If something can go wrong, it will. At least for us. There’s no such thing as stress-free RV travel. So it’s no surprise that every trip we take, something goes wrong with the RV.
From spilling the contents of our fridge to unsuccessfully leveling our jacks, we like to say that, no matter what happens, away we go.
Here are just a few of the fun things you should expect to go wrong (and how to fix it)!
A good set of tires is the most important thing you can have on your RV. Believe me, you don’t want to have a blow out on the freeway. And when you drive something that’s 45 feet long with three axles, jacking it up and changing the tire is kind of intimidating.
Luckily, when our tire blew, we were able to find a tire changing service in the area to come out for cheap and put the spare on. But you can avoid the whole situation could have been avoided if you check the tires before you leave.
We bought a brand new set of six tires the next day and had them installed. We haven’t had a problem since.
You should also probably invest in a good set of tire covers. They’re useful, especially if you park somewhere long-term, because they protect your tires from the sun and moisture.
While travel trailers and smaller campers have to be manually leveled, our fifth wheel has auto leveling jacks. It sounds nice, in theory, but when they don’t auto level like they’re supposed to, it’s more than mildly annoying.
For starters, if we’re on uneven ground, and the rear jacks have to extend too far, they overextend themselves and get stuck that way. It’s about as fun to fix as it sounds. It requires jacking up the RV to loosen the jacks and starting all over.
But wait. If you’ve already lowered your landing gear and unhooked from the tow vehicle, you have to hook back up and start over from the beginning.
To avoid this situation in the future, we started double, triple, and quadruple stacking the blocks we put under the jacks to give it more height. Now our rear jacks don’t have to extend so far.
Oh, and we bought a 20-ton bottle jack. That thing comes in handy, and is definitely a must-have if you have a large camper.
If your camper isn’t on level ground, deploying your slides can be pretty dangerous. If you’re not level, the frame of your RV may be twisted. Deploying the slides could damage any number of structural things, meaning you will pay a pretty penny to get them fixed.
Thankfully, we didn’t break anything, but it took us a while to figure out that our slides are pretty sensitive to being off-level.
Given our previous jack problems, there have been a few times where we left the RV a tenth of a degree off level or so, simply because we didn’t want to overextend our jacks and get stuck.
No matter what we did, our slide just wouldn’t. Slide. Out. It took us a good half hour to figure out why.
Honestly, that’s a pretty good failsafe. I suppose nothing actually went wrong here, but we sure thought the slide was broken, and we panicked.
There’s not really a great way to hang things on the wall in an RV. They’re not like regular walls, and there’s no backing to support any weight.
Depending on how heavy the item is, you can use 3M command strips, and I have a relative amount of success with those.
However, I did lose the kids’ growth chart to a bumpy road not too long ago, and ever since then, I take unsecured wall hangings down when we travel and put them back up when we get to our destination.
Here’s a fun story. RV fridges have locks. I’m sure it’s obvious that as you’re bumping down the road, you don’t want your fridge to pop open and dump all of your milk onto the floor.
We discovered pretty quickly that those locks aren’t very good. Depending on how far you’re traveling and how rough the road is, the vibrations of the journey will jostle that lock loose, and you’ll still end up with the same problem.
The first time our fridge spilled everything onto the floor (that’s right, it’s happened more than once), was when our tire blew. Talk about adding insult to injury. Don’t I have enough to deal with?!? There was sweet tea, melted butter, milk, and just about everything else all over the place.
Now, everytime we travel, we lock it, and then zip tie the fridge shut. It’s a cheap and effective way to keep everything inside and avoid the cleanup.
Stress-Free RV Travel
You only wish there was such a thing. The only way to achieve stress-free RV travel is to assume that something will go wrong. You don’t know what it will be, but you can mentally prepare yourself for a slowdown.
We assume we’ll be a couple of hours later to our destination than we had hoped, we do everything we can to prepare, and away we go. As long as we all get there in one piece, we count it as a success!