It's the one place you DON'T want to go during your travels: the side of the road. Here are the top reasons RVs end up on the side of the road, and how to avoid them…
The best feeling for many RVers is on that open road on your way to your next destination. So, by comparison, there is no worse feeling than ending up on the side of the road during your trip.
There are many reasons why your RV might experience a problem when en route. The following is our list of the top five reasons why you might find yourself stranded on your next vacation and how to prevent them.
By knowing these top reasons, you can better avoid ending up on the side of the road yourself!
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Top 5 Reasons RVs End Up on the Side of the Road
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Preventative maintenance can save you from ending up on the side of the road. So, I highly recommend you watch the above video and consider taking an at-home RV tech course.
The following are the most common reasons RVers find themselves broken down on the road while driving. We have also included ways to prevent that from happening to you!
1. Overheating Brakes
One reason RVs end up on the side of the road is overheating breaks. If you overuse your brakes, they get very hot from the friction.
Once that happens, they may not be as effective. Worse, they can get so hot that they will stop working altogether.
The threat of overheating brakes usually occurs when you are driving through mountainous terrain. That is because you have to navigate steep terrain and curvy roads. There is so much friction between the brake pads and the metal rotors that the brakes heat.
How do you know if your brakes are too hot? You might hear a high-pitched squealing sound. You also might smell a pungent odor from boiling brake fluid.
The following are five tips you can use during mountain driving to help prevent:
- Downshift before ascending and descending
- Use tow or haul mode
- Keep your speed slow and steady from the start
- Maintain a safe following distance so you can brake promptly
- Be patient and give yourself plenty of drive time to your destination
- Pull over safely if the brakes are hot to let them cool
2. Tire Blowouts
Tires are one of the most important things to maintain on your RV. That’s because they are the only thing between your rig and the road.
If you maintain your tires, you will hopefully not end up on the side of the road with a blowout. But, like with anything, it can still happen. Just ask Jennifer and me, which we will explain below!
When the tire tread begins to wear out, it weakens your tires. Then, if your tire hits a pothole or obstacle on the roadway, it can instantly burst, resulting in a tire blowout.
Tire blowouts are very dangerous because you can quickly lose control of your vehicle.
Even if you can maintain control of your rig, a blowout can be a terrifying experience. We know this because we had our own tire blowout while traveling in Michigan! Luckily, we made it through the experience safely.
To limit your chances of a tire blowout, inspect your tires often. Furthermore, we even wrote an article on why you should Check RV Tire Pressure Every Travel Day. Or, invest in a TPMS; The TST 507 is the best Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) on the market.
But we also recommend visual inspection when you stop for gas or other pit stops. It only takes a second and can alert you to any issues before getting back on the highway.
Here is also some advice on When to Replace RV Tires (Advice from Real RVers).
3. High Winds
Another reason that RVers end up on the side of the road is high winds. Hopefully, with this one, your RV is safely parked on the side of the road, not the alternative.
High winds can be dangerous for large vehicles like RVs. Strong winds can push your vehicle off the road or into oncoming traffic. In extreme cases, they can even topple vehicles!
When you experience high winds, the best thing you can do is pull over to a safe spot to stop or take a break. But until you can remove off the road, you might have to navigate driving in windy conditions.
Here are a few tips for driving in strong wind conditions:
- Stay calm and keep both hands on the wheel.
- Reduce your speed.
- Pay close attention when entering and exiting protected areas like overpasses.
- Watch the vehicles around you and maintain as much distance as possible.
4. Running Out of Fuel
Another reason you might find yourself on the side of the road is running out of gas. The most common reason RVers run out of gas is, well, poor planning.
When planning your next trip, mark out all the places you will fuel up. Be sure to give yourself a buffer so you stay supplied with gas by pushing it too far to your next destination.
While it is easy to find gas stations in big cities, they are few and far between in rural areas. Or, you might travel through a town with a station, but it is closed for one reason or another.
One of the best things we have done is download a gas-finding app onto our phones. It helps you find the cheapest gas easily when on the road, especially in areas that you are unfamiliar with.
Gassing up early and often is the best prevention to running out of gas. But having a gas app can also help you locate gas, especially when things have not gone as planned.
5. Engine Overheating
There is one last primary reason RVs find themselves on the side of the road: their engine overheating. An engine overheats when your RV gets overworked and can involve various factors, such as your radiator, belt-driven fan, and water pump.
If any of these things get overheated or brake while driving, it can cause your engine to overheat.
A great way to prevent overheating is to check your engine during routine maintenance routinely. You can visually inspect your engine to check that the fan belt is in good working order. You also want to top off engine fluids like coolant before long trips.
Of course, there are many other things you will want to tighten, check out or fix while doing seasonal maintenance on your RV.
When on the road, some things can help prevent overheating your engine. Pay close attention to your temperature gauge.
If you see it rise and not cool correctly, pull over to inspect. Just remember that the engine will be scorching, so give it time to cool if necessary!
Pay attention to smells. It may be too late if you smell something burning or a sickly sweet odor or see steam coming from the engine. Pull over to a safe location and wait until the engine cools before checking it out.
No matter how well you maintain your RV, it's best to always be prepared. I recommend always having a well-stocked roadside emergency kit. Or, at the very least, you should carry LED road flares or orange warning triangles.
Get the Home Study Course today and worry about the road, not the repairs!
Every time you move your RV it's like driving through a hurricane during an earthquake. Parts break and many items need to be maintained, this program will show you how you can save time and money by gaining the confidence to take on the majority of the issues you’ll come across. Don’t get caught with your RV in the shop! Learn how you can maintain and repair your RV at your own pace and at the most convenient time for you! This course is produced by the National RV Training Academy.