Picture this: you're embarking on an epic road trip with your loved ones, cruising down scenic highways, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. But amidst all the excitement lurks a hidden problem waiting to ruin your trip.
Many of these problems can be avoided with preventative maintenance and by regularly inspecting your RV. But these preventative measures often get put on the back burner, or the potential problems are simply underestimated.
This article covers the most common hidden problems lurking inside your RV. And since this article isn't meant to scare you, we also include helpful resources throughout to prevent or uncover these hidden problems.
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HIDDEN RV Problems
1. Faulty Wiring
One of the first areas to inspect for hidden problems is the electrical system. Faulty wiring or outdated electrical components can pose serious risks, including the potential for fires.
It's a good idea to schedule regular inspections by a certified electrician and make sure to look out for issues such as exposed wires, loose connections, or outdated circuit breakers. This is especially important if you've had any water leaks.
- RV Electricity Dos and Don’ts
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- Dog Bone?! A Guide on RV Power Cord Adapters
- 5 Troubleshooting Tips for RV Shore Power (120V AC & 12V DC)
2. Leaking Propane
Another often overlooked area is the propane system. Propane is commonly used to power appliances like stoves, water heaters, and refrigerators in RVs. Unfortunately, there's been a spike in propane-related accidents and deaths in recent years.
It's also very important to inspect your propane system regularly, including all propane appliances. Check for leaks, rust, corrosion, loose fittings, pinched cables, and the like.
You can use a gas leak detector or soapy water to determine where leaks are coming from. If you put soapy water on a leaky gas line, it will bubble wherever the leak is.
Ideally, you'll have this inspection completed by a certified service technician once a year. That's in addition to checking it yourself on a regular basis.
- 7 RV Propane Safety Tips to Prevent an EXPLOSION
- Is It ILLEGAL to Have Propane on While Driving an RV? (Is It Safe?!)
- How to SAFELY Transport Propane Tanks for Your RV
3. About-to-Blow RV Tires
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The RV's tires are like its shoes, providing stability and ensuring a smooth ride. However, worn-out tires or improper inflation can lead to blowouts, loss of control, or even accidents.
Regularly inspect your RV tires for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, bulges, or uneven tread wear. Don't forget to check the tire pressure before hitting the road, as underinflated or overinflated tires create safety hazards.
Also, be mindful of the age of your tires, as they can become more prone to failure after about 5 years.
- How to Survive an RV Tire Blowout
- When to Replace RV Tires (Advice from Real RVers)
- The danger of underinflated RV Tires
- Check RV Tire Pressure EVERY Travel Day (Here’s Why!)
- RV Tire Sizes & Basics Every RVer Should Know
4. Structural Weakness & Broken Seals
Now, let's talk about the often-overlooked structural integrity of your RV. Over time, exposure to various weather conditions, road vibrations, and continuous use can lead to hidden damage or weakening of the structure.
Inspect your RV's roof, walls, and floor for any signs of water damage, rust, or cracks. Pay extra attention to seams, corners, and areas around windows and doors, as they are more susceptible to leakage.
Regularly sealing and maintaining these vulnerable areas can prevent further damage and ensure your RV remains structurally sound.
- Don’t Let a Leaky Roof Ruin Your RV Trip: Try These 7 Sealants & Caulks
- Try the Best Homemade RV Roof Cleaner
5. Worn-Out Brakes
Heavy loads and constant use can wear down the braking system quickly, increasing the risk of accidents or reduced stopping power. Regularly inspect your RV's brake pads, rotors, and fluid levels.
Be on the lookout for warning signs, such as squealing or grinding noises, vibrations, or a spongy brake pedal. If you notice any red flags, promptly have your brakes inspected and serviced by a qualified mechanic.
- 63 Scariest RV Experiences Real RVers Have Survived (Faulty brakes are too common!)
- Is It Safe to Use Cruise Control While Towing an RV?
- Don’t End Up on the Side of the Road! 5 Reasons Your RV Will (#1 Overheated Brakes)
6. Pest Infestations
Tiny creatures can sure do a lot of damage! Rodents and ants are the most common culprits but not the only ones.
Rodents often build nests in RVs, which can lead to chewed electrical wires, clogged systems, and other fire hazards. Ants can cause similar problems (strength in numbers, we guess!)
Then there are squirrels, palmetto bugs, spiders, and other little critters and buggers that can create a lot of hidden problems. You need to regularly look for signs of pests, including nests, webs, chew marks, and odors.
- How to Keep Mice Out of Camper (5 Best Ways)
- How to Get Rid of Mice in a Camper (5 Effective Ways)
- How to Keep Ants Out of Your RV (7 Helpful Tips)
- Spiders While Camping: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly
- How to Prevent a Palmetto Bug Infestation in Your RV
7. Not Being Prepared
One of the biggest hidden dangers in an RV is a lack of preparedness. It's paramount to have the appropriate safety equipment on board your RV.
A well-stocked and easily accessible first aid kit is a must-have in the event of an emergency or injury. Additionally, a functioning smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, and fire extinguisher can be lifesaving in case of fires or gas leaks. Regularly check the expiration dates and replace batteries as needed.
- LIFE-SAVING RV Emergency Preparedness: Don’t Become a Statistic!
- 5 Emergency Roadside Kit & Products for Your RV
- Road Emergency! Can you prepare for the worst?
- 5 Best Fire Extinguishers for Your RV
- 3 Life Safety Detectors You NEED in Your RV
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.
In a recent post in our RV Lifestyle Facebook group, Sherry B. asked the community, “What are some of the scariest events you all have experienced on the road?“
Her post received well over 200 comments from fellow RVers sharing their scariest RV experiences.
We've grouped the comments into categories… Keep reading…
By popular demand, we announce the publication of the latest in our library of RV travel guides – a 7-Day Adventure Guide to Coastal Maine.
With its dramatic rocky coastline, enchanting fishing towns, and windswept sandy beaches, Coastal Maine is a destination that should be on every RVers’ bucket list.
We call these guides “7 days,” but they really are seven stops. They’re meant to be experienced at your own pace, a couple of days at one stop, a week at another, however long you want.
We have carefully curated this 66-page digital guide (not a printed book) so you can take in all Coastal Maine has to offer. We give you the routes to drive, the spot to stop, the places to eat, and the museums, excursions, hikes and adventures we think you will enjoy the most.
For an RVer, Coastal Maine has it all: stunning landscapes, short drives between stops, spacious campsites, that perfect small city and nature mixed with a seemingly endless variety of things to see and explore.