Welcome to the world of RV living! You have joined the ranks of those who enjoy the freedom and comfort that comes with a tiny home on wheels. Where you are free to roam the country, see the gorgeous landscapes and chase your dreams.
As with any dream comes a certain level of responsibility. Your precious RV needs tender loving care, so we’ve gathered up some of the common mistakes RV owners make so you don’t make them. Follow these basic principles and you’ll have a wonderful time on the road.
Not Checking the Weather Report
In your travels, you’ll no doubt run into a seasoned RV owner who will tell you that the most unpredictable part of the RV lifestyle is the weather! It’s essential to check the weather report before heading out. Nothing says ‘uh oh’ like running unexpectedly into high winds, fog, or heaven forbid a tornado.
Nowadays, of course, our smartphones are the main source of this information. But for those times when you do not have a signal, having a battery-powered weather radio is always a must.
Ignoring Vehicle Weight Limits
Overloading your RV can not only prove costly, it can be dangerous. Know what your Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is; it should be clearly marked on a label on the RV. The GVWR is the total dry weight of the RV, including cargo (food, clothing, blankets, people, etc). It can all add up FAST and even the most well-intentioned RV owner can surpass the limit.
Most truck stops have scales available (for a fee) for you to weigh your cargo (make sure you and your crew are in the RV when it’s being weighed). This will give you a good idea of where you stand within the range. This is important to know if you are ever involved in an accident and are found to be over your GVWR limit; your claim will not be paid and you may even be fined.
Disregarding Clearance Limits
As a supplement to knowing the GVWR, also memorize the height, width, and length limit of your RV. This is important to know when you are maneuvering your RV in tight spots such as tunnels, bridges, and parking spaces. Many RV drivers have damaged the top of the RV, the AC unit, bumpers, mirrors, or others’ property.
When you travel, pay close attention to the clearance signs of tunnels, bridges, and other drive-throughs with a canopy. RV Trip Wizard gives great info on low clearance levels along your planned route.
Forgetting to Check Tire Pressure
You should be doing this every time you set off in your RV. Yep, every time! The tires are the most used and abused part of your RV, and it carries a heck of a lot of weight. The last thing you want is a blowout – they cause delays and can lead to a serious accident.
Take just a couple of minutes to eyeball your tires for wear, and then checking each tire to make sure it’s at the appropriate pressure level will help ensure a smooth trip. Some RV owners invest in a good tire pressure monitoring system for added peace of mind.
Not Doing a Complete RV Walk-Around
No matter how stable your rig is, when you’re driving down the road, it tends to give an earthquake effect to the accessories and your belongings inside. It is helpful to create a self-made checklist of items to secure before heading out. Things such as shower doors, closet doors, chairs, and propane tanks should be closed and securely stowed away. Make sure door steps are stowed and awnings are tied down before each and every trip.
In addition, make sure to disconnect water/sewer hoses and electric cords before you leave the campsite. You may be rolling your eyes but these are common things that have been destroyed, causing damage to both your RV and the RV campground.
A Couple of Great RV Resources
When you’re not staying with us and are on the road, RV Trip Wizard is a great way to get the skinny on the best roads and conditions for your RV. You can also share your RV experiences and get advice from experienced RVers on the iRV2 Forums.