RV mistakes are very common for people who are newcomers into the camping world. OF course, you can avoid making any critical mistakes, if you do some research.
Research is the most basic part of purchasing a new item. Especially, when you are planning to pay thousands of dollars for a certain product, you should know for sure.
However, the Internet is filled with useless and inaccurate information. Anyone who tries to trick people into reading their materials is solely making money out of their website visits and clicks.
The most common RV mistakes occur when you concentrate on the looks, instead of the functionality of the camper you are considering.
It is the number one point, to which you should give special attention. Almost all my RVing friends and I as well have made this mistake when purchasing our first campers.
After I got my first RV, I was sure that it was okay to be nervous and frustrated all the time, because of certain details, which were always on the way, not letting me to focus on my relaxation when camping.
However, over time and experience, I have learnt to deal with those problems and find solutions to them. I learnt to acknowledge my mistakes and see RVing from another point of view.
- RV mistakes because of the lack of research
- Materialistic approach
- Experimentation campers
- RV mistakes connected to tires
- Changing the tires on my RV
- RV mistakes with communications
- RV mistakes with measurements
- Feeling free when boondocking in various areas
- Knowing the tank capacities as well as their functions is very important
- You should plan your routs and destinations ahead of time
- Documenting your trips
- Narrow streets and RVs
- Carbon Monoxide detection problems
- Flipping the rig on your trailer
- Backing up large campers can bring up many RV mistakes
- Mileage on campers
- Certain rules on how to use the stabilizer jacks
- Winterproofing your camper
- The simple walking around the RV rule
- RV generators and their maintenance: RV mistakes
- Securing the ball hitch of the trailer
- Falling asleep on the road: RV mistakes
- Roof line seals on your trailer: RV mistakes
- RV mistakes: TOILET PAPER
- Propane leakage in your camper
- Overloaded bumper: RV mistakes
- RV mistakes when the camper is exposed to outside forces
- RV mistakes with food
- Not having an extension cord: RV mistakes
RV mistakes because of the lack of research
My number one mistake was missing the part where I had to do my research before buying a camper. If I ever knew that the campers’ community is so friendly and supportive over each other, I would have never bought the RV I bought.
It is never shameful to ask questions about topics you do not know. Find a local Facebook community or a group and make new friends.
I like to think that my next RV mistakes are because I am from the United States. I was always told and taught that the bigger the better.
Because of this attitude, I went on and got a class C camper, which was 40 feet long and had no idea about the troubles I was about to get into. This size RV is not for newbies.
I never had experience with driving such large vehicles. It took me a long time, before I was mildly comfortable with driving this 40 feet camper. I did, of course, get some tickets as a reminder that I made a mistake with the choice of my first RV.
I thought I was doing the right thing buying my first RV. I was sure that I would be changing and upgrading it in a year or two, since it was going to be a learning experience.
However, it was nothing I imagined it would be. My RV was a nightmare to maintain. Moreover, I bought a used model, which required twice as much money and effort.
So, my attempts of making my RV work appropriate ended up with a tuning results of nowadays technology mixture with the past designs.
RV mistakes connected to tires
There are numerous RV mistakes, which can be easily avoided. For example, you can simply spend an extra hour on inspecting the camper you are about to buy.
You might be fooled with the new looks, the fresh paint and so on. However, the parts and components may as well be very old and almost nonfunctional.
My mistake was with tires. It sounds simple and kind of stupid. However, when you are about to buy your first RV, the excitement will not let you concentrate on the details.
Therefore, I ended up with tires, which were 10 years old. After three months, I was crying over my money, which I had to spend on new tires.
Some people may not know this, but the tires are not just their sizes. There is much info about the tires, their friction, consistency, manufacturer and so on.
The first thing you should check is the date on the tires. You do not have to believe the words of the dealer. Simply look at the sidewall and find four numbers. You will get the rest.
Changing the tires on my RV
This is probably among the dumbest RV mistakes I made with my camper. All the drivers in the world are used to having their jacks and lug nut wrenches near them somewhere.
Most cars have these items in the hidden compartments. Others keep the equipment under the seats. It depends on the model and the manufacturer.
Anyway, as a newbie at RVing, I had no idea that campers do not come with any of these instruments. I had to find out about this fact in the worst way: sitting in front of a flat tire, in the middle of nowhere.
RV mistakes with communications
Since RVs are big vehicles, it can sometimes be quite hard to make sure the communication is on the right track. Moreover, when you are on the road with newbies, who are not familiar with RVing rules, it becomes twice as difficult.
The simplest tasks, such as leveling or hooking up a sewer pipe can cause many problems. An experienced RVer, or at least someone who has gone camping on a trailer before, would know the difference between sewing and freshwater plugins for pipes.
Therefore, keep in mind that you should be extra careful with this topic. It is one of the most sensitive RV mistakes, since the issue is directly connected to human encounters.
RV mistakes with measurements
The most important factor when driving an RV is keeping in mind the size of the vehicle. Many RV mistakes occur, because the drivers are not aware of the exact length of their campers.
The size is not just the length. The weight, as well as the height and width also can be crucial. This information can be critical when bumping gas pumps or tearing off awnings.
Driving on the East Cost will get you learning the problems with the lack of information about your own vehicle. The low bridges and tunnels will teach you a real lesson, when you have to stand there in front of the tunnel, blocking the road and getting a ticket.
You can even have extension mirrors, but it will not help you see clearly all the spots at risk.
Moreover, backing up an RV can be one of the most challenging things ever. Therefore, having a backup camera is crucial.
I can understand that you would definitely prefer driving your normal cars by feel. However, the case is quite different when having to deal with a 45 feet camper.
Feeling free when boondocking in various areas
The word is a bit strange and funny. Nonetheless, it represents a dream for so many people. The feeling of being able to call whatever place you decide to park at your home is the closest to feeling the real freedom.
The modern generation finds it a little awkward to park at a normal parking space and live there. However, it is normal for experienced and older generation RVers.
Besides, boodocking lets you travel to unknown places to explore the untouched nature, striking waterfalls and the greenest landscapes.
You may think that among the technical difficulties and mistakes, this one point is funny and strange. However, it represents the whole mood of RVing and exploring.
Knowing the tank capacities as well as their functions is very important
Having the necessary knowledge about the maintenance of your RV is one of the most important factors. I did suffer serious problems because I did not know that the gray water tank is full.
All I had to do was understand the control panel correctly and see the light flashing and letting me know. Because of this issue, I did get leaks every time after taking a shower.
Luckily enough, I did notice the leakage soon and it was really a safety thing. Hadn’t I noticed this issue soon, the tank could have burst.
I was about to take apart the whole water system, until I saw the problem was with the grey drain being on the off position.
You should plan your routs and destinations ahead of time
I am a little older than when the gadgets starting taking over the planet and deciding everything for people. However, as a driver and a camper, I can in no way complain about the existence of those gadgets.
Since I was already used to travelling on my own, I can still imagine my routs and travels being without the help of any gadgets.
However, planning will help you out in numerous situations. Moreover, gadgets will give you more options for planning.
You will also have access to multiple places you can stop by to grab some food. You can see reviews of the diners and decide whether you want to eat there.
Documenting your trips
This might sound childish, but the best moments were missed when I forgot to document my very first trips.
During the rush of gathering all the necessary stuff, in order to make it to the campsite on time and not waste extra time on the roads, your head is full of information you cannot grasp.
Therefore, it is normal to forget to pack things, which are not directly associated with camping.
My very first RVing trip was back in 1995. I totally regret not filming that trip. The duration was about 15 days. Imagine the amount of views and likes, if I would have posted that video today.
Unfortunately, this is the one and only mistake that I can never correct and make it right. I can accept the fact that you do not want to have a blog and post everything online to the public.
However, having pictures and videos from your trips will help you out a lot to show certain places to your friends, or sit around with your future children and tell them stories with visuals.
Narrow streets and RVs
This point is closely associated with not knowing the sizes of your vehicle. On the freeways, highways and other wide streets, all you need to do is to keep the vehicle in your lane and drive as slow as it is stated by law.
However, the problems occur when you start driving around the neighborhood streets. You can easily wreck someone else’s parked car.
Carbon Monoxide detection problems
I remember being a teenager and a college student and getting all mad when I tried cooking something and the fire alarm going off every damn time.
I did, for sure, rip out the wires at least three times and have taken out the batteries. I was young and hot headed. Had no idea how important those fire alarms in fact were.
I also had no idea that when the batteries were about to die, the alarm would go off letting you know that there is an issue. The same goes with camper carbon monoxide detection system.
However, this is about the factory alarms. I did, of course, change mine to a brand new alarm, which would have never gone off unless there was a real danger of fire.
After a couple incidents, I found out that the problem was not just with me, but it was with several other people, who did not know that dying batteries can cause the alarm to go off.
Flipping the rig on your trailer
Unless you have driven extremely large vehicles before, it will definitely take a long time to get used to the rig. Thankfully, I have never had the problem with flipping the rig.
Nonetheless, I did witness a couple times people seriously messing up their trailers rolling them into ditches. In all cases, the vehicles were no longer usable.
If you are an experienced driver, no necessarily a big vehicle driver, you should know some basic logic when driving. Such logic include not taking turns on high speed in order not to roll over.
Backing up large campers can bring up many RV mistakes
People who are cautious by nature always feel a little scared and uncomfortable at first with their new campers. Nevertheless, they always get more and more comfortable and used to driving their big vehicles.
One of the most challenging aspect in driving in general is backing the vehicle up. When you are dealing with a 40 feet trailer, the problems are just that much more.
I like to think of myself as a somewhat experienced driver. I have owned more than 5 campers. However, I have hit something with each and every one of them while backing up.
The only exception was with my fifth wheel, only because I had a backup camera on that one.
Places like campsite parking spots, gas stations and even your back yard can be very tricky. You can never see absolutely everything around the vehicle.
Trees, buildings, smaller cars, walls and of course people. When you start driving an RV, you would be asking yourself the question I have been asking myself for over 10 years now: why isn’t it required to have backup cameras on travel trailer by law?
Mileage on campers
Everyone who has a car knows that when the fuel light comes on, you can count on extra 70 miles before you get to a gas station.
However, this is not the case with big campers at all. You can hardly even count on the extra 20 miles. Fortunately, I have never had a bad experience with this difference.
This does not mean, however, that you should be reckless about it. I, personally, carry extra fuel with me, just in case there is no other way.
Certain rules on how to use the stabilizer jacks
Anyone who does camper repair will confirm that the most common problems people are having with their RVs are connected to the stabilizer jacks.
The number one mistake with misusing the stabilizer jacks is using them as regular jacks. Most of the time this is done in order to change a tire.
Dear campers, please keep in mind that the stabilizer jacks do not have the capacity to hold the weight of the trailer.
The stabilizer jacks, most of the time, come with about 10 years of warrant. The reason is that each stabilizer is unique for each camper. Therefore, the manufacturers try to do their best, in order to make sure their customers can use their stabilizer jacks for a long time.
These jacks serve the purpose of lifting up the tires just a little bit, so the trailer will not rock back and forth when people enter and exit the vehicle on park.
Winterproofing your camper
The so-called winterization is a term I was not familiar with until I had the problem of dealing with frozen tanks. It turned out that even if you empty all the water tanks of thee camper, there is still enough water to freeze and damage the drainage and pipe systems of the vehicle.
The simple step of winterizing the RV was to just get some anti-freeze (it is a fluid, which prevents any liquid from freezing during cold weather). You can get about 5 gallons of anti-freeze. This should be enough for a class B mid-size RV.
Moreover, having someone to do the adding for you will cost about $180. You can undergo the process easily, by yourself. It will take you less than 30 minutes.
The simple walking around the RV rule
Searching the web, you will find countless articles and videos with titles like “15 dumbest mistakes these RVers made”.
I have seen camper drivers take off when the gas pumps were still in the compartment pumping. Water hoses were still connected, when the drivers started their vehicles and took off. The examples are too many.
These and so much more like these dumb accidents can be avoided, if you simply take a walk around the RV and check of everything is disconnected, or attached to whatever they are supposed to be attached to.
Imagine forgetting to close the trunk or storage door and having something very heavy, such as a jack fall out of the vehicle and hurting someone else. These accidents are especially dangerous when driving at high speeds.
I have come up with a solution for myself. I would be more than happy, if my answer could help any one of my readers.
I came up with a checklist that I go through every time I take off. Stabilizer jacks, stairs, doors, awning and so on.
RV generators and their maintenance: RV mistakes
RV generators, in general, can be a real pain to repair. Therefore, I highly recommend taking good care of these devices, which make sure every electronic device is working properly.
Changing the oil is the key to prolonging the life of your camper generator. The first time you change the oil, it should be after 30 hours of your generator hard work. After that, the oil should regularly be changed every 100 hours.
Spark plugs and air filters are one of the main components of any generator. They serve the generator to have a long life and make sure the fuel is not overused. These components require change every 200 hours of work.
If you go to camping regularly and use the generator, it is fine to keep the oil inside and reuse what is left, until a new refill. However, when you don’t use the generator, make sure there are no liquids inside, primarily fuel. This will prevent the generator from being gummed.
This point is not necessarily for all generators. However, if yours operates with an electrical start, you need to make sure the batteries are new or fully charged every time you start the generator or plan to keep it somewhere without using it.
Even if you have decided not to go camping anymore, In order to keep the generator alive, you should start it once every 30 days. This procedure will prevent rust and will keep the insides of the generator lubricated. Keep it running for at least 15 minutes.
Securing the ball hitch of the trailer
No Matter how experienced you are, there is no one perfect out there. I still, to this day, sometimes forget to check the ball hitch.
I have no idea what the problem is with me and this hitch, but I have had cases when I would arrive to the campsite and see that the hitch is not properly connected.
Fortunately, I have not had any accidents. However, being extra careful will harm neither my trailer nor me.
Falling asleep on the road: RV mistakes
Any who has ever sat behind an RV wheel will confirm for sure, that it is nothing like driving a regular car. When you are operating such a huge vehicle, it takes may be 5 times more focus than with a regular car.
RV mistakes can cost you a lot more than with a car. You should have everything planned before you hit the road. You should know every little detail about your camper.
Smaller cars are easy to maintain, since everything is somewhere near you. It is not the case with trailers.
Moreover, when you take trips with your cars, the average duration does not exceed an hour. Meanwhile, RV trips in average take from 5 to 9 hours sometimes.
Therefore, driers often think that it is okay to push themselves to their limits just to arrive at the destination an hour sooner.
Nevertheless, I guarantee that it will be more catastrophic if you roll over or get into a huge accident than arrive at whatever destination you were heading an hour later.
Wherever you are going, does not matter where it is, it will still be there when you arrive an hour later. However, risking your family’s and friends’ lives over one hour will never be worth it.
Do not be ashamed to admit that you are tired and need a break. Pull over to the side of the road, get out of the vehicle, stretch your legs, have a bite, drink some water, so whatever that is you need to get back into the mood.
Roof line seals on your trailer: RV mistakes
I am sure some of you are not aware of this issue. I was unaware as well, until recently. The roof line seals should be checked every two years.
The two times should be at the beginning and at the ending of the season.
Because of the weather changes the seals expand and then shrink. This causes them to loosen up and therefore, they require your attention.
RV mistakes: TOILET PAPER
You may think that I am about to talk about forgetting to bring toilet paper with you on camping. However, the topic is different.
RVs require a special type of toilet paper. You cannot buy a regular paper and use it in your RV bathroom. The difference is in the material and the period during which the paper dissolves.
Since the RV bathrooms are limited with the capacity of the tanks, you need to be careful not to fill them up totally. A slow resolving toilet paper can cause damage to the drainage system as well.
Propane leakage in your camper
This might sound like a weird problem, especially with a carbon monoxide detection system. However, the problem is not just with the stopover burner.
RV refrigerators can operate on propane. This is a relatively cheap option. You can use one tank for over 5 months.
Nonetheless, there is another problem. When you drive the RV with the refrigerator running on propane, the wind will mess around with the burner and cause propane to leak.
Overloaded bumper: RV mistakes
RV bumpers are not always designed to carry anything what so ever on them. People usually see a big bumper, think that it is okay to put their heavy generators on those bumpers and everything will be fine.
However, this is not always the case. You can find bumper trays, which will fit perfectly with the size. You may find it a good idea to store the generator, several other things on that trey.
This can cause both the bumper being broken and the items stored on the bumper damaged.
RV mistakes when the camper is exposed to outside forces
You may think of your camper as a huge vehicle, which can withstand any challenges the weather has to offer, just because it is so big.
Be a little smarter about this point. The trailer can suffer countless problems because of water, wind and even fire.
When the camper is parked and not being utilized, you should definitely cover the vehicle up with appropriate materials, made especially for such purposes.
RV mistakes with food
This is a classical newbie mistake. Everyone thinks it would be okay to get food on the way. Most of the time the argument is to have fresh food.
However, driving an RV is different than driving a car. It is hard to find parking spaces at places you want to grab food. Therefore, you should do the shopping in advance with your regular car and bring the food back to your RV.
Not having an extension cord: RV mistakes
Extension cords are a very useful and handy items even at home. Imagine how much easier would your life be when camping, if you have several length extension cords.
I once was having troubles connecting my RV to the generator, which was just 15 feet away. I felt pretty stupid at the moment.