8 Simple Mistakes That Can Badly Damage Your RV
There are a lot of innocent mistakes RV owners make that can cause serious damage to their coaches.
Most are due to the fact that people simply don't pay attention to what they are doing, which means that many, if not all of them, can be avoided.
This is why it pays to stay focused on what you are doing, no matter how simple a task it may seem to be.
Not too long ago I forgot that the flush pedal on our RV's toilet was sticking. As a result, I flushed, left the bathroom and only later discovered that the bathroom, hall and part of the dining area had flooded!
This type of issue, if not caught quickly, can cause major and very costly damage. Fortunately, my husband and I did not leave the coach. Had we gone out for a few hours, the resulting problems would have been overwhelming!
Mistakes Happen Often
You, the reader, are probably thinking that this was a really dumb mistake for me to make, and I cannot argue with you on that point.
However, the truth is that people inadvertently do things every day that damage and sometimes even destroy their travel units.
Below you will find some of the most common ones. Hopefully reading about them will reinforce the importance of staying focused when traveling in your recreational vehicle.
Forgetting to Put the Pin in Your Fifth Wheel
A very important step people must take when hooking their tow vehicle to their fifth wheel travel trailer is to slide the safety pin into the section that keeps the trailer from slipping off of the hitch.
If they forget to do this,
- The front of the trailer will come crashing down onto the rails of the tow truck.
- The trailer will come loose from the truck going down the highway and cause a major accident.
In the first case, the damage will be very expensive to repair. In the second the trailer can be totally destroyed, and your life or the lives of other highway drivers might be lost.
Using a travel check list every time you hook up will help you to keep from having this problem.
Storing Your Coach Wheels Up
Some owners believe that storing their units by using the jacks to lift them completely off the tires, they protect them.
The problem is that jacks are not meant to hold the entire weight of a coach up for long periods of time. Their real job is to level and stabilize.
Since jacks are located only at the four corners of a motor home or camper, this means that without the tires touching the ground, there is nothing to support the center section of the coach.
This can seriously damage the basic structure of the RV, and sometimes even cause it to collapse due to the uneven distribution of the weight.
The remedy is to always keep the wheels of your travel unit on the ground when it is either parked or stored.
Bolting Furniture to the Floor
In an effort to make sure that certain pieces of furniture do not slide around during movement, some people like to bolt them into the floor.
The problem with is that if they push the screws too deeply, they can damage the floor of the coach. It is even possible to push them into underlying tanks and cause even more damage.
If people do this when the furniture is on slides, the screws stick out through the bottom and damaged the framework as well as the flooring when the slide is opened and closed.
Caution is good, but RV materials are usually thin. Unless you know what you are doing,
- get a pro to secure your furniture to the floor or
- find some other way to keep it from moving around during travel.
Forgetting to Remove the Microwave Turntable When Traveling
It is very easy to forget to remove the microwave turntable before heading down the road.
Although it is made of heavy glass, it can still break given the right circumstances, and it can damage windows and cabinets as well.
I secure mine by setting it on a non slip place mat in the center of my dining table. These are very handy to use for other purposes as well, cost very little, are easy to wash and can be stored right on the dining table.
These inexpensive non skid, non slip place mats and coasters are wonderful for RVers to keep on hand for dining as well as keeping items secure when your coach is on the move. I have always traveled with them and feel they are well worth their small cost. If you take care of them, they'll last for years and their machine washable, too!
Forgetting to Secure Your Parked RV
Wheel Chocks are inexpensive, but important. You should always use them when your RV is parked, especially if it is on a slanted lot.
If you forget to do this, your camper can roll forward or backward and hit or roll over something or somebody.
People also forget to remove them when they are ready to travel, which means the coach will roll over and destroy them. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to do three things:
- Carry some extras with you,
- use a travel list to remind you to use and then remove your wheel chocks every time you set up or break down camp and
- always do a walk around when setting up or breaking down your campsite.
Also, to avoid problems, you should always put them in place prior to unhooking your coach.
There are numerous types available, but my husband and I have always used the ones I show here because they do a good job, are inexpensive and store well. We have never had a problem with them and have found that they last a very long time.
Keep an extra set of wheel chocks on board in case you damage the ones you have.
Not Packing Your Refrigerator Properly
RV refrigerators are terrific to have, but they can also create major and sometimes damaging messes in your unit if you do not remember to secure the items you keep in them.
Doing this means
- packing the food tightly,
- usingto secure it, refrigerator bars
- using plastic instead of glass whenever possible and
- locking the refrigerator doors completely.
I advise buying two sets of the refrigerator bars because you will need more than three to adequately secure your fridge food.
How to Secure Your RV's Interior for Travel gives more information about what to do to make sure that cold foods stay put while you are on the move.
Flying glass can damage counters and certain liquids can permanently stain carpets and upholstery. These items are costly to repair, so it pays to focus on what you are doing when loading your refrigerator.
Leaving Food in a Stored RV
When you put your coach in storage, always double check the freezer compartment of your refrigerator to make sure it is empty. If you fail to do this, any food that is left behind will rot and cause the unit to smell and become filled with maggots.
The same is true for other food you leave behind, but I stress the freezer compartment because it is easy to forget foods that may be stored there.
When food rots badly, as noted above, there is no way to repair the damage. The refrigerator will have to be removed, the area sanitized, and a new refrigerator installed.
How do I know this? I forgot to remove a package of hamburger meat from the freezer of a brand new refrigerator we had just installed and ruined it!
In fact, we had to sell the RV because I could still smell the faint odors we couldn't get rid of.
Neglecting to Make Sure That Tires Are All the Same Size
In order for a coach to travel smoothly and safely, all of the tires must be the same size and must also be equally inflated.
If one tire is smaller than another, the larger tire is forced to carry a greater load, and this will lead to a blow out.
Depending on the location of the tire and other factors, a blow out can seriously damage a motor home or camper.
For example, in a rear tire it can take out the rear fender and crack the sewer tank!
You'll save yourself a lot of trouble if you always check sizes before buying new tires, especially if you are only buying one or are replacing a spare.
Many who own and travel in RVs are older and thus don't focus on things as well as they did when they were younger, but no matter your age, the bottom line is still the same.
In order to avoid making the kinds of mistakes that can damage your coach, you need to pay attention to what you are doing when traveling in a recreational vehicle.
It is much easier to do this than to deal with problems you could have avoided, so always take care when you're in your coach.
5 Stupid Things I Have Done to Damage My RV
Has this article encouraged you to start paying more attention to your RV?
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