6 Tips for Hot Weather RVing

rv hot weatherSpend a single day in Arizona in the middle of summer and you’ll know what all the fuss is about. When natives say it gets unreasonably hot in the desert, it’s no joke – it’s a warning. Severe temperatures like the ones you’ll find in Arizona and the rest of the Southwest are capable of doing serious damage to an RV.

From overheating tires to drying out interior components, a heat wave can end up costing you quite a lot. If the thermometer creeps into triple digits, it’s important to protect yourself and your investment, so here are six quick tips for hot weather RVing.


If you’re taking an extended trip through the Southwest, invest in a tire pressure monitoring system. Providing real-time readouts on the pressure and temperature of up to 22 tires (especially inside duals), one of these systems can mean the difference between fixing a flat on the side of the road and flipping burgers at sunset at the campsite.

Going one step further, be sure to cover all tires if you’re parked for more than one day at a time. It’s never a good idea to leave tires exposed to violent UV rays and scorching temps. The will dry up and start to crack known as weather checking and you’ll never know when they might blow. You wouldn’t let your bare feet bake in the sun for 8 hours, would you?

Do yourself a favor and crack the windows and roof vents. Proper airflow is essential for maintaining a livable temperature during the night. Particularly in more humid regions of Texas, letting that hot air escape can also prevent moisture damage to the interior. A power roof vent and protective cover moves air out of the RV and keeps any rain from coming inside if you’re out sightseeing.

RV refrigerators operate different than residential models, they heat a solution that travels through tubes which absorbs heat in the compartments rather than pumping cool air inside. During extremely hot weather, it a challenge for absorption refrigerators to produce the heat required to “pull” heat out of the unit and exhaust that heat out the refrigerator vent. Plan ahead, park your RV in a spot that does not expose the sidewall with the refrigerator to the sun during the hottest part of the day.

No matter where you’re headed, search for cover. A well-parked RV can make a huge difference in comfort. You don’t necessarily have to fight for space under the only tree in the campground—instead park near hillsides and taller structures that you know will provide relief at key parts of the day. Seasoned RVers understand the travel of the sun during each season and position their RV accordingly. They know temperatures in the morning are much lower, high noon is beating directly down but not always the hottest temps, and more important…went the sun starts to set at late afternoon/early evening is the heat and glare directed at the prime real estate of their RV…the patio!

Cut no corners when it comes to caring for your animals during the summer months. If you can’t remember the last time the dog had water, give him a little more. Watch for signs of heat exhaustion, and never ever leave a pet unattended in a hot RV, even if you’ve left on the air conditioning.

Finally – this one isn’t on the list because it should be a no-brainer – prepare for emergencies. It may sound dramatic, but with extremely hot weather, you can never be too careful. Prior to hitting the road for the Grand Canyon, guarantee that you have a complete first aid kit, working fire extinguisher, spare tires, and functional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

And just a quick tip: if you’re heading through the desert, bring both warm and cold weather clothing, as you’ll likely experience drastic swings in temperature. Many campgrounds and RV service stations in the Southwest are located more than one hundred miles apart, so if you run into trouble somewhere in the middle, you’ll be glad you planned ahead.

Discussion
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38 Responses to “6 Tips for Hot Weather RVing”
    • Customer Service Techs

      Hi Wayne, Most RV tire manufacturer’s do not have a “To Hot” temperature rating, however most tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) have a hot temperature warning at approximately 156 degrees F. It’s more important to know proper inflation for what your rigs weighs, especially on each individual wheel position and proper maintenance. Walter Cannon with the Recreation Vehicle Safety and Education Foundation has been working with most major tire manufacturer’s for over 25 years and developed the most comprehensive tire education program in the industry. Check out the website at; http://www.rvsafety.com

      Reply
  1. mike johnson

    I am having problems with my 5500 omni generator that only runs for a half hour then quits because I think it is getting too hot. Then it wont start for about a half hour. I have had it in 2 different shops, spent $1200.00 and still runs the same. Anyone have any Idea that can help me. Its been serviced air filter is clean. Mechanics say it runs fine at the shop?? But why not at my house or when I run down the road? Anything could help. Thank You Mike Johnson Palm springs ca where it is 110 degrees.

    Reply
    • Customer Service Techs

      Mike,
      I assume you have an Onan generator rather than an Omni? This is a very common problem during hot weather and can be a number of different things. I would like a little more information:
      What type of fuel are you using, ethanol at 10% or 15%?
      What weight oil? Should use a straight 30W in high temps.
      What is the make, model, and year of the coach and chassis?
      What parts were replaced in the repairs, and was it an RV dealer, authorized Onan Service Center, or other repair facility.

      Gasoline generators have been having troubles with varnish in the carb due to the cheap refining process used for gas and lack of running a generator on load once a month for about 30 minutes. If the repair facility was not able to recreate the engine fault, they may have just rebuilt the carb or replaced it which would not have cured the problem of overheating. I have read hundreds of posts on this situation and there are several things to look at.
      1. Make sure there is no obstructions in the genset compartment, dust, leaves, debris, insulation that has come loose that would block outside air from coming in.
      2. Try opening the compartment and taking off the front cover. If it runs this way, it’s not getting enough air flow and could be an installation/engineering issue. Some RV manufacturers even had to recall new units to fix their design
      3. Weak fuel pump
      4. Vapor locking – some owners have insulated the fuel lines to keep them cool, one owner installed old-style wooden clothes pins on the lines to absorb the heat (Old ‘60s hot rod trick)! Several owners replaced the rubber fuel lines with steel braided/insulated lines

      If you have spent $1200 and it’s still not fixed, it’s time to get Onan involved. I just talked with my contact at Cummins Power Generation (they are the parent company) and if you can give me the info requested above, he will make sure this gets taken care of. He needs to know where you took the unit and where you are located. It looks like Palm Springs according to your closing? He may need to direct you to another service center in which case we will contact them to get him involved directly.
      David Solberg

      Reply
      • mike johnson

        Thank You for the reply David. I am using the 87 grade fuel here in ca, I am not sure what ethanol rate it is. I am using 30 weight oil. This is in a 2007 Georgetown by forest river.They have not replaced any parts other than change the oil and filter. they say the filter is clean. the say it runs fine when it was at the shop but I told them that it was when I was driving down the road that it was quitting on me. The Last mechanic I was told to go to by the people I bought the motor home from but they dont have a shop here so they sent me to him. He mostly works on older classic cars. I took it to benlo rv in indio ca the first time. I am new with rv;s and I know I am not taking it to the right people that don’t know what there really doing. I am sure I will have to take it out of town to get it fixed. I will try putting in a new fuel pump in this week end. The last mechanic I talked to today he told me $200 to put in a fuel pump plus parts. I need to just do these things on my own. If this web site is good for imformation I should subscribe to this and find out more than these mechanics tell me.Any other suggestions I appreciate all suggestions
        Thank You in advance for your time. Mike Johnson

        Reply
        • Customer Service Techs

          Mike,
          I believe your fuel is 10% ethanol and the first thing I would do with fuel in CA is add a can of SeaFoam fuel additive to the gas tank. It probably won’t cure the situation immediately, but is a great additive in my opinion. I believe it’s a good idea to replace the fuel pump and I would also replace any rubber fuel lines with braided metal ones. The rubber lines could be pinching or restricting fuel as it gets hotter. You may also have a problem with the carb being varnished and needs a good cleaning. I’ve asked my Cummins contact for a good mechanic reference in Palm Springs if you need assistance. However, the fuel pump is fairly easy, just remember to disconnect any electrical cords AND the negative battery cables on ALL batteries!
          David Solberg

          Reply
          • mike johnson

            Thank you so much David. I really could use a contact here between Indio and Palm springs ca. There is not much industry here and I feel I have been throwing money away instead of investing in my future. Thank You again and I hope I here from your Cummings contact.
            Mike Johnson

          • David

            Mike,
            I have a 2014 Fleetwood Terra SE and have the same problem as you do. Generator shuts down after 2 and a half hours of running while driving. I contacted Fleetwood and they are having the company that sold me the Motorhome in May modify the Motorhome. Installing a new door with Louvers, a fresh Air Duct, move the Fuel Pump to a different location to prevent overheating of the Generator. Was told this will solve the problem. What is happening is the Exhaust Air from the Generator is recycling to the Air Intake and causes overheating. Just thought I would pass this on to you as it might be helpful information for you.

        • Phil Melvin

          I fought my Onan 4000 generator for a year with it running for 20-30 minutes and then would die. Finally took it to Desert RV in Brawley and they changed the fuel pump and it has run fine ever since.

          Reply
  2. Bill and Abby

    great advise in this article for southwest desert summer camping and I appreciate reading it. I would like to point out that it is ozone that causes tire checking and the more expensive tires have anti-ozone compounds incorporated in them which prevents tire checking. Of coarse as these tires spin while going down the road at highway speeds these anti – ozone compounds migrate, due to centrifugal forces, to the outer tread where it is worn away.

    Reply
    • Larry Tompkins

      We in the North have the best of both worlds for camping. We go South in the winter but yet we can camp in the summer with some semblance of comfort and less issues. Having said that, the more you drive your MH, the better your tire sidewalls will last due to the distribution of the regular chemicals to the sidewalls. We drive 6000 to 7000 miles per year and in the off time our coach is garaged. We don’t cover our tires when traveling as we are never in one place more than 7-10 days. I can count on going 8 years or more without replacing tires. Full timers may not drive as many miles so it would be important for them to cover their tires but I question the value of them buying that special tire as long as they cover. If the ozone resistant chemical wears off due to more travel, why pay an extra price for it. I wouldn’t pay for it.

      Reply
  3. Anna

    Here in Arizona for the summer season and the triple digits are upon us. I have seen posts about adding core board or styrofoam along the top of my slide outs. Any one doing this and if so, what is your conclusion?

    Reply
  4. Micheal junghann

    I find a dehumidifier works wonders while the RV is not being used. Humidity damages anything leather, incl shoes. Haven’t had any issues since I invested in a good quality machine I empty every few days. I live in Florida, heat, humidity always a issue.

    Reply
  5. Harry Taggart

    Add: carry drinking water, 2 gallons per person per day. Stay hydrated.

    Reply
  6. Michelle

    I travel solo w/ 2 dogs. Any pointers on how to replenish groceries, do laundry, etc. when I can’t take the dogs?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Michelle. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your question about traveling with pets. First I would suggest reading the blog we posted about Traveling With Pets here: http://www.rvrepairclub.com/article/traveling-with-pets-in-your-rv-things-to-consider/ This will give some good info on preparation for leaving your pet in the RV.

      It’s estimated that almost 75% of RVer’s travel with pets, in fact it’s one of the reasons owner buy an RV so they can bring them. So, you’ll find more grocery stores and other locations accepting pets. Most of these locations have a website and will list if the accept pets inside the store. WalMart seems to be the most relaxed on pet regulations, however you should call the store before to make sure its ok.

      Reply
  7. Warren

    We have a small StarCraft camper with 5,000BTU AC. I’d like to install at least an 8,000BTU or more and wonder if this would be difficult. If it’s just a matter of removing bolts, old AC and sliding in new one, I should be able to handle. Can you help enlighten me on t his project?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Warren

      This camper has a side mounted unit with something on the roof right above it. What is that? It’s a Frigidaire AC in a 15′ hybrid and is insufficient for cooling when above 92 degrees.

      Thanks,

      Warren

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Warren. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your AC and refrigerator question. According to the sales literature, your unit came standard with a 5,000 btu AC unit on the 15 and 16 foot models and an 8,000 BTU on the 18 foot. According to the options, you can get a 13,500 btu in place of either but I can not find the hole dimensions for your 5,000 btu model? The 13,500 is typically 14” square so pull off your inside shroud and measure the opening. Make sure there is at least 3/4” wood framing so it will support the 86 pound weight.

      Reply
  8. lorie

    RV Make: ford, RV Model: 2900m, RV Year: 2004, Brand: Forest River , Model Number: Sunseeker

    i hi i have problen whit my onen generator will not stay started please some body help me

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Lorie. We would be happy to assist you; we just need some more information. What is the make/model/year of your RV?

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Lorie. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your generator issue. To provide more specific information I need to know the size and model year plus the make, model and year of your RV. You indicate “it will not stay started”, does it start and run for a short period of time or simply tries to start but doesn’t kick in? I would start with checking your fuel level assuming you have a motorhome? The fuel must be at least 1/4 full and some even need to be at 1/2 or better! Fill the tank up and if it doesn’t start, check the fuel filter which could be plugged and starving the unit of fuel. If these are all good, then you probably have varnish built up in the carburetor which should be looked at by a qualified technician.

      Reply
  9. William helko

    RV Make: Bounder, RV Model: 1986. 33 ft, RV Year: 1986, Brand: Onan, Model Number: G860830759

    What is the carb. Adjustment for the main jet & needle idle.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, William. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site. To provide more specific information regarding your carburetor adjustment, I would need to know the make, model, and year of what I assume is your generator? Your question was listed under “6 Tips For Hot Weather RVing”?

      Reply
  10. Tamara

    RV Make: winnabago, RV Model: Itasca, RV Year: 1983, Brand: P30, Model Number: suncrruiser

    I have an 1983 winnabago itasca chevy big block engine 4fifty4 have been having issues with fuel not keeping up especially when its hot or going up hills when its cool runs great changed fuel pump from electric to manual also changed out filters any suggestions

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Tamara. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your Chevy engine. This sounds like a typical vapor locking situation where the fuel is getting hot and creating to much pressure. I’m not sure the actual model years, but several had charcoal canisters in the front that the vapor would filter through, but when it got really hot, raw fuel would saturate them and cause the same situation. There was a vent kit designed by Chevy that was an add on metal box that I believe was mounted in the rear under the frame. I would call Winnebago’s Owner Relations department as they keep all the older files on these units and should be able to find that vent kit. Another thing to check is your fuel cap as this is also an important component in venting excess pressure from the fuel system. Also, during hot weather, stay away from Ethanol fuel as it will burn hotter and has more of a tendency to create more vapor pressure. I know it’s harder to find regular unleaded but there are some websites that can help.
      http://www.pure-gas.org

      http://www.fuel-testers.com

      http://www.gasbuddy.com

      Also, check out the blog on Ethanol Fuels and your RV

      Reply
  11. LEFRANCOIS

    RV Make: Forest River, RV Model: Georgetown 378 LX, RV Year: 2014

    My awning dont work he was working good and now i push the botton and nothing appen

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      We would be happy to assist you; we just need some more information. What is the make/model/year of your RV?

      Reply
  12. Carroll

    RV Make: Dodge, RV Model: journey, RV Year: 81

    I just bought this rv and the roof ac doesn’t work what can I do to get it going

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Carroll. We would be happy to assist you; we just need some more information. What is the make/model/year of your RV?

      Reply
  13. Ralph

    RV Make: coachman, RV Model: santara, RV Year: 2000, Brand: onan, Model Number: marquie 7000 Gen.

    starts but dies when start switch releasesed

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Ralph,

      Can you please supply us with a little more information and we will look into your issue for you. What type of water heater do you have?

      Thanks,

      Becky
      RVRC Video Membership

      Reply
  14. Pete

    RV Make: Coachmen, RV Model: Destiny, RV Year: 1996, Brand: Onan, Model Number: DKD 7.5

    Won’t start

    Reply
  15. Tom Doely

    RV Make: Southwind, RV Model: Fleetwod, RV Year: 1993, Brand: Onan

    Over heat and shut down during driving through the desert!

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Tom,

      To provide more specific troubleshooting information on your generator we need the make, model, and year of your RV.

      Thanks
      Becky RVRC Video Membership

      Reply
  16. James Zemar

    RV Make: Fleetwood, RV Model: Providence, RV Year: 2007, Brand: Ac

    The unit smells hot.

    Reply