Electricity is definitely one of the best inventions every created. How else would we be able to cook our meals in the oven, watch our shows on TV, charge our cell phones, or see in the dark? The ability for us RVers to take electricity on the road with us, in the form of a battery, is a wonder in itself. But don’t let your battery dies prematurely, or you could be stuck with a dead cell phone and having to cook your dinner over a fire. Proper maintenance of your RV’s battery is very important to getting the most out of it. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your battery.
Clean the battery of dirt and corrosion
Disconnect the battery cables, negative terminal first, and clean the cables and terminals with a water and baking soda solution
If the battery is not sealed, check the electrolyte level. Add distilled water if necessary
Check all the cables connected to the battery terminals. Make sure they are not frayed or broken.
Check the terminals to make sure the cables are a tight fit. Replace terminal connections if needed.
Clean the terminals with a wire brush. This will ensure a good, clean connection.
Use a thin layer of terminal post grease.
Carefully reconnect the battery cables.
The most common causes of battery failure are overcharging, undercharging and poor maintenance. Be sure you take care of that battery! I know I forget about it from time to time, I just expect the lights to come on and never really give it a second thought to where it’s coming from. Keeping my battery properly maintained means years of cell phone charging, cooking and catching up on my shows.
You’ve had a tremendous RV getaway and now it’s time to head home, unpack and take care of your RV before you store it for a few weeks or months. We all remember to clean out the pantry and refrigerator, sweep or vacuum the inside and get all the dirty clothes and linens out of the RV, but we also need to remember to clean our holding tanks.
As your trip winds to an end, your gas tank and wallet are both a little lighter, but your holding tanks are likely full. Don’t make the mistake some RV owners have made and simply procrastinate thinking you will take care of that tomorrow. Before you know it, weeks or months go by and the waste in your tanks is baked by the heat and you have a real stinky mess. It’s important to clean out your holding tank for sanitation purposes and I have found many items in PPL’s RV parts store to do just that. One item I have heard so many RV owners rave about is the FloJet RV Waste Pump.
The Flojet RV Water Pump and Macerator is the ideal solution for emptying holding tanks on motor homes, travel trailers and fifth wheels and helps you avoid many trips to dump stations. The macerator section grinds waste down to a particle size of 1/8″ maximum so it can easily be pumped through a garden hose (5/8″ minimum) and can empty a typical 30-gallon holding tank in less than 3minutes. Now, even though we are getting one of these, we will still continue to do the “ice trick” where we dump a full bag of ice in the toilet before we leave camp. It really does help keep the interior walls of the holding tank clean.
If there’s anything that can make the RVer’s life a little easier, I’m all for it! In this case, it’s replacing the vent covers on your RV. If you aren’t a fan of having rain water pour in, or dust, dirt and little critters finding their way into your RV, then you are going to need to check your vent covers routinely! A cracked vent cover can turn into a nightmare if you don’t replace it. Even a small crack can become a giant headache when its structural integrity becomes compromised. Then, adding to your problem, you may not know exactly what vent cover to get. Does your vent lid on your RV have a right hinge, or left hinge, or which brand you actually have to purchase. For years I have heard customers (and I have been one of them) fussing about not knowing which vent lid they need to replace the cracked one they are trying to replace.
Well, worry no more, Airxcel is making our life so much easier with the introduction of the UNIMAXX Universal Replacement Kit. You no longer have to guess about what brand you need as a replacement; you don’t even need to know if it is a left, or right hinged lid that needs replacing. All you need is a drill with a 3/16th bit, a Phillips head screwdriver, a Sharpie and an adjustable, or 11/32″ socket wrench. The kit comes complete with the rest of the hardware and detailed installation instructions. This is a repair virtually anyone can do on their own.
Replaces damaged vent lids on ELIXIR, HENGS, JENSEN, VENTLINE and other roof vent Assemblies
Universal Lid and Universal Hinge are pre-assembled
Includes all Mounting Hardware
Durable Impact and UV Resistant Polypropylene lid
Rust Resistant Hardware
And, while you’re up there replacing this “easy to replace” vent lid, you may want to consider adding a Maxxaire vent cover to your RV. The vent cover is an ideal way to bring the outdoors in and keep the rain out! Oh, Maxxaire, what would we do without you?
With the recent winter chill we’ve had, I thought it would be a good idea to do a blog on winterizing your RV! If you don’t properly protect the plumbing system in your RV, you’re skirting a dangerous line, a line that could end up costing you tons of money and time making repairs.
Winterizing your plumbing system isn’t as hard as you think it is — there are plenty of anti-freeze solutions that you can introduce into your pipes that will protect them from freezing and causing a very slippery mess. Our good friends at Camco make a few antifreeze products that will prevent that from happening!
Freeze Ban -50
Protects down to -50˚F. This is a virgin Propylene Glycol based product to be used at full strength. Safe, odorless and tasteless with no mixing required. Non-Toxic and safe for fresh water or potable systems. High grade antifreeze for complete freeze protection with inhibitors to prevent fouling or corrosion. Freeze Ban has a slightly higher concentration of Propylene Glycol than Winter Ban for application that may have some residual water left in the system.
Winter Ban -100
Protects down to -100˚F! This is a virgin Propylene Glycol based product to be used at full strength. Safe, odorless and tasteless with no mixing required. Non-Toxic and safe for fresh water or potable systems. High grade antifreeze for complete freeze protection with inhibitors to prevent fouling or corrosion.
Premium Ban Frost 2000
Protect your RV’s potable water system from freeze damage. This antifreeze inhibits fouling and corrosion while preventing algae growth. They also help in lubricating pumps and valves throughout the system. Choose a temperature-specific product designed for your winterizing needs. Safe and tasteless.
Arctic Ban -50
This alcohol blended product protects to -50 but is “cut” with alcohol. All ingredients are recognized as safe by the FDA but the alcohol does have an odor that will need to be rinsed out in the spring time. Because alcohol is less expensive than propylene glycol, you can generally find this to be less expensive.
The bottom line is that I’ve heard way too many horror stories of pipes freezing and water systems causing an expensive mess to forget about using antifreeze in my own RV. Just because you RV in Texas doesn’t mean you are immune from a catastrophic freeze. Understanding the proper application and use of anti-freeze in your RV could save you a lot of headaches. It’s a simple and inexpensive investment to insure that you don’t frozen out of a good Winter trip in your RV.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call PPL Motorhomes and talk with our professionals.
Here is you PPL Motorhomes maintenance tip of the day: remember to check and replace your vent lids!
Have you checked your vent lids lately? Out of sight, out of mind. That’s the story of the oft-forgotten vent lid on your RV. Just think about it. It sits up there over the vent being baked in the sun, pounded by rain and hail, and you never even know it’s there until water appears inside your RV (with my luck, the water would be right in the middle of the bed). We already make it a habit to go up on the roof and check for cracked caulking and any other problems, and now you need to add one more thing to your check list; just “thump” each vent lid with your finger periodically. If it shatters or spiderwebs, it’s because the plastic is brittle and it certainly needs to be replaced. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it’s much better to notice its deterioration and replace it before it cracks and lets rain flood your comfortable RV vacation plans. The thing is that you’d be amazed at how simple vent lids are to replace and it’s just as easy to identify which one you need.
Make sure you take your smart phone, or camera up on the roof with you so you can take a picture of the vent. This way you can make sure it matches the one you’ll need from PPL Motorhome‘s website. All you have to do is match it up, make a quick online order, and save yourself hundreds of dollars, not to mention preventing a potentially huge headache when that thing starts to leak. You know what they say. “An ounce of prevention…”
This is may favorite time of the year. The time when the leaves have totally changed color as Fall steps aside to make room for Winter. Winter is on our doorstep and, guess what, you still haven’t winterized your RV.
If you haven’t made any travel plans for the end of fall, now is the perfect time to winterize your RV. It’s perfect because the weather is cooler, and you can pick and choose the day that works best for you. Don’t wait until the last possible moment, like the week of a predicted freeze, or something… I’m looking at you, North Texas!
What are the processes for winterizing and protecting your RV? In regards to the water in your tanks, you have just two steps: drain all of the water from your RV holding tanks, water heater, hoses and then use 2 to 3 gallons of RV anti-freeze and you’re done! The video below has some really good information on the right way to winterize your RV.
So, what if you’d like to use your RV for a spontaneous winter trip? Can you still use it? The answer is yes. It doesn’t mean you can can’t camp. “Can you use the facilities,” you ask? You can, but you are going to have to bring along bottles of anti-freeze with you to rinse down the bowl. Remember, you aren’t going to have anything in your holding tanks, and RV anti-freeze is the only thing you can use that won’t freeze.
So what are you waiting for? Your RV isn’t going to take care of itself! Really, in all seriousness, if you neglect to winterize your RV, you are asking for trouble. I know, in Houston we don’t get below freezing too often, but, when we do, everyone panics. Avoid the panic and take care of your RV this weekend. Swing by PPL Motorhomes and pick up your RV anti-freeze before the first freeze hits.
It’s something we don’t think about until something goes wrong with it. We’re usually driving on the highway, listening to our music and anticipating getting to our campsite so we can start enjoying the time spent with our families, when disaster strikes. An improperly maintained undercarriage on your travel trailer or fifth wheel can mean you’re stuck on the side of the road waiting for a repairman to come help you out. Here’s a few things to look for on your undercarriage before you head out to the wilderness.
Rusted U-bolts and Hangers
We all know rust will happen, but at some point, those u-bolts and hangers will become frail and you run the risk of them breaking when you hit a bump. If they’re looking like the need to get replaced, don’t wait on it. Get it done and stay safe!
Double Check Those Springs
If you’re using an axle that requires springs (not a torsion axle), a broken or worn spring can affect your ride and your ability to stay level when parked at a campsite. A broken or worn spring means you’re carrying too much weight and they are buckling under the pressure. Get a new set of springs and don’t take the RV out until you get them replaced!
Grease Those Axles
I’ve heard way too many horror stories of people driving down the road and their bearings fail enabling a wheel to fall off. That’s right, a wheel just fell right off while they were in motion. The maintenance is simple here, folks: Grease those bearings!
Air Up Those Tires
If you’ve got a couple of tires running low on air, your truck is working harder than it should and that means your miles per gallon are going downhill. Keeping your tire pressure where it needs to be also minimizes the chance of a blowout, leaving you to change your tire while you’re on the side of the road. Not a fun time for anyone.
Drop by PPL Motorhomes
Whatever maintenance you don’t feel comfortable performing on your own, we can take care of!
This is something that every RVer needs to know: Dumping and Cleaning your septic system. One of my goals with to educate RVers a little on how to maintain the creature comforts of their RVs so that they continue being comforts and not pains. In this case, having your own private restroom facilities in your RV is fantastic, but it doesn’t come without one big drawback… dumping and cleaning.
Now, no one truly likes talking about this stuff. But, like everything else on your RV it’s going to need attention during every trip and that means dumping and, ultimately, cleaning your black water tank facilities. Let’s just say that, “yes, it’s a dirty job” and “no, you can’t avoid it”. So what’s the best way to tackle this stinky chore? Check out the video below from RV Geeks. They do a really good job at explaining what you can expect and how you can make this a quick and painless job.
Sometimes RVing isn’t always green pastures, beautiful scenery and amazing cookouts. In order for your RV to give you years of hassle free service, you are going to have to keep up with your regular maintenance and cleaning processes. Unfortunately dumping and cleaning your black water tank and system isn’t the most glamorous of jobs, but it has to be done. If you use the video above as a simple guide, I don’t think you’ll have any issues and will be able to complete this task quickly and mess free. Make sure you subscribe to their YouTube channel too… lot’s of really great info to be had there.
If you need septic system parts or products, PPL Motorhomes has a huge selection of pretty much everything you’d ever need to perform a repair, or do a quality cleaning . If you have any questions about your black water system, don’t hesitate to give us a call, I’m sure we can help you out.
As you probably are already well aware of, UV can severely damage your RV’s roof over time. If you think about it, your roof is exposed to the elements almost continually when not in storage. UV can cause cracks and deteriorate caulking and sealants. It’s important that you check the condition of your roof every year. A leaking roof can really cause some serious damage to the interior of your RV. At the very least, it will totally ruin a trip if you encounter heavy, or continuous rains. Fortunately, there is something you can do on your own to maintain your RV’s roof. PPL Motorhomes offers a great selection of repair kits that you can work with at home and reseal, or fully repair your RV’s roof. A great product is Brite-Ply EPMD rubber roofing, it’s long lasting and very easy to apply
Photo from PPLMotorhomes.com
Brite-Ply EPDM Rubber Roofing makes recreational vehicles quieter by eliminating roof rumble and noise from wind, rain and hail. It assures a water tight roof that is maintenance free and saves energy through its heat reflecting characteristics. EPDM sheeting is highly puncture resistant, has superior tensile strength and tear resistance, and is both reflective and refractive to UV rays. The best part is that Brite-Ply EPDM Rubber Roofing passes the 20 year accelerated aging test with no discoloration.
If you have any questions about Brite-Ply EPDM, or any other repair kit, or service PPL Motorhomes offer, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help you keep your RV roadworthy at all times. If you have any other products you’d recommend for roof repair, let us know, we’re always interested in hearing about new products that make the RVer’s life easier.
The awning, is it the greatest RV accessory ever? I’ll tell you that it’s at least in the top three. Here’s why I think that. Now when it’s Summer here in Texas, well it’s just dumb not to have some way to manufacture shade. But what about now? It’s no secret, I love Autumn and here we are just rolling into the Fall season Leaves are changing colors and a cool light wind are blowing. There is simple nothing like sitting out underneath our RV awning as if on Nature’s stage enjoying milder weather. Plus, any time you can knock out direct sunlight, even during the cool months, you are going to have a much more pleasant time by keeping your RV even cooler by keeping direct sunlight out of it.
With that being said, I have seen so many RVs out on the road recently that have holes, tears and pieces missing from it. I don’t know, maybe they are thinking, “Meh, it’s getting cooler out, I probably don’t need it.” Or, “I’ll change it when the Summer RV season is here”. Well, then guess what happens? They forget and are without a good awning for their first trip of summer.
I make sure to take good care of mine, simply for the fact that here in Texas, you want that shady spot, What I do is, before I head out for a vacation, I unroll my awning and wash both sides and allow it to dry totally before rolling it back up. Then I’ll check it for punctures and holes. Small holes can be patched using a dab of vinyl adhesive. Larger punctures and rips will likely need vinyl repair kits. Take care of it before it gets worse, and trust me, it will get worse. I also make sire to clean all of the hardware and check all of it to make sure it is all still working properly, if not, I’ll replace it.
Here’s another tip. If it’s windy outside, I’m talking 15-20mph gusts, roll it back up. Winds that strong can tear holes and rip through awning materials like a hot knife through butter. Finally, don’t let rain pool on your awning for too long. Leaving collected water on your awning for an extended period of time could bend your hardware and tear the fabric.
That’s all I got for now. I’ll bet you are wondering what the other 2 top RV accessories were. Huh? Well that’s entirely up to you. I just know that RV Nana can’t live without her awning.
I have been with PPL Motor Homes since 1980 and have been fortunate enough to grow up with the company. A native Houstonian, I have been blessed with years of wonderful experiences and memories of RVing with family and friends. With 3 children, 8 grandchildren and a ton of friends who I refer to as my adopted family, I was a Nana long before I became RV Nana. I was blessed to have shared this lifestyle with my late husband, a Cajun from Lafayette, and his spirit will live on in all of us as we continue down the road of life.
My life with PPL has given me so many wonderful chapters, from sharing my RV experiences as RV Nana to working with the Texas Campground Owners Association and holding the position of President of the Texas RV Association from 2011-2013, so it’s easy to see that the RV lifestyle is my style. Watch for me on the road …I’m the one with the RV Nana license plates on my car and RV, and share your RV experiences with me. See you soon!