RV Rubber Roof Care

Caring for your RV rubber roof surface is an important step in helping your RV stay in good shape. Never use abrasive or citrus based cleaners to clean your roof surface since these can damage your roof and cause it to bubble, crack or otherwise loosen from the surface plywood that it is there to protect. Be sure to check with your manufacturer about what product is recommended before attempting to clean your roof.  Rubber roof manufacturers recommend that a rubber roof be cleaned at least 4 times per year and more if the RV receives more dirt from storms or other weather conditions in the area. Apply the cleaner and a follow up companion protectorate to keep the rubber in good condition so it will provide many years of good service. Always be very careful when walking on a wet rubber roof since this surface can be very slippery. After cleaning your roof, inspect it for tears or punctures. Patch kits are available if you need them at your local RV repair center. To prevent white or gray streaks from running off of the roof and onto the sides of your RV, try applying the cleaning solution with a mop or soft brush and then mopping or sponging off the residue. Another option is to have an assistant with a hose so that the debris can be washed away from the cleaning area immediately.  Keeping your roof  in good shape will help you save you money and allow you to enjoy years of fun and interesting travel so be sure to put this important item on your quarterly maintenance list.

Tire Pressure and Wheel Maintenance

Ensuring that your wheels and tires are in good shape before taking your RV out on the road is a good practice to ensure safety. Before taking your RV on the road, be sure you check the lugnuts on each of your wheels to be sure they are tight and that your tires have no visible defects. Since tires with too low of air pressure impact vehicle safety, I like to keep my tires inflated near the top of the recommended tire maximum pressure. This is especially important for my tow vehicle, since it will be bearing the brunt of the weight from my 5th wheel. I have my own heavy duty air compressor for this purpose to make checking my tire pressure easy and simple from home. I also like to keep my wheels covered to protect them from sun damage. I was able to keep my last set of coach tires for an additional couple of years as a result of doing this on a regular basis.  By checking these things before I go, it helps ensure a safer and more dependable trip for my family and me.

RV tire covers
RV Tire Covers

Drafty RV Windows – Winter Maintenance Tips

Got winter drafts making you uncomfortable in your RV? If you find cold winter drafts seeping into your coach, here is an idea to help  keep out the cold, winter air and keep your rig toasty warm in the winter. When I first purchased my coach, I could often feel air seeping in around the windows in all rooms of my coach. The cold air seepage was especially bad in my living room and in my bedroom slideout area where windows banked either side of the bed.  The drafts made sitting on the coach or sleeping uncomfortable even though the heater was chugging out warm air in the coach. After the first winter of constantly putting up with this problem, we began seeking a solution to make our rig more comfortable during those cold winter months.

That summer, to remedy this problem, we removed each window, scraped away the existing window putty, replaced the window putty around each window with a new section of putty and reseated the window. It was not difficult and didn’t take a rocket scientist to do but this small change resulted in a substantial difference in the comfort level of our coach. No longer did we need blankets to sit on the coach and watch tv or wake with frozen noses or neck cricks from the constant cold air flow seeping in through the bedroom windows. Learn more Tech Tips and about things to do with your RV in the Southwestern United States at our MyRvAdventures website.

May your RV road be filled with great experiences.

Safety Devices in RV’s

Is your RV equipped with all of the important safety equipment?  Every RV should be fully equipped with a smoke alarm and appropriately charged fire extinguisher. Have you checked the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and made sure your smoke detector has new batteries?  Is your coach equipped with a carbon monoxide detector and have you recently replaced the batteries in this device?  Finally, do you have an emergency medical kit, flares and a road hazard triangle available in your coach?  These could definitely keep you safe if your vehicle breaks down during your road trip. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Now is the time to check the safety equipment on your coach and make repairs as may be needed to keep you and your family safe on your road travels.  Happy Holidays!

Longer Lasting Batteries

In 2002,  I purchased Optima batteries Blue Top (Deep Cycle Marine) batteries for my Alfa fifth wheel. This has proven to be a great investment as they have lasted for 8 years now without any problems. Prior to this, I was purchasing new batteries for my rig about every two years. I also purchased an Optima red top for my tow vehicle in 2006 and have also had good luck with it as well. While I don’t get 8 years out of that one, it lasts significantly longer than the 1 year I was getting out of other batteries in the hot, Arizona heat. These batteries emit no gas and need no water maintenance so they are ideal for an RV. The next time you need a new battery in either your RV or tow vehicle, I definitely recommend that you consider the Optima.

Slide-Outs Improve Resale Value

Over the past decade, an important addition to RV’s has been the addition of slide-out rooms to both trailers and motorhomes. Slide Out units offer more space and living area without adding additional coach length  so they have become popular additions to the RV lifestyle. Although slide-out units are popular, they do add additional weight to the toe-load your vehicle will need to handle. This is an important consideration when you are considering purchasing a unit with two slide-outs or even three slide-outs. People want RV units that provide the extra room that having nice slide-out rooms can provide. This means that if you purchase a unit without slide-out rooms, you may well have difficulty when it comes time to trade in or sell the unit. Silde out rooms do require lubrication of the mechanical rails and periodically, the seals will need to be changed. Be sure to carry an extra fuse or two as you travel in case your fuse happens to blow and leaves you with an extended slide-out when you had planned on loading up and heading out. This has happened to me and fortunately, I was camping in a town large enough to be able to buy the right type of fuse so that I could get the slide-out operable again and get myself on the road without too much delay. I now carry extra fuses for just such problems because you never know….

Avoiding Windshield Breaks

It is clear that glass breakage is not only annoying but also dangerous and maybe costly depending on your insurance deductible. Here are 4 tips to help lessen the liklihood that you will be a victim of windshield damage:

  1. When driving on gravel roads, pull over and stop when approaching vehicles reach you. The main cause of damage from flying rocks is actually driving into them rather than just being hit by them in passing.
  2. If you do have to keep driving, drive as closely to the center line as possible. This will help the rocks hit your tires rather than have time to bounce up to hit your windshield.
  3. Try to avoid following heavy trucks like cement trucks, dump trucks and other heavy trucks which are prone to dropping rocks and debris on the road.
  4. Finally, have windshield stars filled right away  so that they do not spread into full-fledged cracks.  Changes in temperature on the windshield can speed the development of cracks so having stars taken care of quickly can help prevent further damage.

Parts for Alfa RV Owners

During these tough economic times, several RV manufacturers have gone out of business leaving their coach owners high and dry for parts. If you own an Alfa, like I do, you will be happy to know that there is a place where you can get parts and repairs done on your Alfa 5th wheel or Motor home. This is Alfateers Service Center Inc. in Fontana, CA. You can sign up for their newsletter, learn about Rallys and special events or check out the forum.  While not cheap, at least here you can get the parts you need to keep your Alfa coach in great shape!

TV Upgrades for RVs

When my RV was purchased, it came with a tube television. Recently, since the switch to digital television, I wanted to upgrade my two televisions to the newer, digital models. I found that a 17 inch flat screen model fit into the bedroom wall-mount cabinet and a 32 inch fit nicely into the main living area wall cabinet. Of course, I had to buy new straps and velco strips to mount the new televisions. Once thing that I soon realized was that we had trouble seeing the television when it was flatly mounted in the old cabinet due to the angle on the flat screen. I had to go back and loosen the straps and place a small piece of wood under the back of the television so that it would be at a better angle for viewing. If you are replacing your televisions, be sure to check the viewing angle before you fasten down your new television so you can avoid the extra time it took me to do this.

Protecting Your RV

Living in the hot Arizona sun, I definitely need to protect my RV from the hot sun. The rubber roof on an RV lasts somewhere between 10-15 years depending on how well it is protected and cared for. Repairs to your roof can cost somewhere between $8,000 to $12,000 depending on how much of the plywood under-layment must be replaced. Taking a few minutes to cover your vehicle when it is not in use is time well spent and money saved.

Although RV covers can be somewhat costly to purchase, in the log run, they actually save you a substantial amount of money. Not only can they protect your roof from sun damage but they can also help maintain your resale value and keep your coach in good condition. RV covers can help protect your vehicle and prevent the hot sun from facing and cracking not only the outside of your RV but also the furniture and fixtures inside your RV.  RV’s which are sealed up, like cars, can reach over 180 degrees inside on a day with an outside temperature of only 98 degrees. This can cause laminates, seals and plastics to dry up and warp. Tires can also be damaged from harsh sun and weather. A good strategy is to place your RV on rubber mats and buy tire covers to place on your tires when your vehicle is not in use. I was recently able to keep my tires in good shape for over 5 years by ensuring that I kept them covered when my RV was not in use. These small steps can save you lots of money and keep your RV in tip top shape.