What’s better than packing up all your essentials, gathering friends and family together and hitting the great outdoors for a weekend getaway? If you own an RV and are well equipped for travel, you’re probably already scouting your next destination and counting down the days until you hit the open road. But don’t get in too big of a hurry or you could risk spending more time repairing your recreational vehicle than you do relaxing in it.
Some of the most common RV problems are:
- Water leaks
- Tire blowouts
- Toilet malfunctions
- Battery failure
While plenty of others exist, these four are some of the more frequent issues that can cause unexpected delays and additional expenses. In an effort to prevent damage (or at least limit its extent), taking the time to inspect your RV prior to departure is crucial. If something looks a little off, it’s better to delay the trip for a few hours than risk an even bigger hold up in an unfamiliar location on the side of the road.
Bracing for Water Leaks
It seems inevitable, but regardless of the overall quality of your RV, the pressures of the outdoor elements will eventually find their way into your unit and crack through even the toughest materials over time. Failing to notice water leaks once they occur can cause significant issues throughout your RV, including rust, electrical malfunctions, stains, appliance damage and ruined furniture. But again, some simple preventative maintenance can keep a majority of these issues from occurring.
If you have the extra space, be sure to store your RV under a roof. If that’s not possible, consider purchasing a relatively inexpensive waterproof and UV-resistant cover. Applying fresh coats of roof sealant annually can put your mind at ease when it comes to the fear of water seeping into your RV from above. Although these preventative costs can add up, they pale in comparison to the alternative: gallons of water finding a way into your travel trailer at the most inconvenient times.
Avoiding Tire Blowouts
The roads you travel on with your RV can play a significant role on the tires. A smooth, well-paved roadway can make the journey enjoyable, while gravel, bumpy or unpaved surfaces could create issues for everyone onboard.
Tire blowouts occur more frequently in recreational vehicles because of the weight and pressure applied to them. The heavier the RV, combined with a deteriorating driving surface, may cause your tires to blow. Regularly monitoring the pressure and always keeping a spare tire in the unit can help you avoid much larger issues.
Preparing for Toilet Malfunction
No one wants to have an issue with the toilet, especially in an RV, so being as prepared as possible to handle a malfunction can be your best bet to a quick solution. Over the years, the water valve and seals will wear down, especially if excess material is disposed of. This can cause clogs and drainage issues, which would require you to remove the toilet entirely to fix.
Your septic system and valve gaskets need to stay up-to-date or else they will need replacing as well. Unfortunately, toilet malfunctions can occur over time, but monitoring your valves and making sure other items are not flushed can prevent this from being a frequent event.
Maintaining Battery Life
Much like losing the electricity in your house or apartment, a dead battery in your RV prevents the lights from coming on, the outlets from working and the motor from starting. Regularly checking your battery fluid levels can prevent this issue. If your battery is dead, a simple charge from an AC power unit at a campground should get you back on the road.
Benefits of Owning an RV
As long as you’re monitoring the condition of your RV on a regular basis, there’s a blossoming list of benefits to purchasing a unit and enjoying the holidays, weekends and vacations as a road warrior. While first-timers may need some extra training on the essentials of RV ownership (tire monitoring, knowing the height and length of the unit, which tools are must-haves, and the luxuries and comforts for the open road), seasoned RVers already know why the pros outweigh the cons in the outdoor landscape.
The freedom you have in your RV is unlike anything else. It’s a unique part of the American dream. Depending on your passions, you can travel to national parks, mountain ranges, deserts, waterfalls, caves, beaches and hundreds of other destinations you previously only dreamed of on television and in magazines.
You’ll meet the locals wherever your adventure takes you, learn some of the best kept secrets each destination has to offer, and connect with the great outdoors in a way many people will never experience.
The flexibility of moving from city to city and state to state as frequently or infrequently, as you’d prefer is one of the biggest highlights of owning an RV. In some instances, you may ignore a map altogether and follow the road to wherever it leads you. It makes each day an opportunity to create lasting memories.
Downsides to Becoming an RV Owner
While the outdoor lifestyle may favor the types of people interested in the aforementioned categories, there are also downsides to consider if you’re debating on becoming an RV owner in the near future. Mechanical and structural issues with your RV are inevitable, especially if it’s frequently used to travel thousands of miles across the country. If the folks onboard are not skilled in bodywork or handy when it comes to fixing issues that may arise, your group may spend more time in repair shop waiting rooms than overlooking gorgeous mountain ranges.
The weather is uncontrollable and can easily cause property damage in extreme cases. While certain isolated areas off in the wilderness may be the perfect backdrop for a weekend getaway, the lack of Internet connectivity to monitor the radar could prevent you from properly preparing for a storm until it’s too late.
Even the largest RVs can still become cluttered and overcrowded in a hurry. In an RV, trash and crumbs can quickly make what is normally considered a small mess seem much larger. Privacy, sleeping and living areas are also limited, which could create conflicts if the people you’re traveling with get irritated quickly.
Cost Savings Associated with Owning an RV
Having weighed some of the pros and cons of owning an RV, it’s time to discuss the cost savings that are associated. The amount of money you may save living in an RV, versus a house or apartment, depends on a number of factors. In a recreational vehicle, there is less room for storage space, furniture, and appliances. You also don’t have to pay property taxes or homeowner’s insurance. However, there are a significant number of expenses you’re still required to pay with regard to your RV.
A standard, used motorhome costs around $20,000, while higher-end, luxury motorhomes can sell for millions. You’ll need to purchase RV insurance, licenses, necessary utilities and campground fees. With so many variables, it’s hard to decide which route can save you the most money. It entirely comes down to your preferences and the decisions you choose to make along the way.
Is RVing Right for You?
Having discussed the pros, and cons of the RV world, only you can decide if becoming an owner of a recreational vehicle is right for you. The goal of this blog is to make you aware of major issues that could arise if the proper preventative maintenance steps are not taken, while also attempting to ease your mind about the many pleasures that are associated with life on the open road and owning a home away from home! Once you create, work through, and complete your pre-trip inspection, you can be worry-free and enjoy the wide open road with your closest friends and family!
At Inland Truck Parts & Service, we want to make sure your outings are as enjoyable as possible. While we can’t help you with some of the potential issues listed above, we’re your go-to source for any routine maintenance, drivetrain or engine work you may need. Whether you’re looking for RV parts, need a repair, or just want some expert advice, swing by your local store and get the peace of mind you need prior to an unforgettable journey!