You may feel as if you've learned everything you need to know about mechanical problems and fixes from the many years you've spent as a car owner -- but the purchase of your first RV may send you back to the School of Hard Knocks. Oversized recreational vehicles equipped with their own internal plumbing, heating, and "house" electrical systems present a whole new world of potential gremlins that you might never encounter in an ordinary car. Take a look at these three common trouble areas, including symptoms, fixes, and preventative measures.
1. Plumbing Problems
You never had to think about a faulty toilet or a burst water line in your family minivan, but these RV problems can put a big crimp in your extended road trip. In cold weather, for example, water tanks and lines can ice up, causing them to burst under pressure. This freeze threat remains even if you've parked your RV in storage over the winter, so keep those tanks empty when not in active use.
Low water pressure may stem from a plumbing leak or faulty water pump that requires the attention of an RV service center. A toilet that won't hold water may suffer from a damaged water valve or a worn rubber valve seal.
2. Propane Dangers
RVs usually get the internal heating and cooking power from a propane generator fueled by an internal or external propane tank. While this system has provided trouble-free service for countless RV enthusiasts over the decades, it has also led to fires, explosions, and deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you've never worked with propane before, talk to your local RV service technician about potential dangers and how to avoid them. Regular inspections of the generator exhaust system can catch any damage caused by undercarriage impacts or age-related wear and tear. Even if your propane system works perfectly, you'll want to keep your interior well ventilated whenever the system is on to remove the risk of suffocation.
RVs have electrical systems that go above and beyond the electrical system in the average car. The biggest difference involves the use of an inverter that accepts "shore power" in the form of 20-amp, 30-amp, or 50-amp alternating current (AC). The inverter then feeds some of that power to an internal battery pack and other appliances as 12-volt direct current (DC), making the rest available as 115-volt AC. If you run your air conditioner, refrigerator microwave, and other energy-drainage appliances simultaneously, you will almost certainly blow a fuse, losing all the power to the RV interior.
Find out exactly how much power each of your appliances draws so you'll know what combinations of them you can safely run at the same time. If changing a fuse doesn't solve your electrical woes, you'd best consult RV services instead of risking more invasive fixes yourself.
RVs offer years of exciting adventures, but don't let your vehicle throw you more excitement than you wanted or expected. Maintain and operate your RV properly so you can roam the road with confidence!Share
3 October 2018
After my car died and I was stranded on the freeway a few years back, I knew that I had to do what I could to avoid similar issues in the future. I began working hard to identify different issues with my car, so that I could prevent problems. I began working with a mechanic to get help, and he taught me a lot about going through my car and being able to evaluate different things that were problems. It was really interesting to explore the possibilities of different car failures, and before I knew it, I could tell when my car was struggling. Read more about the early signs of car trouble on my blog.