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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.