve the braking equation and get to your destination safely.
Of the four phases you only have control over one.
- Your reaction time is your reaction time and there is not much you can do to improve it.
- Brake lag varies with vehicles and different types of braking systems. On vehicles with air brakes it can take a half-second or longer. You cannot change brake lag.
- The only control you really have over stopping distance is maintaining the RV’s tires and brakes.
- That leaves perception time, the one phase you do have control over.
For example if you are traveling 55 mph and it takes you three seconds to perceive or recognize the need to stop you traveled about 240 additional feet before you start to react.
But if you are mentally alert and aware of your surroundings you can improve your perception time to less than one second. That means rather than traveling 240 feet before recognizing the need to stop you only travel 60 feet before you react. You will stop 180 feet sooner just by improving your perception time.
When you drive or tow an RV staying aware of what is happening in front, behind and around you will help improve perception time and improve your RV driving and towing skills. Safe Travels.
This is an excerpt from our Drive your Motorhome Like a Pro DVD
There are different types and styles of RV windows, but one of the most popular is a clamp ring style window. When you install the window there is a clamp ring on the inside with holes around the perimeter so you can screw the clamp ring into the window’s frame. As you tighten the screws it clamps and seals the window in place. This is the style of window we are discussing today.
We purchased an older 5th wheel project trailer to produce some RV do-it-yourself and RV how-to videos on. The videos are basic upgrades and repairs RV owners can make on their RVs. The videos will be available on our RV Education 101 and RV 101 YouTube channels.
You might need to replace a broken window, reseal a window or remove a window to repair water damage, which happens to be the case with our 5th wheel project trailer. During my inspections of the trailer I noticed signs of water damage on the rear wall. After removing the interior paneling I saw a small amount of water damage around the window, and needed to remove the window to make repairs.
On the interior window frame you will notice numerous screws. These screws secure the clamp ring to the frame and seal the window. Using the correct screwdriver tip remove all of the screws. Keep in mind when the screws are removed the window is ready to come out, so it’s a good idea to have somebody outside too. If the sealant around the window is still good it might take a little effort to get the window out, but it will come. You might also notice some small spacers around the window frame. Make a mental note where the spacers are located for installation.
With the window and interior paneling removed I could assess the damage. In lots of cases it’s necessary to remove the corrugated aluminum sheeting from the exterior too, but the damage was minimal and I was able to make repairs to the window frame and wall from the interior. After the framing repairs were completed and new insulation was installed I cut and stapled new interior paneling to fit around the window opening. Now it’s time to re-install the window.
It doesn’t matter if you are a new RV owner or a seasoned veteran, we all make silly mistakes at some point in time. I usually encourage the use of checklists to help avoid making some of the more common mistakes RV owners make from time to time. When you use a checklist it’s not as easy to forget or overlook a certain step or procedure. But you can’t have a checklist for everything you do in your RV. With that said, in no particular order I want to offer some common mistakes RV owners make in an effort to prevent the same thing from happening to you.
One common problem RV owners experience is odors coming from the black water holding tank. Most of the problem is associated with the way the RV toilet and black water holding tank is designed. RV holding tanks have a vent pipe going from the tank to the roof of the RV. The holding tank odors accumulate in the tank and can’t really be vented outside because there is no air pressure to help force the gasses (odors) up and out of the roof vent. When the air pressure is higher inside the holding tank, than it is inside the RV, the odor escapes into the RV by way of the toilet when you flush it. Some of this can’t be prevented but there are a couple things that help. One is to use plenty of water. The water level in your holding tank will help control odors. You need to get in the habit of adding more water to the holding tank whenever you flush the toilet. It is important you keep the water level above the contents of the holding tank to help control odors. And of course holding tank treatments help too. Another problem is people don’t add enough water after they empty the holding tanks. You need to know what size holding tank you have and make sure you add enough water to completely cover the bottom of the tank, at a minimum, every time you empty the tank. And there are aftermarket roof vents designed specifically to help pull the gasses from the tank and vent it outside.
RV 101® with Mark Polk – Tips on how the ambient temperature affects RV tire inflation. This video is intended to bring awareness to what can happen to tire inflation pressure when the RV sits in storage for weeks or months at a time.
Happy RV Learning,
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Welcome back to another edition of RV Consumer Magazine March 2016, your premier provider for RV education and information.
After reading one of my articles a person wrote asking why I promote the use of a weather radio during RV trips. His logic was, in today’s world you have smart phones with weather apps, TV and satellite dishes. Why would you need a weather radio too?
My response was, not only do I recommend traveling with a weather radio in the RV, but when we return home we keep it in the house. A good weather radio operates on 120-volt AC power and on batteries, keeping you up to date on weather conditions even if you lose power. A good weather radio has an audible warning to alert you in the event of bad weather. And you can receive weather service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24/7 from a weather station close to the vicinity you are in.
Some would argue that a smart phone works off of a battery, has an up to date weather app and will alert you in the event of bad weather and let you see the Doplar radar map. I agree with that logic, but in some remote areas you travel in with your RV you don’t always get a strong signal for cell phone reception or the capability to send or receive data.
We recently had a situation occur that reaffirms my thoughts on this subject. There was bad weather moving through the area where we live and the potential for tornadoes and flooding was high. We live in a remote area, away from cell phone towers and our phone reception is spotty at best. As the bad weather approached we lost our Direct TV satellite reception and the weather app on my phone did not work.
I plugged the weather radio in and set the audible alert notification. In less than 20 minutes of turning the radio on the alert sounded and a weather service warning, from a local National Weather Radio office reported a tornado was spotted less than 15 miles from our house. Needless to say without the weather radio we would not have a clue a tornado was spotted or the location and path of the tornado.
RVs are not safe in severe storms like tornados and thunderstorms with high winds. At the campground a weather radio can alert you in time to seek safe shelter from an approaching storm. These are just a couple reasons why I recommend keeping a weather radio in the RV and in your house when you are not traveling.
Happy RV Learning,
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Posted in Beginning RVer, RV Campgrounds, RV Destinations, RV products, RV Safety, RV Tips & Hints | Tags: NOAA weather service, RV evacuation plan, RV safety, RV safety during bad weather, RV weather radio, use weather radio in RV, weather radios
Mark Polk’s top 7 tips to help extend the life of your RV or tow vehicle’s engine. These simple RV preventive maintenance procedures can add years of life to your RV and/or tow vehicle.
Good to have RV sewer hose accessories that help make the job of emptying your RV holding tanks easier.
It’s important you use the proper trailer hitch ball for the job. Here’s a short trailer towing video explaining the various types, sizes and weight ratings for trailer hitch balls.
If you’re like me you enjoy using your RV as much as possible throughout the year. This includes taking RV trips during the colder winter months so you can enjoy the beautiful winter scenery and activities like, snow-skiing, ice-fishing and snowmobiling. Winter RV trips are lots of fun, especially when you and the RV are prepared for the cold weather.
When winter approaches each year I get asked lots of questions about using RVs in cold temperatures. To answer some of these questions would require more than just a short article, and there are no guarantees that your RV can or will be completely protected from the harsh winter elements. With that said I can offer some cold weather RVing tips and tricks that would be helpful if you plan to use your RV during the cold winter months.
Note: These tips and suggestions are for short-term winter camping in your RV. If you plan to take extended RV trips in cold weather there are many other precautions and measures that need to be considered, like using insulated skirting around the bottom of the RV to help protect items from freezing. This article is intended to offer tips on how to protect your RV during cold-weather camping, but it is extremely important that you also understand how to protect yourself and other campers with you from extreme cold temperatures.
One of the first considerations is if you will be traveling in temperatures below freezing. If this is the case, and there is water in the RV water system, your plumbing lines or water heater tank could freeze, resulting in costly repair bills and ruining your winter wonderland RV trip. To help avoid this we travel with the RV water system winterized. It is much easier to winterize an RV than most folks think, and it’s not that expensive. I have winterized and de-winterized our RV three or more times in one winter.
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Posted in Beginning RVer, General, RV Batteries, RV Campgrounds, RV Destinations, RV Electrical System, RV Maintenance, RV Safety, RV Tips & Hints, RV Tires, RV Types | Tags: cold weather camping tips, Cold weather RV tips, cold weather RV trips, cold weather RVing, how to winterize RV, RV furnace tips and hints, RV winter camping, winter RV tips, winter RVing, winterize RV
A problem I see at campgrounds, and that I get asked about frequently, is how to back a trailer into a campsite. Backing a trailer is perhaps the most nerve-racking part of owning a travel trailer or 5th wheel trailer. For some RV owners just the thought of backing the trailer prevents them from taking trips and enjoying their RV. Based on my observations at campgrounds backing a trailer has probably contributed to more than one failed marriage too.
If you tow a trailer you more-than-likely have heard different versions of the “best” or “easiest” method for backing a trailer, like:
1) Put your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel and turn the wheel in the direction you want the trailer to go.
2) Use walkie-talkies.
3) Look out the window, over your shoulder, and back-up.
4) Just use your mirrors.
5) Use a spotter at the rear of the trailer and watch their directions in the mirrors.
These backing techniques might work for some people, but the fact of the matter is they don’t work for most.
To be proficient at almost anything, like backing a trailer, requires practice but all the practice in the world won’t help if you don’t have a basic understanding of how it is done in the first place.
I learned to back trailers in the military, but working for an RV dealership is where I became proficient at backing trailers. We rearranged the entire sales lot about twice a month, moving and backing trailer after trailer. Eventually I was put in charge of organizing and setting up numerous RV shows where travel trailers and fifth-wheel trailers had to be backed within inches of walls, obstacles, and other RVs.
To do this successfully, time and again, required a bullet-proof backing technique and a few general guidelines. Let’s start with the basics.
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Posted in Beginning RVer, General, RV Campgrounds, RV Destinations, RV Safety, RV Tips & Hints, RV Training, Trailer Towing Topics | Tags: back a trailer the easy way, backing a travel trailer, how to back a 5th wheel trailer, how to back a trailer, how to back a travel trailer, learn how to back a trailer, RV training, RV videos, trailer backing, trailer backing technique, trailer backing video