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Tips: Plan Ahead, Avoid Getting Stranded

| Updated Dec 15, 2017
Tips: Plan Ahead, Avoid Getting Stranded 1

While we love tips from Roadtreking readers and listeners the most, sometimes we offer you information based on our own experiences.

That includes one of the times we had to be prepared for an emergency repair while on the road.

We were in hot and humid Florida and navigating stop-and-go heavy traffic around Destin, which was getting very crowded with vacationers flocking to the area’s beaches for the a summer weekend.

Anyway, while stuck in traffic, an emergency warning light appeared telling us to pull over and shut down the engine because the coolant was overheating.

We did so Mike popped the hood to check on the antifreeze. The level was just fine and as he was scratching his head, he looked around and found that the serpentine belt had shredded and fallen off the pulleys it winds around. The serpentine belt is a single continuous belt used to drive multiple devices in our Roadtrek, such as an alternator, the vehicle air conditioning compressor and the engine generator.

Now that’s not a life and death issue. After the engine cooled down, we drove to our campground. But we obviously needed to put a new belt on.

Tips: Plan Ahead, Avoid Getting Stranded 2Here’s where the being prepared part comes in. We had a replacement belt with us. I was so proud of Mike that he had one because trying to find the right one that would fit our Roadtrek would have been very challenging on a holiday weekend.

A friend came by the campground and installed the new one in just a few minutes, showing Mike how to do it.

At the time, the Roadtrek we then were in had about 50,000 miles on it. So it was time to replace the belt. Doubtless our Sprinter auto mechanic would have done so at our next service visit.

But our belt gave up the ghost before he could get to it. Having that replacement belt with us saved a lot of time.

So my tip is find out what size and type of serpentine belt your RV has. Almost all have such a belt and you’ll find the size typically in the manual that came with your vehicle. Or ask your mechanic to get you one and carry it with you.

Here's an Amazon link to the one we have for our 2017 Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL 4X4. The NAPA part number from local auto supply stores is 25-060523HD. Make sure you get HD, or heavy duty.

Same with fuses, by the way. Today’s RVs have lots of fuses of all kinds. Stop by an auto supply store and get a bunch of them. Anyone can change a fuse.

Be prepared! It’s just a smart thing to do!

Have a tip or suggestion for the RV lifestyle? You can use the “Leave Voicemail” link at Just click it and then use the built-in microphone on your computer or mobile device to record a message to me. You can do it over as many times as you want, until you are satisfied. And then you just click a button and it comes right to my email inbox.

Jennifer Wendland

Published on 2017-12-15

Jennifer Wendland travels North America with husband, Mike, in a small Motorhome. She has worked with Mike as a television producer and traveled extensively all over the world. She is a self-described "gym rat," enjoying fitness and exercise wherever she goes. She is a certified Water Aerobics instructor and has taught large group classes in leading health clubs for more than 20 years. She and Mike have three grown children and seven grandchildren. They travel about two weeks out of every month. When not on the road, they live in southeastern Michigan.

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