Fifth Wheel

There are a lot of things that come into play when owning an RV. Most of it has to do with learning from the mistakes we RVers have made. From our experience over the past few years, we would like to share with you 6 mistakes that we have made along with other fellow RVers we have talked to. I have listed them below along when tips on how to avoid them.

6 Mistake Made by RVers and Tips on How to Avoid Them:

  1. Do not go on a road you cannot get out of (easier said than done).  Even though the GPS is helpful, however, sometimes it will send you down a road that is nearly impossible for you to turn your trailer or fifth wheel around (been there done that!)

Most RVers just head towards a route to a campsite without actually knowing the details of the route they are taking and when they use a GPS it takes them through a different path, often, the path taken makes it impossible for travel trailer and fifth wheels to make turns.

How to Avoid this Mistake:

Make inquiries about the campsite, RV park or wherever you plan to visit to find out the best possible route for you. However, if you are using a GPS, zoom in whenever you get close to your destination, and make sure it’s taking you through the right point. Google Earth app has been very helpful tool for us.

  1. Always Ensure That All Your Tanks Are Full

The worst thing that could probably happen to you is to be in the middle of nowhere and then your gas runs out, or even boondock somewhere and your water or propane runs out and there are no stations near where you can fill your tanks up. Most at times, the biggest mistake most people make is to always ignore gas stations and water filling stations when going on a trip because they have their tanks half full.

propane tanks in RV

This could be dangerous because you do not know whether your campsite has a gas station near, or even if your tank might take you to your destination or get you through your camping.

How to Avoid this Mistake:

If your tank doesn’t read full, fill it up before going camping or boondocking. If possible, bring extra gas or water with you in gallons. This is because you could pull up to a gas station and they might be out of gas or even water. Know the range of your vehicle and plan out stops where you are going to get fuel. However, apps like GasBuddy could help you find Gas stations near you.

  1. Watch Out for Tail Swings

Imagine getting gas or fuel (diesel) at a gas station and on your way out, you hear a loud crunch smash, and you go out to check what happened only to realize that the back end of your rig crushed a concrete pillar. In most cases, nothing might happen to the pillar however, you might end up destroying the fiberglass and aluminum corner of your rig. This problem might cause you to lose some money to fix the damage caused. So, this is why you must beware of tail swings. This often happens when you have a long rig.

fifth wheel and Ford dually truck

How to Avoid this mistake:

You will have to check how much tail swing your rig has. When pulling out of a parking space or out of a gas station, if you have your partner with you, you can have your partner hop out and spot it to give you the go-ahead to keep going or not. So, you want to make sure you have that clearance, else if you don’t you will end up destroying your rig or someone else’s property. I recommend doing some practice runs to learn your rig.

  1. When on Full Hookups and you Leave your Black Tank Open

Do not do this, it’s not going to work like a normal household plumbing system. When you totally flush out your black tank, you need to make sure it is filling up with all the solid waste along with the liquid waste, so that it can flush all of that through and you do not end up with a build-up of solid waste left over. This is because the liquid waste is going to get out quickly. How to Avoid this Mistake:

Black RV sever hose

If you leave your grey tank open, and put a little dip in your pipe so that you do not have any smells coming out of the sewer. However, you want to make sure that you close your grey tank the day before you leave in order to have enough water to properly flush out your black tank. Leave the black tank closed until it’s at least half full.

  1. Ignoring Small Problems

No matter how small a problem is, pay close attention to it and ensure that the problem is solved. This happens a lot, especially when you hit your rig on a wall or a pole, which could cause a dent and leaving a tiny hole on your rig, which creates a pathway for moisture to get into your rig, which could de-laminate your rig. Causing more problems than expected.

How to Avoid this Mistake:

So, if you have something peeling off the edge of your rig, or an issue with your roof, or a leak somewhere, just stop and take care of that problem before it creates a bigger problem such as delamination, mold, and mildew, which can be avoided by just dealing with the situation.

  1. Not Been Prepared for the Weather

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an RVer is not to prepare for the weather. When moving from a relatively warm city to a relatively cold city, you need to prepare for the weather, because when temperatures drop, you use up more propane than usual. You could end up running out of propane twice a week.

This is because, in warmer cities, you tend to use the propane for fewer activities such as cooking, and it could last you for months. However, in cold weathers, you will have to use the propane to heat up your furnace to keep your rig warm and also prevent your pipes from freezing, which consumes a lot of propane.

snowy road

How to Avoid this Problem

Use other forms of heats sources such as space heater or an oil radiator to keep your rig warm, this will help your propane last longer. Know the weather conditions of the place you plan to camp before you visit. I set alerts on my phone to notify me of any changes  in weather conditions in the area we plan on visiting.

Extra Tip: In case of extreme weather like tornado or freezing temperatures etc.., be sure to know what county you’re in and where the nearest storm shelter is located. I highly recommend having a battery-operated NOAA weather alert radio.


These are just some of the mistakes we have made. I hope this will help you avoid these mistakes.

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RV Groovin Life

Written by: Bonnie

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