Are You Making These Common Rookie Mistakes In Your RV?
RVs have become a popular choice for many people who love the idea of traveling with all the comforts of home. However, for first-time RV users, the experience can be daunting.
We’ve all been there, making those common rookie mistakes that lead to unnecessary stress and unexpected expenses. This article will highlight some of these rookie mistakes and provide tips on how to avoid them.
Mistake 1: Overpacking
- Many first-time RV users tend to overpack. They bring too many clothes, kitchen utensils, and other non-essential items.
- Overpacking not only clutters the RV but also increases its weight, which can affect fuel efficiency, and it can lead to dangerous consequences such as tire or brake failure, suspension and axle damage, and decreased stability.
- Make a list of essential items before you start packing.
- Pack versatile clothing that can be layered for different weather conditions.
- For kitchen utensils, only bring what you will use regularly.
Mistake 2: Not understanding RV systems
- Many new RVers do not take the time to understand their RV’s systems like the electrical, plumbing, and propane systems.
- Lack of understanding can lead to misuse or damage.
- Take the time to read the owner’s manual and understand how each system works.
- If possible, have an experienced RV user show you the ropes.
- Watch YouTube videos and search online for more information as needed.
Mistake 3: Not planning your route
- Many RV rookies hit the road without a clear plan or route. This can lead to getting lost or ending up in places not suitable for RVs.
- Some roads and bridges have height and weight restrictions that can be problematic for RVs.
- Plan your route ahead of time with an RV-specific trip planner like RV LIFE Trip Wizard, which takes into consideration the size and weight of your RV.
- Use an RV GPS like the RV LIFE App that provides routes suitable for your RV.
Mistake 4: Ignoring regular maintenance
- Many rookie RVers overlook the importance of regular RV maintenance. Ignoring routine checks and services can lead to mechanical failures, potentially leaving you stranded or, worse, causing an accident.
- Establish a regular maintenance schedule for your RV. This should include checking fluid levels, inspecting tires, brakes, and the engine, and servicing the generator. Use a tool like RV LIFE Maintenance to keep track of all your maintenance and receive timely reminders when maintenance tasks are due.
Mistake 5: Neglecting RV battery care
- New RV owners often neglect to care for their RV batteries.
- Leaving a battery in a discharged state can significantly shorten its lifespan, potentially leaving you without power when you need it most.
- Regularly check your battery’s charge level.
- Never let it drain completely.
- If your RV is in storage, disconnect the battery to prevent it from draining.
Mistake 6: Not checking campground compatibility
- Another rookie mistake is forgetting to check if campgrounds can accommodate your particular RV’s size or power needs.
- Arriving at a campsite only to discover that you can’t fit or connect to necessary utilities is a common mistake.
- Before heading out, research campgrounds online first.
- You can learn more about the amenities offered, read reviews, see photos, and get tips from other RVers on RV LIFE Campgrounds. Make sure your RV can be accommodated in terms of size and utility hookups.
Mistake 6: Driving too fast
- First-time RV drivers often underestimate the effect of size and weight on their driving.
- Speeding can make it difficult to control the RV, especially during sudden stops or when maneuvering turns.
- Always maintain a safe speed while driving. Remember, an RV is not a sports car; it takes longer to speed up, slow down, and turn.
Mistake 7: Disregarding weight distribution
- New RVers often don’t realize the importance of balanced weight distribution. Unbalanced loads can affect the RV’s handling and stability, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Make sure your load is evenly distributed across your RV. Heavy items should be placed low and towards the center. Rebalance your load if you add or remove items during your trip.
Mistake 8: Not properly securing items
- Rookie RVers often forget to secure items inside the RV before hitting the road. As a result, objects can shift, slide or even fly around while driving, which can cause damage or injury.
- Ensure everything in your RV is properly secured before driving. Cabinets should be latched, loose items stowed away, and larger objects secured with straps or bungee cords.
Mistake 9: Underestimating the importance of a pre-trip inspection
- Neglecting to do a pre-trip inspection is another common rookie mistake.
- Overlooking this step can lead to mistakes like driving off with the awning out or the steps extended, resulting in damage or accidents.
- Always perform a comprehensive pre-trip inspection.
- Check that all exterior components are secured, verify your lights and signals are functioning, and ensure that windows and vents are closed.
Mistake 10: Neglecting fresh water safety
- Some rookie RVers overlook the importance of fresh water safety. They either fail to sanitize their water system regularly, or connect to non-potable water sources, which can lead to health issues.
- Always use a safe, potable water source for your RV. Regularly sanitize your RV’s water system according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Consider using a water filter for additional safety.
Get tips from other RVers
In conclusion, avoiding these common rookie mistakes can make your RV experience more enjoyable and less stressful. Remember, preparation is key, and with time, you’ll become a seasoned RV user.
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.