I recently wrote an introductory article outlining the types of recreational vehicles and how to begin thinking about what kind of RV to purchase. This week I will outline some basic RV procedures that RV newbies should be aware of.
Driving Your RV
If you have purchased a large motorhome, fifth-wheel, or travel trailer, I highly recommend you enroll in an RV driving course. These are routinely offered at RV shows and rallies across the country and the best ones are those taught by professional driving schools or special organizations. In a nutshell, always be aware of what is around your RV, so do a walk around before you drive away (this also helps make sure you haven’t left anything behind or hooked up), and always use a spotter, especially when backing up. Be sure both you and the spotter remember to look up as well, as there are often tree branches, building features, or other obstacles that may get damaged or damage your RV. Always maintain a line of sight with the spotter and use two-way radios if you have them.
Always check tire pressure before driving, and be aware of the recommended pressures by weighing the vehicle and referring to manufacturers tables.
Check all fluids in the motorhome or tow vehicle and make sure all jacks are raised and stowed. In the case of a trailer, ensure the hitch and receiver are properly secured and locked, anti-sway bars, equalizers, safety chains, and breakaway cable are properly attached, and the electrical connector is clean and tight.
Test the lights to make sure they all work and clean the terminals if they don’t. If you do have problems with the lights, be sure to have the problem fixed before embarking on the trip. For trailers with brakes, ensure they are fully functional, including the breakaway.
Make sure all items inside the RV are properly stowed and the cupboards and doors are closed, especially in a trailer. It is no fun to arrive at a campsite and find loose and broken items scattered around. Lower all vents and antennas.
While driving, be aware of your clearances and distances from other vehicles, people, and objects at all times!
Invest in a good quality sewer hose. Purchase one with a thick wall that won’t easily puncture or crush and comes with a threaded collar for RV park sewer connections. Also buy a hose support, as some states require the sewer hose be fully off the ground when hooked up. Remember to always dump the black water (toilet) before the gray water (sinks), and leave the valves closed except when dumping. Try to dump only when the tanks are at least 2/3 full to allow for good flow so all the solid waste is expelled.
Use a white RV drinking (potable) hose instead of a standard garden hose. Garden hoses are unsafe for drinking from because of the material they are made from. Also, be sure to use a pressure regulator between the park spigot and the RV inlet to protect the RV plumbing from high-pressure.
It is a good idea to join an RV club such as offered by your RV manufacturer or other organization, as well as an RV emergency road service that specializes in recreational vehicles, such as Coach-Net. These organizations provide invaluable information and services for new owners and veterans alike.
Richard T. ~“I would like to thank Coach-Net for all your support over the years. Every time I’ve had a reason to call, it’s like talking to family who cares – no wait time, my question or problem is always taken care of, and there is always follow up. Again, thank you and have a good day.”