5 Common RV Maintenance Mistakes to Avoid for New Owners

Americans love RVs. In fact, RV ownership is higher than ever

Why? Because RVs last for years and allow you to see the country at your own pace.  

So if you’ve been tempted to buy one, you’re not alone. But before you do, you have to understand what not to do. Too many new RV owners make expensive – and often unsafe – mistakes.

Here are 5 common RV maintenance mistakes you need to avoid.

1. Buying the Wrong RV

There are so many RV models and floor plans to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a big toy hauler to transport your ATV for weekend adventures, or you’re just looking for a small RV to take on your weekend escapes, there’s an RV for everyone. 

Take your time and explore your options to make sure you get the RV that suits you. If you’ve spent little time in an RV, go to a few trade shows and check out the designs, or rent a few different RVs before buying one. 

Consider how much maintenance it will need, from regular checkups to exterior RV cleaning. You may find yourself opting for a smaller, simpler RV.

2. Paying Too Much

An RV is considered a luxury, so don’t expect similar financing as you would a car. RV loans can have long terms but also very high APR. 

Look for ways to save money without sacrificing what you want in an RV. Don’t just check out dealerships, look at RVW or similar wholesalers. A wholesaler can put you on a waiting list for the specific RV you want, and they may have guaranteed price protection, locking you in at a set price.

3. Ignoring Regular RV Maintenance 

All RVs need regular maintenance, and it’s much easier and more affordable to identify problems before they get worse. The easiest way to do this is to create an RV maintenance checklist

Common RV issues you should look for include:

  • Worn or poorly sealed weatherstripping, leading to drafts
  • Worn tires or low tire pressure
  • Poor exterior seals, such as the roof
  • Nonworking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Appliances in need of cleaning or tuneup (air conditioner, water heater, etc.)
  • A dead or dying battery

These are just a few of the issues you should look for. Make sure to check your RV’s manual for advice specific to your model.

4. Poor Packing

New RV owners often make two mistakes when packing: not securing what’s inside and packing too much. The first mistake is easy to make if you don’t check your goods are safely secured prior to departure. However, you will quickly learn the importance of securing your things when you arrive at your destination only to find the contents of your fridge and cabinets on the floor.

The second mistake isn’t as obvious. RV owners forget that an RV is a vehicle. RVs drive differently from other vehicles due to their size – both the length, width, and weight. Overpacking your RV increases its weight.  

An overweight RV leads to additional wear and tear on your tires. It stresses out your engine. 

It also affects your safety. Picture yourself driving your new RV down a steep mountain grade. Now picture trying to stop with an RV that weighs too much. 

5. Ignoring Tow Capacity

Along with weight, you also need to consider tow capacity. If your RV is a trailer you will pull behind you, you need to consider the towing capacity of the vehicle that will be towing it.

RVs also have their own tow capacity. Bigger RVs like Class A motorhomes will have much greater tow capacity. It’s not uncommon to see a Class A motorhome towing a car behind them. 

Ignoring tow capacity leads to a risk of permanent damage to your vehicle or RV – or both.

Avoid These Common RV Maintenance Mistakes

By avoiding these common RV maintenance mistakes, you’re ensuring your RV lasts for years. That means years of sightseeing, spending time with your loved ones, and creating new memories. 

If you like this article, check out the rest of our site for more auto maintenance and safety tips.

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