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RV Tips For A Pleasant Journey

Living and traveling in an RV is an experience like no other. Little things you may take for granted in a regular house can quickly become an issue if you haven’t planned ahead. Over the years we’ve spent living and journeying in our RVs, we’ve earned a thing or two. Here are some tips to help make everything go smoothly.
  • We suggest Equalizer Bars for bumper pull type RV’s and adding this will make the trailer and RV with vehicle one unit. The Equalizer Bar relieves the tension placed on the ball-rear of towing vehicle and gives the tow an even pull. This also allows for a more controllable ride. Making this ride more controllable adds to the safety of all on the road.
  • Always check the RV Tires & towing vehicle to see if the road wear is in good shape. Look for tiny nails and screws that could cause a blow out or flat. It’s much easier to change a flat in your driveway or parking lot than on the highway, not to mention safer. Check to see if your spare is properly inflated and not dry rotted. An old dry rotted spare is of no use in the event of an emergency. Make sure you have a spare for both the RV trailer and the tow vehicle.
  • Safety Chains with an emergency break for RV the trailer are not only designed to stop your RV in the event of a detached trailer but will prevent a RV from moving across lanes into oncoming traffic.
  • An Electric Break for RV can be installed on the rear axle of the RV trailer and adjusted from the inside of the towing vehicle driver’s seat. This break will allow for a faster more secure stop when hauling.
  • Air Bags under the truck bed can be adjusted up or down with a small button/gauge from the driver’s seat. A tiny air compressor will be activated inflating these bags lifting the rear up to adjust for the heavy load that has been placed on the rear of truck. This can be used in a bumper pull configuration or 5th wheel application. When there is no load present, the rear air bags can be adjusted down so you can retain a softer ride. A driver can dump air from a switch in the cab driver’s seat in a few minutes.
  • Towing Mirrors are the best option, but if your vehicle did not come with towing mirrors, extension mirrors can be added. These extension mirrors can be removed when not hauling.
  • Towing Capacity of a vehicle should be checked before deciding on the purchase of a specific vehicle. You cannot take it back once you have made the purchase, so get what’s needed the first time. An under-sized ½ ton gas truck might work for small bumper pull RVs and others not at all. Better to get a least ¾ ton truck - preferable diesel.
  • A longer truck bed has many advantages, one being the 5th wheel application is easier to turn and use. A short bed for the 5th wheel is too close to the driver’s cab which makes hauling, turning and backing in much harder. Also, the longer wheel base gives better displacement of weight resulting in a better ride.
  • Jumper Cables are a must, the longer the better. My personal cables are 30’ long which were purchased from Grainger Industrial Supply. These cables are thick, heavy duty cables and will allow accessibility to any stalled vehicle even from the rear of a parked vehicle.
  • A Plastic Emergency Box that is water resistant is great for rags, extra flash lights, leather gloves for helping change the tire, first aid kit, large bottle of water, hand cleaner, duct tape can be used to patch a bad water hose till get to a parts store, tire gauge, spare fuses and hand tools.
  • Sometimes we get asked why does my Wi-Fi not work in my RV? RVs are sometimes wrapped in aluminum just like a beer can and transmitting Wi-Fi can be a challenge. We recommend a Wi-Fi RV boosters antenna. They’re relative inexpensive and can be purchased for $40.00 to $60.00 depending on the make. These RV booster antennas require an 110v connection plug. Some RVs have external antennas and will make the connection even better. If your Wi-Fi connects to your device and not to another device, it usually can be fixed by your setting.
  • RV Chemical Toilet - Most RVs have just one toilet and it must be maintained. When hooked up, we recommend pressing the bottom pedal so to allow water to enter the black tank below. The black tank must have several gallons of water prior to use each time after it is dumped. After obtaining the desired level, add liquid/powder blue chemical and rise by opening flushing petal. Only use RV type toilet paper specially designed for RVs so as not to clog your sanitary sewer exit line. Remember to use lots of water each time you recharge the toilet after dumping.
  • Dumping the Black Tank Y Valve from outside the RV is important to perform daily, so as not to have a back up. Most RVs have gauges to monitor the fresh water tank, grey water tank and the back tank. I personally do not count on the gauges, just check it daily. Open the back tank Y valve first and listen to the water exiting. You can also see the flexible line move and stop when all is done. Close the black tank- sanitary Y valve and open the grey tank which will be lavatories and shower water. This water must be drained just like the back tank, but important that it is last so to wash out the sanitary line.
  • When leaving the park or camp site, add one frozen bag of ice to toilet tank with a few gallons of water. This ice will beat the walls on the inside of your black tank removing stuck on waste. Don’t worry, the ice will melt into water not hurting anything. Just the movement of moving down the highway will clean this tank with the help of the bag of ice that you added.
  • Electric Appliances in the RV - Please do not attempt to run all at the same time. Attempting to run all electrical appliances at one time will overload the circuit and fuses will burn. This is especially true during summer months with both air conditioners running. Try turning your AC on low during high usage and low while using the microwave to lighten the load.
  • Anticipating rain while parked at the Park-Campground: If you do not have rain sensor vents, be sure to close your vents when you leave for any period of time as you do not want to come home to water inside your trailer-RV. If you’re going to be away from your RV for extended period of time it’s a good idea to close all vents. This prevents a messy or damaging clean up when you come home.
  • Leveling the RV: Always carry 2’x12’ treated cut boards especially if you’re on dirt-gravel pavement. These pieces of wood can be installed under your jacks and will span the load across the dirt- gravel allowing the jacks not to sink into the dirt. Some of the RV Campers use expensive plastic boards but wood seems to be stronger and less expensive.
  • Cleaning the windshield of RV or towing truck: Bugs will accumulate on the front windshield and they can bake on depending on the sun and will be hard to remove. We find plain old while vinegar with water cuts through the residue and dissolves these bugs and leaves windshields like new. Make sure you cut the vinegar with water so not to etch your paint and rinse thoroughly.
  • Flash Light and Emergency Flashers: Emergencies happen, and they are never planned so do not get caught without a flashing light or some plain old triangle reflectors. At the very least, these reflectors can be setup a few feet apart leading up to the stalled RV letting all know there is a problem and to slow down.
  • Handy Man Jack or Hi-Lift Jack: These jacks can lift heavy trailers or RVs or you might just add a hydraulic floor jack to your emergency tools. You select your jack depending on the road surface type. If you have the treated 2’x12’ cut piece of wood that is used for leveling, this same wood can be placed under the jack on a dirt road to stabilize jack.
  • Tire Lug Wrench - Cross: Make sure you have at least a basic lug wrench or a cross lug wrench which will accommodate different size lug nuts. The tire wrench or Tire Cross can be purchased from any auto part store.
  • Electric Jack for 5th Wheel or Bumper Pull: This jack will lift the RV trailer off the 5th wheel attachment or off the bumper pull ball. Make sure your trailer is equipped with a manual jack in case the electric jack motor goes out and you need a backup plan. Some RVs have two electric jacks and a manual so not to be stranded.
  • Ants-Bugs around the RV: When setting up your new RV Pad or camp site, sprinkle ant bait/poison around the perimeter of your RV. These little pests smell food and you will always have food.