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RVing Frequently Asked Questions by New RVer ( FAQs )

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On this page you'll find some of the most frequently asked questions by new RVers about RVs, RVing and the RV lifestyle. If you don't find your answer below you can use the link at the bottom to email us.

Q: Do most RV parks & campgrounds have showers/sanitary facilities?

A: Yes but midnight potty trips while camping are a bummer. On the up-side, many RVers avoid the sites near the bathhouse, so these spots are often available.

Q: Do most RV parks offer reduced rates for longer stays; i.e. weekly or monthly rates?

A: Most RV parks and Campground offer reduced rate for longer stays and often off-season rates are even lower. Government operated parks are an exception. They usually only have daily rates and often limit you to two weeks stays.

Q: Are pets generally accepted at RV parks?

A: Generally, yes, especially small pets. But it's always a good idea to check before you arrive or make reservations.

Q: Are RV parks reasonably immune from the crime?

A: Yes. At the very least RV parks and Campgrounds are as safe as the average neighborhood. Usually they are much safer. Public campgrounds sometimes have a problem with thefts while snowbird RV parks almost never do. It depends on the park though so use good judgment. It's always a good idea to lock your vehicle and RV and put expensive things away whenever you leave your site.

Q: How does one deal with laundry on the road?

A: Most commercial parks, have coin laundries. Campground guides will usually tell you if there is laundry. There is almost always a coin laundry in a nearby town. Some RVers have washer/dryers in their motorhomes, fifth wheels and travel trailers.

Q: How do you get mail while RVing?

A: If you will be traveling for just a few weeks you may be able to have a relative, friend or neighbor forward your mail to you. Whoever you get will probably burn out quickly so don't ask them to do it more than three to six weeks depending on how often you will have it forwarded to you.

If you plan to be on the road longer or full time make arrangements with a mail forwarding service.

Some RV parks will accept your mail but many will not. It's a good idea to have it sent General Deliver to a nearby town. Keep in mind the General Delivery mail goes to the main post office in a town with more than one. Choosing a small town with one Post Office will make getting your mail easier. Ask the campground manager what post office to use.

Q:What is a battery isolator and why do I need one?

A: A battery isolator is an electronic device that allows your motorhome's alternator or converter to charge both the engine battery and the coach battery, but keeps the two systems separate or isolated so the engine battery won't be drawn down by the coach electrical system ensuring it will always start the vehicle,

Some motorhomes have a switch, usually a push button on the dash, that will bypass the isolator allowing the coach battery to temporarily be used to start the engine should the engine battery fail.

Q: How do you know if your roof sewer vents are clogged?

(1)Very bad odors. (first clean the tank)
(2)Very slow draining out of the tank. (first clean the tank)
(3)Water belching as it drains into the tank.(sinks,shower,or toilet).

How do you clean out roof vents?
(1)Small hand crank sewer snake.
(2)Garden hose down the vent.
(3)Small 11/2in. water-bag down the vent to blow it out.

Remember, RV roof vents can slide to far down into the tank and clog
themselves. To fix that, they must be re-positioned.

Contributed by, Preston Hall

Q: We have winterized our Class C , but still plan to camp a few times this fall/winter.

Is there a way to still use the stool using portable water. Would having waste in the black holding tank ruin the tank in freezing weather.

A: We take about 10 1-gallon jugs of water and use the water down the sinks and toilet. We heat up water when we need it on the stove. Store the jugs of water in the tub or shower.

It won't hurt the black or gray tank to use them. Just remember to top-off your black
tank before you dump.

When your put the RV back in storage remember to use a little RV antifreeze in all the p-traps, toilet, and shower.

Q. I've never owned a motorhome before but am now looking at 1977 GMC which is reasonably priced.

However, I've just learned that commercial parks sometimes won't let people in old RV's park there. Is this a common problem?

A. Older RVs, of any type, may be excluded from some high-end RV resorts that cater to the folks who own high priced motor coaches. But these types of Resorts are few. On rare occasions a park owner or manager may use the 'your RV's too old' rule to exclude some really beaten-up, ill-maintained RV but again this is rare.

The vast majority of RV parks and campgrounds do not have any such restrictions and in any case if your RV is well maintained and has a reasonably good appearance (not new... just clean and presentable) you will not have any trouble.

In the off-chance you do get turned away there's always another park down the road. So, don't let it bother you. Just enjoy your new-to-you RV!

Q. When making camp site reservations, there is often a choice of back-in or pull-in spots.

Is there a standard side the campsite will be on, if you back in will the campsite be on the passenger side of the rv?

A. I can't think of a time when a campsite didn't have the 'open space' on the passenger side of the RV regardless of drive-in, back-in or pull-thru. I'd be willing to say that 99.9% of campsites are set up this way. If the one I was assigned wasn't I would ask for another site unless there was a special reason... close to the beach... had a great view etc.

RV resorts that cater to motorhomes often have drive-in sites because the biggest window in motorhome is the windshield so to get the best view or whatever they drive into the site. But, the open spaces assigned to the site should still be on the passenger side. That said, I've seen motorhomes drive into a site that was set up to be a back-in just to get a better view out the windshield. In these cases the open space could wind up on the driver's side of the motorhome depending on the site.

Q. Is an Extended Warrantee or 'Breakdown Insurance' an good idea?

A. Full Time RVer, Lew Mann Answers: I've been an insurance agent since 1975 so I know how to read insurance contracts.

After reviewing several forms of breakdown type plans 5 years ago I decided to purchase the Good Sam CSP* on my gas coach. The CSP was designed differently that other "extended warranty" plans I reviewed. However, when I traded up to my diesel coach the CSP became too expensive ($1,200+ per year) for the benefit received. Most items covered would cost less to replace than the deductible!

In my humble opinion, unless you have little cash resources, you should self-insure. That is to say, be prepared to pay for any repairs you may eventually need.

*Good Sam CSP is a mechanical breakdown plan that covers every part of your RV, Travel Trailer, and Tow Vehicle! For a FREE Quote Click Here

Q: I have two propane cylinders on my travel trailer. These are bigger than the ones I use on my gas grill which I take in and swap out when emptied. What's the procedure for filling the larger cylinders?

A: I've not head of service that will swap the larger cylinders. Besides I know MY cylinders and what goes in them. And they're not beat up like so many cylinders you get when exchanging.

Typical places to get propane cylinders filled include:

  • Propane dealers... usually the best price.
  • RV dealers & repair centers.
  • Campgrounds... usually the highest price, but you're paying for convenience.
  • Gas stations... look for a large propane tank somewhere on the lot. Can be expensive.

You may want to read:
Propane Safety Tips for RVers and Recreational Vehicles
There are also two videos you may want to watch:
All about RV propane cylinders

Q: Professional Inspection of an RV Prior to Purchase

I know there are people who will inspect an RV before you buy it. I know you have to pay them for their service, but where do you look for these people?

A. Local RV repair shops and mobile RV repair techs should provide that service.

You will want to make sure they work from a comprehensive checklist and provide a detailed written report of any problems found. It would be nice if they also gave repair estimates.

A good survey takes time and expert knowledge, expect to pay between a $100 and $350 depending on the type of RV. A small travel trailer will cost lest than a large expensive motorhome.

Q: Do you know if there is a recommended weight ratio between a trailer, 5th wheel trailer or travel trailer, and the tow vehicle?

A: All suitable tow vehicles have two tow ratings...

Tow Rating - Weight a tow vehicle can tow. This figure may vary depending on the vehicles equipment, such as a manual or automatic transmission, if it us equipped with a 'tow package' and whether it is equipped with four-wheel drive. Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) - Permissible combined weight of the tow vehicle, rv travel trailer, passengers, equipment, fuel, etc., that the tow vehicle can handle.

These ratings are usually found on a plate on the driver-side door pillar but can also be found in your vehicle's owners manual.

It's your vehicle's tow ratings that will determine the weight and size of trailer you can pull rather than a weight ratio.

If you are looking to buy an RV and do not yet have a tow vehicle most veteran RVers will recommend you buy the RV first then buy an appropriately rated tow vehicle

You can read more info about towing, tow ratings and how to weight your rig at at the links below.

RV Travel Trailer Towing Basics

  • Safety Tips for RV Fifth Wheel & Travel Trailer Towing
  • RV Tow Vehicle Basics... weight ratings, tow packages & hitches
  • RV Travel Trailer Hitch System Ratings
  • 7-way RV Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Connector Wiring Color Code
  • Why You Should Know Your RV Travel Trailer Weight
  • How to weigh your Travel Trailer or Fifth Wheel
  • RV Tow Vehicle & Travel Trailer Preventive Maintenance Tips
  • Have a question not answered here? Email Us

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