Congratulations! You’ve finally bought an RV, and as excited as you are, you’re probably feeling a little intimidated, too. As a new RV owner, there’s quite a bit that you should know regarding maintenance and travel. Fortunately, if you do a little research and make sure that you’re prepared, the road ahead will be anything but bumpy.
Invest in some basic gear
You probably already know that you’ll need leveling blocks, sewer and water hoses, and cleaning items for your RV. You will also need a wrench set at some point, and it’s best to have this on hand before you find yourself in a sticky situation. Some other items to invest in are a tire gauge, power adapter, water pressure regulator… and, of course, some toilet paper that won’t clog your septic lines.
Keep measurements in mind
There will be a time or two when you feel like you’re making a really tight squeeze with your RV. Don’t risk any damage; know your RV’s measurements and keep them in mind when driving under bridges and parking in spots. When considering the length, add in anything secured to the back like bikes or gear, and the tongue and hitch in the front.
Know how much your tanks will hold
There are three tanks to know about on your RV: fresh water, gray water, and black water. Knowing how much water each tank can hold is critical in proper maintenance and preventing any messy accidents. Consider how much each tank is capable of holding, how many people are traveling with you, and how much you’re using the showers, toilet, and sinks. Plan on dumping each tank once it is two-thirds full.
Plan on boondocking
If you plan on taking your RV on any long trips (and you should – that’s what an RV is for, right?), know that you will be boondocking at some point. “Boondocking” is how RV owners refer to a brief stay in a location with no sewer, water, or electric hook-ups. You may wind up sleeping overnight in an empty parking lot, or on a campground with no RV connections. No matter where you are, it’s important to be prepared.
Have plenty of fresh water on hand for hygiene needs, and plan on taking short military showers. Dirty water can be used to flush toilets, and eating off of paper plates eliminates the need to wash dishes. For extended stays, invest in a generator, and a portable heater for the colder months. Pack plenty of nonperishable food to eat as well.
Make a list
There are a lot of steps to getting your RV ready to hit the road, and as a new owner, it can seem overwhelming. Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be able to fly through those steps without even thinking about it; until then, you should write out a list. One forgotten task can put you and your RV at risk.
- Pull in any steps and ladders
- Lower TV antenna
- Shut off and close all fans
- Turn off the water heater
- Turn off the water pump
- Bring in the slide room
- Tie down or pack away any loose items
- Retract the leveling jacks
Every RV is different, and the steps above are only the basics. Consider your own RV and all of its functions, and modify your list accordingly. If you’re ready to start shopping, head over to Patterson RV and browse are expansive selection of new and used motorhomes!