Want to get the most out of your new RV? This article offers the top motorhome tips and hints.
Whether you spend majority of your days in the RV or use it only during the weekends, these motorhome tips and hints should allow you to make the most of your time in it. A lot of the problems that come up in an RV are due to lack of preparedness, so the following can really help you keep your on journey stuffs.
13 Motorhome Tips and Hints
Decide Whether to Buy or Rent
The answer to this question depends on how often you intend to use the RV. To keep it simple:
- Buy an RV if you’re a frequent camper or plan to travel full time
- Rent if you just want to give it a try and see if a motorhome is for you
Communications is a must especially if you’re going to spend lots of time there. If you’re going to be in the RV for prolonged periods, you have to get along with the other people there. If an RV is going to be your mobile home, you’ll need to have open communication lines with the people you’re going to share the RV with.
2. Know Your RV
This means getting to know how the RV works, how to do some troubleshooting and so on. The more you know, the more confident you’ll be about driving around it. Read the manual, the diagrams, sheets and so on. Go over them as thoroughly as possible so if a problem does arise, you’ll know what to do.
3. Spring Cleaning
It probably won’t be long before your RV gets filled with a lot of stuff that you may no longer need. That’s why you should do a spring cleaning after a long trip. Get rid of all the items you don’t use and throw them away.
Now is also the perfect time to rearrange the items in the drawers and cabinets. Make a list of all the items you need and leave the unnecessary ones behind. Doing so makes it easier to maintain your RV and keep it tidy.
4. Take a Practice Drive
Take note of the road you’re planning to drive the RV on. Look for a road with similar properties and drive the RV there for a while. Consider how much effort it takes to make turns, change lanes, if cabinets open, things fall off etc. Note all of these and make the appropriate adjustments.
5. Share the Drive
Ideally there should be someone who will share driving duties with you. This is very important especially if it’s a long trip. If not, take frequent breaks so you can come back refreshed and ready to go. And don’t drive the RV until you’ve mastered the process.
6. Bring Tools and Spare Parts
Carry a toolkit with all the tools and materials you may need for repair and maintenance. Bring extra sets of bolts, screws, connectors, cables and so on. If you’ve got a spare parts bring that too. Don’t settle for second rate parts, only those made for your RV.
7. Develop a Checklist
A checklist is the opposite of spring cleaning. Instead of throwing away stuff, you list all the items that you’ll need. This isn’t limited to the items you want to bring, but also pre-departure things you have to do.
You might for instance, want to check the Wi-Fi and cell phone boosters before leaving. You may also want to go over the tires, engine and the solar panels if you have them installed and so on.
8. Don't Wing It
If it’s your first trip on an RV, stick to the plan for now. It’s fun to just go out there and drive around, but for now just try to get from point A to point B and enjoy.
9. Everything Has a Place
This means putting each item where they should be, and securely. If you’ve got jars of herbs and spices, make certain they’re secure in case you hit a bump on the road. Take the time to secure everything so you don’t have to do any spills cleanup if your RV encounters a rough spot.
10. One In, One Out
This refers to the amount of stuff you put in the RV. For every new item you add, take one out. This is an effective means of preventing clutter. You might be surprised how much stuff you don’t really need.
While this approach may take some getting used to, it’s going to save you a lot of time and money. This approach also makes cleaning easier.
11. Expect the Unexpected
So this means bring extra tires, first aid kit, emergency contact numbers, an RV repair kit and money to pay for whatever unexpected expenses come up. It might seem like overkill to some but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
12. Be Flexible
I mentioned earlier that it’s a good idea to stick to the plan on your first RV drive. But after that, feel free to just cruise around. Don’t feel like you have to stick to the plan all the time. If you planned to stay in town for a couple of days but liked it there, stay longer. The reverse is also true. If you were planning to stay a while but the travel bug bites, go.
13. Fun Fund
We all want to save money while traveling, but sometimes it’s okay to spend some serious cash for a good time. That is the purpose of the fun fund, so when you get the urge to splurge and go for an outdoor adventure, you have the money.
4 Types of Motorhomes Guide
The Following Are The Most Common Types Available.
Class A Motorhomes
Class A motorhomes are the biggest ranging from 29 to 45 feet long. They have room for 6 to 8 people and lots of storage space. Prices usually start at $80,000.
Class A motorhomes include a minimum of one queen size mattress, a full bathroom and kitchen, several awnings, slide outs and more. Features are high class and ideal if you’re looking for a complete mobile home.
While not lacking in accommodation, Class A motorhomes use more fuel than other RVs, plus it can be a handful to steer. Parking space may also be a problem in some areas.
Class B Motorhomes
Class B are the smallest and resemble large vans. With a price tag starting at $50,000, Class B motorhomes are 18 to 24 feet long with sleeping area for up to 4 people.
While smaller than other motorhomes, Class B units are easier to drive and park. They also don’t use as much fuel. This manageability makes it ideal for camping and if you want to do off the road adventures.
Class B models have a smaller cabin, and that means they’re easier to clean and maintain. However, there isn’t as much room for your stuff if you travel with a lot of baggage.
Class B+ Motorhomes
Class B+ motorhomes share a lot of similarities with Class B units except they’re larger and have more amenities. Class B motorhomes come with a large shower/bath than Class B, and the kitchen, sleeping areas, storage and square footage much bigger.
Sofa beds and twin beds are staples in Class B+ motorhomes, plus they offer a lot more than a B or C motorhome. The starting price tag is $50,000 to $60,000.
Class C Motorhomes
The Class C motorhome is the bridge between the A and B motorhomes. It looks like a large van with a cabin hanging above the passenger and driver’s seats. This cabin may be used for storage or sleeping.
C class motorhomes are 30 to 33 feet long with a sleeping area for up to 8 people. The price tag is around $65,000, similar to B+. In terms of amenities, C class motorhomes are similar to B+ RVs.
Which Motorhome is Right for You?
It depends on your needs, budget and how often you intend to use the RV. Here are some guidelines.
- If you want maximum storage space and sleeping area, Class A motorhomes are your best bet.
- If you don’t travel with a lot of company or equipment, a Class B motorhome is suitable.
- If you’re after something a bit larger than a B, a Class B+ motorhome is appropriate.
- An A or B+ is ideal for large families because of the larger cabins.
- A C class motorhome is suitable for families or those who want to spend a lot of time on the road.
How to Customize a Motorhome Painting Job?
Before you start painting, make sure you have acquired the following materials.
Required Tools and Materials
- Paint sprayer
- Masking tape
- Protective paper
- Photo editing software
Step 1 – Plan Design
The first step is to plan the design. Use your phone to take pictures of your motorhome. Load the images in a photo editing application and experiment with the colors, patterns and styles you prefer. You can print these images and use it as a guide to help you with the paint colors.
This part of the plan is optional. If you have a good idea of what you want your motorhome to look like, buy the paint and get on with it. However if you’re going to create patterns and other intricate designs, printed guides will definitely help.
Step 2 – Obtain Materials
If you haven’t already, get all the materials and tools listed above. Get the dimensions of your RV and use that to gauge how much paint you’ll need. Make an allowance for more just in case. Don’t forget to buy gloves and a mask if you can’t stand the smell of paint.
When buying materials, don’t settle for second rate stuff as it will affect the final output. It is better to spend a little more on quality materials than have to do the whole thing over and over again.
Step 3 – Prepare the Motorhome
Once you’ve got all the materials and tools ready, its time to prep your motorhome. Make sure that the vehicle is parked in a well ventilated area. The weather needs to be clear, not too hot but without rain of course.
Park your motorhome in a suitable location. Turn the engine off and let the RV cool down completely. Put masking tape around the areas you don’t want to paint on. You may also use stencils to ensure the measurements are exact.
Step 4 – Apply Paint
You can apply the paint using a paintbrush or sprayer it’s up to you. No matter which method you use, paint in even strokes. Apply as many coatings as you like, but remember that the more coating the longer it will take to dry.
You may need to use a ladder to paint the higher areas. Wait for the first coat to dry before applying another layer. Some paints require a top coat while others don’t, so check the label.
Tips and Warnings
- Don’t paint in congested environment
- Be patient
- Never paint until the engine is shut and cooled off
- Have someone accompany you if you have to use a ladder to paint
You don’t need to be a pro to do a good paint job, but you do need to be patient and have the right approach.
12 Tips for Driving a Class a Motorhome for the First Time
Congratulations, you’ve finally gotten your hands on that Class A motorhome, and now you can go wherever you want. But how are you going to go about it given that a Class A is o huge?
Chances are the largest vehicle you’ve driven is a compact family car, maybe a light pickup truck, but driving and handling a 45+ ft mobile home is another matter.
The good news is while driving a Class A may be a challenge, it is something you can master by following these tips. Needless to say, you should read the owner’s manual first.
1. Driver Comfort
Sit down and make yourself comfortable. Adjust the seat as necessary so all the controls are within your grasp. Make sure the seat belt is secure. Tilt the seat, adjust it forward and backward to ensure all the functions work.
2. Mirror Adjustment
Now that you’ve adjusted the seat, it’s time to work on the mirror. The one on the windshield is mot useful for determining if the other passengers have sat down.
The side mirrors are more important as they provide information on what is happening outside the road. Simply adjust the mirrors until you’re able to see clearly.
If your RV is equipped with rear vision camera that gives you a better look at the road ahead. Side mirrors are all right, but what makes rear view cameras effective is you can see up to 2 feet to your RV, a range that mirrors can’t match.
3. A View of the Road
One of the things you may need to get used to is the view ahead. Compared to a car, your seat is higher and the window is larger, giving you a broader and clearer vision up ahead.
The wide view makes it easier to avoid accidents and potential hazards. You also have a better gauge of traffic and figure out how to maneuver your vehicle.
4. Amount of Room Needed to Maneuver Such a Big Rig
You’ll need more room to make turns, but it isn’t as hard as before since today’s motorhomes have power brakes, power steering, automatic transmissions and so on.
Because the RV is large, you have to drive deeper in the intersection prior to making a turn. Keep in mind that you’ve probably got the biggest vehicle on the road so be careful if small cars are nearby.
Avoid low parking ramps, light bridges, parallel parking and narrow alleyways. As long as you stick to wide roads and drive safely, there shouldn’t be any problems.
5. Keep It Between the Lines
Are you having trouble focusing on the white line? There’s no need to. Just look ahead about 5 car lengths and you’ll end up along the center.
Semi trucks should not be a problem as long as you keep a healthy distance. As for the wind suction, it might drag your RV towards them, so you’ll need to account for that when you drive. The amount of adjustment or correction you need to make depends on your vehicle’s weight.
6. Sharpen Your Skills in a Hurry
The best way to practice with a motorhome is to locate an empty parking lot. Create parking space with some old newspapers and drive in and out of them. Keep practicing and you’ll learn how to perform the same maneuver in real parking lots.
Given the vehicle’s size your turns have to be wide and long. Be careful when doing right turns as you’ll be against the curb.
Keep an eye on the rearview mirror and drive as close to the center as you possibly can. Do not hurry. Concentrate on what is up ahead and not what is going on behind you.
Braking a motorhome takes more time compared to a car, so you’ve got to keep a good distance between your RV and the other vehicles. Always be on the lookout for hazards and traffic up ahead.
Downshifting is straightforward, but do let the engine do most of the work. The engine resistance will slow down your RV and minimize the wear and tear.
If you’re unable to see an open parking space, stop your RV. Ask one of your companions to hep you find a suitable spot.
Don’t be like other drivers who feel a spotter is unnecessary. Lots of RV drivers use them and you should never compromise when it comes to safety.
Take your time when moving in, and use your spotter and the mirrors for guidance. As much as possible avoid tight parking spots.
10. Lane Positioning
The first few times you drive an RV it might be difficult to judge how far left or right you are. But the more you drive the more you’ll get accustomed to the size.
In the meantime, just keep an eye on the mirrors and also note how close the lane markers and your back tires are. As much as possible remain at the right lane so you can drive slowly. Just keep in your position and focus on the traffic to your left.
Make sure you’ve got an eye on the bridge clearance ahead. This is the reason why you’ll need to be aware of your RV height and width. If you have an RV GPS it will notify you of any low bridges ahead as well as traffic.
12. Driving Uphill and Downhill
The rule when driving uphill, downhill and along mountains is to be slow. As always keep along the right lane and focus on what you’re doing.
You don’t want to hit other vehicles of course, but concentrate on driving first. Slow down as you go downhill. Set the gear to low and allow the engine to do the work.
8 Tips and Warnings
- Drive steady and slow
- Do not change lanes suddenly
- An ordinary gas station is not big enough for a motorhome. Go to a truck stop instead.
- Don’t weave around other vehicles
- Don’t do any quick, sudden movements as that may lead to over steer
- There will be times you’ll run into strong winds, particularly in the southwest. To avoid accidents, slow your driving. Keep control and wait for the strong gust to pass.
- If the winds are really strong, drive slowly and look for a place to park. Don’t drive head on into the wind.
- There are RV driving courses available if you want to be more proficient
There is more to an RV than just packing your stuff and going on the road. If you just go out there without preparing, you could end up encountering a lot of problems along the way hopefully the information here can make your trip more enjoyable.