In this article, we’re going to be talking about the most common RV mistakes RVers make.
And yes, we all make mistakes. I certainly have made my fair share. But there are certain RV mistakes that are more common. And they’re also ones that can cost a lot of money. So we’re going to talk about that today.
Let’s start off with three mistakes that people often make when they leave their RV.
RV Mistakes #1 – Your RV Awning
The number one mistake is very common. It is leaving an RV awning out while you are away from your RV.
That’s really not a good idea because we all know that weather can change quickly. And what was once a beautiful day can turn into a very stormy day quickly.
Then when the wind comes up, it catches your awning. The next thing you know, the hardware is being twisted and torn. And maybe the awning is even ripped off altogether.
We have all seen the results of that happening in our travels across the country. So always think about your RV awning in advance of bad weather. And put your awning in when you’re going to be away for any length of time.
Mistake #2 – Your RV Vent Lids
The second mistake people make is very similar to that. It has to do with RV ceiling vent lids. And keeping them open while you’re away.
Once again weather can change and a storm can come up fast. And the wind can easily grab those lids and just tear them off the roof.
But what happens more often is that a heavy rain may set in and pour into the top of that vent. All over your RV’s insides, and just drench your RV.
The problem is that nothing can be done about it until you come back. So here’s a better idea. Before you leave the RV, think about those vent lids. And make sure you close them before you leave.
Unless you have vent covers over your RV ceiling vents. We have those and we love them.
Because they allow us to keep the vents open and the fans going while we’re away. With the vent cover over the lid, then you don’t have to
worry about wind.
And you don’t have to worry about rain either. But if you don’t have vent covers, remember to close your vent lids before you go away.
Mistake #3 – Your RV Water Line
Now here’s the third mistake that’s very commonly made when people go away from their RV. And that is they leave the water on while they’re away. From several hours, to maybe overnight or even longer.
But if you think about it, it’s not a good idea. Because RV plumbing can break. And there can be issues with it at almost any time.
If you’re there, you can turn that water off real quick and easy. But if you’re not there, the pressure in the water hose will just keep forcing water through. Gallons and gallons of it.
And it can just keep flooding all over your RV. Once again, you can’t stop it till you get back.
So can you imagine how much water damage could be done by a broken pipe with you away? Then before you leave, just shut that faucet off!
The next mistake, in fact the next two, we’re going to talk about have to do with buying RVs.
RV Mistakes #4 – Too Much Trust In RV Salespersons
The first one is that people put way too much trust in what an RV salesperson is telling them about an RV. About what it can and cannot do.
Now sales people are there for one purpose in the RV industry. They just want to sell you an RV. That’s how they make their living.
Of course, not all sales people are willing to tell you anything to get a sale. But way too many of them are. They just want to sell an RV.
So maybe you buy the RV and then find out that a lot of the things they told you just weren’t true.
Well, then it’s too late. Because you have already purchased it at that point. But there is a better way to handle the buying process.
And that is, before you go buy an RV, make sure you learn enough about the RVs that you are interested in.
That way you know which one is going to fit your needs the best. And you already know what that RV can and can’t do. That way you won’t be misled by an over eager salesperson.
RV Mistakes #5 – No RV Inspection
The second mistake is that a lot of people buy an RV without getting it inspected. I firmly believe that RVs really should be inspected.
This is especially true if they are used. I would never buy a used RV without having it inspected.
Now I know you’re saying, “Well Duane, of course that’s what you think. But you’re a little biased on this because you’re an RV inspector”.
And yes, I agree that I am biased. But let me share something with you. Even before I became an RV inspector, I greatly believed in the idea of
inspecting used RVs.
I’ve seen way too many cases where people have really benefited from having an RV inspection done. The inspection helped them be prepared by knowing exactly what they were buying. So it can be extremely beneficial.
Now lets move on to a few other mistakes that are often made when traveling in a RV.
Mistake #6 – Going Too Far, Too Fast
The first one is that many people try to go too far, too fast. You know when I’m driving down the road in our coach, I often see RVs going by me at 75 to 85 miles an hour or more.
Sometimes they pass us like we’re standing still. Now we usually travel between 60 and 65 miles an hour.
That’s the speed that I feel most comfortable with. It’s the speed where I feel that I can adjust to most things that could happen on the road.
So what happens if you’re going fast and something unexpectedly comes up on the road? A situation where you’ve got to make some quick maneuvers?
Well, when you have something that big, going that fast, it’s very hard to stop it quickly. So please be careful and don’t go too fast while traveling in your RV on the road.
The other part of that mistake is that some people try to go too far each day. And they are driving an RV rig while fatigued.
Now when we start out driving an RV each day, then we’re fresh. And our reaction times are pretty good. We have a lot of focus and a lot of mental
But when you do it hour after hour, that focus begins to wane a little bit. You may not think so, but it does.
And if you do a lot of traveling without stopping to refresh yourself, you could be putting yourself in trouble. So don’t travel too far too fast.
RV Mistakes #7 – Not Using RV Friendly Directions
Another mistake we’re going to talk about is not using RV friendly directions while we’re traveling on the road. A lot of RVers do this.
You know, we all like Google maps when we’re in our car and we kind of rely on it. But please understand that Google maps is not designed for RVs or for large vehicles.
So if you follow its directions, you may wind up on a road somewhere that you shouldn’t be on. Because of your RV size. Or it can also lead you into a hazard.
For instance, in the Northeast there’s a lot of railroad bridges that are too short for larger rigs. And Google Maps might lead you right down that road.
But if you have RV friendly directions, it’ll make sure that you avoid those hazards. So don’t make the mistake of not using RV friendly directions.
Instead, use an RV GPS unit or an app like RV Life that’s tied to RV Trip Wizard. Either one of those will work very well, and help keep you safe.
RV Mistakes #8 – Campsite Hazards
Now for the next mistake that I see people making when they travel. And that is that they pull up to the campsite and without even getting out of their vehicle, they generally look at it and start backing in.
This is not a good idea! There’s all kinds of things in campsites that could be a hazard. And I have had close calls on this myself.
I recall one occasion when I was in a hurry and decided I was just going to back right in. Well, as I was backing in, Cheri stopped me.
And thank goodness she did. Because I was about to back right into a serious hazard that would have harmed my RV.
But as a result of that, it kind of drove the point home to me that I need to look before I back into a campsite.
Now EVERYTIME when I approach a campsite, I practice G O A L! That means… “Get Out And Look”… and that’s exactly what I do.
And I constantly find things that I would never have seen if I had just stayed in the driver’s seat. So don’t make that mistake. Practice GOAL.
Now the next four mistakes we’re going to talk about are about RV maintenance.
Mistake #9 – RV Safety Devices
The first one is that so many people fail to check their safety devices regularly.
We’re talking about fire extinguishers and making sure they’re up to date. Also we are talking about smoke detectors, CO detectors, LP detectors etc.
You need to make sure they have batteries that work. And that they are actually detecting what they are supposed to detect.
Very often people just sort of put those items out of their mind. But those are safety items that could save your life. So don’t do that. Don’t make that mistake of ignoring them. Make sure you check them regularly.
RV Mistakes #10 – RV Maintenance
That now brings us to our second mistake. And that is that a lot of people don’t maintain the appliances or components in their RV like they should.
They just keep using them without maintaining them. But there are a lot of things that need some attention as you use them.
For instance, if you have lead acid batteries, they have water in them. So then, most likely you’ve got to water them regularly to keep them working right.
The RV water heater often needs an annual maintenance where you kind of clean it all out. You get the crud off the bottom.
And if it has an anode rod, there’s a good chance that you’re going to need to replace it after a year or so.
At any rate, you need to keep these items working right. And there’s several other RV components that are like that too.
So don’t make the mistake of ignoring regular maintenance on RV items and components. It’s going to cost you a lot more money if you do.
RV Mistakes #11 – RV Exterior Care
The third mistake a lot of people make is on the outside of the RV. And that is that they don’t take care of the RV’s exterior.
Boy, I see this a lot. And I do understand the thinking behind it. After all, RVs are huge. So you may think “Wow, this is going to be a big job to wash and wax this whole RV”.
You intend to do it. But you just keep putting it off. And before you know it a lot of time has gone by and you haven’t done it.
Well my friends, the exterior is taking the brunt of everything out there. The UV rays from the sun and all kinds of weather are beating on it constantly. So it needs to be washed and waxed regularly.
Now I’ve made some videos on this subject. And the videos explain a system of caring for your RV that almost anybody can do.
It’s quick, it’s simple, it’s easy, and it won’t cost you much. In fact, I can do my entire 40-foot diesel pusher in about an hour.
And I do that about once every two months. As a result, my coach is constantly protected. It looks great, and the exterior is always in good shape. So don’t make the mistake of ignoring the exterior of your RV.
Now for the last point we’re going to make about mistakes that a lot of RVers make. And this is a big one!
Mistake #12 – RV Roof Inspections
That is that they don’t get on the RV roof and check it regularly. But my friends, the roof is one of the most important parts of the RV.
You’ve got to make sure you keep an eye on it. If your RV has a ladder to let you get up on the roof, then you need to be using it. Get up there regularly and check that roof out.
Check out all the components on the roof. And make sure that everything is sealed correctly. And that all the roof components are in good shape.
But most importantly, check the seals on the roof joints. That way you can make sure the roof sealant itself is in good working order.
You want to make sure that nothing, like tree limbs, has scraped it off or created a hole somehow. And you also want to check to see if it’s aged and begun to crack.
When sealant begins to crack, that’s a perfect opportunity for water to get in. And the next thing you know, your roof is leaking. And a leaking RV roof is your worst RVing nightmare.
It will cause more trouble than you can possibly imagine. So get up there and check that roof.
Or if you can’t personally conduct a roof inspection, get someone to do it for you. Just don’t ignore the condition of your RV roof!
RV Mistakes – My Conclusion
All right, well those are the RV mistakes I wanted to talk about in this article. Did I cover all of them???? Oh no, there’s plenty more!
And I’ll probably make more videos about RV mistakes too. But what we talked about in this article is sufficient for now. Because we all know we don’t do things perfectly. None of us do.
And all of us need to improve on something. So what I’ve shared with you here are some things that can jog your thinking. And maybe you’ll say, “Oh yeah, you know what, I need to do better about that”.
That way hopefully you’ll avoid making those mistakes again in the future.
The more that you avoid RV mistakes, the more you’re going to help your RV last longer. And not have nearly as many problems that need repair. It’s just going to serve you well as you go forward.
Also, the more that you take care of your RV, the more you will avoid all the anxiety and the stress that comes from mistakes that could have really been avoided.
Well, that’s it for now. Have safe and happy travels my friends. Until next time…