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!
Storage is always an issue for nearly every RVer. We always want to take things “just in case”. After all, it’s better to have too much than not enough, right? I know I’m guilty of that. I pack all of my storage spaces full of gadgets, clothes and other random things I may think I need. Of course, after we get to the RV campsite, and start setting things up, I always wonder “Why did we bring so much?” I’m a big fan of any product that makes more storage available and let’s me bring more on my trip without tripping over everything. Here are a few products that I use in my RV that keep me sane and my RV organized.
Needless to say, when we first got these in our warehouse, I was the first customer. Everyone knows that women pack too many clothes. Yes, we have to have that 1 sweater during the summer, just in case a polar cold front comes it. Yes, we have to have 20 different outfits. Now I don’t feel so bad, because our closet can handle everything I bring.
What a great idea! The space under your bed is mostly just wasted space, so why not put stuff in it? These handy hydraulic kits make it easy to lift your mattress platform up, without throwing out your back, so you can easily fill it with necessities. Better to have, than be forced to go buy one when you’re out on a campsite.
This is a great addition to any RV with underbody storage units. A sliding storage organizer. It allows you to fill your storage up completely and have access to it, without having to unload and reload everything in it. If you’re looking for something towards the back, just slide it all the way out and there it is! No more backbreaking lifting and moving.
Nothing is more scary than traveling along in your RV enjoying the scenery and then experiencing a sudden loss of tire pressure. Believe me, a tire blowout is something that even the most seasoned RV vets don’t want the surprise of dealing with. When handled improperly, a tire blowout can be extremely dangerous…even catastrophic…resulting in a possible extreme damage to your RV
So, how do you handle a blowout successfully?
Don’t jerk the steering wheel and resist the urge to jam on the brakes. There are a lot of forces already at work, why add two more?
Accelerate, but only just a bit:
When you accelerate a little, it’s actually easier to maintain control of the vehicle. Hopefully you are already holding the steering wheel firmly at 10 o’clock and two o’clock on the wheel, if not, now would be the time to do that. The idea here is to keep going straight. Now is a good time to focus on breathing too…try to remain calm.
Decelerate & Coast:
Now that you have complete control of your RV, you are going to be slowing down to a coast. While the RV slows, check your mirrors and assess your traffic situation and start thinking about moving to the right.
Be gentle here, you have control, keep it by not braking too hard.
Turn on right turn signal:
Why the right? If at all possible, don’t ever stop on the left side of the road. That’s the fastest traffic and is the most dangerous place to be. It’s also the law, so you sort of have to.
Pull over and pat yourself on the back:
Pull your RV off to the side of the road, pat yourself on the back and breathe a sigh of relief…you’ve just survived a blowout.
Sounds simple enough, right? Well those of us who’ve experience it would beg to differ. It’s always a shock and it’s always scary. Be prepared and you’ll be less likely to make a mistake when dealing with a tire blowout in your RV.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters-Shelli Kallie/Flickr Creative Commons
Veteran’s Day should be celebrated everyday. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Coming from a military family and having a son in the Air Force and a grandson in Jr ROTC, I understand the sacrifices military men, women and their families make during long deployments. Those sacrifices are even more significant during times of conflict. Because of the tremendous responsibilities and hardships that are voluntarily endured by our men and women in uniform, I feel it is my daily duty to educate folks and write a few heartfelt words of “Thanks”.
Veteran’s Day as we know it today didn’t actually exist until June 1st, 1954. 10 years prior to this date, a WWII veteran Raymond Weeks decided that all veterans of the U.S. armed services needed a day to honor them. He organized a celebration in Birmingham, Alabama and called it “Veterans Day”, it was held Nov. 11 1945 in Birmingham and designed to be a day of thanks that more inclusive to all members of the armed services. November 11th is a significant date because Nov. 11th, 1918 is when the Treaty of Versailles was signed which officially ended World War I. Known as Armistice Day, this is when the Allied nations and Germany actually reached a temporary cease to fighting. It was the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
The “Daily Thank You”
War is Hell and it has unfortunately been a part of humanity since our earliest beginnings. Contrary to many civilian held beliefs, the main reason of a of having a standing army is actually a deterrent to attack and a statement of our country’s dedication to self-preservation. Staying out of conflict is the desire of these men and women who serve. None of them wants to engage with an enemy either foreign, or domestic. Make no mistake though, when duty calls, they were willing to do their jobs without question and without reserve. They stood at the ready, daily. They were prepared to be deployed to anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice, daily. They faced the prospect of leaving their family, daily. And their families faced the prospect of never seeing their soldier, daily. That’s why I say “Thank You” to every veteran I can…daily.
For all of the prep work we do before we actually hit the road to go RVing, nothing is more frustrating than to have all of it virtually come undone because of a technical problem, or an unforeseen need for roadside assistance. If you own your RV long enough and consistently travel, your chances increase for the need of reliable RV technical and roadside assistance.
That’s why RV Nana uses Coach-Net. They are the leading source for 24-7 RV roadside assistance and technical support. They’ve been around since 1987 providing the highest degree of service, assistance, and mechanics to tackle virtually any problem you may encounter on the road.
There are many obvious reasons you should choose Coach-Net for your RV support service, but there are also some reasons that you may not think about. First of all, your RV is a complicated machine; after all, it is basically a house on wheels. So let’s say you have a plumbing issue at your house—more often than not, you are going to call a plumber—but what do you do when it’s your RV’s plumbing system that needs some help, or it’s electrical, or it’s your LP system? Are you going to tackle these issues by yourself? Maybe if you were a Certified RV Mechanic, but let’s be honest, you are probably going to scamper to find an RV mechanic somewhere. Of course, there’s no way of telling if you are going to find one, and, if you do, is he worth his salt? Why take the chance. By having a service like Coach-Net in your back pocket, you can easily contact them with your problem and have a solution in a matter of minutes. Maybe it’s something you can take care of yourself, but, if it isn’t, Coach-Net will have you covered for all sorts of technical and mechanical problems.
At PPL Motorhomes, we offer Coach-Net services and feel that is more than worth the minimal cost associated in getting total roadside coverage. I like to just factor it into the cost of owning an RV, as we are all well aware of , there are a few costs that you cannot do without, such as refilling your LP tank, and adding chemicals to your black water system… it’s just the way of the road. So, when you are out on the road, you’re probably already taking many measures to make sure you have a great time: go one step further and look into adding the coverage of Coach-Net today!
Getting a new RV with slide-outs is great because Slide outs are an awesome addition to trailer life. You simply press a button and your living space is enlarged and it feels like the Elbow Room Fairy has paid your travel trailer a personal visit. It’s like upgrading from a regular hotel room to a suite with a jacuzzi tub. However as time passes wear, sag, twist, warp, and bind might make that slide-out seem a little harder to use and maintain. Many things can affect the operation of your slide outs: water leaking past the rubber seals, or perhaps the trailer has been parked for an extended period with the slide-outs fully extended, or the trailer wasn’t leveled properly, or maybe your slide-out contains the entire kitchen with water and gas installed in it and the weight is a lot for that slide out mechanism.
Here are some of the ways to alleviate slide-out sag and extend the life of your slide out mechanism. Make sure the slide-outs are closed when not in use, ensure everything is lubed properly and regularly, inspect the rubber seals for wear and cracking and condition them so that rainwater and dew stays where it’s supposed to….outside. And, finally, if you find yourself parked in a semi-permanent location give some thought to installing a set of support jacks under the slide-outs.
These inexpensive supports can really help make life a little easier, simply level the trailer, extend the slide-outs and install support jack under the slide-outs. Then, make sure that you verify that the slide out is still level. The last thing you want to do is over-extend the support and make the slide out higher than the trailer because that can cause rain to come in around the slide. Now, to better understand how this works, just imagine you’re holding a 10lb dumbell in your hand with your arm extended out full length. It doesn’t take very long for you to feel that weight getting heavier, well that’s what your trailer “feels” when you leave the slide-out extended for a good amount of time. The jacks are simple to install and pay for themselves by reducing the wear to your slide-out tracks and extension/retraction gear whether it’s electric or hydraulic.
As I listened to the news yesterday, I was reminded that today is the last day for early voting. It’s hard to imagine, but the election is Tuesday. I have heard so many of our customers enjoying a cup of coffee in the break room discussing the pros and cons of this election and I would like to throw my two cents in. Years ago my father gave me some very good advice. He told me that I should never talk politics or religion at work so you can rest assured that I am not going to try to persuade your vote.
I have an 18 year old granddaughter who is eligible to vote for the first time in this election. She has asked many questions and voting has been a conversation at many of our family dinners. My advice to her is the same advice I have given all of my employees. Take time to educate yourself. Learn about the candidates and their platforms. Make your decision based on the information you research and not on the news media. Make your decision because it is how you feel and don’t be persuaded by friends or family. Your vote is your vote. You do not have to share with anyone who you voted for. You simply need to go out and VOTE!
The only wrong vote is the one that you do not cast. Our forefathers fought and died to give us the right to vote. Please do not take this privilege for granted. Go out and vote! God Bless America!
We all wish we could take our RVs out more than we do. If I could get away every weekend, I would. Heck, I might even spend more time in my RV than in my house. But unfortunately, we have jobs, kids, and responsibilities that force us to keep our RV locked up in storage or sitting in our driveways for what feels like forever. It happens, life can affect your RV schedule at any time, after all, RVing is a time-consuming process and it can be hard to make time once or twice a month to head out to a campsite. We understand and we’re guilty ourselves. But, there’s no excuse for letting your tires rot in front of your eyes while your RV sits there and waits for you.
Your RV’s tires are sitting there absorbing the sun’s rays and getting weaker and weaker as we speak. Unless they are covered! Good quality wheel covers will help your tires last longer and eliminate the damage done by UV rays from sitting there in the blistering hot sun. Driving on sun-damaged and dry-rotted tires is a very dangerous proposition and could even cause a blowout! I’ve heard way too many stories of RVers being stranded on the highway because they thought their tires were OK, when in fact, they were damaged and unsafe.
Anytime your RV will be sitting for any period of time, I suggest covering up those tires and keeping the UV rays from the sun off of them. It’ll keep your tires ready to roll next time you gather everyone and head out for a weekend. Always double check your tires to see if they’ve been damaged, you’ll notice cracks on the sidewall if they are too dangerous to drive on. Don’t put your RV at risk, cover those tires!
Do you use wheel covers when you aren’t using your RV?
Your RV is a place of adventure, experiencing new parts of the world, and creating memories with family and friends. We make plans, spend long weekends, haul it across the country and keep it maintained so it’s in good running order. There’s one thing you have to double check time and time again before you head out on vacation, and that’s your safety features. Your carbon monoxide detector, your smoke detector and your fire extinguisher are quite possibly the most important features in your entire RV, no matter how much you love your 50″ flat screen TV. Your TV won’t save your RV from irreparable damage in case of a fire.
Your smoke detectors are just as important, if not more important as the ones you have in your house. Yes, they may signal when dinner is done, but they serve a very distinct purpose. They alarm you when something is on fire or causing smoke. In your house, that means you can get out, if it’s on fire, or you can find out what it is that causing the smoke and take care of it. In your RV there is a much greater sense of urgency. Your RV is exponentially smaller than your living space, so if your smoke alarm goes off. You have a small amount of time to exit the RV. Hence the reason they are so important. If any part of your RV is causing smoke, you need to get out of it immediately.
There’s a gas out there that is colorless and odorless and can kill you. Scary, I know. The bad part about it is that most, if not all, of our RVs are equipped for propane, which emits carbon monoxide when burned incompletely. If your appliances aren’t in tip-top shape, you’re at the risk of having a carbon monoxide leak. Always keep a carbon monoxide alarm in your RV.
As I mentioned earlier, your RV is smaller than your house. That means fire can spread quicker and overtake your entire RV in a matter of minutes. When you’re cooking dinner, a grease fire is the last thing you want to happen. RVs come with fire extinguishers as a standard feature, but they do have a shelf-life on them, always check the dates and replace as necessary. Fire extinguishers can prevent your RV from going up in flames, but only if they work!
As a rule, I always check my detectors using the “Test” button and keep tab on my fire extinguisher’s dates to make sure my family and I are protected from tragedy.
We’re all making a push to use less energy. In an RV it can be tough because so much of the creature comforts of home are rooted in being hooked up to the electrical power supply. Not only can we make a difference in electrical consumption, we can also extend the life of our batteries by using less and not letting power go to waste. Here are a few tips I’ve pulled together that we do when we take our RV out for a trip.
Turn off your lights, radios, and televisions when you aren’t using them. This can save a ton of energy and and if you’re running off of your battery, it will eliminate battery drain.
Unplug your phone or computer chargers when not being used. Even if your computer or smartphone isn’t hooked up to it, it’s still pulling current from the wall outlet. Unplugging them from the wall will assure that you aren’t unnecessarily sending electricity to nothing. It’s also a good idea to unplug your chargers if the electronics are fully charged, this will extend the life of the battery in your computer or smartphone while also eliminating draining your RV power supply by charging battery that is fully charged.
Maximize your daylight hours. If you go to bed late and get up late, you’re wasting precious daylight and using powered lights to stay up.
Use rechargeable batteries for flashlights, reading lights and lanterns.
Monitor your RV batteries using a digital voltmeter and always recharge it at or before reaching 80 percent discharge. This will prolong the life of your battery.
Don’t use your appliances unless you really need to. Those appliances are an energy hog and the longer you run them, the quicker your battery is gone.
Invest in solar panels. They reduce our dependence on always being attached to an electrical outlet. Plus, we can boon-dock whenever we want to! If you’ve got a roof on your RV, you can put a solar panel on it and have it continuously charge your batteries.
What energy-saving tips have you learned out on the road?
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!