RV Tips and Advice

25 Maintenance Tips

  1. Check oil and fluid levels regularly.
  2. Never use too long or too light of an extension cord (not over 25 feet and no lighter than 12 gauge)
  3. Keep unit clean (the cleaner the RV and accessories are, the better they work.)
  4. Inspect tires regularly (dry rot, cracks, low pressure, tread wear, and general condition.)
  5. Inspect exterior trims and seams (clean and seal or have sealed as seams crack or need attention.)
  6. Have motorized unit’s engine and chassis service maintained as a car or per owner’s manual.
  7. Make sure the RV is properly stored (water system winterized, battery stored, unit cleaned and covered if possible.)
  8. Determine, if possible, water pressure at campgrounds or use a pressure regulator (too high of pressure can damage lines and cause problems.)
  9. Keep all manuals in RV, you can refer to them if a problem does occur.
  10. Always use RV toilet and waste products, the products for home use will cause problems in the RV waste system.
  11. Start unit or generator periodically to cycle stale gas out so the gas does not damage the carburetor or fuel system.
  12. Flush holding tanks thoroughly to help keep probes clean to insure proper functions of the monitor panel.
  13. Lubricate and keep electric step free of debris to help maintain step.
  14. Lubricate compartment locks and entry door locks.
  15. Inspect roof for debris and tree limbs.
  16. Make sure all vents and TV antenna are down before moving unit.
  17. Keep extra 12V fuses available in case one happens to blow.
  18. Inspect and check hitch bolts to make sure none have loosened up over use.
  19. Put awning up or tilt at angle to allow rain to roll off and not puddle on fabric. You will be surprised how quickly wind or rain can damage an awning.
  20. Use a scrap of carpet or throw rug at entryway to keep from damaging linoleum in unit.
  21. Open awning up after rain to allow drying so it will not mildew.
  22. Use stabilizer jacks for stabilizing only and not for lifting unless jacks are designed for extra capacity.
  23. Make a trip plan or carry atlas in case you get lost on the trip.
  24. Keep an extra set of keys hidden or available in case one set is lost.
  25. Relax and enjoy the RV lifestyle!

Setting up Camp

After a long drive you arrive at your destination. It was a safe trip and everyone is ready to get going and start enjoying the great outdoors. Before you get started you need to take some time to set up your RV up. A few minutes spent setting up the RV now can help ensure a memorable experience.

  • If you are towing a vehicle behind your motor home, disconnect the vehicle in the campground registration parking lot before you try to find your site. If necessary, have someone drive the car in front of you while you are looking for the site.
  • When you get to the site, do a brief site survey. Some things to look for are:
    Hookup locations
    Obstacles that could interfere with slideouts, awnings or any other part of the RV
  • Put wheel chucks under your wheels and level as necessary.
  • If your motor home has a battery disconnect switch for the chassis battery, turn it off.
  • Put out the entry steps.
  • Remove the slideout travel locks and put out the slideouts.
  • Connect up to the correct electrical service for your unit.  Be careful when plugging into the electricity, and try if at all possible to avoid using extension cords, which could overload very quickly.
  • Test the electricity in your RV to see if it is working.
  • Connect up to the water, turn it on and check for any leaks.
  • Carefully remove the cap from your sewer hose valve so you can attach it to the sewer drain outlet.
  • Turn on the main LP gas supply valve at the tank or bottles.
  • If you want hot water, make sure the hot water tank and lines are full before you light it. Make sure your water heater bypass kit is not in bypass mode. Every water heater has its own instructions, be wise and follow the ones on yours.
  • If the campground has a cable TV hookup, connect your TV coaxial cable from the RV to the cable connection.
  • If the campground doesn’t offer cable hookups, raise up the TV antenna on your unit. Turn on the TV and the power booster and pull down the antenna base plate, rotating the antenna until you get the best reception.
  • If you plan to use the range exhaust fan, make sure you open the locking tab on the outside range hood vent door.

Campground Etiquette

Common-sense rules of etiquette prevail when you check into any campground.  Whether you plan to stay for one night or an extended visit, you are joining a “community,” and you are expected to be a good neighbor.

Here are some “rules” of campground etiquette to help be a good neighbor:

  • Heed all Campground rules.
  • Noise can travel a great deal, so be conscious of volume levels when watching TV or listing to the radio outside.
  • Respect quiet hours.
  • Don’t walk through others campsites.
  • If you are arriving late or leaving early, be mindful of your lights.
  • Keep your site tidy.
  • Respect the campgrounds and your neighbor’s property.

Basic Campground Rules

Almost every campground you visit will have a set of rules to follow.  These are usually given to you when you check in.  The list that follows is a very basic list of rules that many campgrounds seem to have in common.  These are only a point of reference for those wondering what sort of rules to expect at the average campground.  Please follow any rules that of the specific campground you are visiting.

  • Watch your speed.  Posted speeds are usually 15 MPH or less for the safety of all guests.
  • Observe quiet hours.   These usually fall sometime between 10:00 pm and 8:00 am.
  • Golf Carts, Mopeds, Scooters etc.   Some campgrounds allow them and some do not.  It is best to call first.
  • Visitors to your site almost always must register at the office when entering the park.
  • Most campgrounds do not allow units to be advertised as for sale within the park.
  • Site cleanliness is your responsibility while you are there.   Each park will have posted where to deposit your trash.
  • Campfires are allowed at many parks.   Many time there is either a designated area to be used or a fire ring might be required.

As earlier stated, these are just a sampling of the rules shared by many campgrounds.  Always refer to the rules given to you. Be safe and enjoy your stay.

Camping with Your Dog

The campgrounds listed on this site that allow dogs do so because they realize pets are a part of many camping families.  Your dog can make your camping experience more enjoyable. Here are some tips for camping with your dog:

  • Be sure your dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date and dog licenses are current.
  • Bring along the vaccination records on your trip should you need them.
  • Ask your vet about any health risks you should be aware of.
  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times.
  • Leaving your dog unattended at your campsite may cause them to bark and whine, disturbing your fellow neighbors.
  • Always pick up after your dog in a campsite.
  • Remember: dogs need clean drinking water too.
  • Take along a first aid kit for your dog.

Camping Games

Campgrounds often offer many fun amenities and plan great activities to make your stay enjoyable.  But sometimes a simple game is all you want.  Here are a few games, you can play them all without any special materials or equipment and that the kids (and adults) will love.

Scavenger Hunt

Get kids interested in a nature walk by turning it into a scavenger hunt! Walk along a trail while the kids search for items on their list and check them off as they find them. Nature lovers leave everything just as they find it and take a picture for a keepsake.

Click here a printable Scavenger Hunt check list.

Fairy Houses

Youngsters enjoy making houses for homeless fairies. On a nature walk, collect interesting leaves, rocks, sticks, shells, feathers and other pretty things, and then build a tiny fairy house in the woods or brush near your campsite. A fairy house has to be built someplace secluded because fairies are shy, and it has to be attractive because fairies are very picky, aesthetically.

Bug House

Make an insect terrarium with a big piece of Tupperware or a large, glass jar.

Here’s how we do it:

  • Put some dirt in the bottom of your container.
  • Dig up some worms and put them in the dirt.
  • Go on a bug hunt. Step off the trail and turn over the layer of dead leaves to the soft, half-rotted layer underneath. Sift around and you will find tons of bugs.
  • Give the bugs some food, like a little piece of fruit, and a dish of water.
  • Keep the Bug House in the shade and keep the dirt moist.
  • Take care of the bugs and set them free at the end of your camping trip.

Camping Recipes

Some of the best family meals are made while camping. It allows your creativity to soar. No need to limit camping recipes to fire roasted hot dogs and s’mores, just about anything can be made in your outdoor kitchen, on the grill or over a campfire.  Here are just a few sites that seem to have a wealth of recipes for the RVers and campers:

Go RVing’s Recipes for the Road

Food.com’s Camping Recipes

Taste of Home’s Camping Recipes

AllRecipes.com Camping Recipes

Firewood Information

Campfires and RVing pretty much go hand in hand. In the past, RVers have hauled firewood with them to use while camping without any issues. In the past few years, more and more campgrounds have banned the transportation of firewood into their park to help stop the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer as well as other tree destroying insects and diseases.

Before loading up any firewood, please call your destination campground to see what their current rules are on the transportation of firewood.  Many campgrounds have firewood for sale in the office or might have an approved seller in town.


If you are putting your RV into non-use storage during the winter months, the chance that it will be exposed to freezing temperatures requires some preparation and maintenance attention.

When exposed to freezing weather, an RV that has not been prepared for such cold temperatures could be damaged by possible ice expansion. Water lines, tanks, water heaters, pumps and faucets are at potential risk and will require repair or replacement if damaged.

The procedures are fairly simple and absolutely necessary to maintain the vehicle for maximum durability over its long life.  We have put together this Winterizing Checklist to help you though the process.

Always remember:  Specific procedures recommended by the RV manufacturer, chassis manufacturer and appliance producers should be closely considered.


Have all the traces of winter melted away?

It must be Spring, the birds are chirping, the air is warming and campfire thoughts are starting to dance through your head. What could be better?

It’s time to de-winterize your RV and have it prepared to hit the road.  We have prepared this De-Winterizing Checklist to help guide you through the process and get your RV ready for the camping season.

Cold Weather Usage

Winter’s invigorating days and sparkling landscapes offer new opportunities for outdoor fun for RV owners. From skiing to snowmobiling, RVers can enjoy their favorite activity and return to the comfort and warmth of today’s centrally heated, thermostatically controlled vehicles.

Here are some helpful tips for cold weather RV usage:

• Check your water system. Some RVs are constructed and insulated so the entire water system can be used, provided that heat is maintained in the unit. Look in your owner’s manual to find out if your unit has this feature and how low the temperature can go before a potential freezing problem may occur.

• If you’re not sure about your vehicle’s capabilities, leave the water system winterized and use a portable water source. Also, remember to add more non-toxic anti-freeze to the holding tanks, as waste water added to the tanks during the trip will dilute the anti-freeze.

• Heating an RV in the winter requires an adequate LP gas supply. LP gas tanks should be full for extended cold-weather trips. RVers should also make sure only propane is used in the tanks, not butane. Butane will not work in temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Winter campers should select a sunny campsite over a shady one, near a wind break if possible. Park with either the front or rear of the RV into the wind. It is wise to make reservations ahead to ensure the campground is open.

• Driving speeds should be kept down on icy roads. RV drivers should frequently cheek the “feel” of the road when no other vehicles are near to determine limits for safe acceleration and braking.

Finally, the best advice is to follow the instructions in the owner’s manual for winterizing the unit and using the vehicle in cold weather.

Exterior Inspection Tips

As part of your pre-trip routine, also examine the RV’s exterior. Inspect the body and roof of your RV for any separation or cracks. If you have a towable RV, inspect the hitch system for cracks, general wear or loose bolts.

Check the tire pressure while also looking for cracks, uneven wear and any objects stuck in the tire that could create a leak. Make sure the lug nuts are tight on both inner and outer wheels. And, don’t forget the spare tire!

Look underneath the RV, taking a deep breath to see if you smell gasoline, diesel or LP gas. If you do, shut down all pilot lights and get professional help.

Also check for leaking fluids. If you discover a leak, move the RV and check again, noting the color and location of the leak in relationship to the RV. Have a certified RV technician at a dealer or service center inspect the vehicle if there is a leak. Be sure to relay the information about the color of the leaking fluid and the location of the leak.

These are some helpful hints that any RVer, regardless of mechanical ability, can do to help maintain the vehicle and ensure that each trip starts out on the right note.

The vehicle’s owner’s manual should provide more detailed information and maintenance schedules.

RV Appliance Tips

The added appliances give RVers the luxuries of home while on the road. Most appliances need little maintenance; however, they do need to be kept clean. Periodic inspection and cleaning of each appliance will do wonders for maintaining the longevity of the appliance. One should follow the instructions of the owner’s manual for special maintenance on each separate appliance.

The fuel source for recreation vehicles is liquefied petroleum otherwise known as LP. The LP system is a completely sealed system and is basically maintenance free. Visual inspection of the tanks for excess rust is needed and tanks should be painted occasionally when rust is prevalent. LP tanks are only to be filled to 80% full. This allows for expansion of the gas as the temperatures heat up. It may be noticed that a smell is coming from around the tank, this could be from the pop off valve which is releasing the excess pressure from the tank. LP is an odorless gas, yet an additive has been added so that a smell is evident when a leak appears. If a rotten egg smell is noticed, the tank probably has developed a leak. Turn off the gas immediately and take it to an RV service center as soon as possible to be repaired.

RV Electrical Systems Tips

The electrical system in your RV can seem complex.  With a basic understanding of how it works it can seem much less confusing.

12V (batteries & converters)
The primary system of power on an RV is the 12V system. This system is mainly used for powering the lights, appliances, and accessories on the RV. The battery supplies the power and gets supplement power from the converter on the unit. Maintaining the water level and charge on the battery is the prime factor in proper use of the battery. Checking the condition of the terminals and battery itself helps maintain longevity and usefulness of the 12V system.

The 11 OV electrical system is a secondary power source on an RV. This is similar to the electricity in one’s home. This power source provides electricity to the outlets, the converter, and to some appliances (roof A/C, microwave, and refrigerator). The power for the 110V is supplied by an auxiliary source either by the power cord or a generator. The II OV system is protected by circuit breakers which trip if too much is being drawn through the dedicated circuit. The main item which needs maintained in the 110V system is the shoreline (power) cord. This cord needs to be periodically inspected to insure no damage or loose wires are evident.

Getting Service for Your RV

Proper care and maintenance of your RV is the best way to keep it in good running order, save you money in the long run and prevent an untimely breakdown from spoiling a trip.

RV owners should follow the maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer and have regularly scheduled maintenance and repairs done at an RV dealership or service center — no one understands RVs better.

Here are some tips to help select an RV dealership or service center and ensure that you have a quality service experience.

• Look for the red, white and blue Certified RV Technician sign, which indicates the dealership or service center employs RV technicians certified through an industry-sponsored program conducted by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and the Recreation Vehicle Dealer Association (RVDA), who are committed to customer satisfaction.

•  Research the dealer or service center by talking to current customers to determine the quality of work and record of customer satisfaction. It’s also a good idea to look for state, local or industry certifications, like the Certified RV Technician sign, throughout the shop.

• Read your owner’s manual and warranty so you’ll know what to expect from your RV, what your responsibilities are and what systems and components are covered by whom.

• Request written estimates for all service work and ask for written notification for any additional repairs not covered in the original estimate. Also request that replaced parts be given to you for inspection.

• Let the service manager know immediately if you’re not satisfied with repair or maintenance work performed on your RV.

It’s important that you feel comfortable with the professionals you entrust to service your RV. With confidence comes the ability to communicate openly about your concerns and needs.

No matter how good future technology becomes, periodic inspection of your vehicle by a professional will never be obsolete. A checkup by an experienced RV service technician can be a real lifesaver and money-saver.


Fluids, Filters and Battery

Let’s take a moment to cover a few maintenance items on your RV that need to be addressed on a periodic basis.

A primary element of RV maintenance is regularly checking fluid levels, including engine oil, brake fluid, engine coolant, transmission fluid and power steering fluid. Make it part of your pre-trip routine to check these important fluids and top off any that are low. It’s also a good idea to check these fluids on a monthly basis if you haven’t used your RV lately or if it is in storage.

While you’re at it, also check the battery to make sure it is free of corrosion and has an adequate water level (if it is not a maintenance-battery) and the air filter to make sure it’s clean.

Fluids and filters should be regularly changed. Check your RV owner’s manual for its maintenance requirements and schedule.