Traveling in an RV can bring you and your family so much joy when you have the freedom to go wherever your heart desires! If you’re like most RVers, your travel trailer or motorhome is your pride and joy; your home away from home. It’s the key to unlocking your door to adventure, the key that makes every trip seem at ease and just familiar enough to get you excited to explore. That is until you have an unexpected maintenance issue that you aren’t prepared to fix. Don’t get caught off-guard! Check out these top 10 common RV problems to expect along with tips on how to address them.
Just like any other vehicle, it is essential to maintain the tires to avoid a flat or a major blowout. Tire repair is one of the most common RV problems, but it doesn’t have to ruin your trip. If you think having a tire blowout on your daily driver car is inconvenient, having a blowout on an RV can be an even bigger pain to deal with. Before leaving on a trip, check for proper inflation levels and tread wear. Tires are extremely vulnerable to road debris, normal wear and tear, and damage from inactivity. But even with the best maintenance, you can never predict when one (or two) of your tires will fail, so always keep a spare on hand. If you experience an RV tire blowout on the road, pull over immediately to replace the tire. Remember to turn on your hazard lights and stay a safe distance from passing traffic.
Having the ability to stop is arguably the most essential feature of an RV (well, all vehicles for that matter)! It’s also a commonly known fact that various brake components wear out over time. That’s how they produce the friction that slows down your vehicle after all. The brake system on any vehicle must be adequately maintained to ensure the safety of your family and others on the road. You likely get regular maintenance of your brakes on the car you regularly drive and the same goes for your RV. Be sure to replace brake rotors, shoes, and drums as necessary and don’t forget to check the brake fluid and top it off when it seems low.
Roof or Window Repairs
Think of your RV as a house that is mobile. But, the windows and roof of your RV are designed to be lightweight and to allow for mobility, some elements of each section have to be sacrificed. This means the windows and roof of your RV won’t always withstand damage as well as your permanent home would. Storms can bring trees crashing down on your roof, and harsh sunlight can weaken the seals around windows. Use an RV roof cover when possible as well as when you store your RV. When in use, we recommend you check the roof and window seals twice a month to help avoid a significant leak. If you see anything, repair it right away with a roof patching kit or sealant and replace any damaged parts as soon as possible.
Why don’t we start by saying this: Attempting to repair electrical issues yourself without the proper knowledge can be very dangerous. Some minor electrical problems can be addressed on your own, such as a circuit breaker malfunction, but we suggest you leave the rest to a professional. For example, your circuit breaker panel’s switches or push buttons may stop working from time to time. It’s usually a simple task to replace these. RV batteries can also be easily replaced and many RVers choose to upgrade to lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are smaller, lighter, and require far less maintenance than their lead-acid counterparts.
We often take our air-conditioner for granted until it stops working. If you’re traveling in your RV during the heat of summer, having a working A/C is more than just a luxury…its a necessity. So, you will want to know how to perform some quick-fixes if your A/C were to go out. If your air conditioner is on but the air coming out of the vents isn’t quite cool, the issue could be dirty RV air vent filters, and the answer could be as simple and inexpensive as replacing them. Another common issue is a busted thermostat which can lead to a mis-communication between the A/C unit and the thermostat. To fix it, you can easily replace the RV thermostat with some standard hand tools and a little help from YouTube.
One of the big advantages of camping in an RV is having a private bathroom with running water, so when the toilet stops working, it can be a real disappointment. Simple user error is a common cause of RV toilet blockages and backups, making this another one of the common RV problems to be aware of. Using too much toilet paper or not having enough water can prevent the toilet from flushing properly. Your RV toilet is not as robust as the toilet at home. Assuring that everyone understands how to “go” will go a long way toward preventing any issues. If the issue is that water does not seem to be staying in the toilet bowl, the solution could be as simple as replacing the rubber seal around the large valve. There is a chance the valve may also need to be replaced, but luckily, both of these parts are relatively inexpensive.
Water Line Issues
If you’re traveling in an RV, be prepared to deal with a burst water line or broken water pump as these are some of the most common RV problems. To avoid these issues, empty the water tanks regularly and properly store your RV during the winter. If you plan on visiting cold climates during the winter, you’ll need to winterize your RV to prevent the pipes from freezing. To do it safely, you’ll need to use a specially-made RV antifreeze and your RV water pump to distribute it throughout the system.
A major appeal of traveling in an RV is having electricity at your fingertips. If outlets stop working and lights will not turn on, chances are there is an issue with the battery. To avoid draining the battery of power, disconnect the battery cables when the RV isn’t in use so that electronics aren’t draining all the power while the battery is not able to charge. Testing the battery charge and fluid levels regularly can also help you see a problem coming before it happens.
RV Slide Out Issues
Despite all of the advantages that RV slide outs have, this technology does have some disadvantages. For starters, all of those moving parts are prone to rust, corrosion, and plain old wear and tear. Maintaining your slide-outs on a regular basis can help maintain them in good operating order for many years. One of easiest and most effective ways to prevent issues is to make sure to grease your RV slide out arms whenever possible. This will ensure the moving parts have a longer lifespan and will go a long way toward minimizing sticking problems. Something as simple as a little WD-40 can do the trick, and you’ll certainly find plenty of other uses for it throughout your vehicle.
We are all human! So sometimes a simple user error can cause problems with your RV, but being methodical when leaving a campsite can help you avoid silly mistakes. Be sure to disconnect any hoses, close any slide rooms, and take down the awning. Then double-check everything! The extra few minutes you spend doing this can really help you avoid damaging your RV and prevent long term issues.
Keep On Truckin’ with Blue Ox
Don’t let this list of common rv problems scare you out of planning your next big RV adventure. Now that you’re in-the-know, you can be prepared for any of these common RV problems and be ready to address them without being caught off guard. One of the best ways to avoid a disaster is to expect the unexpected and use high-quality RV and towing accessories like the ones from Blue Ox. Check out our line of Flat Towing and Trailer Towing products to be sure your RV is ready to hit the road with safety in mind!