Archive for RV Tips
If you are packing for your upcoming road trip, one thing you must do is learn how to tow your RV trailer safely. You may be stuck in your habits when it comes to driving, but when you are towing a huge mass of weight behind your vehicle you are going to need to ditch your bad habits. Quick lane changes and quick stops are two things that must be avoided when you are towing anything. Here are several factors you must consider to ensure you are ready to haul your trailer before you depart for your trip.
Never Overload Your Vehicle
Powerful diesel trucks are capable of towing trailers that are more than double their weight. While this is true, you must make sure your truck is rated to tow the trailer you own and also consider the vehicle and trailer’s cargo. In your owner’s manual, you can find the Combined Gross Weight Rating that defines the maximum amount of weight, including trailers and passengers, that your vehicle can handle safely. You can drive to a weigh station to determine the weight and then add pounds for the weight loaded. Never exceed the CGWR or you might put yourself and your family at-risk on the road.
Have a Professional Install Your Hitch
If you do not have a hitch, it is a good idea to hire a professional to perform the hitch installation. This component is what connects the trailer and the vehicle and improper installation can cause problems. If you already have a hitch, make sure it is tight to prevent swaying on the road. You should also verify the hitch is at the right height and use the drop receiver to adjust the height if it is too high or low.
Hook the Trailer Up
It is a good idea to have a helper assist you when backing your truck up to align the hitch to the ball mount. Once you are aligned, make sure the ball mount is lightly greased before you install the safety and break-away cables. On your road trip, check your ball mount and locking pins each and every time you stay overnight at rest stops. Unfortunately, there are people at rest stops who enjoy causing havoc and remove these locking pins.
Learn How to Stop When Pulling a Trailer
Stopping when you are pulling a trailer is not as easy as pressing on your brakes. You are towing a heavy vehicle and if you do not stop properly, the vehicle may push your truck forward and into the back end of another driver. Stopping while you are towing will become a learning process. To brake properly, you need to make sure you leave plenty of room between your truck and other vehicles while you are on the road. Most systems today are electronic braking systems. This means that you lightly apply your brakes and the longer you hold the brakes down the more the tension will increase.
Balance the Weight
To avoid swaying on the road, you must balance the weight distribution evenly in your trailer. Never load everything in the rear of the trailer or it may drag. Load your luggage and gear in the middle of the trailer and evenly distribute all of your other items on either side.
When you are towing an RV trailer, you must learn how to adopt a new way of driving. Make sure you set aside plenty of time to get to your destination and take your time while you are on the road.
Purchasing a RV is a big deal, so instead of making quick decisions, you should take the time to ask the salesperson these questions:
Which RV will be the most accommodating and complementary?
In order for the salesperson to match you up with the RV that best serves your purpose, you first have to provide some information about the road trip, your family and lifestyle.
Which RV is the best one that you can afford on your budget?
With a RV being a home away from home, why not get the best one that your money can buy? Salespersons do exactly what their title suggests: They make sales–even if that means pitching a good deal that will, in the end, turn out to be a disaster. Save yourself from being lured into accepting such a deal by setting a budget and sticking to it.
What is the best financing plan available?
Like most business-minded people, salespersons are familiar with fierce competition, so you can expect to receive a good deal. However, it goes without saying that most salespersons are also familiar with the art of teasing, meaning they will lure you in with a good deal without mentioning there is a better one available. For that reason, you should ask for information on all available deals to come away with a financial plan that suits your pockets.
Which RV type would you recommend?
You basically have several options: Class A Mortorhome, Class B Van, Class C Camper, and Travel Trailers all of which have pros and cons. That said, you should learn what you can about the different types and then get the salesperson’s opinion on the matter. That way you will not only know that you and the salesperson are on the same page, but you also put yourself in the best position to get your money’s worth.
Are there any problems with the RV?
Despite the RV’s appearance on the outside, you have to be certain there are no problems under the RV’s hood. Such problems can, in the long run, cost you a fortune. Therefore, you should ask the salesperson to clue you in on the problems that you can expect, and you will be able to set your budget for maintenance expenditures.
In what way is a used RV better than a new RV?
Why spend a boat load of money on a new RV if a used one offers similar or better benefits? The salesperson will likely have the insight you need to help you make the best decision that befits you.
Is the RV under warranty?
Clearly, the last thing you want to do is purchase a RV today, and it clunks out the next day or any time soon. Since there is a real chance that this could happen, a warranty is what you need more than anything. Ask the salesperson if the warranty is transferable and see what exactly does it entails. A good RV warranty is one that includes coverage for obsolete parts and problems of wear and tear, giving you the peace of mind you need to travel and enjoy life on the road.
Rv’ing and enjoying time in a motorhome are classic American pastimes. For years, countless people have enjoyed this one-of-a-kind, mobile hobby and lifestyle. There has always been one slight accompanying dilemma though; the drain system and use of appropriate toilet paper.
The problem is this. RV’s and motorhomes are equipped with a different drain system than those found in non-mobile homes. Instead of flowing into a city drain, waste-water holding tanks are used to contain wastes from the various drains. In the most general terms, the system itself is smaller and more compact, making it more apt to clogging problems.
With the toilet in particular, the toilet paper being used must have certain qualities in order to not create problems. To start with, it is important to note that the most ideal toilet papers will be marketed for RV use and offered through RV dealerships and parts stores. However, in many cases these papers cost up to three times more than regular, non-specialty choices. So, if you are one the many who would prefer avoiding these higher-priced options, this information is probably more helpful to your interests.
In choosing toilet paper for the RV, make sure your choice is one labeled as biodegradable and septic-safe. An extra plus is if it is labeled as RV-safe, but again, this is more of a specialty brand offering. Aside from labeling, look over the paper closely. Is it thick? Does it look like water would easily break it up? Does it look and feel capable of bunching up as opposed to disintegrating when wet? These are helpful observations one can quickly make.
So what are some of the best choices in non-specialty, non-problem-creating, RV toilet paper?
Albertson’s Value Soft is a very quickly dissolving brand. Coronet 2-ply is another rapid dissolving, less dense option. Scott 1-ply also provides great breakdown, even when used in abundance.
The options in toilet paper out there are seemingly endless. From one store to the next, there are countless types to choose from. If you cannot locate one of these three we recommend, popular and long-proven RV’ing knowledge has an easy, do-it-yourself, toilet paper test for you.
Here’s what you need:
glass jar or other clear, closeable container
toilet paper to be tested
a watch or timer
Now, with materials in hand,
1. Fill the container 3/4 of the way full with water.
2. Place three pieces of unseparated paper in the jar.
3. Close the lid tightly.
4. Shake the container for 10 seconds.
5. Observe the condition of the paper.
6. Shake for 10 seconds again, observe again.
7. If the paper does not thoroughly breakdown within the first several shakes, it will probably not be good for your RV or motorhome.
In conclusion, it is important to know which toilet papers to use. Thankfully, figuring this out is not as hard as it could be initially considered to be. Test your toilet paper. Also feel free to reach out to peers who are knowledgeable on popular social network sites. Identify your brand or brands of choice, and spend your RV’ing time having fun, not stressing out.
If you’re thinking about buying a travel trailer, considering what factors are important to you can help you decide on the model that best fits you and your family. You’ll want to consider things that affect your ability to drive with your travel trailer like its size, its weight and its effect on your gas mileage. You’ll also want to consider size from the perspective of sleeping and living arrangements. You will find the best deal on your caravan when you also weight out the amenities you most desire against the price you can reasonably afford to pay as well as what your vehicle can reasonably tow.
Should You Buy a Travel Trailer or a Fifth Wheel?
The main differences between fifth wheels and travel trailers are the amount of living space they have, the ease of maneuverability of each while driving and the cost of each. Travel trailers generally cost less than fifth wheels, but fifth wheels are larger, giving people more room to move around and offering more storage space. Because travel trailers don’t weigh as much as fifth wheels, SUVs can typically pull them easily. However, because fifth wheels weigh considerably more, they create more of a burden on your vehicle’s engine and need to be towed by a more heavy duty vehicle like a pickup truck.
What Kinds of Amenities Do You Want?
Keeping in mind what you can realistically afford as well as what your vehicle can realistically tow, consider what kinds of amenities you want. Travel trailers come in all varieties from high-end luxury models to bare bones, “just the essentials” models. Some models come with full bathroom features, and the larger and higher-end models offer more space than lower-end models. Models that have slide out rooms add space without a lot of increased length or width on the unit during towing, but slide out rooms do add to the overall weight of the travel trailer. Larger travel trailers with slide out rooms will often require a heavy duty vehicle like a Suburban or a pickup truck for towing just as a fifth wheel would.
Consider the Additions to Your Gas Mileage
Some extremely light weight models only increase gas mileage by a few gallons every hundred miles or so. Other much heavier models can decrease your vehicle’s normal gas mileage by more than half. Because of this, it’s important to get a good understanding of not only how much towing capacity your new travel trailer will need but also how much your fuel costs will increase during trips while towing your camper.
Shopping for a Used Travel Trailer
Buying a used travel trailer can provide you with an excellent way to get a quality camper at a low price. Make sure, however, that you inspect any used travel trailer you plan to buy to ensure that it’s free from defects and has the features you want. Check for major problems like leaks by looking for water spots or feeling for soft areas on the floor. Look for other potentially cost-prohibitive repair needs like peeling of the side walls, loose aluminum siding, damage to the windows or problems with the entry door.
Buy when most people are selling and sell when most people are buying is an old adage about the stock market. It can also apply to purchasing a recreational vehicle. The winter may provide the best opportunities for anyone planning to purchase an RV even if their use of the vehicle is months in the future.
People think about RVs during the camping season. Thoughts of idyllic weekends by a lake or at a festival or event drive the desire to purchase a camping vehicle. But when snow covers the landscape and outdoor camping adventures are limited most people don’t think about making a big purchase like a recreational vehicle.
In addition, RV dealerships may have their largest inventory and best selections during the late winter months. Many dealers will be building inventory for the spring buying season alongside any holdovers from the previous season.
A large selection may help the buyer find the recreation vehicle of their dreams. Buyers may have the opportunity to compare a previous year’s model available at a discount to a new model that may be listed at a higher price. Along with better prices, the winter season may mean a better selection for the camper buyer.
In addition to securing a good deal, purchasing an RV during the winter may allow the owner an opportunity to participate in some winter camping. Many modern recreation vehicles are equipped with furnaces and other features allowing year around enjoyment of the camper.
Cold weather camping does require some additional precautions. Dealers add RV antifreeze to the holding tanks to prevent freezing which could prevent using the tanks. If you plan on using the plumbing be sure to drain any antifreeze in the campers water system used to winterize it before using by flushing the system with fresh water before filling for the winter trip.
Winterize your camper after the completion of the winter excursion. Follow the instructions specific to the model of recreational vehicle when adding RV anti freeze to the water system of the camper. Most RV manuals include information on winter camping and the special precautions necessary to provide an enjoyable experience.
Driving an RV in the winter may also pose special challenges especially for drivers without experience driving large vehicles. Many RVs are not equipped with snow or winter type tires making driving in icy conditions dangerous. Most motor home experts suggest avoiding travel during any form of slippery conditions.
Motorhome chassis are built to withstand a certain amount of weight. The limitations and weight ratings are established by the manufacturer based on the major workings of the whole system. This includes the engine, brakes, transmission, axles, frame and tires. If a motorhome is loaded above the weight these components are built to accommodate, they will need repair and replacement sooner than expected, and the safety of the occupants of the motorhome will be at risk.
There is the actual weight of the vehicle and its components. The manufacturers quoted weights could be estimates or averages of the actual weight. Ratings are the weight limits that are put on a specific model of RV and should never be exceeded.
For these reasons, it is important to understand the weight definitions motorhome manufactures use, and after it is loaded, it should be weighed before starting out on a holiday.
Manufacturers define weight in three ways:
• Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is the maximum weight permitted when the motorhome is fully loaded. This includes passengers, cargo and fluids. The GVWR is greater than or equal to the amount of the unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) added to the net carrying capacity (NCC). If the RV pulls a trailer, the gross trailer weight (GTW) is about the trailer that may be connected to an RV. When it is connected, some of the trailer’s weight transfers to the vehicle through the hitch. If this is the case, the GTW includes all the axle’s GAW and the king pin or tongue weight.
• Gross combination weight rating (GCWR) is the amount that is specified by the manufacturer as the maximum allowed weight of the attached towed vehicle and the motorhome.
• Gross axle weight rating (GAWR) is the maximum weight that each axle assembly is designed to carry including the assembly itself. This is measured at the tires and includes the rating of the wheels, tires, axle and springs. It rates the axle on its weakest link. This assumes the load is evenly distributed in the vehicle.
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RIVA) Weight Label
Since September 1996, the RIVA manufacturer members are required to put a label inside a cabinet in the coach that discloses the weight carrying information on the vehicle. This is to assist the buyer to understand the RV weights and be able to comply with the weight limitations.
The label contains the following information:
• Unloaded vehicle weight (UVW) is the amount the motorhome weighs from the factory with fuel, coolants and engine oil, but not cargo, LP gas, fresh water, dealer-installed accessories or occupants.
• Net carrying capacity (NCC) is the maximum weight of the occupants, tools, food, fresh water, LP gas, personal luggage, accessories installed by the dealer as well as the weight of the tongue of the towed vehicle that can be carried. Subtract the UVW from the GVWR to get the NCC.
• Distribution has an effect on NCC. Loading a vehicle to its NCC could exceed a tire or axle rating. Each wheel position needs to be weighed to be sure to be within limitations.
• Sleeping capacity weight rating (SCWR) is the number of sleep positions designated by the manufacturer multiplied by 154 pounds or 70 kilograms.
• Cargo carrying capacity (CCC) is the UVW, full potable water weight and water heater, full LP gas weight and the SCWR subtracted from the GVWR.
With this label, vehicle owners can determine the CCC by calculating the actual amount of fresh water, LP gas and passengers. This information is important for prospective buyers to understand before they purchase an RV. They must be sure it will fulfill all of their travelling needs while maintaining chassis integrity and safety.
From compact camper vans to luxurious diesel motor homes, there is an RV suited to every type of traveler. An RV vacation offers a level of flexibility and economy that is unmatched by other modes of travel. Owning an RV even has potential tax advantages.
Traveling by air with hotel accommodations is an expensive vacation choice. While airlines may offer discounted pricing on seats, additional fees for checked luggage and other services rapidly inflate the price of a ticket. Invasive security procedures and long lines at check in are further impediments to enjoyable air travel. At arrival, there are hotel and meal expenses to consider.
RV travel eliminates these difficulties. Beds and cooking facilities are on board so much of the expense of travel is removed. Even with higher fuel prices, the traveler can save money by preparing their own meals rather than eating in expensive restaurants. A motor home also eliminates the cost of hotel rooms both in route and at the final destination.
Motor home vacations offer flexibility. With 16,000 campgrounds across the nation, it is easy to take a break from the road when fatigue sets in. If a local attraction is intriguing, it is possible to quickly alter travel plans to explore new terrain. For nature lovers, the RV vacation provides a comfortable home base from which to explore the environment.
There are other financial advantages to motor home ownership. Under tax law, an RV can be considered a second home. The interest paid on a motor home loan is tax deductible. Any credits or deductions applicable to second homes also apply to motor homes.
With less stress and less expense, an RV vacation offers a superior travel experience for everyone.
RV generators have now become very popular as sources of power in many households and in some companies. They are a good alternative to main line power supply and their reliability is much more. Besides, some people turn to them in case of power failure from the main source. Maintenance of the generator is very essential and one has to take care of it in the best way possible to ensure its long term reliability.
Looking for vacation options in today’s economy? It is simply not practical it seems to fly, stay in a hotel, eat at restaurants for every meal and then have other incidental expenses on the way. Especially if you have a family in tow! Your solution is cost effective, practical and convenient… it is a Roadtrek Class B motorhome!
At first it may sound ridiculous to you that buying a motorhome is your solution, but hear me out! With the purchase of a Class B motorhome you are not only building equity in an asset but you get so much more. Class B RVs achieve the same average fuel consumption as a large SUV! You may already own an SUV now!
Let us go even further into the cost savings. Obviously no plane tickets, but you may be asking yourself, how does that make sense when you still have to pay for gas? Well, you pay for fuel in the cost of a plane ticket anyways, and when you take the total cost of the flights for everyone and compare it to what you may spend in fuel, the figure may astound you!
Then you have the savings of having your own sleeping arrangements with you! No more hotel expenses! No more stress over hotel cleanliness, or a place messing up your reservations. You have your own accommodations!
You also have a galley kitchen with a two to three burner range, fridge freezer, sink and microwave! By shopping for your own food and supplies you will save a ton of money right off the bat! Prepare meals yourselves and watch the savings ring up, and no added gratuity expenses!
These are just the main areas that you will save, but there are so many more, not to mention you have made an investment with your Roadtrek, one of the most sought after names in Class B travel!
At Dave Arbogast Van Depot we are proud to offer the Roadtrek series of Class B’s! We carry over 40 new and used Class B RVs at all times giving us one of the largest inventories of them in the United States! This also means that we can give them to you at the best possible prices you will find!
Your next money saving investment is only a click or two away!
We’ve come a long way from the days of navigating with a sextant by the stars, and using the rising and setting sun to tell us what direction we are going in.
For explorers like Columbus and Lewis and Clark, it wasn’t as easy as breaking out the smartphone and using Urbanspoon to find where they were going to have dinner, but fortunately for us, we can use a number of different free apps to get to and around our vacation destinations. It’s easy to see why an RV enthusiast can put any of the following apps to good use.
Google Maps is an app that is found on every smartphone. It can tell you exactly where you are, how to get to any address that you type, and a couple of different routes that can take you there. It can search for local restaurants, and bring up their phone numbers so you can call ahead for seating. If you need to find the nearest gas station, it can find that as well. In fact, Google Maps can do just about everything short of driving your RV for you.
Kayak can search for flights, hotels, and car rentals, and compares pricing from travel agencies and vendors so you can find the best deal as quickly as possible. Kayak is available for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry.
Weatherbug is across the board the most reliable weather app for smartphones, and it is available for Android, Blackberry, iPhone, Windows Mobile, and Nokia. It can give you up to the minute weather maps (useful for looking up your destination’s current weather), 10 day forecasts, three day outlooks, and hourly predictions. The next time you take your RV cross country, you won’t be caught off guard.
There are many more free apps that can enhance your travel experience, just check out your smartphone’s marketplace app for the best that are suited for you.