Last Updated on December 13, 2022
RVs provide a home-away-from-home during the recent pandemic. With an RV, you can avoid airports, hotels, and crowds. If you’re all ready to get an RV and hit the open road, there are a few common problems you’ll want to know about as well as the solutions to make sure your trip stays fun.
Why Would You Have Problems With an RV?
The top reason you will find problems with an RV is human involvement. RVs aren’t assembled in the same manner as cars which are composed of parts manufactured by machines and then assembled by machines. Assembled by humans using a basic template, RVs often aren’t consistent across make or model. The superstructure is going to be slightly different because of its human assembly. Everything is done by hand using nail guns, adhesives, caulk, and more.
RVs are not created equally, having differences in amenities, size, weight, build materials, and overall quality and durability. They do share some similar problems that need to be taken care of. Just like any other product on the market, time and use affect the functionality and resilience of the RV and its components.
RVs are especially susceptible to issues since they are built to mimic a home that is able to be moved at any given moment. Even cars have issues due to intended use and are built specifically for transportation, when you add in features from a home that is traditionally stationary, you are bound to encounter a few issues along the way.
Common RV Problems And What To Do About Them?
1. Plumbing Issues
Plumbing issues are very common. If you end up with a busted water pipe in your RV, keeping a small supply of push-on fittings, couplings, and water valve shut-off pieces will come in handy. They aren’t expensive and take up little room for great convenience.
Additionally, most RVers typically make use of their RV during the warmer months so store their RV for the winter months. When you store your RV, it is good practice to ensure your water tanks are emptied to prevent the expansion that occurs when water becomes ice, bursting lines, or damaging your pump. Being that everyone occasionally forgets or overlooks smaller details, damage to water lines and pumps is a common issue that causes the need for repair work to be done on RVs across the nation.
2. Toilet Issues
While going in the woods or using a community restroom are both viable options when outdoors, that defeats one of the major advantages of camping in an RV, having your own private bathroom. Your toilet at home can last a long time even with wear and tear due to typical usage, but when you add the portability of an RV to the mix, the bumping and bouncing due to the road can shorten the lifespan.
Some common issues found with RV toilets can include water not staying in or constantly flowing in the toilet bowl. Toilet issues can not only cause issues with your water supply but can lead to water damage that becomes a much costlier repair, so should be addressed right away.
3. Roof And Window Issues
The roofs and windows in RVs are made of materials and assembled differently than those in your typical house. With a house, the roof and windows are built from materials that are better suited for long-term exposure to the elements. On your RV, some aspects of each part needed to be sacrificed to allow for mobility.
To keep the weight down, the roof of your RV is similar to the sides, rather than the traditional roof found on a house. With constant exposure to the elements in addition to hitting overhead trees, it can take extensive damage.
RV windows are designed to better absorb the constant vibration of travel, so a sealant with a more rubberized finish is used. Though the sealant used on an RV is meant to absorb shock better it eventually will succumb to the consistent jarring and exposure to the elements.
The good news is that replacing or resealing RV windows is pretty easy. All it takes is a screwdriver and some good RV sealant.
4. Tires and Wheels
Another common problem for RVs is the tires and wheels. It’s important to have quality spare tires on your RV along with the tools you’ll need to change out the tire. It’s also vital to frequently inspect the bearings and suspension system for any signs of wear.
Tires are highly vulnerable to road debris, wear and tear from typical usage as well as damage from non-usage. Knowing that daily driver vehicles encounter issues with their tires though they weigh significantly less than most RVs, it should be no surprise that tire blowouts are a common issue with RVs as well. You can take certain precautions to prepare for or prevent some issues, like ensuring proper inflation levels, regularly checking tread wear, and carrying a spare. In spite of these, you are bound to encounter an issue with your tires eventually and should always be prepared.
5. Electrical Problems
With electrical problems, the most important thing to know is whether it is on the 120-volt side or on the 12-volt side. Since the 120-volt side powers your lights and other operational functions, it’s a good place to start troubleshooting. If you can determine that your RV is receiving power, you can move on to the circuit panel and breakers. If you need to replace fuses or breakers, pay attention to the numbers and types so you make an appropriate switch.
Please note, that if you’re at all uncomfortable handling electrical issues, it’s a good idea to hire professional help. You run the risk of causing damage to your rig as well as causing yourself serious injury.
Most minor RV electrical problems can be taken care of in the same way as those around the house. For instance, occasionally you’ll find the switches or push-buttons in your circuit breaker panel stop functioning. Replacing these is a very minor procedure. The same goes for the outlets you find throughout your RV’s interior. If you find one malfunctioning, it may be due to the common use of the clip-together style of the receptacle by RV manufacturers.
RVers also frequently replace their RV batteries, especially when they’re planning to upgrade from a generator to a solar panel system. Lithium batteries are lighter, longer-lasting, and don’t require as much maintenance. They’re also relatively simple to install and set up yourself.
6. Common HVAC Troubles
Depending on when and where you’re headed, your RV’s air conditioning can be a necessity as well as a luxury. This is never more true than trips over the summer when temperatures can get brutal. There’s nothing worse than coming home from a long day of sweaty adventures only to discover there is no way to cool down.
Fortunately, there are lots of RV HVAC repairs you can do without calling a professional RV AC service. If your air conditioning unit is running, but you notice the air coming out isn’t cool, the problem could be as simple as having dirty RV air vent filters. Filters are cheap and easy to replace.
Another common RV AC issue has nothing to do with the AC unit itself, but with the thermostat being busted, and not properly communicating with your air conditioning unit. Replacing an RV AC thermostat is also fairly simple and can be done with common hand tools.
RV Repair Can Be Simple
One of the best ways to keep RV repairs simple is to keep a record of your RV’s maintenance. It will help you know when and what was repaired in the past and help you keep track of when to check your systems again. Different systems require service at different times so good record-keeping will help keep you straight. Through regular maintenance and observation, you can keep your RV in safe running order and better able to handle any problems that arise.
And if you’re not sure how to tackle the common troubleshooting issues we’ve outlined above, don’t be afraid to turn to the camping community for help or reach out to us! We want to make sure your rig’s in top shape so you can get out there and do some exploring in it!