How many times have you driven down the highway and watched somebody dragging a trailer along behind them and that poor thing is just swerving left and right like crazy? How many of y’all thought, “Bless their lil’ hearts, they’re going to crash!” Well today I though we could talk a little bit about a few simple steps that will help to prevent that scary fishtailing motion from happening to you!
The main thing you can do is to ensure that your trailer is loaded in a balanced manner. This could be as small a trailer as a little utility trailer with your lawn equipment loaded on board, to a full fifth wheel luxury travel trailer. They all react more or less the same way to an out of balance load…they get unruly. What your looking for ideally is weight on the trailer tongue at the hitch. No so much that the front wheels of the tractor get light, but enough to ensure positive downward pressure on the hitch. In order to do that you need to add the load onto the trailer in such a way you have the center of gravity slightly forward of the trailer axle (or axles). You may have noticed that most of the heavy kitchen equipment is located on or slightly forward of the axle for example.
Another way to help reduce sway is to install a trailer sway control kit to your trailer. This is usually a series of dampers that help reduce a trailer’s oscillations which could also be caused by wind, bow wave of air pushed by eighteen wheelers, or even something as simple as unequally inflated tires. Sway kits are very common, and fairly easy to install. If you don’t feel up to installing one yourself, any competent mechanic can do it for you at a reasonable cost. Oddly enough we feature several sway kits on our website, come check ’em out!
There is no better time than the present to winterize your RV. If you are new to RVing and this is your first winter not using your RV, you’ll want to develop your good winterizing habits now. So, if you aren’t using your RV, and aren’t storing your unit in temperature regulated storage, you’re going want to read the rest of this article.
For those of you who have never done this before, don’t worry, it might be intimidating, but it’s not a terribly difficult process. As for the rest of you, the seasoned vets, you need to pick your half-day day to get it done. I know, you’re pretty busy, but you know when it gets colder, you aren’t going to want to do it. Don’t put yourself at the mercy of nature; that can lead to costly repairs.
So, where do you start?
If you have any inline water filters (don’t forget the icemaker) remove them and by-pass or drain the lines before starting.
Drain the fresh water holding tank.
Drain and flush the gray and black holding tanks. Clean the black tank with a wand.
Drain the water heater. CAUTION: Never drain when hot or under pressure. (Make sure electric element (if equipped) is turned off.)
Open all hot and cold faucets; don’t forget the toilet valve and outside shower.
Locate and open low point drain lines. Using the water pump will help force water out, but turn it off as soon as the system is drained.
Close all drains and close all faucets.
By-pass the water heater.
If you have an air compressor available, do the following:
Install a Blow-out Plug to the city water inlet.
Apply compressed air, keeping the pressure less than 30 lbs/sq inch.
Open each faucet, one valve at a time, allowing the compressed air to force the water out of the line. Don’t forget the shower, outdoor shower and toilet.
Remove the drain plug from the hot water tank and allow the compressed air to blow out the remaining water.
Click on the picture at the top of the article for even more information on the winterization process.
Now, you can still go RVing after you have winterized, you just can’t use any of the facilities. So, if you do want to take the RV out for a spontaneous Winter trip, make sure you stay at camping locations that have water resources. However, if you have any questions, give PPL Motorhomes a call. We can talk you though the process, or set up an appointment to do it for you.
QUICK HIT: Pick up your RV anti-freeze before the first freeze hits!
What is the one item that every RV owner needs? It doesn’t matter whether your RV is a small trailer or a big diesel pusher, this one, small, inexpensive item can provide so much protection: you need a surge protector! Power surges happen to all of us and they are extremely harmful to RVs. A power surge can destroy something as simple as an electrical outlet or fry all the electrical equipment in the whole RV.
Let’s think about the simple little foul ups that could cause you to require lengthy, expensive repairs to your RV. It could be something as simple as plugging into a miswired pedestal. Or perhaps something as trivial as an over/under voltage situation at the RV Campground. Maybe it’s a hot day in August so everybody at the campground is running 2 air conditioners and the amperage draw is too much of a load for the camp’s supply. Or perhaps it’s an open neutral. Silly little things that could ultimately pry open your wallet and set your dollars free.
Well, we want to prevent those dollars from flying away off into the sunset right? Heck yes! So buy a surge protector and thank us later! We stock all kinds, from the simple inline plug type, all the way to the type you can hard wire in and permanently install. 30 amp, 50 amp, we got ’em! And the majority of them are on sale right now, click the link below to see the variety of stykles we have to choose from and pick one that is right for you:
They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and are a “plug in and forget” bit of preventative maintenance that could easily save you from Empty Wallet Syndrome later on down the road. Nobody likes that burnt electrical smell, so order now and thank us later! You’re welcome.
We’ve all been there. Imagine you’re headed down the road, it’s a beautiful late afternoon up in the mountains. You’re in between towns and you’ve got just enough time to make it to your campsite and get everything set up while it’s still daylight and then make it into town for margaritas at that place you both enjoyed so much last year. And then it happens. You get a flat. You slow down and start looking around for a place to pull over because the shoulders don’t look flat or wide enough. Once you find a wide spot, you pull over and the stream of cars behind you go whizzing by all headed into town to drink the margaritas you were so looking forward to. Doesn’t matter if you’re dragging a trailer or have a full size coach, it’s at times like these that you could use a helping hand.
That’s where a company like Coach Net comes in. They are a 24 hour roadside assistance service, so in the above scenario you would simply call the number on the back of your membership card and leave the rest up to them. They can even determine your location based on your cel phone, if you give them permission, otherwise you’d need to provide a location to the nearest mile marker or cross street. After that, simply describe your break down in as specific manner as possible so they can dispatch the corresponding equipment to your location. They are tied into a network of over 40,000 service providers nationwide, so if you need a tire, or if you need a tow they are standing by to help. Realistically, and hopefully, years will go by before you need to call them, but once you do they will quickly and efficiently respond to your call. And there’s no need to worry about paying for a service then submitting a receipt for reimbursement, Coach Net is pre-paid. So if you’re about to hit the road in a new RV, or one that is new-to-you, may I suggest getting this sort of coverage so that your next RV trip will be all the fun you hope it can be, and suggest that you hit our website for any parts or accessorires.
We’ve all had those tropical-style Texas summer days, and more of them are coming. Hot, humid, sweat-soaked days where all you want to do at the end of it is step into a hot relaxing shower. Of course water tanks being sized the way they are in the RV, those marathon showers aren’t too practical. So I’ve been on the hunt for ways to make the shower run more efficiently for quite a while. Then I stumbled on the Oxygenics shower head. Their advertising claims that the shower head reduces water consumption AS WELL AS increases water pressure. Oxygenics also state that the head won’t clog from mineral deposits, and the usual easy-to-install, carefully engineered use of specialized plastics bullet points you read in advertising.
Well I’m here to tell you, I got one and I’m not sure I want to RV without mine! The pressure is noticeably higher than the stock shower nozzle and a by-product of that higher pressure is the ability to knock the soap and shampoo off quicker, which of course would require less water. Nothing is worse than trying to rinse off under a trickle of soft water and feeling like you can never get the soap off your body and the shampoo out of your hair. Even if your water is soft, at the least the pressure will help blast the soap residue off of you. It also lived up to the easy to install claim, as well as the anti-clogging function, as well as being very very inexpensive. I paid around $30 for mine! Now we carry them at PPL Motorhomes.com and are happy to report that our customers are quite satisfied with theirs as well. So if you’d like to add some efficiency and luxury to your shower, click the link below and shower in comfort!
I was bragging in the last blog about how great Texas is, singing the whole “Texas Is Bigger And Better” song, and then it got so coastal this week. Hot, humid, rainy, and condensation inside the windows all over town. While I’m grateful the state is getting welcome moisture this year, as well as our spring being an actual season this time instead of just the usual footnote-sized blip of nice weather, today was the day that air conditioning became one of those major priorities.
So I decided I really wanted to do an entire blog article on keeping your cool in the summer heat. We have a wide selection of AC units in stock on the website and it’s definitely that time of year where we’re subtly changing from Almost Summer to Full-Blown Summer, so if you haven’t had the AC serviced yet or if it’s not keeping your RV, travel trailer, or fifth wheel properly comfortable it may be worthwhile to check with the manufacturer or in the manual to see if your RV is pre-wired for a second AC unit. Many of them are, and in Texas heat that second AC can make a difference between a wonderful RV vacation and one that is simply tolerable.
Of course, RV Nana happens to like the second AC unit for more than just the cool. When we had our fifth wheel, it was so nice to turn on the AC unit up front above the bed and take a nap or let that fan on the bedroom unit lull you to sleep. I have even been known to turn on the AC fan in the dead of winter just to have the noise! If you’re like me and you prefer that cool breeze and sleep inducing hum, please swing by the website and we’ll do our best to help make your summer more comfortable!
Well y’all, there’s been a law on the books for the past few decades stating that trailers with a gross weight over 4500 pounds have to have an annual safety inspection. That includes travel trailers. Turns out a lot of folks either didn’t know about that law or just flat ignore it. Confusing matters further, the Texas Legislature decided back in 2013 that the inspection requirements will remain unchanged, but the inspection stickers will not be issued. The inspectors now send a notice electronically to the DMV showing compliance and then the inspections station issues a paper to the trailer owner certifying that the trailer has passed inspection and the trailer owner is now able to pay for registration. Inspection first, or no registration. As of 2016, the owner will have 90 days from registration expiration to have the trailer inspected
Of course inspection fees vary from county to county, but the state charges $7.50 and it is added to the $45 annual registration fee for the trailer. A $10 bridge and road fee could also be levied by individual counties as well as whatever fee the inspection station charges, probably in the $7-10 range. Worst case scenario, you’re looking at one more hoop to jump through and a grand total of probably not more than $75 per year for registration and inspection of your beloved drag-along. Of course as part of the inspection all the lights, brakes, and reflectors have to be installed and operational. Since the state will no longer issue the inspection stickers and a safety inspection is required prior to registration, the single registration sticker issued by the state will confirm at a glance that your trailer is in fact in compliance.
Of course some trailers have been neglected or have been rode hard and put up wet. If that’s the case please visit us at PPL Motorhomes for all your parts and accessories to help get that trailer back on the road!
I’m so glad that it’s Spring. With the temperature starting to heat up and the sun starting to shine, that means it’s time to hit the road. But, before you do, a little Spring cleaning is in order. One of the most important items you can get to help you and your family enjoy your outings, is a good water filter. When you drive up to a campsite and hook up to their water source, there’s really no telling where that water is coming from or how it’s going to taste. A good filter gets rid of odors, bad taste, chlorine and sediment in your campsite’s water supply. The TastePURE KDF exterior mount water filter is the one I use on my RV. It’s got a 100 micron fiber filter to help filter the gross smells and whatnot out, while giving you clean water. Plus, it lasts an entire season! I started using the TastePURE water filter because my old filter had a problem with kinks and slow water flow. This one comes with a flexible hose protector to eliminate the kinks and a wider body that its competition, to keep the water flow steady and strong. Since I’ve started using it, my water has been crystal clear with no odors or stuff floating in it. I sure don’t want my kids and grand-kids drinking that water. There’s no telling where it’s coming from.
Larger capacity RV water filter lasts an entire season
Greatly reduces bad taste, odors, chlorine and sediment in drinking water
100 micron fiber filter
High-flow carbon filter with KDF to help prevent bacteria growth
CSA low lead content certified and complies with California’s AB1953 and Vermont Act 193 Low Lead Laws
Oh no, we left our RV at the campground for the week and returned to find our refrigerator had stopped working and I filled a trash can with rotten food. This could happen to any of us. We had our LP tanks filled before taking the fifth wheel down to the bay where we were planning to leave it for a month. We had it all set up and the refrigerator was running fine on electric when we left. The problem apparently started with a power failure at the RV Park when we lost 110 power.
That seems like a minor issue since the RV refrigerator is supposed to switch over to electric. Little did we know that we had to pressurize the LP to get any air out of the lines, or it will try three times to start and then give up. Simply starting the burner on our range would have saved us at least $100 on food and the time it took to clean it all out. It would have been a real mess if we had been gone longer than a few days.
The video below gives some great education regarding your LP system!
So, take time after you fill your tanks to simply turn on your stove and, this simple little step, may save you a big mess. If you ever have any questions regarding your RV feel free to contact PPL Motor Homes Houston, I know we’ll have an answer.
There are two things that every RVer should know: the weight of your RV and your current tire pressure. I’d say that these two things aren’t mutually exclusive either. First, the weight of your RV is of critical importance because it is very easy to overload your rig to an unsafe weight. It goes without saying that an overloaded RV is a dangerous RV.
Check out the video below for important data on your RV.
Now, tire pressure. This is an area of extreme importance that some RVers sometimes take a flippant attitude towards. You know, just looking at your tires and eyeballing your tire pressure. What’s the problem of this? Well, you very well could have created a dangerous combination of The Overweighted vs. The Under-Inflated. This imbalance can put unnecessary stress on your tires, thus increasing the potential for catastrophic failure. The video below explains both the importance of maintaining proper weight distribution and tire pressure.
So you see, just because you have space available, it doesn’t mean you should use it. Every trip should be well thought out in regards to what your are loading your RV with. If you have any questions about weight distribution, or maintaining the appropriate tire pressure in your RV you can call PPL Motorhomes and ask us any questions you may have.
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!