10 Newbie RV Mistakes

There are some common mistakes that new RVers make that should be avoided if possible! Avoiding these 10 common mistakes can save you a lot of headache, hassle and money!

1. Driving Off While Connected

As crazy as it sounds, it has happened. I’ve heard stories. You should always do a walk around before departing from your RV site! Make sure all hookups are disconnected, windows and vents are closed, stairs are up and antenna is down!

Related video: Winegard ConnecT 2.0: Take The Internet Wherever You Go

2. Not Knowing Your Size

It’s imperative that you know the size of your rig. Knowing the height keeps you from attempting bridges, awnings or parking garages that are too low. You need to know your length to know what size site you fit into!

Related video: RV Weight Ratings: Basics And Considerations

3. Not Using a Checklist

Checklists are exceedingly important on moving day. Keep a list handy of everything you need to do in order to pack up and be safely ready to leave a site.

Pre-Trip Checklist

4. Overpacking

You rarely need as much as you think you do! Weight is important in RVs, and the more stuff you cram inside, the more cluttered it will feel and the greater negative impact is has on your gas mileage!

5. Leaving the Awning out

Never leave your awning out when you leave your RV. You never know when a storm could pop up with strong gusts of wind that could rip your awning right off!

Related video: Tips on How to Clean an RV Awning

6. Crushing Your Chocks

Always check to see if you’ve remembered to remove all chocks before rolling away. Failing to do so will result in crushed chocks!

7. Failing to Plan Ahead

There are many things you should plan for when RVing. Calling ahead to reserve an RV site takes the stress out of guessing if there will be room for you if you arrive last minute. Checking a map to see if there is a grocery store near your destination lets you know how much food you should have with you with you arrive, unless you’re willing to do a lot of driving. In some parts of the country, gas stations are few and far between so planning your gas stops is really important. It’s always good to have a plan!

8. Leaving the Ceiling Vent Open

If your ceiling vent doesn’t have a rain sensor, always remember to close it when it starts raining. Leaving it open makes quite a wet mess!

9. Leaving the Black Tank Open

Always keep your black tank closed. Keeping it open allows solids to build up in the tank, creating a “poop pyramid!” Using plenty of water when flushing and keeping the black tank closed can prevent a disgusting dilemma!

Related video, How To Properly Use RV Black Water Tank Chemicals:

10. Not Documenting Your Travels

RVing is a lot of fun! Seeing different parts of the world in your home on wheels is something not everyone gets the opportunity to do. Documenting your travels can be beneficial to yourself and others!

You may choose to remember your adventures through photographs or by keeping a written account of them. Keeping little reminders of RV life that you can look back on or pass down to generations to come is a precious gift. You can also keep track of parks or places you particularly enjoyed so you remember where you want to revisit one day!

With RVing, you’re always learning something. Hopefully this list of common mistakes will get you started on a good foundation to have an incredible RV experience!

Pre-Trip Checklist

About the Author: Lauren is a wife, mother of two, photographer, blogger and lover of nature and adventure! Currently traveling around the U.S. in a fifth wheel, Lauren and her family seek to live life to the fullest and continue to look for ways to simplify their lives in order to live larger with less. Follow along on their journey by visiting their family travel blog.

You might also be interested in:

5 Tips to Improving Fuel-Efficiency
Mapping Your Adventures With an RV Trip Planner
RV Checklist Underside Inspections
Pre-Departure Planning

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32 Responses to “10 Newbie RV Mistakes”
  1. Karl J Smith
    Karl J Smith

    RV Make: Mighty Lite

    your article says to not leave the black tank open. Does that include when I am hooked up to an active sewer? I have always left my gray and black tank valves in the open position when I am hooked up to a sewer with no problems. Thank you for further information on this

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hey Karl!

      That’s a great question!

      The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members to our online community. We do have a promotional offer if you are interested. This would include access to expert advice (like this), plus discounts, hours of Premium videos, etc. Please feel free to take a look. You can message us right back with your question if you decide to become a member and you will have a response within 1-2 business days from our experts!

      Please follow the steps below to receive the annual membership at the introductory rate:

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      Reply
  2. profmec
    profmec

    RV Make: Prevost, RV Model: Featerlite Vantare, RV Year: 2000

    Love the blogs & videos

    Reply
  3. frank ellis
    frank ellis

    RV Make: Keestone, RV Model: Alpine 3846, RV Year: 2010, Brand: fresh water supply, Model Number: N/A stinky water on first 20sec>

    Where would smell come from? Could it be skimming off of holding tank? I’m worried septing tank draining into fresh water supply, but others do not have problem!

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi there Frank!

      That’s a great question!

      The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members to our online community. We do have a promotional offer if you are interested. This would include access to expert advice (like this), plus discounts, hours of Premium videos, etc. Please feel free to take a look. You can message us right back with your question if you decide to become a member and you will have a response within 1-2 business days from our experts!

      Please follow the steps below to receive the annual membership at the introductory rate:

      1. Click on the email link: https://go.rvrepairclub.com/c19138
      2. Click on the Premium Membership offer.
      3. The Checkout page will display your Premium Membership purchase.
      4. Fill in your Billing Details and create an account password.
      5. Fill in your debit/credit card information.
      6. Finish by clicking Complete Order.

      If you have any further questions, please contact Customer Service at 1-855-706-3536 at your earliest convenience, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!

      Sincerely,

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  4. Cassandra Lista
    Cassandra Lista

    RV Make: Keystone, RV Model: Montana, RV Year: 2016, Brand: Dometic thermostat, Model Number: 3314080.000

    The thermostat defies programming. I want an easier to program thermostat or a non digital thermostat!

    Reply
  5. Beverly Colson
    Beverly Colson

    RV Make: Rialta winnebago, RV Year: 2001

    How to find a water leak inside around the area of the water tank.

    Reply
  6. Robert Riegler
    Robert Riegler

    RV Make: Thor, RV Model: 23H, RV Year: 2015

    Only been doing this for about two years. Always looking for new sources of information,storage ideas,etc. Have done several three month trips. Headed out to NM and AZ again March~~Mid May.

    Reply
  7. cg ramos
    cg ramos

    RV Make: Hurricane, RV Model: Thor, RV Year: 2005

    Where is the location of winterizer attachment to add it and the bypass hose on this particular model? 33′ hurricane.

    Reply
  8. LeRoy Hogan
    LeRoy Hogan

    RV Make: KZ, RV Model: Durango 1500, RV Year: 2014

    Mistake # 11. Don’t forget you are pulling a camper behind you.

    Reply
  9. Robert
    Robert

    RV Make: keystone, RV Model: Fuzion Crome, RV Year: 2016

    My 5th wheel is 13’4″ high, are there maps with height limitations other than truck routes?

    Reply
  10. Jim Johnson
    Jim Johnson

    RV Make: Keystone, RV Model: Cougar 33SAB, RV Year: 2017

    How do you effectively get the attention of an RV manufacturer about improving design features? Our RV trailer is seasonally stationary and the black water tank never fully flushes. Auto level RV?-check, only drain when 2/3+ full?-check,RV TP?-check, use plenty of water?-check, use potable soft water?-check, use trailer’s built-in tank flush at every drain?-check (separate hose with no pressure restriction), use tank chemicals?-tried many. The only solutions so far are to pull the trailer down a bumpy road with a half-full tank for agitation (I did say seasonally stationary right? Besides, doesn’t always work.), or pull a separate hose with no pressure restriction through the RV door into the bathroom twice a month and flush through the toilet with a Camco flex wand at least until the sensors finally read zero and output is sparkling clear. FYI, this trailer model has an insulated bottom that prevents access to tanks or other mechanicals.

    Reply
  11. Wayne Downing
    Wayne Downing

    RV Make: Starcraft, RV Model: At one, RV Year: 2016

    I think the most important thing you can do is do a walk around the camper before you leave. Remember how you pack the RV just in case you have to rearrange in case of bad traveling or even good traveling. While traveling check you hitch assembly. Make sure your not overweight

    Reply
  12. Richard
    Richard

    RV Make: Alegro, RV Model: Bus, RV Year: 2005

    Most people drive a car till they retire then if they can afford it they buy the largest RV possible, so when making left or especially right turns you may have to pull partly into the left hand lane so that your rear tires or trailer completely clear the sidewalks or ditches.
    Can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen smashed tow vehicles or trailer sides damaged because people think the turning radius is the same as their car or pickup.

    Reply
    • Tom Horton
      Tom Horton

      RV Make: Keystone, RV Model: Outback, RV Year: 2019

      Also, if you are in a parking lot watch your blind spot when making a sharp turn. Had a lady pull up next to me when I was making a sharp turn and I scraped the side of her car.

      Reply
  13. Nemia Hink
    Nemia Hink

    RV Make: Winnebago, RV Model: Travato 59K, RV Year: 2019, Brand: Teavato, Model Number: 59K

    Will be interested to hear some advise on Travato 59K 2019

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Nemia!

      We’d love to offer some advice!

      Is there a particular piece of advise that you’re looking for? Let us know by replying to this comment and I’ll send it to our experts!

      Thank you!

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  14. Steven Kay
    Steven Kay

    RV Make: Jayco, RV Model: Greyhawk, RV Year: 2006

    1 outlet has failed and trying to replace I noticed that it doesn’t look like any outlet I’ve seen before

    Reply
  15. Paul Power
    Paul Power

    RV Make: Nuwa Hitchhiker, RV Model: Discover America series, RV Year: 2004

    Looking for information on replacing the subflooring in the slide out.

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Paul!

      We’d love to help out!

      What is the year, make, and model of your RV?

      Thank you!

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  16. Charles Brown
    Charles Brown

    RV Make: Grand Desgin, RV Model: Solitude, RV Year: 2019

    How to remove the electric fire place

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Charles,

      It depends on the model but there are usually screws on the faceplate that need removed. Sometimes the glass panel lifts straight up and then can be pulled forward to gain access to the screws. There are hundreds of different styles of fireplaces and all are different but usually you just need to figure out how the glass on the front lifts off and then you should find access to the screws. Some models also have fascia pieces on the sides that just pop off and you don’t even have to mess with the glass. Again, there are many different styles so it is best to look at the owners manual for the fireplace to find out how it can be removed.

      Sincerely,

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  17. Robert & Vickie Bohannon
    Robert & Vickie Bohannon

    RV Make: Coachmen, RV Model: Mirada 35, RV Year: 2020

    Your article says to not leave the black tank open. Does that include when I am hooked up to an active sewer? I know people who always leave their gray and black tank valves in the open position while hooked up to a sewer with no problems. My son-in-law does. I wait till they are half or better full before dumping. Which is correct?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Robert,

      You never want to leave the black open, even when connected to a sewer. You want to leave the valve closed to allow the water to fill up and give the chemicals in the tank time to digest the solids into liquids. When you leave the valves open the liquids will run out and the solids will build up on the inside and will eventually turn into what is called the “pyramid affect”. When using the facilities you have to add chemicals to the black tank. These chemicals digest and liquefy all contents so when you go to open the valve it all flushes out. The holding tanks in RV’s are not made to setup directly to a sewer. They are holding tanks, not sewer lines. If you only put liquids into the toilet you can leave the valves open but other than that you have to leave them closed to prevent any issues. The same goes for the gray, as long as there isn’t solids going into the tank you can leave it open. If you rinse off foods into the sink then you want to keep the valves closed. This will give a good flush of the tank contents and will pull out the solids. Leave the valves open also creates a lot of smells from the vent pipe on the roof. On hot summer days, you can always tell who has their valves open because the smell from the sewer goes directly to the open vent on the roof. You can also use the water from the gray tank to flush out the sewer hose after dumping. With all of these reasons, there is no good reason to leave the valves open. You always want them closed.

      Sincerely,

      Dan
      RV Repair Club Technical Expert

      Reply
  18. wayne angi
    wayne angi

    RV Make: wildcat, RV Model: trlr coach, RV Year: 2011

    this is just let you no whot I have.pull behind 5 wheel 32 ft.

    Reply
  19. Don Hartman
    Don Hartman

    RV Make: ROCKWOOD, RV Model: SIGNITURE ULTRALITE, RV Year: 2007, Brand: ROCKWOOD

    LOVE IT

    Reply
  20. William Harvey sr
    William Harvey sr

    RV Make: Alfa, RV Model: See Ya, RV Year: 2006

    Replacement motor for large slid-out

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello William!

      Could you tell us more about what your question is and what is the year, make, and model of your RV?

      Thank you!

      Jessica
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  21. Tracy Rice
    Tracy Rice

    RV Make: Montana , RV Year: 2003

    My a/c unit keeps tripping the main breaker. What could be causing this?

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hello Tracy,

      Thank you for contacting us. Great question! The ‘Ask an Expert’ section is currently for members of our online community. By becoming a member, you will have access to our expert’s knowledge in RV repair. With your membership you will also receive discounts on products and hours of Premium video content.

      If you are interested in becoming a member to RV Repair Club, please click on the special offer below:

      https://go.rvrepairclub.com/C22856

      If you have any further questions, please chat, email, or contact Customer Service at 1-855-706-3536.

      We greatly appreciate your business!

      Sincerely,

      Joan
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply
  22. Marc Lacasse
    Marc Lacasse

    RV Make: Coachman, RV Model: 259FKDS, RV Year: 2019

    While bringing in the living room/dining room extension, I accidentally left the washroom door open. The extension pushed the door to the point that it ripped off its hinges and left the wall damaged. I am now wondering how to repair that wall separating the living area from the washroom since now the washroom door will no long close properly. Looking for advise

    Reply
    • Customer Service
      Customer Service

      Hi Marc,

      Thank you for contacting us. Sorry for the inconvenience but the expert will need the make, model and the year of the RV. Please resubmit your question and include that information.

      If you have any other concerns, please contact us at 1-855-706-3536, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!

      Sincerely,

      Joan
      RV Repair Club Video Membership

      Reply