Common Mistakes by RV Newbies

Owning an RV, whether it's a motorhome or a type of trailer, has its fair share of challenges. Unlike what most RV newbies think, RVing isn't simply putting the key in the ignition and taking off for the week for relaxation, exploration or fishing. There are some mistakes you can make that can put a damper on your trip, lead to damage to your RV, or can even be dangerous.

Below are eight common mistakes RV newbies often make when first getting started with their RVentures.

1. Not Asking For Assistance When Backing Up

Not having someone stand behind your RV and helping to guide you when you're backing up is a mistake some newbies make. If you can, get yourself a spotter to help guide you away from hidden obstacles and blind spots. Make sure you're clear on communication signals before you attempt to back up either with hand signals or walkie-talkies. If you decide to use hand signals, agree in advance what each means. If you can't find someone to spot you, you may want to invest in an RV Rear-View Safety Camera.

2. Overloading Your RV with Useless Stuff

Overloading the RV is a common newbie mistake. Many people overestimate what they need — typically kitchen items, clothing, and tools. Once you've been on the road for a while, you'll likely find you're lugging around useless stuff. But, not only this, an overweight RV can be dangerous if you're involved in an accident, so be very cautious.

3. Not Following Useful Awning Tips

There are several awning tips you should take into consideration. For instance, many newbies make the mistake of not using an awning strap while traveling or not rolling their awning up when they leave the RV for the day. Both of these mistakes can lead to damage to the awning. An awning that's not strapped down securely risks being blown or torn off and an awning left unrolled all day long in the hot summer heat can accelerate aging, significantly reducing your awning’s life expectancy.

4. Not Ensuring You're Properly Insured to Value

This means having a guaranteed replacement cost (GRC) policy in place. GRC coverage fully rebuilds or replaces your RV in the event you have a total loss claim. Of course, it has its limitations in terms of who can qualify for it and for how long, but as a newbie, it will give you peace of mind when RVing. Another mistake is not ensuring the taxes are included in the value listed on your policy.

5. Not Having Emergency Roadside Service

Anything can happen when you're out on the road exploring the vast wilderness or highways and byways of Canada. You could get locked out, have a flat tire, have an accident on a slippery roadway, or break down to the point that you need a tow. Before setting off for your trip, ensure you have an adequate emergency roadside service for these “what could happen” incidents.

6. Choosing the Wrong RV (Typically Bigger Than You Need)

It can be difficult choosing the right RV your first time around. This is why the phrase "pick your third RV first" became so popular. While it may sound counterintuitive, bigger isn't always better, particularly if you're aiming to become a full-timer. Manoeuvring a large RV around things can be difficult, especially when you're a newbie. That three to four extra feet really does make a world of difference. Start small and upgrade later if needed.

7. Not Making Sure Your Propane is Full Before Leaving

Your propane system is an integral part of what makes your RV convenient, comfortable and cozy. It enables you to heat up your coach when you've stopped during a cold evening, it fills up your gas appliances and it allows you to take hot showers.

8. Not Filling up the Trailer With Water Slowly

A big mistake is not filling the trailer up slowly with water to avoid creating air bubbles in the water tank which can create a false "full tank" reading.

9. Not Doing a Walk-Around

Prior to leaving home and hitting the road, you should take a walk around your RV to ensure everything's in its proper place before you drive off. While walking around your RV, you'll want to:

  • Check your lights, antenna, vents, windows, and tow vehicle connections
  • Check your fridge doors and cupboards are secure
  • Ensure your storage doors are completely closed and locked
  • Test your brakes, turn signals and headlights for safety

Remember, everybody is an RV newbie at some point and newbie mistakes are oftentimes inevitable. After all, you're not born an RV driver — there's a learning curve for everyone, and it can be a challenge. However, it doesn't have to be difficult, and it doesn't have to deter you from enjoying your new RV and traveling all over Canada. If you make a mistake or two, try to learn from it. Just be sure before you set out for your next journey, educate yourself as much as possible about the in's and out's of RV ownership and travel.

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