RVs can be a lot of fun, but they are also a lot of work. Here are some common RV problems you can expect and hopefully avoid.
RVs are a great excuse to get away for a while, whether it's for a long weekend or an extended trip across the country. But like any home, there are some common RV problems that will result over time and require your attention. You can avoid some of these problems, but you should be prepared to handle all of them, both financially and practically.
Common RV problems: Burst water linesA burst water line or a broken water pump is one of the most common RV problems. You can usually avoid this by storing your RV properly during the cold season and emptying the water tanks on a regular basis. If you're the type to neglect your water tanks for a few days, stay mindful of the weather forecast and be sure to empty the tanks before the first freeze. Because you won't use the RV during the winter, it's essential to take care of your water lines before putting your RV in storage.
Common RV problems: Toilet malfunctionsThe last thing anybody wants in their RV is toilet trouble. It's not only unpleasant but can also be unhealthy. If water doesn't stay in your toilet bowl or if the water continuously runs, you have a problem that you'll need to address sooner rather than later. Make sure that the rubber seals around the large valve are in good shape and replace them if they're not. If the water valve isn't closing completely, you'll have to replace it. Thankfully, water valves are relatively cheap, but you'll have to remove the toilet to fix it. Since there's no access to the water valve without removing the toilet, there isn't much you can do to avoid this, so just be prepared for it to happen after years of use.
Common RV problems: Tire blowoutOne of the problems with carrying all that weight on four wheels is that the tires can't always handle it, especially if you're traveling over bumpy or poorly kept roads. RV tire blowouts are particularly dangerous because of the size of the vehicle and because they tend to be top-heavy. Avoid blowouts by checking tire pressure regularly and especially before taking your RV on the road. Also, make sure you have a spare tire with you at all times, and don't forget to regularly check its pressure as well.
If you do experience a blowout, pull over immediately to replace the tire. Remember to stay safe whenever you're broken down on the side of the road.
Common RV problems: Roof and window leaks
You might think of your RV the same way you think of your home, but the reality is that it's not nearly as structurally sound. Everything from sunlight to poor weather to low-hanging branches can potentially damage your RV's roof. If possible, use a roof cover to minimize exposure to the elements. If you can't keep it covered, inspect the roof monthly for any signs of damage and repair it immediately. You might also consider applying rubber roof coating to protect your roof.
Windows, too, can spring leaks, usually as a result of the window sealing breaking down. Check the window seals twice a month and replace them at the first sign of damage.
Common RV problems: Battery failure
An RV without power loses a lot of its appeal. If the lights won't turn on or the outlets don't work or the motor won't start, there's a good chance there's something wrong with the battery. Regularly check the fluid levels in your battery and test the charge to make sure it's still working properly. It can also be a good idea to disconnect the battery cables when your RV isn't in use, which will prevent electrical devices from drawing from the battery even though they are off.
Common RV problems: Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning may not exactly qualify as common, but it's happened enough times that it's worth including here to ensure you and your loved ones remain safe. RVs generate carbon monoxide the same way cars do, except unlike cars, RVs have many more vents and other openings where carbon monoxide gas can seep in. Now this shouldn't happen unless something is broken, but sometimes the issue is discovered too late. Keep everyone safe and healthy by using carbon monoxide detectors in your RV and as always, make sure the batteries are fresh and that the device operates correctly. This one won't just save you headaches, but it might also save your life.
Common RV problems: User errors
On a lighter note, make sure that you take care to attend to the simple things when using your RV. When you finish at a campsite and get ready to move on, make sure you've disconnected any hoses that you've attached to the vehicle. Take down the awning and close any slide rooms. If you think you've done everything, do a once-over to make sure. Some of the most common RV problems stem from simply not paying attention. Save yourself the trouble and take the time to make sure you've closed up properly.
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