The Top 10 RV Tools That Are Must-Haves For Every RVer

All experienced RV travelers know that having the right RV tools on hand is essential. That’s because RVs constantly need minor repairs.

It’s not hard to understand why when you realize that an RV is a home that is driven down the road. And that means that it’s being shaken and jostled as it goes.

So RVs are subjected to stresses that stationary homes never experience.

That means that screws and bolts often get loose. And sometimes things break. But if you have the right basic tools on hand, you can handle most of these repairs yourself.

So this article is about the kind of tools every RVer should have readily at hand for minor repairs. Let’s get started on the top ten list of RV tools that will be needed.

The Top 10 Tools For Your RV Tool Kit
Watch my video on the Top 10 RV tools by clicking the image above

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#1 – Cordless Drill/Driver

There are lots of screws that are used in the construction of an RV. In fact, that is the one fastener that you will most likely encounter in any repair project.

Of course, you can choose the more labor intensive way and just use a set of screwdrivers if you wish. But having a good cordless drill/driver will make your life so much easier.

And you could just choose a corded one instead. But my experience has been that although it works just fine, it’s more of a hassle to use.

That cord is always getting in the way it seems. And usually it happens at the worst times. So not having to think about managing an electrical cord as you work is great.

It may seem obvious, but don’t forget that you will also need a good assortment of drill and driver bits. The drill/driver is no real help unless it has the bits that go with it.

And finally, there is no need to overbuy this kind of tool. Expensive drill/driver sets are mainly for heavy duty use by professionals. So getting a lower cost quality unit will be just fine for your needs on minor RV repairs.

Cordless drill/driver I recommend

RV tools #2 – Drill/Driver hand tool

You may be wondering why I also recommend having a manual drill/driver after singing the praises of a powered one in the section above.

The main reason it’s a good idea to have one of these tools is to avoid over-tightening screws and fasteners. One of the last things you want to do is strip out a hole where the fastener goes.

And powered drill/drivers can do this very quickly if you aren’t careful.

So I often use the cordless drill/driver to screw in the fastener most of the way. Then I use the hand tool to finish it off.

That’s because you can feel when the fastener is getting tight by hand and then stop. But the powered tool can easily go too far before you know it.

Multi-use hand drill/driver I recommend

#3 – Claw Hammer

Almost any construction or repair project can benefit from having a hammer handy.

And one of the most versatile hammers available is the good old-fashioned claw hammer.

The hammer part of the head is useful for nailing things as well as taking things apart in demolition. It also can be useful for driving stakes in the ground.

The claw part of the hammer is great for removing things that are fastened down.

All in all, it’s a really useful and versatile tool that any RVer should have on hand.

Claw hammer I recommend

#4 – Utility Knife

There are all sorts of minor repairs and projects around an RV that can benefit from using a utility knife.

And there are several kinds of utility knives to be had. But I personally recommend using one that has snap-off blades.

I find that it works well for almost any project around the RV and allows you to have a sharp blade all the time.

Utility knife with snap-off blades I recommend

RV tools #5 – Multi-Tester

If you have any kind of electrical problem or issue on your RV, you will be glad to have an electrical multi-tester to use on it.

A multi-tester is one of the RV tools that proves it’s value over and over again.

It’s not uncommon to have electrical circuit issues on RVs. And diagnosing that kind of problem to find the source can be problematic.

But it’s almost impossible to diagnose these kind of issues without the help of a good electrical multi-tester.

Again, there is no need for a really expensive model if you aren’t a repair expert. And a good, useful multi-tester can often be had for under $75.

Electrical multi-tester I recommend

#6 – Gorilla Tape

Of all the RV tools that you really should have on hand, gorilla tape or duct tape whould be high on the list.

This stuff is so useful for so many kinds of projects around the RV, it’s hard to list them all. In fact, you may find yourself using it more than almost anything else to solve some RV issues.

Even if the RV repair is a temporary one, it usually buys you enough time to arrange for a more permanent repair later on.

So be sure to have a couple of rolls of this kind of tape in your RV tool bag.

Gorilla tape I recommend

Duct tape I recommend

RV Tools #7 – Tape Measure

It seems that I am constantly using a tape measure to find out how much room I have in the RV for something I need.

In fact, a tape measure is useful in almost any project or repair you encounter on an RV.

And it’s a good idea to have them in different sizes. I often keep a smaller 10 foot tape measure inside the RV.

Then for larger projects I have a 25 foot and a 50 foot tape measure in my RV tool bag as well.

25 foot tape measure I recommend

#8 – LED Flashlight

RVs are filled with small, dark places that are hard to see into easily.

So having a good LED flashlight that is small and yet powerful is one of your most valuable RV tools.

I also have different kinds of flashlights too, and I keep them in various places throughout the RV.

That’s because it’s important to have one handy for all sorts of things you do in the RV.

Some of my flashlights have a normal shape, but some are also flat or can be hung up as you use it. Just make sure that one is readily available when you need it.

LED flashlight I recommend

#9 – Ladder

Getting up to the top of an RV is going to be vital. So a good ladder is one of your most valuable RV tools.

Here again, I have more than one kind of ladder for my own use.

I have a very small single step ladder that comes in handy when getting to something just outside my reach.

Then I have a 6 foot step ladder that allows me to access almost any area on the sides of my motorhome.

And then I have a foldable ladder that can be converted from a step ladder into a straight ladder. And it is long enough that I can even use it to get on the roof of my RV if needed.

The key to buying a ladder for use around an RV is to get one that is as light as possible. Usually this means either a fiberglass or aluminum ladder.

Aluminum ladder I recommend

RV Tools #10 – Socket and Wrench Set

Just as there are all kinds of screws used as fasteners around an RV, you will also encounter lots of bolts and nuts too.

This means that you must have a good socket and wrench set to handle these kind of fasteners.

These days it is a good idea to have both SAE and metric sockets and wrenches to be sure that you have the right tool on hand.

Of course, then you need to choose the size of the socket set too. The main choices are 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inch drive sets.

1/4 inch drive sockets can work for many small RV projects. But if you want a good overall size, 3/8 inch sets are probably the most useful for RV projects.

And 1/2 inch drive is usually too bulky for most standard repairs on an RV.

I know that a lot of RVers just grab an adjustable wrench when they encounter a nut or bolt. But an adjustable wrench can easily round off the heads of the nuts if you aren’t very careful.

So it’s better to take the time to find the correct size socket or wrench and do the job right.

Socket and combination wrench set I recommend

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Conclusion

The list of RV tools that I just provided in this article is by no means an exhaustive list.

But it is the list of tools that I find myself using more often than most other tools.

So if you feel that you want to try to handle most small and minor RV repair projects on your rig, this list is a good place to start.

Gas VS Diesel RV – Which Is Best?

If there is one hot topic on the RV forums online, it is the question: gas vs diesel RV – which is best? And there are many opinions on the subject.

It seems that many RV owners think that whatever engine they have is best. But it’s just not that simple.

As with so many other subjects having to do with RV living, there is no one solution for everyone. So you have to find out what works best for you and your needs for RV travel.

RV manufacturers still make RVs with both gas engines and diesel engines. And they both sell very well.

So there are those who benefit in some way from the features of each engine. And that means that there are pros and cons for both gas and diesel engines.

I am going to try and provide a solid list of these pros and cons for you now. If you have even further points of your own to add to this list, please do so in the comments below.

We would love to hear about your thoughts on this subject!

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If cost was not a consideration, would you choose a diesel pusher or a gas-powered motorhome?

Diesel Pusher Pros

Diesel pusher motorhome - gas vs diesel rv
Diesel pusher motorhome

Disclosure: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means – at no additional cost to you – I earn a commission if you make a purchase using our affiliate links. I only link to products and companies I use and feel comfortable recommending. The income goes toward supporting the free content on this website.

  • They are powerful. In some cases, very powerful. They can climb a steep grade with ease because of the engine’s lower torque.
  • Diesel engines have exhaust brakes that will make going down a steep grade much easier too. This saves your wheel brakes from overheating.
  • Diesel engines are very good for moving heavy weight. So you can have large appliances and more luxury features built into diesel pushers.
  • More living space. Since weight is not such a problem with diesel engines, the RV can be bigger and longer.
  • The noise level while driving a diesel pusher is much lower. This is mainly because the engine is way back in the rear of the RV.
  • More storage. Most diesel pushers have large storage compartments. Some are often even pass-through bays that make storage a breeze.
  • Diesel engines usually last much longer before needing to be rebuilt. In fact, you will probably wear out the RV before the diesel engine itself.
  • Diesel pushers usually have air ride suspensions. So they seem to just glide down the highway.
  • They also can tow much heavier vehicles due to the powerful engine as well as the beefed-up suspension and braking systems.
  • Diesel pushers also hold their value much better than gas-powered RVs.

Diesel Pusher Cons

  • The cost to buy! Diesel pushers cost a lot more when new and used. If you are on a budget, this may be a big issue.
  • They also cost more to maintain. It’s not necessarily a lot more, but there is more expensive maintenance that goes with these engines.
  • Rebuilding or replacing the engine is a major expense. Again, it doesn’t happen often, but when it does, get out your wallet!
  • A long diesel pusher will have more difficulty getting into some national parks and boondocking spots as well as some fuel stations.
  • Diesel fuel costs more. Although if you get a good diesel fuel discount card the difference between fuel costs narrows considerably.
  • Since diesel engines require a qualified diesel engine tech, finding repair facilities for them is not as easy as gas engines.
  • Since diesel engines require the use of DEF (diesel exhaust fluid), it is another liquid that you have to keep on hand for every fill-up.

Gas RV Pros

Gas-powered motorhome - gas vs diesel rv
Gas-powered motorhome
  • They are less expensive to buy! If you want to full-time, the entry expense can be high, but gas-powered RVs make it easier to get started.
  • They are less expensive to repair and maintain. All those extras and luxuries that go with Diesel pushers cost more to keep up.
  • When it is time to repair or maintain a gas RV, there are a lot more places to choose from for RV service.
  • Since they are smaller, they can often fit in more campgrounds and national parks. And finding boondocking spots is easier too.
  • If you have some kind of auto mechanic background, you will probably be able to do some of the repairs and maintenance yourself.
  • Gas is cheaper than diesel. So if you are on a budget, this is an area where monthly savings can be had.
  • Getting in and out of gas stations is usually much easier because the rig is not as long and cumbersome to move around.

Gas RV Cons

  • They don’t have as many extras and features as diesel pushers. All that gingerbread requires weight management that gas RVs don’t have.
  • They are not quite as comfortable as diesel pushers while going down the highway. But the newer gassers are much better at this.
  • The engine does not last as long and will require rebuilding much sooner than a diesel engine.
  • They don’t retain their value nearly as well as a diesel-powered RV.
  • They have less storage capacity. Again, this is because diesel engines can push more weight. That’s why truckers use diesel engines.
  • They can’t tow as much. There are plenty of vehicles that they can tow, but you won’t be able to tow the heavy ones.
  • They are noisier in the cockpit. Since the engine is right there next to you when driving, the noise and heat is greater, especially at high RPMs.

How To Decide Between A Gas VS Diesel RV

When considering a gas vs diesel RV, it’s a lot to think about. But essentially, a lot of the differences comes down to cost.

If you have plenty of funds available for purchasing and maintaining your RV, a diesel pusher may win out. But if you are on a budget, a gas RV may make a lot more sense.

If lots of luxury appliances and items are very important to you, then maybe a diesel pusher is best for you. Then again, maybe having a smaller and more manageable RV that can fit in smaller spaces easier is a high priority. In that case, look seriously at gas-powered RVs instead.

The good news is that either one will be fine for enjoying the RV lifestyle. Many RV owners full-time in either a gas or diesel-powered RV while enjoying the RV lifestyle immensely.

And either a diesel pusher or a gasser RV will take you where you want to go in your RV travels equally well.

So there is no right or wrong choice between these two types of motorhomes as far as RVing is concerned. Just balance your needs and concerns and make the choice that will fit your situation best.

I hope this discussion of gas vs diesel RVs has been helpful. Please comment below and add any additional thoughts about this comparison that you may have. As always, have safe and happy travels my friends!

Video - "Gas VS Diesel RVs - Should You Buy A Gasser?"

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Video - "Gas VS Diesel RVs - Are Diesel Pushers Really Better?"

Click the image above for the video – “Gas VS Diesel RVs – Are Diesel Pushers Really Better?”

RV Extended Warranty Protection – Yes Or No?

If you bring up the subject of getting RV extended warranty protection for your rig, be prepared. You are most likely going to get some very strong opinions, both for and against. Usually these opinions will come from those who already have made their own decision. And they often feel that what they decided is what everyone else should do as well.

rv extended warranty
Do you really need an RV extended warranty?

But RV life is more complicated than that. The more you know about RVs, the more you understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for everybody.

There are just too many variables to make things that easy. So the two words most often uttered by me in matters like this is “It depends”.

Buying An Extended Warranty Depends On What?

A lot of factors come into play when considering the purchase of an RV extended warranty. If the rig is newer, do you still have a warranty from the manufacturer? Does it cover everything you want to have covered?

If you have an older rig, are there extended warranties still available for that year? Do you have plenty of resources that will allow you to easily handle any major repair that may come up anyway? Then maybe an extended warranty isn’t necessary for you.

What kind of RV do you own? Does it have an engine and drivetrain or not? And the list goes on and on.

Also, what do you want an extended warranty to cover on your RV? Do you want essentially everything covered? Or do you just want the most expensive items that could need to be repaired covered? What are your expectations?

What Are Your Expectations?

Actually, what is often referred to as an RV extended warranty is not really a warranty at all. This is because only the manufacturer can provide a true warranty on their product.

And most extended warranties are offered by a company that is not connected with the manufacturer at all. But the term “extended warranty” has become so accepted in RV culture, there is no other way to describe it now.

Another important thing to realize about RV extended warranties is that they are essentially a form of insurance. You are being insured against a financial loss by the company providing the contract.

And therefore, as an insurance product, you should not expect to make a profit on the warranty purchase. Insurance in its purest form is not an investment. It is a means to manage risk.

The higher the risk that you insure against, the higher the cost of the insurance. It is just that simple. You are accepting a small loss on the cost of the insurance, to prevent the huge loss you are insuring against.

And if you never have to use the extended warranty to cover a high dollar repair, all the better. It just means that you have been very fortunate. You also did not have to deal with the hassle of filing a claim.

Or getting the claim approved, or having the work done properly, etc. So not having the contract pay out more than what you spent for it does not mean that you lost.

It means that you bought peace of mind all through the life of the extended warranty. And you managed your risk well.

What Is And Isn’t Covered?

There are no extended warranties out there that cover everything on the RV. Most contracts will not cover things like your furniture, your possessions in the RV, scratches or chips in the RV paint, etc.

They also will not cover any maintenance work done on the RV like oil changes, chassis lubrication, coolant flushes, and so on. These are considered part of the normal maintenance and wear and tear that the RV owner is responsible for.

As for what is covered, that can be very different from one contract to another. Some extended warranties are very comprehensive and will cover almost everything that could fail on your RV.

This can include the engine and drivetrain, leveling jacks, air conditioners, refrigerators, and much more. Obviously, the more risk the warranty company has, the more you will pay for a comprehensive contract like that.

Other extended warranties are targeted only for the most expensive parts of the RV. Usually these contracts focus on the engine and drivetrain mainly because that is where big dollar repairs could happen.

For those who can afford to pay for most RV repairs on their own this could be a good choice. This is because it transfers the risk of only the really high dollar repairs to the warranty company while keeping the overall warranty costs low.

Also, extended warranties are designed to pay not only for the parts of the covered repair, but also the labor as well.

What About Filing A Claim?

If you have a claim, there will be a process to go through to get approval for the repair. But most warranty companies try to make this process as easy as they can.

Keep in mind though that some people try to scam the warranty company to pay for RV repairs that are not really covered by their contract. So if they seem to be overly careful in the approval process, just be patient. Most of the time, you will be rewarded with a covered repair soon enough.

Where Can You Get An Extended Warranty?

If you buy an RV from a dealer, you may be able to get an extended warranty on your rig through them. But it doesn’t hurt to shop online and see what is available to you as well.

And if you buy your RV from a private party you will have to use an online warranty company. I do not specifically recommend a particular company myself. I think it’s a good idea to research each company that you are considering.

A good place to start is online RV forums. Also look for online reviews on each company. Keep in mind that people who have a beef with the warranty company will be very vocal.

And they are many times more likely to air their views online than those who had a pleasant experience. Just factor that in to your research and consideration.

The last thing I can say about RV extended warranties is that I own a contract on our diesel pusher motorhome. So obviously, I feel that they can be very useful.

On the other hand, I don’t think that everyone should have an extended warranty on their rig. Consider, how much risk of possible repair costs you are willing to shoulder yourself first.

Then determine what your budget will allow for the extended warranty cost itself. Using those two parameters, you should be able to find an RV extended warranty that works for your particular situation. Or you may find that it is not even needed in your case.

Enjoy your research, and have safe and happy travels my friends!