How to choose the right RV or Trailer for your existing vehicle is a weighty issue. Actually, the decision is almost all about weight – with a few other factors thrown in.
Whether you’re relaxing at a full-service resort or roughing it off the grid, staying cool in your RV this summer requires a few tips and tricks. Let nature work for you, don’t be a sun-seeker, and if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.
While winter RV vacations can be a peaceful, uncrowded time to experience the beauty of the country with its wintery white blanket, towing a trailer or maneuvering a motor home safely through unpredictable weather requires some preparation and patience to avoid turning a pleasure trip into a white-knuckle adventure.
Before You Go
Safety for a winter trip begins at home. Make sure you and your RV are prepared for winter travel – which means expecting the unexpected.
Winter road safety is not a splurge; before heading out on a journey where winter might mean snow and ice on the roads, make sure your RV is up to the rigors of winter travel. While there’s much you can do yourself, a certified service technician can make sure your vehicle is in tip-top condition. Let the winter experts at Crossroads Trailer Sales in Newfield, N.J. prepare your trailer or RV for safe winter travels.
If you’re headed for snow and ice, consider swapping out your tires for snow tires with greater grip. If you’re not investing in tires, inquire about the right snow chains for your vehicle.
Check battery, fluids, seals, and wipers. Have brakes and lights serviced. Make sure your emergency kit is up to date and all components are in useable, working order.
Planning and awareness are keys to a safe winter driving. Be prepared to make a quick exit and a safe stop if the weather turns treacherous. Research the number and location of service stations, grocery stories, campgrounds, and RV Parks that are open year-around along your planned route.
On the Road
Take some driving advice from truck drivers, road warriors who keep moving no matter the conditions. The folks who teach truckers how to drive, Roadmaster’s Driving School, start and finish their advice with the most basic of instruction: slow down. Bad things happen faster when weather conditions are poor. Your best defense is slowing down. Driving slower gives you more time to react and reduces the chance of hydroplaning.
Don’t be bullied or influenced by smaller vehicles, or those not towing, who are frustrated by your slow speed; stay steady and take advantage of passing areas by moving to the right to allow other vehicles to pass when the opportunity is available.
Allow additional space between your RV and the vehicle in front of you to allow more reaction time in hazardous conditions. Even if the road doesn’t seem slick, plan for extra stopping time. Avoid last minute decisions to turn or change lanes and use your turn indicators early to give the driver behind you plenty of time to react.
Do not use cruise control when conditions deteriorate. Stay in complete control. Keep a relaxed but firm, two-handed grip on the steering wheel.
Go light on the brakes; if you start to slide, or there’s a hazard ahead, break gently and steadily to keep your RV in control or prevent a jack-knifed trailer. Retain contact with the road on accelerations by increasing your speed slowly and steadily. If you need to stop suddenly, focus on a safe escape route and avoid jerking at the steering wheel.
When you’re driving in the mountains, be aware winter can bring swirling winds and gusts that will make towing a trailer or driving a lumbering RV even more dangerous. Avoid proximity to other vehicles when possible and drive slow and steady.
Be seen by other vehicles. Keep your lights on low while on the road.
Always have a Plan B. Twenty miles in treacherous weather may be too much; be flexible and willing to get off the road. The cost for an unplanned hotel stay pales in comparison to the cost and trauma of having your RV pulled out of a ditch or the expense and danger of a jack-knifed trailer.
Before tacking any winter trip in your RV or trailer, let the service experts at Crossroads Trailer Sales in Newfield, NJ, winterize your RV.
Whether you’re preparing your RV for a long winter’s rest or getting ready to take advantage of smaller crowds, lower prices, and unspoiled wintery beauty with an RV trip, be sure your RV is ready to brave a wintery blast.
Winterize your RV for safe storage or safe travels. Winterizing done right means protecting the electrical, water, and living systems from freezing cold. Failure to properly winterize an RV can lead to costly problems in the spring when it’s time to awaken your RV from its hibernation – or a catastrophe on the road during a cold-weather adventure.
A starting point for winterizing your RV is deciding what you can do yourself, and what should be left to trained professionals. While skilled owners can do much winterizing work themselves, the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association/Recreational Vehicle Industry Association recommends a RVDA/RVIA certified service technician to avoid damage to complex systems.
When it’s time to winterize, let Crossroads Trailers in Newfield, N.J., handle it for you. With over 20 years’ experience in RV service, Crossroads’ technicians are experienced to meet and exceed your winter preparation needs.
Ready for Storage
While there’s lots of advice on do-it-yourself winterizing, for many owners, winter is the cue to take the RV in for a deep service and thorough check. Even with leaving the heavy lifting to a certified technician, there’s much work an owner should do before tucking an RV away for the cold months.
First, decide what you should leave to the pros. The RVDA suggests choosing a professional saves money down the road in several instances.
Leak Detection and Repair
Even the most experienced owner may miss a small leak, that could turn into a big problem during winter storage. By pressurizing the water system, a technician will be able to detect the sneakiest of leaks and repair it promptly.
Luxury RVs have complicated water systems. A certified brand-specific technician will have deep understanding of water systems and won’t overlook any part of the distribution, manifold, and lines snaking through your unit. Technicians will also be able to distribute anti-freeze through the cold-water lines without filling the tank.
A little water – or waste – can turn into a big problem during winter storage. Let technicians empty the holding tanks and check macerator pumps and transmission lines.
Do It Yourself
Even with the help of a trained technician, there are many tasks a smart owner should take before storing an RV. Don’t let moisture build up inside; check the seals of your doors and windows, and reseal yourself — or put it on the list for your certified technician.
Clean out food storage areas and wipe out crumbs and any residue. Clean out the refrigerator and wipe dry. Leave the refrigerator door slightly ajar. Leave cabinet doors and drawers open. Remove batteries from remote controls, clocks and small appliances, and turn off antennas and boosters. Close the window blinds and shades to protect your interior from sun damage.
Consider your plans for storage when it comes to batteries. If you plan to start the RV periodically during storage, plugging it in to power, leave the batteries with the unit. If the unit will be tucked away for the long haul, consult your service professional to make sure the batteries are fully charged and stored.
Winter is an ideal time to take a snow-mobile loaded toy hauler out for a weekend, or visit some of America’s snow draped parks in the RV. Visit a certified technician to make sure your RV is cold-weather ready, pack carefully, and be prepared for tons of frosty fun.
Windows and Doors
Keep the toasty warm in and icy leaks out by checking the seals on doors and windows. Re-caulk before heading out or have the unit resealed by the service center. Consider beefing up your window treatments with panels of foil-backed insulation hook-and-loop fastened to window frames. What the temporary window covers lack in curb appeal, they will make up for with insulating properties. If the unit isn’t already equipped with insulating blinds or curtains, swap the existing coverings out with weather-wise thermal treatments. As a bonus, insulated window coverings will help keep your unit cool when summer returns.
Before leaving home, consider assembling a cold weather skirt cut from insulating foam boards. Build the barrier from the bottom of your unit to the ground to shield tanks, water lines, and the floor. A purpose-built RV skirt will help, but won’t keep the underside of your unit as warm as the insulating material.
Check the forecast before you head out. Have materials at hand to protect your water pipes and systems from extremes and pack a blow dryer for quick thaws. Bring along a safety compliant space heater for when temperatures bottom out. A fast-moving, violent storm means you may be snowed in for the long haul or face power outages. Don’t leave home for a winter’s journey without cold weather staples, including extra warm clothing, a weather radio, extra blankets, full propane tanks, extra food and cash, and plenty of batteries.
Even though not all RVs are created equal, with differences in amenities, size, weight, build materials, and overall quality and durability, they do share some similar “problems” that need to be taken care of. Just like any other product on the market, time and use (or non-use) affect the functionality and resilience of the entire unit or certain components. RVs are especially susceptible to issues since they are built to mimic a home that is able to be moved at any given moment. Even cars have issues due to intended use and are built specifically for transportation, when you add in features from a home, that is traditionally stationary, you are bound to encounter a few “hiccups” along the way. With “high end” recreational vehicles, the longevity of the parts that make up your RV may increase, but you will still eventually need to repair or replace these issues.
Water Lines/Water Pump Issues
Most ‘RVers’ typically make use of their recreational vehicles during the “warmer months” since not many people enjoy subjecting themselves to the cold unnecessarily. Since this is the case, most people “store” their RV for the winter months. When you store your RV, it is good practice to ensure your water tanks are emptied to prevent the expansion that occurs when water becomes ice, bursting lines or damaging your pump. Being that everyone occasionally forgets or overlooks “smaller” details, damage to water lines and pumps is a common issue that causes the need for repair work to be done on RVs across the nation.
When camping, there are many options for alleviating the need to use the restroom. While going in the woods or using a community restroom are both viable options when outdoors, that defeats one of the major advantages of camping in an RV, having your own private bathroom. In traditional homes, toilets can last a long time even with wear and tear due to “typical” usage. When you add the portability of an RV to the mix, the bumping and bouncing due to the road or terrain in the wilderness can shorten the lifespan of your porcelain throne significantly compared to their stationary, at home counterparts. Some common issues found with RV toilets can be, water not staying in or constantly flowing in the toilet bowl due to valve or rubber seal issues. Though these issues may seem like they are ok to put off, they should be addressed as soon as possible. Toilet issues can not only cause issues with your water supply, but can lead to water damage that becomes a much costlier repair.
If you have driven any land based vehicle before your RV (if you haven’t, I suggest getting well acquainted with driving a car before an RV) you should be well aware of flat tires. It is safe to say that we have yet to perfect one of the most important parts of the most common modes of transportation in the world. Even common passenger vehicles, whose sole purpose is to get us from point A to point B faster than our legs can take us, experience flat tires and require regular replacement. Whether you believe it is a built-in obsolescence or just a lack of better a better option, tires are highly vulnerable to road debris, wear and tear from typical usage as well as damage from non-usage. Knowing that “daily driver” vehicles encounter issues with their tires though they weigh significantly less than most RVs, it should be no surprise that tire blowouts are a common issue with recreational vehicles as well. Though steps can be taken to prepare for or prevent some issues, like ensuring proper inflation levels, checking tread wear regularly and carrying a spare that is in good working condition, you are bound to encounter an issue with your tires eventually.
Roof And Window Issues
Being that RVs are meant to be portable, rather than stationary like a house, the roofs and windows are made of materials and assembled differently than your typical house. Since your house is meant to be stationary, the roof and windows are built from materials that are better suited for long term exposure to the elements. On your RV however, some aspects of each part needed to be “sacrificed” to allow for mobility. To keep the weight down, the roof of your RV is similar to the sides, rather than the traditional shingled or tiled roof found on a house. With constant exposure to direct sunlight in addition to striking low hanging debris (mostly tree branches), your roof can take some damage. As for your windows, in order to better absorb the constant vibration of travel, a sealant with a more rubberized finish is used to help prevent shattering rather than the typical sealant used on a house, that is solely to prevent leaks and withstand the elements. Though the sealant used on an RV is meant to absorb shock better than what is used on a house, like everything else, it eventually will succumb to the consistent jarring and exposure to the elements causing the need to be reapplied or even having the window replaced if the issue is ignored for too long.
As was mentioned earlier, we are all susceptible to forgetting a detail here and there, it is part of being human. With that in mind, it is highly likely that you will forget to unhook a hose or take down an awning or even leave a slide-out in the out position. If and when it does happen, just know, you are not alone in this. This has made our list because it is a common occurrence amongst RV users and people in general. To help combat this, I recommend creating a checklist that you laminate and mount somewhere you will see before you can drive off. Include a grease pencil or dry-erase marker so that you can check off each task before you depart and erase when you reach your next location.
When It happens
The reason we know about these common occurrences is because we fix them. Here at Crossroads Trailers we have a highly experienced team of certified technicians that are ready and able to get your RV in tip top shape. We can service your RV from front to back and inside and out so that you can get back to enjoying your time on the road. If you are in need of a repair or service to return to or maintain the smooth operation of your RV, give us a call at (856) 697–4497 and we will be glad to help get your RV where you want to be.
Nothing is more frightening then traveling down the road in your RV or travel trailer and experiencing a blowout. At that point, with adrenaline flowing, what you do to control the vehicle is of utmost importance. However, the most important thing is knowing how to prevent these blowouts in the first place.
There are several key things that can contribute to a blowout. Being aware of them and doing everything in your power to prevent these things will go a long way in keeping you and your family safe.
So here are the top reasons for blowouts happening and how to prevent them.
When tires heat up too much it means trouble. One of the most common reasons for excessive heat in tires are over- or under-inflating tires, driving faster than is advisable for your tire’s specifications, or overloading the tires with more weight than they are built to take.
Checking tire pressures and not overloading your RV or trailer before hitting the road are two of the easiest and quickest things to do to prevent a disaster from happening.
Once on the road, maintaining the proper speed specified by your tire’s rating is something that should be adhered to in order to keep you, your family, and everyone else on the road with you safe.
Axle Alignment Issues
Sometimes detecting axle alignment isn’t as easy as just physically looking at your trailer or RV. There are many parts involved that can throw off the axle alignment and cause your tires to wear and ultimately cause a blowout.
If you’re the handy type then physically getting down and dirty and checking all aspects of the vehicle’s axle is something that should be done on a regular basis before hitting the road.
If you’re not the handy type then make sure you get the axles inspected regularly at a certified RV and trailer service and repair shop like Crossroads Trailer Sales’ Service department. Click here to make an appointment today!
In the excitement of packing up the trailer and getting ready for an adventure, very few of us actually think about how much all our stuff weighs. Most people just think they couldn’t possibly be overloading such a big trailer but the truth is all that stuff adds up fast.
Overloading the trailer or RV too close to or past the vehicle’s suggested weight can cause it to be hard to control and ultimately lead to a blowout. Always being aware of how much weight you’re adding to your RV or trailer and keeping it in the middle of the suggested weight distribution can make a big difference when it comes to the health of your tires.
Tires touching usually happens when there is an issue with the suspension. Making sure you check this out regular along with the axle alignment can also prevent an unfortunate tire blowout.
Incorrect Tire Size
If you bought your trailer or RV new then this more than likely won’t be an issue. However, it is possible that the tires on your trailer are not the correct size if you bought the vehicle used.
Always make sure that you check the vehicle information for the correct tire size and double check that everything is as it should be. Driving with the wrong tire size for the vehicle can cause blowouts.
Tire Pressure Issues (too little or too much)
This one is more common than most think. Driving with too much or too little air causes stress on the tires and can cause them to overheat or wear out quickly causing unexpected blowouts.
It is always a great habit to check the tire pressures on your vehicle regularly and make sure they match the recommended pressures in the vehicle’s manual.
Bad Tire Condition (too old or poor condition)
This one seems an obvious point but if you check the RV’s and trailers parked in any rest stop it probably won’t be long before you find a few that have scary looking tires on them.
Tires that are worn down, very old and brittle, or just in overall poor condition are just asking for a blowout. Check your tires often for signs of wear and tear. Also, even if they look okay but you know you’ve had those tires for years, you may want to invest in a new set of tires just to be sure. Tires get old and brittle over time especially if they are in a very hot or cold climate.
Being aware of all of the above and doing your best to circumvent these issues before getting on the road can mean the difference between having a safe trip or one that has more adventure than you signed up for.
If you’re driving an RV and you have a blowout there are specific ways to handle the situation that can save your life. Check out this video from Michelin Tires for more information on how to get back in control when experiencing a blowout.
Looking for your next RV, Travel Trailer, Fifth Wheel, Destination, or Horse Trailer? Does your current RV need to be serviced? Contact Crossroads Trailers to find your next RV or book your service today! Click the button below to contact us today!
Camping meals that satisfy the whole family have some common elements: The meals are easy to prepare, easy to clean up after and have palate pleasing elements for everyone. For campground cookery, keep things simple; the challenges and joys of eating in the outdoors will add the extra dash of flavor.
There are more than 350 breeds of horses in the world today – and almost as many choices when it comes to choosing a horse trailer to tow.
From how your horse enters the trailer, to how you tow the trailer behind your vehicle, configuration, and design, there are many options to consider when looking for a horse trailer. One of the first things to consider is the size and style of horse trailer. Continue reading
Short winter days can still be long on RV fun with the proper preparation and planning.
Winter can be a great time to enjoy RVing, minus the big crowds, bugs, and peak season prices. While wintery weather may close some campsites, others remain open and welcoming to hearty souls eager to enjoy some quiet time on a winter camping trip.
Many RVs are built with four-season camping in mind and come equipped with enclosed, heated holding tanks, extra insulation and dual pane windows. But, even without a winter-ready RV, dedicated campers can enjoy a cold winter’s stay with a liberal application of some winter essentials.
If the end of summer was too hectic to get your RV in the service center for a check-up, take advantage of the slower fall season to get your RV ready for winter camping. If your holding tanks aren’t insulated, the pre-winter checkout is the perfect time to have water and black water tank heating units installed and have seals around the windows and doors checked and re-caulked. Check weather stripping and around doors and have the unit’s heating system thoroughly vetted.
Take extra precautions for trips into areas where a deep freeze is in the forecast. Drain the black and grey water tanks before heading out. Adding specially formulated RV antifreeze to the tanks can help keep plumbing running even on the coldest of camping trips. Add the manufacturer’s suggested amount of special RV antifreeze to the tanks; never use antifreeze designed for an automobile. Wrap the sewer hose with insulated tape.
Choose a camping location with plenty of sunlight, where windows and doors can be positioned to maximum sunlight, while receiving protection from harsh winter winds.
With the summer chairs and grills packed away, consider using that storage space for skirting to surround the underbelly of your RV. Unlike slab-built winter getaways, an RV’s lofty position allows winds and air to circulate under the living space so cold to seeps up and into the unit. Protect storage tanks underneath and toes above them with skirting to keep the winds at bay and the storage tanks and the floor beneath your feet a few degrees warmer. While hay bales may seem like a disposable and cheaper alternative, resist the temptation. Straw or hay won’t heat as well, is flammable and will attract heat-seeking rodents according to the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Agriculture Extension office.
Keep the Heat In
Windows, skylights and vents are great for bringing heat-generating sunshine to your RV, but are also places where the cold can seep in, thwarting your best efforts to stay warm, according to NDSU. Consider replacing your summer window coverings with insulated curtains or blinds – that can open to let the sunshine in for a few hours but provide a bulwark against cooling breezes after sundown.
Make curtains of insulated, quilted or Polar Fleece fabrics and add Velcro to the sides and bottoms to seal the curtains tightly against the windows. If you have windows that aren’t critical for light and circulation, use rigid insulation to seal them off and block the cold.
Fire and Ice
All outside water lines that won’t be in use – such as that outside shower or faucet for an outside kitchen, should be drained before heading out. Wrap any water lines and hoses that will be exposed to the elements in insulating tape and plan to keep your water hook up line off the ground and out of the snow when you set up.
Despite the temptation, make no alterations to a factory installed heating system and be don’t use any unvented portable heating system inside an RV. Because the RV’s heating systems will be getting workout, it’s especially important to check fire alarm systems and make sure extinguishers are up to date.
Take extra care with slide outs during a cold winter freeze, according to the NDSU extension. Remove snow daily so heat from the inside doesn’t create a layer of ice. Consider using rigid insulation around the slide out, making sure to drain snow and ice away from the main body of the RV.
Be prepared for cold weather emergency by developing an emergency packing list. Consider adding extra propane tanks, blankets, rolls of insulating wrap and emergency lights to your usual camping supply list.
Before heading out for any winter camping trip, travel with confidence in a well-maintained unit. Schedule a service appointment for a head-to-tails check up to avoid a cold weather crisis. The weather-wise service professionals at Crossroads Trailer Sales in Newfield, N.J., can help make your cold weather travels safe and comfortable.
If buying your first RV was a big decision, figuring out when it’s time to buy a new RV may be even tougher. Continue reading