Common Mistakes for New RV Owners
Welcome to the RV world!
In the past few years, RV ownership has sky-rocketed. With all of the uncertainties that surround us, an RV can give both peace of mind and the freedom to explore. However, if you’re new to the world of RVs, there are a few mistakes to be avoided. These mistakes are often made by those inexperienced in RV travel.
Mistake #1: Trying to travel too far in one day
Many new RV drivers will try to push their distance to the max, but that’s a quick way to wear yourself out and make the trip more unpleasant. A good rule of thumb to follow is arrive by 3pm or drive 300 miles – stop with whichever of those happens first.
Mistake #2: Packing too much
You may be excited about no more tiny suitcases to stuff in overhead bins on airplanes. However, this is not the time to be overly excessive in your packing. Just because it can fit in the RV doesn’t mean it should go in the RV. Packing less not more is better on your fuel economy, easier to pack and unpack, and the mental clarity of having less clutter will be very beneficial. Set aside everything you want to take on your first trip, and then put away half of it. Trust us on this one.
Mistake #3: Not planning an RV-friendly route
Your RV is a lot bigger than your car or minivan. Its size – in particular its – will limit some roads you are able to take. The last thing you want is to hit a small tunnel on your planned route, and have to navigate around it for several hours. Look for a GPS tool that allows you to program in your RV’s dimensions to choose appropriate roads.
Mistake #4: Neglecting Maintenance
The last thing you want to run into on your hard earned vacation is a maintenance nightmare. There is regular upkeep and maintenance that is absolutely critical for your RV. For example, you should always check tire pressure before every departure. A small piece of maintenance like this can save you from much bigger repairs and disasters.
Mistake #5: Not securing belongings
That bottle of shampoo in the shower shelf and stack of kitchen items on the counter are liable to go flying once you hit the road. Eventually you’ll learn this one the hard way. Before departure each morning you need to make sure all items are securely stowed away in cabinets, drawers and closets. Nobody wants to get hit by flying objects as you travel down the road.
Mistake #6: Leaving the antennae up or stairs out
You might look at this one and say, “I would never!” – but most RVers have at least one story. In the morning rush to get out of a campground, it’s easy to forget to get those stairs tucked up and away. An antennae left fully extended is being asked to be broken – make sure you lower it to prevent damage while on the road.
Mistake #7: Not knowing your RV height
This mistake is directly related to mistake #3. It is critical that you know exactly how tall your RV is. When entering certain tunnels or parking garages or other destinations, there will be a clearance listed. You need to know a hard and a soft clearance – the hard is the number that cannot be changed; the soft is the height with all accessories/components on your rig, some of which may be removable to adjust clearance. Knowing the precise height of the rig is the only way to prevent unnecessary damage.
Mistake #8: Not using a spotter to back-up
Especially when first beginning driving an RV, you do not want to be over-confident in your backing-up skills. It is always wise to have a spotter as you back-up your rig. This is especially important when trying to back into a camping spot. Your spotter will help watch out for people, debris, rocks and low-hanging tree branches to ensure the RV does not get damaged.
Mistake #9: Not using the right tow vehicle
You hopefully will avoid this mistake by doing careful research when purchasing your RV. However, you need to make sure that your towing vehicle meets all of the tow requirements for the RV. Make sure you consider the fully-loaded weight of your trailer – not the weight without all your stuff and people.
Mistake #10: Not checking the batteries
It is pertinent to have all of your RV batteries functioning on your trip. For this to happen, you will need to use the disconnect switches to control the battery power, regularly test your RV batteries and look at the water levels in the lead-acid batteries. Information found on koa.com.