Research and Reading
I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading on the internet this weekend about different aspects of full-time RV life. I’ve also joined several Facebook groups related to RV’ing. Along with all the positive energy out there, there are also some horror stories being talked about. There is also a ton of good advice to be found.
Here are some of the things I noted this weekend
- The construction quality of RV’s has declined significantly in recent years, so don’t buy new your first time out. I had no intention of buying new anyway.
- Once you’ve decided which RV to purchase have it inspected before buying. You can find qualified inspectors at NRVIA.org.
- The most common cause of RV fires is the refrigerator. What!? How can that be? Are there no safety regulations in the construction of RV’s?!
- One person wrote that when they pulled their fridge out to replace it, the wall (they said wood) behind it was scorched – a fire waiting to happen. This was supposedly in an RV that was only two months old!
- Here’s a good article about the leading causes of RV fires.
- Never leave the gas turned on for the fridge while towing. (Duh) The fridge will remain cold for many hours while traveling.
- Check your tires before and during travel. Are they pointed absolutely straight, or are they tilted inward or outward? Obviously, if they’re tilting you’ve got a problem. Walk around your RV everytime you stop.
- Have the wheel bearings on the RV checked frequently. Wheel bearing failure can cause a fire. Check them everytime you stop when traveling – are they too hot (I’ll have to learn what “too hot” is.)
- Check your tire pressure daily when traveling. A TPM system is probably a good investment.
- One of the leading failures in an RV is cable driven slides.
- Slides that include the refrigerator are too heavy and can cause costly repairs.
- Aftermarket ladders and bumpers should not be trusted to hold any weight, especially if you have something (like a bike rack) attached to the bumper while traveling. Have them double checked as to how they were installed.
- Purchase a Smart Surge Protector (SSP) to install between your RV and the electrical pole your connecting to at a campground. This could save costly repairs to your RV’s electrical system.
- There is a ton of grumbling out there about Camping World. Apparently, they have declined significantly in recent years. I’ve read many stories of shady deals and horrible service. But I’ve also heard that RV service, in general, is not so great.
- Have a comprehensive checklist for both setting up your RV at a site and for breaking down the site. Make a list of all the things that you need to double check before pulling away. When I put mine together I’ll post them.
- Lastly, don’t purchase the minimum tow vehicle required to tow your RV. If the numbers are close, move up to the next sized truck (or buy a lighter RV). An experienced RV’er told me that your RV total weight should not be more than 80% of your trucks’ tow capacity.
I think it’s important to do a ton of research on safety and towing before hitting the road. These are just a few of the things I’ve come across so far. The information out there can be mind-boggling, but it will all come together soon enough.
In general, all the sites, groups and blogs I’ve joined are overwhelmingly positive about RV’ing. I don’t mean to scare anyone, only to provide some food for thought. You just need to be smart and safety conscious about RVing. Learn your RV and tow vehicle inside and out. Take everything slowly and learn as much as you can before hitting the road.
I joined a group on Facebook called Fabulous RVing Women. One of the women is 63 years old and towing a 37′ fifth wheel alone. I’m 63 and have been fretting over pulling anything! I hope to find a 25′ fifth wheel. I’m gaining more confidence daily that I can do this!
Safe travels everyone!