My RV Fridge Won’t Get Cold? How To Troubleshoot?

This article will explain how an RV refrigerator works, correct temperature, how to maintain them, some basic troubleshooting tips.

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why won't my RV fridge get cold?

Tips to Enable Your RV Refrigerator to Run Efficiently:

The RV fridge is one of those appliances that is fantastic when it is working well, and it’s extremely frustrating when it’s not working well.

So, let’s start with some general things that you should know

  • RV Refrigerator Temperature

In general, the temperature should be 35 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Keeping your RV Level

I will also share with you ways you can boost the efficiency of your refrigerator and how to maintain the proper temperature. RV refrigerators are not very efficient. Below are things you can do to help boost their efficiency.

RV Refrigerator Basics

  • Propane

The first thing I want you to do is to turn on your propane tank. You can decide to turn on one or both.

propane tanks in RV

The second thing I will like you to do is to make sure that your battery is hooked up, and that you have your batteries charged

You can tell if your RV fridge is working or not by the check light is it on or off. If the check light comes on that means nothing is working. And when that happens, you need to turn your refrigerator off and back on.

There are a couple of reasons a check light will come on. It’s either the rig isn’t level or the power got disconnected, or you forgot to turn on your propane. So, just reset it and you should be good to go.

Another thing I would like you to remember is that when you go to a gas station and there are fumes and things like that, make sure that you turn your refrigerator off, and also turn the propane cylinders off. This is because there is an open flamer, behind the refrigerator wall and that can ignite.

Check the Seals around the Door

  • Check the seals

to make sure that they are airtight when closed. If your seals are weak, you need to replace them. When your seals are weak, the cold air will escape from the refrigerator, therefore, your refrigerator won’t get to the desired temperature.

Girl looking in a RV refrigerator

You can check your seals by grabbing a dollar bill and then closing the refrigerator together with the dollar bill. Make sure that half of the bill is closed together with the fridge and the other end showing outside. If you pull the dollar bill and there is some kind of resistance, it indicates that your seals are strong. If it is the other way around, then it means you need to replace the seals.

Set the Right Temperature

  • Set your refrigerator to the right temperature

A lot of the newer refrigerators have a display outside with which you can digitally set the temperature of the refrigerator.

With the older refrigerators, they have a thermostat on the fins inside. And when you push the thermostat up, it makes the refrigerator cooler. Make sure that your thermostat is intact, else you won’t have your refrigerator becoming cold or even working.

RV refrigerator thermostat

You can also use a thermometer together with the thermostat to set the temperature of your refrigerator to your desired temperature.

RV Refrigerators are Different from Residential Refrigerators

  • Rv Refrigerators vs Residential

With your RV refrigerators, you’re typically going to see a two-way refrigerator. This kind can run primarily off propane or electric. If you have a three-way refrigerator, it can run off the batteries.

rv refrigerator

Generally, most RV refrigerators are absorption refrigerators being it either two-way or three-way. The way this works is that it absorbs the heat out of the refrigerator space and the freezer space, and when there is heat absent, the refrigerator will become cold.

Interior of RV

You’ll also see some differences in how they operate. With a residential refrigerator, you can get it down in temperature very quickly, however, with an absorption refrigerator, you want to turn it on the night before if you’re getting ready to go on a trip. This is because they take a considerable amount of time to get down in temperature.

Do not Put Warm Food in an RV Refrigerator

  • RV refrigerators aren’t that efficient

You want to avoid putting in warm food. Because the refrigerator is then going to absorb the warmth out of the food to keep the temperature in your fridge where it needs to be.

Packing Your Food Correctly

  • The way that you put in your food inside the refrigerator can affect its efficiency

Load the fridge in such a way that you have space to allow air to get from the top to the bottom. The main part of the cooling comes from the fins, and if the fins are blocked with food, there won’t be any circulation of cold air, which tends to make your fridge inefficient. So, you do not want to jam-pack your fridge with food.

RV refrigerator with food inside

Do not block an entire shelf the refrigerator should be able to circulate air on its own.

Use an Auxiliary Fan

Another way to get more air circulation within your refrigerator is to get a small fan and then place it inside the fridge. The fan will evenly distribute the cold air inside the fridge.

Do not Open Your Fridge Door too Many Times

I suggest that you do not open your fridge for more than 3 times a day and no longer than 2 minutes.

Opening your fridge too many times and for a longer period of time makes it hard for the refrigerator to cool down. Especially in hot climates. This is because the more the fridge door opens, the harder the refrigerator is going to try and work to get that heat out it.

defrosting RV freezer

Also, if you open your fridge for an extended period, you will start to see frost build up in the freezer. If you want to know an easy way to defrost your freezer, keep reading this article.

 

How to Make your RV Refrigerator more Efficient from the Outside

Before sharing these tips, I will like to address how an RV refrigerator works.

So, the way an absorption refrigerator works is that it uses chemical reaction with ammonia and hydrogen, induced with heat together with evaporation and condensation to absorb the heat from the fridge.

So, the key is having isolated heat where you need it and have the other components cool down properly making the refrigerator as efficient as possible.

Tips for keeping your RV Refrigerator Running Efficiently from the Outside

Some of the ways we can achieve this include:

Plywood blocks for leveling our RV

  • Leveling the RV

For your refrigerator to work efficiently, your RV has to be leveled. This is because, on the outer part of the fridge, there are metals with zigzag patterns.

These zigzag metals require gravity to circulate the chemicals around the refrigerator. Since there are no mechanics with an RV refrigerator, gravity is needed to pull the chemicals back to reheat them back to the refrigerator.

Leveling your RV

If you find it difficult getting your RV to the right level, I recommend you buy a couple of levels. This will enable you to level out your coach perfectly so that your refrigerator can work perfectly. You can place these levels on the outside edges or the corners of the RV.

If your RV isn’t leveled, your fridge isn’t going to work efficiently or even at all depending on how out of level you are.

  • Clean the Outside Compartment to the Refrigerator

Make sure that you clean the outside compartment of your refrigerator to enable them to cool efficiently. Bugs and dirt accumulate in this compartment preventing the components from cooling off efficiently.

Wasps tend to build a nest and spiders form webs inside the burner tube so, when you try to run it on propane, your refrigerator may not work because the burner tube is blocked.

Outside of RV

You want to remove the casing covering the burner tuber and blow up the chimney of the refrigerator using a compressor. After that, blow up the cavity to knock off any build-up of dust. This will make the refrigerator start up every time and also enable the fridge to run more efficiently.

You can also tear the whole assembly apart and then wire brush and clean it up to the best you possibly can. So to check if your burner tube is functioning properly, you want to see a nice even blue flame, this creates the heat to make the fridge work.

(Always refer to your owners manual first)

Park Your RV In the Right Direction

  • How to Park Your RV

In the list of things that help keep the heat of the outside compartment of the fridge isolated and the cooling happening where it needs to is to look at how we park our RV.

Are you parked in such a way that the outside compartment of the refrigerator pointing towards the sun? Well, this will generate a lot of heat in it making the fridge not work nearly as efficient as it should.

Camper with awning in desert

If you have a problem with parking the RV away from the sun, you could also put out the awning to shade the outside compartment of the refrigerator from the sun. Depending on which side your refrigerator is.

camper with family outside

Keep this in Mind

Also, you should know that with refrigerators, after about 90 degrees during the summertime, they won’t keep your food cold to the correct temperature.

So, you might want to consider having a block of ice or something else to manage that if you’re getting into very hot temperatures.

Can I Have a Residential Refrigerator Inside My RV?

Yes, you can have the residential refrigerator in your RV. Well, these are becoming more popular in the RV world. They are the same type of refrigerators you use at home. They plug into an electric and runs solely on electricity.

Residential Refrigerator Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • They are larger

As compared to the propane electric refrigerator, the residential refrigerator is much larger. So, if you’re going full time and you want the full fridge space then I recommend you go in for the residential refrigerator. They have bigger freezers and ice makers which are some features you wouldn’t find in an absorption refrigerator.

They Stay Cool All the Time

These types of refrigerators aren’t as susceptible to the outside weather temperatures as the propane-electric is.

These refrigerators are great if you are going to be hooked up to electricity at a campground all the time, but if you want to go off-grid, the cons of the refrigerator Include:

  • They Run on Only AC Power

The residential refrigerator only runs on AC power. Since your RV batteries work on DC power, you would have to have an inverter to convert it to AC. However, that conversion is less efficient, and so, your batteries are going to drain quickly.

To continue to operate them off-grid, you are going to need to have a solar array or a generator that you run frequently to keep your system charged.

So, if you do not have those systems in place, the residential refrigerator isn’t the best option for you, if you will want to do a whole lot of boondocking.

  • They Reject the Heat They Create Inside the RV

This is another con of the residential refrigerator. So, if you are in hot weather conditions, your RV AC system is going to have to work just that much harder to cool down the RV.

  • They are Heavy

These refrigerators tend to be heavier, and so you will have to consider that when you’re looking at your gross vehicle weight rating and how heavy you are.

How Often Should I Defrost my RV Refrigerator and what’s the best way to do that?

RV refrigerators offer a lot of versatility, there is one aspect that of daily use that a lot less convenient than we’d like to think, and that’s defrosting.

RV refrigerators are not frost-free, so, the freezer is going to build up frost, and when you put in food in there, the moisture from the food is going to make it worse.

The fridge, however, has fins which are auto defrost, so there is no need to worry about frost in the fridge. Although we have had frost build up in ours from time to time.

However, with the freezers, overtime will start building up frost up against the back wall.

Most of the time you get the urge to chip away at it. Well, you do not want to do that. Do not use a knife or a metal spatula to defrost the freezer because it is going to damage the back of the rig.

One simple and convenient way to get rid of the frost is to use a hairdryer on medium heat and slowly melt the ice. Be sure to place a large towel on the bottom to catch the water as it melts.  Do not worry about the ice falling off, the towel will protect it. You might have to wring out the towel a few times or just have a backup towel.

rv freezer

How to Maintain and Clean an RV Refrigerator

Here are a few tips to help you maintain and clean your RV Refrigerator:

  • Once a Month

Empty the fridge, get a warm bowl of water with mild dish soap and wipe it down with a soft rag.  I try to do this the day before I go to the grocery shopping.

cleaning rv refrigerator

Storing Your RV

If your not full-time RVers, that means you will have to find a way to store your RV when not in use. When storing your rig, always be sure to leave the doors of your refrigerator open. Otherwise, mildew, mold, and smile can get in the refrigerator and cause them to smell.

You can avoid the struggle of trying to get rid of the bad smell, by just leaving the doors open a bit after you’ve cleaned out the refrigerator and it is not in use.

A simple way to do this is to place a towel on the door of the refrigerator and then close it. This will create space to allow air to go in to prevent any form of mildew growth or smell.

Leave an open box of baking soda in your refrigerator when in storage

Can I Travel with My RV Refrigerator turned On?

The answer is yes. However, running with your propane left on can be hazardous. This is because if you get yourself in a situation such as a blown tire or a collision and the schedule 80 pipe gets broken, it could lead to a fire outbreak.

RV broke down on the road

The schedule 80 pipe is what connects your propane tank to your refrigerator, stove, water heater, and furnace.

So, I advise you to turn off your propane tank and fridge when traveling on the road.

Why does my RV refrigerator smell funny?

Besides the growth of mildew causing your RV refrigerator to smell funny as discussed above, another reason your refrigerator may smell funny is due to an ammonia leakage.

Bad smelling rv refrigerator

The leakage is caused as a result of the piping in the outside compartment being burst and once that happens, the only way you can get rid of the funny ammonia smell is to get yourself a new cooling unit.

What is the Correct Temperature to Run My RV Refrigerator?

  • Approximately 35 – 40 degrees Fahrenheit

Generally, the US Food and Drugs Administration suggest that you keep your refrigerator at or below 4 degree Celsius or 40 degrees Fahrenheit anything higher than this, will cause your food to spoil quickly.

RV refrigerator thermostat

Hopefully, this information will help you to troubleshoot any problem you might have with your RV refrigerator.

Please Share and Subscribe for Latest Updates!

 

Check Out These Posts –

36 Things You Want in Your RV Before Hitting the Road

Our Winter Escape To Navarre Beach RV Park in Florida

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6 Big Mistakes RVers Make

5 Michigan Getaways for RVers

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Do I Need 2 Air-Conditioners in My RV?

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Does My RV Need to be Level?

How to Winterize your Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel

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RV Groovin Life

Bonnie

 

Buying an RV – Don’t Buy a Lemon!

If you’re buying a New RV and you think you’re getting a sweet deal, then wait and read this article. We all love a good deal. Beware of offers too good to be true. Your momma was right! If a deal is just too good, walk away!

 

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

Read this post before buying a New RV!

Not to say there aren’t good offers out there, you just need to know what to look for and more importantly, know your legal rights. This article will give you the information you need to purchase wisely and how to spot a lemon.

What Do I Need to Know Before Signing a Contract on a New RV?

The RV Lemon Law

What every New RV buyer needs to have on their sales paperwork before signing. When you include these 9 words in your contract, you will have a strong legal position, this only applies to the purchase of a New RV. This is very simple. Have the dealer, in his own handwriting,

Add these 9 words –

We give buyer a 24-hour warranty against defects.

Don’t sign until they do!

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

Travel Trailer

Ron Burdge reveals 9 simple words that buyers of New RV’s need to have ‘ handwritten’  on their purchase agreement. Click Below  for more info – Podcast – RV Lemon Law

This makes a difference between what your rights are and what you do not have. You might think this is no big deal.

However, legally this statement is critical.

Because when they say “we give buyers a 24-hour warranty against defects”, under federal law, in most states, you will get a four year of implied warranty of merchantability. This is crucial because it’s going to be a lot longer than the warranty offered by the manufacturer. Adding this handwritten sentence overrides the “as is” clause.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

The manufacturer and dealer are going to look for ways to avoid doing anything for you when the need arises.

But when an RV dealer establishes on the contract that ” we give buyers a 24-hour warranty against defects” then the whole deal about we didn’t warrant it and all that hullabaloo goes out the window, and you automatically under federal law will get a four-year warranty in most states. According to lawyer Ron Burdge.

So this is huge. So, even if the manufacturer says ” sorry but I can’t help you” you still have the dealer on the hook.

So, before you get all excited to sign those papers, be sure the dealer adds the 9-word clause to your contract. Because if you don’t, you might be doomed if something goes wrong. Almost all sales contracts have a little clause, on the backside of the contract which says the dealer is selling the RV “as is” and they give no warranty on the rig.

This could also include no implied merchantability warrant for years.

But if you make sure the dealer adds this sentence –

We give buyers a 24-hour warranty against defects

-in his own handwriting to the contract before you sign. You will have a strong legal standing that overrides any disclaimer given in the contract.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

Buying an RV & How to Spot a Lemon

I have made printable Inspection checklists to take with you. Along with your checklists be sure to bring

  • Pencil & Notepad
  • Tape measure
  • Screwdriver
  • Camera or Phone
  • Flashlight

RV Buying Printable Checklist

5th Wheels & Trailers Printable Inspection Checklist

Shopping for an RV can be overwhelming, you see an RV you like and you love the floor plan, and you love the colors and it’s just really easy to get pulled in and you go like ” Oh my gosh, this is it, I have to get it” based on what you’ve seen.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

However, it’s usually what you don’t see is what matters most.

RV Dealership or Private Seller

One way to avoid buying a lemon RV is to know who you’re dealing with. With the dealer, it’s pretty easy because you can see what the online reviews are, whereas a private seller, that can be a hit or miss.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

RV Dealership in Ocala Florida

One of the benefits of buying from a dealership is that you will know the reputation of the dealer is by recommendation and online reviews. Some dealerships offer to have their technicians inspect the camper before you buy it.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

Indiana Interstate RV Service for Mobile Suites

If they don’t have a technician inspect it, be sure to hire a qualified RV technician. However, if you buy it from a private seller, ensure to have a professional technician of your choice check it out for you.

More information below on hiring a professional.

RV Inspection

Check Out the Roof

It all starts from the roof. Make sure you check the membrane of the roof, if you realize the membrane is completely worthless or worn out, then it is an easy way to rule out that RV, Fifth Wheel or Travel Trailer.. The membrane shows if the RV was properly maintained.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

With the roof, even a little spot can open up and allow water into the rig which can ruin the entire rig from there. And it cost about $7000+ to repair a rubber roof membrane depending on the length of the coach.

So, if the roof membrane is worn out, walk away. Another thing you can look for is any kind of voids or cracks in the sealant around the vents or the skylights.

Buying an RV - don't Buy a Lemon

My final tip about the roof is, do not get on a roof that doesn’t have a roof ladder because that indicates that there is a high probability that the roof is not walkable. If you were able to make it on top of the roof, be sure to check the corners of the roof. You want to make sure that the corners are not cracked or worn especially around any kind of vent.

Checking your RVs A/C and Vent Lids

While you’re on the roof, you’ll want to check the back of the air-conditioner. If the vents are all bent up, it’s probably been in a hailstorm, and therefore the AC might not work efficiently. This means it can freeze up a lot easier when it’s on a super-hot day and it’s just constantly running.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

With the vent lids, a lot of times with hailstorms in places like Colorado, vent lids can get cracked, and have holes punctured into them. This could be a possible way of water getting into the rig.

Ceiling

When you’re inside the coach, check the ceiling of the RV.

air conditioner

Check for leaks, stains and any form of rots. These are due to water coming inside the RV due to a bad roof. This is another red flag, which indicates a bad roof.

Check the Walls

Another thing you want to do is to open up the cabinets and make sure the walls and the front are all nice and tight, and that there hasn’t been any water damage. Sometimes water damage can hide in these cabinets- especially in the corners.

Do not Overlook the Wallpaper

Another red flag is if the wallpaper of the RV is peeling off or becoming detached or delaminated from the wall itself. What you want to do is to knock on that area to see if it’s solid. If it’s solid, then you’re good to go because sometimes, the glue of the wallpaper does fail due to heat and it just comes off.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

We removed all the cloth-covered valances to reduce allergens.

However, delaminated wallpaper can also indicate that it is an area where water runs down and the glue fails due to water damages. If you knock on it and it is soft, it indicates it is due to water damages. So, knocking on it will let you know if it’s one or the other.

Exterior Walls On the outside of the RV

Expanded wood indicates that there is a good chance some water got in and has rotted out the wood, which is a red flag. If you see bulging areas or can smell mold, that is a red flag. Check for rusty screws. Rusty screws indicate that water has gotten inside the walls, a warning for you to have a little bit closer look,

Inspect the Floor

As far as the floor goes, you want to kind of push around, especially right around the sink area, and around the bathroom area, to ensure that there are no soft spots. Also, check around the vents.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

The reason you want to check around the kitchen and bathroom is that that’s where the shower can leak, the toilet could also leak, and you can even have the vent up the ceiling opened while in storage and that could have leaked on the floor causing it to rot. If the floor is uneven, is a sign of water damage. Repairing the floor of a lemon rig could cost you anywhere from $620 to $6100 depending on the space.

RV Appliances

Turn on all appliances, refrigerator, microwave, A/C, stove, oven, ceiling fans, tv, hot water, run water in the shower, flush toilet, open/close all windows, cupboards, and drawers. Open and close slide outs. Check all window shades. Furnace Turn on the furnace, check the temperature.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

Kitchen

Electric

Check all outlets, after lights and power have been on for at least 20 minutes, feel all switch plates. When we purchased our used 2008 Select Suite fifth wheel (2017) from a dealer, they let us spend the night in it and plugged everything in. That’s when we noticed one of the light switches become almost to hot to touch. The dealer fixed it.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

They also put all new tires on and replaced the old flooring in the bathroom. We would not have known most of the issues if we hadn’t spent the night in it before we purchased it. We should have also hired a professional RV Inspector.

Make Sure the Refrigerator is Working. Check the temperature. The last thing you want to do is replace a refrigerator. You could spend 2 grand or more- especially for a gas-electric refrigerator.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

Double Door RV Refrigerator

You also want to see if you smell any form of ammonia or mold. The smell of ammonia and mold is tough to get out of a fridge. Ammonia indicates that the cooling unit isn’t working efficiently.

Also, if you see yellow stuff, almost like a liquid or powder, inside the  RV refrigerator, could indicate the cooling unit isn’t working properly. And it can cost you a thousand bucks to get a new cooling unit.

Moreover, you want to check the refrigerator from the outside. Your refrigerator has a spot outside where the fridge can drain. All refrigerators that are gas-electric have a drain spot.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

Check the drain spout to make sure it didn’t freeze over the winter. This can cause rust to the compressor of the refrigerator, and can also rot the wood supporting the compressor.

Go Under the Rig

Look to see if it has a fully enclosed underbelly. This is important if you want to stay in the RV a little bit longer than usual during the season, or if you’re a full-time RVer.

Another reason is to see how the rust looks like. A little rust is no big deal, however, it is a big deal if you see one with excessive rust, especially by the leaf springs or the axle.

If you see that your propane line is rusted, it is pretty normal for propane lines to rust. Our propane line was completely rusted through, the dealer replaced that also.

Tanks, Faucets & Drains

Fill and empty tanks, make sure there are no leaks. Look for leaky faucets, make sure water drains properly.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

Check the Water Heater, is there hot water? Take out the vent closing to the water heater, and take a look at the system. If it is expanded out or bulged out, that could mean the water heater isn’t working. The expansion is caused as a result of the ice being frozen, therefore pushing out the pipe and there is usually a crack. If that’s the case your water heater will not work and could leak into your RV.

Are there Bubbles on the Walls of the RV?

Having bubbles on the walls isn’t something to worry about on an aluminum sided camper. However, for a fiberglass sided camper, if there are bubbles on the wall, or if you realize the wall is separating from the camper, itself, then that could indicate a cosmetic issue.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

Travel Trailer

It could also indicate that you’ve had some water damage coming down the side of the coach and eventually the bubble will keep expanding till it gets to an edge. And by the time this happens, that side of the wall can completely rip off.

Checking RV Tires

Usually, you run out of sidewall before you run out of the tread. So you want to carefully examine the tires for any kind of cracking.

rv tires

Check to see if the RV has a spare tire. Make sure you know the age of the tire. Even if it’s a new RV, don’t assume that the tires are new.

Slide-Outs & Awnings

One thing you need to pay attention to is the seal on your slide. Something that most people miss when they are checking their seals is they look to make sure there is no water. But what you want to do is, you want to reach your hands underneath the seal, and you want to feel for any type of gap, that could prevent the bottom seal from making contact with the floor.

fifth wheel parked in RV park

Haas RV Campground

Another way you can do this is to look really low, and when you realize there is any form of lighting coming in during the day, then it meaning you have to pay attention to it.

Is the Awning manual or electric? Check the mechanisms of the awning. Are the mechanisms bent? Does the awning open smoothly and quietly? Is the fabric faded or worn?

RV awning

Propane Tanks

Check for leaks on tanks and if they have been certified? And what is the capacity of the tanks?

propane tanks in RV

 

RV Inspections

Can I have a Third-Party Check Out my RV? Yes, you can. If you want to purchase a new or used RV, you can use NRVIA.org.

NRVIA.org is a site that provides you with certified and professional third-party RV inspectors anywhere within the United States. Personally, I highly recommend that any first-time RV buyer uses this website to find a professional inspector to inspect the RV before you purchase it.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

Check with your dealer to be sure they’re okay with a third-party inspection of the RV on your behalf, even if the dealer claims to have looked through the RV thoroughly.

Inspectors from NRVIA.org take anywhere from 7 to 8 hours to check the RV thoroughly and provide you with a detailed report. You’d be shocked at what that report will show in need of repair that you wouldn’t even notice if you were the one inspecting it.

Red Flags

After thoroughly checking the RV and you do not see any of these red flags, then go ahead and sign that sweet deal. Two or more of these red flags means you should rethink this purchase.

Buying an RV- Don't Buy a Lemon

Talk about these issues with a professional inspector and dealer. Is it repairable, what is the cost and what is the dealer willing to do? If you don’t feel comfortable with your options, it’s time to walk away. Don’t let anyone pressure you to sign a purchase agreement unless you’re absolutely sure of your decision!

You can always leave and come back later. Even if the dealer claims someone else is interested. It’s your money!

Why we walked from what we thought was a sweet deal

We walked away from what we thought was the perfect deal. It was a private seller, exactly the price and fifth wheel we were looking for. Put a $500 deposit to hold it for 30days, which they agreed. We then purchased a truck two weeks later to tow it.

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

We contacted the seller to arrange a time for us to get the fifth wheel. The seller then informed us he was not including the hitch that was on the fifth wheel. It would be another $1000 dollars to include the hitch! What?! We were so upset!

Now, what do we do? We had 2 weeks to be out of our house that we just sold. We told the seller to forget it! The seller kept our deposit. And we were about to be homeless. Within a few days, we found the fifth wheel we have now and are so happy the first sweet deal fell through!  So don’t get discouraged, be patient. You will find the perfect RV!

Buying an RV - Don't Buy a Lemon

So finally let’s take a quick recap to help you avoid buying a lemon:

  • Know who you’re dealing with.
  • Check out the Roof
  • Check the AC and Vents
  • Run All Appliances
  • Check the Side Wall
  • Do not Overlook the Wallpaper
  • Check the Walls
  • Examine the Slides
  • Inspect the Floor
  • Make Sure the Refrigerator is Working
  • Go Under the Rig
  • Check for Bubbles
  • Scrutinize the Tires
  • Check the Water Heater
  • Check All the Seals
  • Have a third-party from NRVIA.org check if possible.
  • Know the Lemon Law
  • Be willing to walk away

 

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RVing Basics for Beginners 

6 Big Mistakes RVers Make

Top 5 Common Problems with Fifth Wheel Slide-Outs

How To Winterize Your RV

36 Things You Want in Your RV Before Hitting the Road

14 Safety Tips Every RVer Should Know

How To Keep Your RV in Tip Top Shape

Our Winter Escape to Navarre Beach RV Park in Florida

 

Hopefully, this article was helpful. Kindly share and subscribe to my newsletter for updates!

RV Groovin Life

Bonnie

 

Seniors RVing Solo- A Guide for Seniors

There are thousands of Retired RVers who are traveling solo, and probably thousands more that dream of living the RV lifestyle but are too afraid of going solo, or just don’t know how to get started. I know when we began to think about RVing full-time, even though we weren’t going it solo, we were scared and very inexperienced!

Seniors RVing Solo

We had no idea where to start! And when we would tell friends and family what we were considering they thought we were crazy (ok, maybe we were a little crazy). But we were ready to step out of the box where we lived all of our lives. Leaving the norms behind, we both retired, sold our house, bought a truck, a fifth wheel and hit the road. We had absolutely NO experience RVing! NONE! Never towed a fifth wheel or owned or rented an RV. Yes, it was scary, but it felt good. So, don’t let the naysayers stop you from living your life!

fifth wheel with awning out

This article is a Guide for Seniors considering RVing Solo. This guide will cover things like how to prepare for RVing, the pros and cons of solo RVing, places to visit, and what things to avoid when solo RVing especially when you’re a senior. My hope is, once you get informed and knowing that you’re not alone because you will now be part of the RVing Community. Before long, you will say; I can do this! Don’t let Fear Stop You!

Tips for Seniors thinking of RVing Solo

 

Tip 1. Join a Solo RV Club or a Club that has a Solo RV Branch and Attend Seminars

Joining an RV clubs should help you get over the fear of being on your own. Another concern why most seniors do not RV solo is because of loneliness or safety concerns, which is at the top of the list which deters most people from RVing solo. Joining these clubs should provide you with a super network of support and information to help you overcome these barriers.

Another way to prepare for a solo RV life as a senior is to attend seminars. During the seminar, ask as many questions as you can. Do not be shy and trust me, there are many RVers at the seminar who probably have the same questions in mind. I’ve also listed some of Solo RVing Clubs like Loners on wheels, RVing Women, Escapees Solo. and many others. I will have a link to the Clubs to Join posted at the end of this article.

Tip 2. Have a Reliable RV

If you already own an RV, be sure to have your RV thoroughly checked by a professional. If you have yet to purchase an RV, do your research about choosing the right RV for you(Top Rated Brands of RV’s listed below). If purchasing a used RV, take it to a reputable RV mechanic for a complete checkup. Having a reliable RV will save you the stress of dealing with breakdowns when traveling by yourself on the road and save you money in the long run. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee things won’t happen, because they will.

Class A motorhome parked near ocean

Tip 3:  License

If you’re going to be driving a large rig, such as a class A, you might be required to have a special license depending on the state you’re in. So, make sure you do your research. If necessary, take lessons from a professional to enable you to get the appropriate license. For Detailed Information and Requirements about CDL License click here

Tip 4: Practice

Before going out to solo RV, you will definitely want to learn how to hook up your RV. Ask friends or professionals or where you purchased your RV.  Once you feel confident about what you learned,  practice setting up on your own with no external help. We purchased our fifth wheel at a dealership in Florida. They were very helpful in showing us how to hook up, run the furnace, A/C, emptying the tanks, etc… I made sure to videotape it with my phone. Yes, we watched it many times. Believe it or not, turning the A/C on was one of our issues! For us, having someone show us was helpful, but actually setting it up ourselves gave us the confidence we needed.

Tip 5. Be Safe by keeping your RV Well-Maintained

Properly maintaining your rig will help prevent the problem of breakdowns in the middle of nowhere. Don’t forget about your tires, always check your tire pressure before every road trip(Tire Guide – click here) scheduling a yearly RV maintenance checkup should lower the chances of having these surprise breakdowns during travel. If your RV is properly maintained you will feel more secure out on the road.

For a complete guide to maintaining your RV, I added a link at the end of this post.

Tip 6: Trust Your Instincts

If you aren’t sure about a place or you do not feel comfortable sleeping at a place, then there is no reason to stay there. There are other places down the road you could explore, even if it’s a nearby truck stop. Also, if possible, try to park your RV so you can drive straight out. This is a trick most long-time RVers use, and that is- you do not want the situation or an emergency where you must head out, but you’ve been impeded by others. Also, if you are parked in the sand or on a dirt road, keep in mind the weight of your RV. Getting stuck is easy, getting unstuck is not. Be sure to have good tow service for emergencies. I’ve included a list of Towing Companies with links below.

RV broke down on the road

This is tip can be extremely helpful if you find yourself in an emergency situation or plan on leaving first thing early the next day while other people are still sleeping. If you’re faced in the direction you plan on leaving and nothing is impeding you, then it’s a matter of jumping in the driver’s seat and driving away.

Things to Avoid When RVing Solo:

1. Leaving Your Doors Unlocked

I know, this is a no brainer, but important enough to mention. This is the number one thing to avoid especially when boondocking. Avoid leaving your doors and windows open at night. I also recommend having new locks installed on your RV right after you purchase it. And know where your keys are at all times!

2. Be Aware of your surroundings

When parking in the middle of nowhere especially when boondocking. Probably 99 times out of a 100 you would be fine. If you just don’t feel right about your surroundings, LEAVE!  If there are other RVers nearby, maybe introduce yourself before you decide to stay.

RV park in the mountains

In most scenarios, you will make friends. In case of an emergency, these neighbors can be really helpful. You can ask them if they do not mind checking up on you in case there is a problem or if they hear any weird noises, and trust me they will be more than happy to help.

3. Do Not Advertise that You’re Alone

This is one mistake to avoid as a solo RVer. Always pretend that you’re traveling with somebody. Say you’re stopping at a gas station and you’re going in to get food, pretend to wave at your RV as though you’re saying bye to somebody. I will mention again, Be Aware of your Surroundings! Just good practice, not just for RVing.

Pros of Solo RVing:

  • You get to meet new people

Unlike RVing as a couple or with someone where you both can keep yourselves company for a long time, solo RVing gives you the chance to meet other people. Since you feel lonely sometimes, you will be pushed to go out there to just talk to fellow RVers around, and in that process, you get to know them.

  • It is a great way to do what you want

Unlike Rving with another person, where their opinions might count and prevent you from doing stuff you might want to do. Solo RVing gives you the opportunity to explore places you like at your own time and convenience with no external influence.

Senior RVing Solo

Cons of Solo Rving:

  •  It gets Lonely

As much as you have the freedom to do what you like, you might get lonely sometimes when you’re on the road and you have no one to chat with. To help alleviate this, I highly recommend you get yourself a pet, they could also help provide extra security. Just curious, have you ever seen the Dick Van Dyke episode when Rob went fishing and left Laura home alone? Her imagination got the best of her, Millie the neighbor decided to stay the night. They started hearing noises and the rest you’ll just have to watch. One of my favorite episodes. Back to RVing, a pet can help when you start to hear funny noises in the night. Probably more helpful than Millie the neighbor.

cute little dog in an RV

Security Dog

  • Security

Since you’re a senior and you’re all alone, you might be vulnerable when it comes to security. So, before setting out make sure you have security measures in place. Let family or friends know your plans. Keep your phone charged. Always keep your gas tank full before stopping for the night.

  • It might be tiring – Doing everything all by yourself can be really tiring and even annoying.

Places to Never take your RV(if your vehicle is longer than 21 feet)

 

  • Going-to-the-sun-road (Glacier National Park) – Very steep and winding road. Logan Pass is the highest point on the Going-to-the-Sun Road at 6,646 feet. A ranger will stop you if your RV is too big.
  • Downtown San Francisco California – Too crowded and hilly for RV’s. Just not a good idea.
  • Tuweep (Grand Canyon) – The most famous views of the Grand Canyon are shot from the Toroweap Overlook, near Tuweep Campground. To rugged for RVs and Campers.
  • State Route 1, California – Very beautiful, also most nerve-wracking! It runs along most of California’s coastline, above extremely steep cliffs. Rocks and boulders frequently fall. Class A or travel trailer longer than 45 feet is prohibited.
  • Dalton Highway Alaska – Primarily used by commercial truckers, known as the haul road. This road is 414 miles long. Helicopters patrol twice a day for accidents.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Cannon Beach Oregon

Must See Places to Visit

  • Oregon Coast
  • The Canadian Rockies
  • Crater Lake Oregon
  • Albuquerque New Mexico – International Balloon Fiesta
  • Zion National Park in Southwest Utah

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Leave a comment of your favorite RV destination!

 

Top 3 Rated RVs for 2019

 

Top rated RV chart

 

RV Printable Chart

 

RV Parks for Seniors:

  1. Golden Vista Resort, Arizona.
  2. Alligator RV Park, Florida.
  3. Bensten Groove Resort, Texas.
  4. Camp Twin Rivers and Cabins, Colorado.
  5. Camp Williams Resort, California.

Towing Companies for RVs

Solo Clubs to Join

Discounts for RVers

  • Passport America – $44 yr – 50% discounts on participation campsites
  • Boondockers Welcome – $30 yr – Free overnight parking on private property- make new friends, share stories, save money.
  • Harvest Hosts – $79-119 yr – Free unlimited overnight stays for self-contained RVers – Wineries, Farms, Museums, Golf Courses
  • Good Sam – $27 yr – discounts on participating campsites and gas

Arches National Park

Arches National Park Moab, Utah.

A quick recap of the tips above, and things to avoid:

  • Join an RV club
  • Have a Reliable RV
  • Do you need a license
  • Practice
  • Be safe, and keep your rig well maintained
  • Follow your instincts- Never leave your door unlocked
  • Do not advertise that you’re alone.

 

Live your Best Life!

Hope this post was helpful, please subscribe to my newsletter and share!

Happy Camping!

Bonnie

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How To Keep Your Dog Happy & Healthy when RVing

 

How to Keep Your Dog Happy & Healthy in an RV?

How to keep your Dog Happ & Healthy in an RV

How to keep your dog happy and healthy in an rv

Our new puppy

how to keep you dog happy and healthy in an RV

 

  • You might want to consider getting a sensor which sends a notification to your phone whenever the temperatures escalate beyond a certain degree inside of your RV. Last year we stayed in Michigan at Haas Lake RV Campground for the entire summer and into the fall. During the month of July, the temperature stayed in the high 80’s and into the ’90s. You just can’t leave your pets in an RV without the A/C in those temperatures! This summer I plan on purchasing Temperature Monitoring System. Our RV neighbor at Haas RV Campground owned one and was happy with it. I’ll do a review and let you know how it works out.

  • We purchased a small plastic swimming pool for Maggie. It only cost about $7.00 and Maggie loved it. I use a quick drying microfiber towel to dry her off. We gave the pool to another RVer before leaving the park. Since we probably wouldn’t use it again until the next summer.

How to keep your dog happy and healthy in an RV

  • Another way of keeping your dog cool, I use an old beach towel or any old towel, lay it on the floor of the RV (not on carpeting) pour a cold glass of water on it, just enough to get it wet, not drenched. The minute Maggie sees me pour the water she’s right there waiting to lay on it!

How to keep your dog happy and healthy in an rv

Maggie loves laying on a wet towel when it’s hot out.

2. Do Not Switch Waters

When moving from one RV park to another, our veterinarian advised us to avoid giving our dog water from every different location. This could cause problems (diarrhea) for your dog due to the changing of PH levels. We always drink bottled water anyway and most of the time Maggie does too. On travel days, we carry extra water bottles in the truck for us & Maggie.

3. Your Dogs Health & Safety

  • Taking care of your dog’s health while RVing entails a lot. To avoid any medical complications with your dog, it’s a good idea to clean your dog’s paws whenever you take them for a walk before they enter your Rv. It really depends on the RV park, if it’s well-maintained you won’t need to. We have been to a few parks that it was necessary to clean her paws.

Keep your dog from licking any form of stagnant water since it could be from someone’s leaking sewer or fuel, this could get the really sick.

  •   Haas Lake RV Park in Michigan has goose poop everywhere! Maggie was always trying to eat it. It became very difficult to take her on walks. She would then get diarrhea from it. I discovered the solution, we put a Velcro nose harness on her nose! You know, the nose-wrap that keeps a dog from biting!? It also keeps them from eating goose poop!

  • Also, if an RV park has a dog park or one nearby, I suggest you bring their own water and water bowl. This will help prevent your dog from contracting a disease. Which I know might not be possible, but worth a try? Remember that the park isn’t the cleanest place to be. Maggie just loves going and playing with all the dogs at the dog parks. I also carry scented doggy wipes that we use to wipe her down after leaving the dog park. Exercise is a must for your dog when living the RV lifestyle.
  • Installing carpet on your RV steps to prevent your dog from slipping or getting his paws caught on the metal steps. We installed ours after hearing about an accident an RVer had with his dog.  It also makes it safer for us humans too! Click here for the current price.

RV Steps with carpeting on them.

4. Anxiety

  • Even though you might enjoy traveling in an RV, your pet might not (luckily Maggie loves traveling). If your dog or cat is prone to anxiety, tell your vet, he can prescribe anxiety medicine for them. It can also help during thunderstorms, lighting, and 4th of July. Which can be a little scarier in an RV. Routine exercise can also help reduce anxiety.

dog with anxiety vest on

Anxiety Vest for Dogs

5. ID Tags and Records

  • If you’re at an RV park or maybe you’re taking your dogs for a walk or something, make sure that they have their dog tags on their harnesses or leashes. The dog tag should have their names, their proof of rabies vaccination, and your phone number. Some RV parks will want to see this before allowing you to have access to their park.

I keep a copy of our dog and cat’s veterinarian records in our truck, along with our insurance and registration.

By the way, don’t forget to have your pets treated for fleas. We spent our last two winters in Florida, where fleas were a problem. Even though Maggie had been treated, she still got flea bites.

  • You can get the proof of rabies vaccination from the vet, and for the tag that has the dog’s name and your contact information Click to order.

 6. Veterinarian

When you plan to stay at an RV park for a while, ensure to scope out where the nearest vet is, so that, should you have an emergency situation, you could know where to go to. Usually, the RV park can recommend a good veterinarian in the area.

7. Toys

When switching from a house to RVing full-time, it is important that you bring along toys and beds your dogs are familiar with. It will also help reduce stress and anxiety.

Black and tan german shepherd puppy in a crate.

Having a crate keeps them out of trouble and makes them feel safe. Especially if you have a younger dog. It’s essential for puppies being potty trained.

8. RV Park Pet Rules

When making reservations, be sure to ask about the pet rules and restrictions.

  • The first rule– whether you’re in an RV park, or wherever you are, pick up your dog’s poop and dispose of it properly! Please! First of all, it is good park etiquette and secondly, you will avoid the case of your stepping on your dog’s waste, and even getting it inside your RV.  I recycle plastic grocery bags for picking up doggy dodo. I hang them by the door so it’s handy to grab before walking out the door.
  • Second Rule- do not allow your dog bark all night and day when you have neighbors so close. This can be extremely annoying, and make your neighbors angry.
  • Third Rule – ALWAYS keep your dog on a lease! Always! For the safety of your dog and others.
  • Most RV Parks require that you keep your dog on a leash at ALL TIMES. Never leave your dog outside unattended.
  • Some Campgrounds won’t accept certain breeds, like Dobermans, Pitbull’s and Rottweilers. Be sure to ask when making reservations

9. Diet

If your dog requires special dog food, or a hard to find brand, make sure that you have more than enough when traveling. Because plans may change which might cause you to stay a little longer than expected and you might not be able to get to the store. And ordering online might not be an option if you don’t plan on staying long enough in one place. Be prepared, make lists and enjoy the journey!

 

Black german shepherd dog

We miss you Romeo!

Romeo passed in 2018, he was a sweetheart. 

Maggie’s Favorite Cheap Toys

  •  An Empty Simple Orange Juice Container (without the lid) – Maggie will play with this for hours, chasing and chewing. I save these for rainy days when she can’t go to the dog park.
  • We buy water in the gallon jugs for cooking and coffee. Maggie likes to chase these too, they just don’t last as long as the orange juice container.

German shepherd puppy waiting to go outside

Time for a walk

 

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Happy Camping!

RV Groovin Life

Bonnie

5 Michigan Getaways For RVers

5 Michigan Getaways for RVers

Traverse City, Michigan

The beauty of Michigan ranges from sand dunes and beaches to farmlands and forest, to thousands of lakes, some that contain islands where horses and bicycles are the only means of transportation. In fact, in Michigan, you are never more than a few hours far from a Great Lake, of which Michigan has four.

Blueberry farms, cherry festivals, and apple trees are notorious in Michigan. Now, if you happen to be an RVer planning to visit Michigan, here are five places perfect for RVing. When visiting, be sure to give yourself ample time to explore in each location. You’ll be glad you did. We lived in Charlevoix and Petoskey a combined total of almost 40 years. It was difficult to narrow it down to 5 areas. Northern Michigan is simply gorgeous!

5 Michigan Getaways for RVers

Downtown Petoskey Michigan

Downtown Petoskey Michigan

5 Michigan Getaways For RVers 

 

1. Petoskey

Petoskey Michigan is nestled along the little traverse bay. Surrounded by historical homes, and with an amazing downtown full of locally owned businesses Petoskey is a year-round destination. So if you’re an RVer looking to visit Petoskey this summer, here are a few campgrounds and places to visit during your trip to Petoskey.

RV Campgrounds –

 

Petoskey KOA Campground

Endless blue water is everywhere, wildlife can be found on the shores, boaters can be found on the waves, and there is no limit to the fun you can have here. This is the beauty of Lake Michigan and this is the beauty of the Petoskey KOA campground.

This vacation location is located to a destination of 30-miles south of Mackinac city, and the Mackinac Island. This campsite has over 185 RV campsites of which are all paved with concrete patios and each site is groomed every day to make sure that the grass is green.

This campsite has a site for tents and cabins that ranges from rustic versions with bunk beds to sofas to models that offer comfortable couches, spacious kitchens, and private bathrooms.

Facilities and amenities available are a swimming pool, hot pool, hot tubs, café, volleyball and basketball court, golf, tennis, playground, WIFI, laundry room, a store and a lot of sightseeing places. It is no wonder that campers keep coming back for more.

Hearthside Groove Luxury Motorcoach Resort

Thinking about an RV park that will bring you close to nature? In the lush countryside of Northern

Michigan, you will find a resort that is rich in luxury and craftsmanship as it is in natural beauty- Hearthside Groove. A luxurious motor-coach resort resting on a secluded 140 acre of land in Petoskey Michigan, Hearthside is a popular tourist destination.

Most people come here to get away from the hot steamy weather of the south. And this resort is known for its million-dollar sunset. Beyond that, it is surrounded by three beautiful communities including Bay Harbor, Harbor Springs, and Mackinac Island, offer motorhome owner a perfect reflection of the surrounding areas.

The facilities and activities at this park include a clubhouse with spa, private bungalows, pool, fitness room, business center and laundry facilities, state of the art hookups, full irrigation, and complimentary WIFI.

If you’re bored during your stay at your campground, below are a few places you can visit.

Places to Eat in Petoskey:

Roast and Toast

Looking for a way to kick start your morning with a cup of coffee? Well, the place everyone visits when they want to start their day right with a cup of coffee is Roast and Toast. Being in business for 25 years, Roast and Toast offer the best house-roasted coffee in Petoskey. In addition, they offer a variety of foods for breakfast, lunch and supper from 7 am till 7 pm. Feel free to get yourself the ” Autumn Sunset Coffee” and tell me how it tastes.

5 Michigan Getaways for RVers

Roast & Toast Resturant in Petoskey Michigan

Johan’s Bakery

Just as Roast and Toast is known for its home-brewed coffee, Johan’s bakery is known for their doughnuts. Being in business since 1958, this bakery prides itself on using the best ingredients they can and that’s where their quality comes from.

All doughnuts are handmade and made with the equipment that has been used for years, giving the doughnuts the perfect finger licking taste. Everyone goes to Johan’s whether you’re a local or a traveler. When you pass by during your RV trip do not forget to try my favorite doughnut which is the “Long John”.

Shopping in Downtown Petoskey;

If you love shopping then the best place to be in Petoskey is downtown. Downtown Petoskey is so vibrant and fun with its wide variety of stores. With shops like Bear Cub Outfitters, Lake Street Dry Goods and Grandpa Shorter’s Gifts (which is one of my favorites), you have all the shops you need to purchase your favorite clothing, food or gift. Make sure you get yourself a Petoskey stone.

Petoskey Michigan Downtown

Petoskey Stones – a treasure for rock enthusiasts. Petoskey stones are a fossil of a coral that lived in the sea that covered the Great Lakes Area approximately 350 million years ago. When the rock is dry it looks like ordinary limestone. Only when the surface is wet can you see the six-sided rays of the rising sun. The Petoskey Stone was named after the Ottawa Chief of Pe-to-se-ga, which means Rising Sun.

2. Traverse City

One city in Michigan which might surpass your imagination is Traverse city. Who could have thought that right in America’s heartland in the mid-west, you could have some of the best beaches and clear water in the world? There are so many activities in Traverse City, and if you’re an RVer looking to visit Traverse city, here are a few campgrounds and places you can visit.

Traverse City Michigan

RV Campgrounds –

 

Traverse City Bay Resort

If you’re looking for that RV park that is more like a community then Traverse city bay resort is the right place for you. For an RV park, there is so much to do here in this resort and every day is different. From happy hours to big crowds on the patio, clubhouses for a group meeting, social life never gets boring at this resort.

In addition, some of the amenities available at the park include paved streets, cement patios, swimming pools, Cable TV, hookups, WIFI, and a laundry room. Besides these, some activities available at the park include boating, golf, knitting groups, Margarita nights, and a lot of activities available to encompass everyone at the park.

Beyond the fact that there is a lot of green nature and activities, this park actually has an area for Class A motorhomes, and also another area for Class C motorhomes and fifth wheels.

Traverse City KOA Park

Being in business since 1998, the Traverse city KOA park has a 119 sites including anything from rustic tent sites, all the way to deluxe camping site that includes full hookups, and a concrete patio, free WiFi for those of you who might want to work whiles camping, laundry service and free cable at all deluxe cabins.

Some services offered include wood delivery to your site, free trash picks up on your site so you do not have to worry about going to the dumpster, you’re escorted to your site when you check in for the first time, and upgraded mattress in the deluxe site together with free toiletries.

Campers will appreciate daily activities with the kids, along with amenities like a sand volleyball court, bike runnels to tour the campground, and a pet playground for your four-legged friends, swimming pool, miniature golf course.

Must Visit While In Traverse City –

 

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Do you like hiking? Then visiting sleeping bear dunes is the perfect recreation for you when in Traverse City. It takes 30 to 45 minutes for you to get to the top of the dunes, and there is a great pay off to those that make it to the top. And that is you get to see a clear view of the beautiful Lake Michigan. Hiking

5 Michigan Getaways for RVers

Sleeping Bear Dunes in Traverse City

Moomer Ice Cream

The best way to reward yourself after a long day of visiting the Sleeping bear dunes and having a great view of Lake Michigan is to get yourself some homemade ice cream. This shop is an iconic ice cream parlor that is known all around the city for having the best ice cream. And it is actually voted the number one ice cream place in the US. So, if you find yourself in traverse city and you have a sweet tooth then the Moomer Ice cream parlor is the right place to be.

3. Leland

5 Michigan Getaways for RVers

Leland Michigan

 

RV Campgrounds- 

Lake Leelanau RV Resort

Beyond the fact that this resort is close to the lake, it is known for its clean and serene environment. Some activities available on this resort includes a private sandy beach, boat and jet ski rentals, a visit to Leland by water from the docks on Lake Leelanau, kayak and water bikes, and numerous social activities. And during the summer, there is a free pipe organ concert.

Amenities available include WIFI, lodge, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, laundry facilities, private shower and restroom, and full-service sites.

Places to Visit-

Fish Town

As the name suggests, this is a little town in Leland where you can go to get fresh fish from fishermen. Besides that, you can sit next to the waterfall available and get yourself some food to eat. There is also a little village where you can get to do your shopping of artifacts and dresses inspired by this small fishing city.

4. Pictured Rocks

5 Michigan Getaways for RVers

Pictured Rocks

RV Campgrounds-

Pictured Rock RV Park

One feature about this park that I like is that they have trash cans everywhere to make the disposal of trash as easy as possible. At this particular Rv park too they also allow tent camping, which might be something you might want to do as a group since you have to pay for the full hook up spot.

For those of you who like to have an outdoor experience, we highly recommend this park. The surrounding sites are more wooded if you want that woodsy feel, and you’re pretty much going to be under the sun the entire time where ever you go.

As far as amenities, this park offers clean bathrooms, swimming pool, WiFi, sewer, and that’s about it.

Places to Visit-

Pictured Rocks Lakeshore

This place has a lot to offer, from a beautiful forest to hiking trails, beach, and Lake Superior nearby. This is the perfect place to get off your RV world and connect with nature. The water at lake superior is crystal clear, where you’re treated with awesome views of the water and sand dunes at the east. However, there are a lot of cool places such as a lighthouse, lake, beach, and waterfall nearby you can visit.

5. Charlevoix

They say beauty is in the beholder, that it comes from the inside out, well some will say it lives in a small town in Northern Michigan where petunias blossom by the thousands, and manicured streets leads to stunning views. This is the beautiful city of Charlevoix, where nature’s stones have been carved into one of a kind home, and a magnificent castle stands tall beyond its era.

Charlevoix Michigan

RV Campgrounds-

 

Fisherman Island State Park

Sitting 6 miles away from Lake Michigan’s shoreline on 2678 acres of land is Fisherman Island state park. Amenities offered by this park include pull-through site, electric hook up service, clean restrooms and bathrooms, and an area for tents.

Some activities you can engage in include rock hunting, and fishing.

Young State Park

If you have a big rig, then it should fit perfectly in this park. Found along the lake, this park offers some amenities such as pull-through site, electric hook up for 50 amp service, clean restrooms and bathrooms, and an area for tents.

Places to Visit-

Castle Farms

Owned by a dairy farmer, castle farm was built to keep equipment of this dairy farmer. Not until 2005 this castle was renovated into a tourist destination, event space for family events and weddings, and a gift shop. First-time visitors are taken on a guided tour and briefed about the history of this magnificent building. Also, this castle can boast of the largest outdoor model railroad in Michigan, and a beautiful garden.

Mushroom House

There are 28 of them, and these houses are made of special stones throughout the Northern Michigan area. Most people call them gnome homes or hobbit houses, but there is one in particular that looks like a button mushroom, so that is how they got their name mushroom houses. The locals refer to it as Boulder Park.

Links –

Charlevoix Venetian Festival

Charlevoix Earl Young Mushroom Houses

Traverse City Cherry Festival

Traverse City RV ParksKOA CampgroundTraverse City Bay Resort

Petoskey RV ParksHearthside Groove Resort  – Petoskey KOA

Petoskey Stones

Leland

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Pictured Rocks

Here are the 5 beautiful places to visit in Michigan and I hope you have a great time.

Please subscribe and share with fellow RVers!

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RV Groovin Life,

Bonnie

Don’t Make These Mistakes With Your RV Awning

In as much as people love to be in the sun, sometimes, all some people want to do is to sit in the shade and enjoy an ice-cold glass of lemonade.

camper with awning

Well, the best way to do that is to just sit under your RV’s awning.

As the title suggests, Don’t make these mistakes with your RV Awning.

We will look at some of the mistakes RVers make when using their awning and also how to replace a damaged awning, how to maintain your awning and also included how to clean your awning.

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campering with family

1. If you have a power awning, do not run it all out in One Shot

If you have a power awning, you might think it’s easy to just push the button and watch the awning run all the way out. Well, the problem here is, you do not want to hit the button, and run the awning all the way out with one shot.

The reason is that your power awning has an auto rain dump feature, which is the gas strut in the arm. This is what allows the awning to tilt down if there is rain and then come back up. The gas strut is a feature you wouldn’t want to be damaged.

So, what you can do when releasing your power awning is to first, open the awning to 18 to 24 inches thus about two feet, and then pause for a second. And then you can release the awning all the way out. It is important that you wait because as said earlier, there is a gas strut, which takes time to expand and it doesn’t move easily and fast as you might think since it has some sort of resistance to it.

So, when you start to instantaneously release and close your awning, you are damaging the seals of your struts. It’s important that you taking your time to release and close your RV awning could save you from self-inflicted damages.

2. Forgetting to Lubricate Your RV Arms

In as much as you may want to keep your awning looking good and new, do not forget to lubricate the arms of the awning. Lubricating the arms of the awning should keep them lubricated so they can retract and extend quietly and also keeps the moving parts maintained.

This should be done with a good old fashion WD-40. Do not forget to lubricate the stairs, door hinges and handles, this should help deal with the squeaking noise.

RV awning

3. Never Store your RV if the Awning Fabric is Wet

Most folks who have been RVing for while knowing that, you never store your RV awning when the fabric is wet. But even when you store the awning dry, you might notice what appears to be moisture or water the next time you open it.

Well, there are two types of fabrics used on RV awnings, these are Acrylic or Vinyl. Acrylic awning fabric is a woven cloth that lets air circulate through the fabric. This air circulation allows the fabric to dry quickly when it gets wet.

Acrylic awnings are water repellent but not waterproof. Vinyl fabric, on the other hand, is mildew resistant but not necessarily mildew proof. What happens is, mildew can form on the dirt and dust that collects on the vinyl fabric. This will be worse in high temperatures, and high humidity areas, and if the fabric is stored when wet.

Camper with awning in desert

Before storing your RV, you should thoroughly clean both sides of the awning with an appropriate cleaner. And allow it plenty of time to dry completely before storing. A dry awning still showing signs of mildew, it is possible that the awning fabric was dry when you stored it but when it rains, it’s still possible for water to get inside a rolled-up awning fabric, and for condensation to occur as well.

It is a good idea to extend your patio and any window awnings once a month and let the fabric air out and dry. The real key in addition to keeping the fabric dry is to vinyl awning fabrics as clean as possible. The cleaner the surface is, the lesser the chance of mildew forming on any residue of dirt and dust.

fifth wheel in the dark

4.Forgetting to Roll Up Your Awning At Night

For those who boondock in the wilderness, we highly advise to always roll up your awning before going to bed. This includes areas such as the desert where it might seem to be hot all the time, trust me it’s not. It could go from a warm day to freezing cold and snowy day the following morning. This could leave your awning in the snow, and making it wet. In other to be prepared for this, it is best to roll up the awning.

Another reason not to leave your awning rolled out at night is, you might not know when a strong wind might blow through. A strong wind blowing through at night could cause damages to your awning by the time you wake up the next day. This might lead to an unnecessary cost. So, to avoid these, once you feel sleepy, take about two to three minutes to get your awning rolled up.

If you’ve made any of the mistakes above and your awning fabric has been damaged or stained with dirt or has mold, the guide below will help you replace your awning if necessary.

What are the Different Types of Awnings? And How Do I Use Them

 

1. Electric Awning

These are pretty easy to use. To use them, all you have to do is to touch a button, and the awning starts coming out. However, be cautious not to fully extend the awning in one push. When releasing the awning, ensure that there are no trees around, because the awnings are easily stopped when close to something.

If there are no obstacles, run the awning out till it balances to about 90 degrees of the ground. If you overextend the awning beyond 90 degrees, it will over time weaken the fabric. It’s best to balance the awning to 90 degrees to the ground.

fifth wheel with awning out

Pitching an awning is a crucial thing especially if you’ve got some light rain. What happens with these vinyl awnings is that, they’ll fill up with water and it could stretch the fabric. It also can bend your tube. Electrical awnings are equipped with a dump so, if there is a little bit of water on the awning, the awning will dump it.

We recommend you do it yourself rather than letting the mechanics do it. It’s better that you pitch the awning yourself to let the water can run off so that there is no risk of mechanical failure. When pitching the awning, ensure to pitch the awning to the back of the trailer.

This is because most of the foot traffic is going to be towards the front. By doing so, the water will run off the back. Another thing when you’re pitching an awning is to make sure that the door is clear so that you do not risk destroying your fabric.

2. Manual Awning

With an electric awning, it is as simple as touching a button. However, with a traditional awning, there is kind of a procedure you have to follow to properly use your awning.

To use your traditional awning, first, you need to undo the travel locks and these are what keeps the hardware together as you go down the road, so the awning doesn’t open up. When you’re done with the travel locks, then the hardware can separate and you can open the awning after you do the next step.

camper with awning

The next step is going to involve undoing the cam lock from the top. In unlocking the cam lock, you would have to use the awning rod which should come with your coach. With the help of your awning rod, pull the lever of the cam lockdown till you see it in the roll down position, which you can read on the writing on the cam lock of the awning.

With the cam locks and the travel locks undone, you can now go ahead and open the awning. So, with your rod, go to the center of your awning, and you should see a strap. Grab the strap with your rod and pull it right out. Pull it all the way out until you see the valance about 90 degrees to the ground. It is important to have the arms all loosened up because it’s going to help your awning come all the way out.

At this point, you may not have any support keeping your fabric taut. Well, this is where the upper hardware comes into play. Slide the upper hardware up against the rails till they lock into place.

rv parked out west

Even though the upper hardware might be locked in place, you may still have to tighten your fabric. To tighten your fabric, grab the ends of your fabric together with the upper hardware and apply some pressure to tighten up the fabric, and then tighten up a knob at the center of the upper hardware. Repeat this process to the rear of the awning.

Now you have your awning tight, and at this point, what you will have to do is to lift the awning to get it where it’s supposed to be so you can use it outside of your camper to keep you out of the sun or rain. To do this, simply grab the arm of the awning, and lift it.

When done with this, the next thing you might want to check is to make sure your door isn’t rubbing on the awning as you open and close it. If you’re door still touches your awning, then we suggest a way to prevent this in the next topic below.

Whether it is an electrical awning or a mechanical awning, below are some of the mistakes RVers make with their awnings.

fifth wheel parked with awning out

How to Replace an RV Awning?

If your RV awning is old, torn, faded or just worn out, replacing the fabric is a great DIY, that can save you a lot of cash instead of having it done at an RV repair shop. It isn’t as difficult as you might think and, in this article, we’ll guide you step by step.

Here are some of the tools you will need when tackling this project:

Since you will be working high up on the RV, you will need a two-step ladder, plus a large tarp to protect the new awning fabric. Optionally, a couple of blocks with a soft cloth on top will come in handy. Do not forget to line up some help.

 

If you’re a determined do-it-yourselfer, then you’re better off with two helpers. With a huge awning, four people will make the job more productive. With the offer of something cold to drink and a delicious meal from the grill, you shouldn’t have a problem mobilizing some friends for this.

Not forgetting your replacement fabric. Before you order your awning, you will need to measure your awning. Measure from inside cap to inside cap. Now let’s get to it.

Replacing Your Awning

  1. With your drill, start by removing the main bolts that hold the top of the awning to the side of the RV. It might seem like that would allow the awning to fall off, but do not worry. The combination of spring tension, in the roller tube, and the legs attached to the base of the RV will hold it in place.
  2. Now, remove the two small screws that prevent the fabric from sliding in the track. There is one at each end of the awning. When done, pop the lower ends of both awning arms out from their brackets on the side of the RV, and extend them until they are both touching the ground.
  3. Flip the control lever on the right side of the roller tube, as though you were preparing to fully extend the awning. Then, using your awning rod, pull the roller tube about a foot out from the RV. Your awning should now have both arms resting on the ground, and your fabric should be unrolled about a foot.
  4. Before sliding the awning off the RV, you will want to put the masking tape on the upper awning bracket.

This will prevent them from scratching the side of the RV.

  1. If your awning is old, you may need to use a sharp edge to cut off any sealant that connects the fabric to the track. You may also have to scrape away any debris from the inside of the track. To further ease the removal of the old fabric, and installation of the new one, gently spread the end of the track with a flat blade screwdriver.
  2. With your helpers holding the two awning arms slightly off the ground, begin pulling the fabric out of the track, making sure you have plenty of room in front of, or behind the RV. Walk the entire arm completely out, until it’s free.

If the fabric is stuck in the track, difficult to slide at first, you may need a third person up on a ladder to continue pulling until it slides more easily.

RV Park filled with Campers and RVs

  1. Once the awning is free from the RV, set it down carefully. While not absolutely required, placing the roller tubes up on blocks makes it easier to work on it.
  2. There are two springs inside the roller tube. One at each end. You’re going to lock the spring at the rare of the left side of the awning, by removing the black plastic cap and inserting a Philips head screwdriver. Release the tension and remove the front and right side spring by loosening the bolt that holds the arm to the roller tube, then remove the bolt and the arm.
  3. Reinsert the bolt, and put some tape on the bracket to prevent it from getting scratched. Then firmly clamp the vise grips onto the brackets.

With these done, you’re about releasing the spring tension. Do not worry, it is not as scary as you might have heard. Just keep a firm grip on the vise grips, and lift up a little to release pressure from the awning control lever, then flip the lever to the role of position, and carefully unroll the spring. Be sure to count the exact number of rotations required to fully unwind it as you will need to roll it back up, with that exact amount later. Then you can safely remove the vise grips.

  1. Before removing the spring and assembly from the right side of the roller tube, I will want you to mark the location of the awning control lever, using a felt marker. This way, you can reassemble at that same spot.
  2. Using your cordless drill, drill out one of the pop rivets that hold the end cap onto the roller tube, then use your hammer and punch to remove the remainder of the rivet. With one person at each end, rotate the roller tube so you can access the pop rivet on the opposite of the end cap, then drill it out and punch it out just like you did with the first one. Now, simply slide out the entire right-side spring assembly out of the roller tube, and carefully set it aside.
  3. Lift the roller tube. and unwind the old fabric one turn at a time, until it is completely off the tube. To make it more efficient, two people can do this.
  4. Before removing the old fabric, use the felt marker to make two marks on the roller tube. First, make a straight line to mark the channel that the main part the awning goes into. Also, with the make a second mark, V, next to the channel where the decorative valance slides into. Now you should be ready to remove the old fabric. If it’s stuck on the tube, use a razor knife to slice between the two channels that hold the valance and the main awning.
  5. Now that the vinyl has been cut into two separate pieces, each one of them will slide right throughout of the roller tube. When done, spray some silicone lubricant into each of the channels to make it easy to slide the new channels in. Noting the marks made earlier on the roller tube slides the two beads inside their appropriate channels.

The beading on the main awning side goes inside the track of the straight line, and the beading of the valance side goes into the channel with a V.

  1. With your helpers holding the fabric off the ground, gently pull the end along the tube, simultaneously feeding both beads into the channel as you go. Using a tape measure, center the fabric between the end caps. Even though the right cap isn’t back on yet, you can clearly see the mark on the tube where it goes. When done, you can then roll the new fabric up unto the roller tube. This is where an extra helper or two comes in handy on large awnings. Ensure the fabric is rolled as evenly and smoothly as possible.
  2. Reinsert the spring assembly into the end of the roller tube, being sure to align the awning control lever with the mark you made on the side of the tube. You will also see that the rivets holes line up as well. Use your pop riveter to replace both rivets in the end cap, securely fastening it to the roll tube.

Reattach your vise grips to the roller tube brackets and clip the awning control lever to the rolled down position, and rotate the spring counterclockwise to re-tighten it. When doing this, be sure to keep a tight hold of the vise grip, and count exactly the same number of rotations, as when you removed the spring earlier.

  1. Reattach the right awning arm to the end of the roller tube. Remove the protective tape from the bracket, and snap the supporting arm back into place. Remove the Philips head screwdriver from the left side of the roller tube, and replace the black plastic cap.

If necessary, clean the track to make the new fabric slide as easily as possible, and then spray it with a coating of silicone lubricant. Apply some tape to the end of the track to prevent sharp edges from tearing the new fabric.

  1. To begin reinstalling the awning on to the RV, stand the entire assembly up, and walk it into place. Line up the end of the fabric, with the edge of the track. Insert the edge of the vinyl into the track and begin sliding it in. Since you lubricated the track with silicone spray, you will be surprised at how smooth the track slides in compared with removing the old one. Continue pulling along whiles your helpers hold the RV arm whiles moving along with you.

Now your awning should look just the way it did earlier, with both arms on the ground, and the fabric unrolled about a foot except with brand new material of course.

  1. Remove the protective tape from the awning brackets. Coat each of the four large screws with waterproof sealants. Use these screws to attach the brackets into the side of the RV. You can also remove the tap at the end of the awning track. Now retract both arms, and fit them back into their mouths. It’s common for the strap to get rolled up into the fabric during installation. If it’s not visible, simply pull on both arms to extend the awning, and the strap will fall out. Roll the awning back up to confirm that it rolls up straight, and the arms line up properly.
  2. If the arms don’t line out perfectly, or the fabric is rolled a little bit to one side or the other, unroll the awning and adjust the material by pulling slightly left or right in the track as needed. Then retract the awning one more time to ensure that everything lines up nice and perfectly. Once it’s done, reinstall the two screws into the awning track that prevent the fabric from sliding side to side. The only thing left to do now is to enjoy your beautiful new awning. And of course, fire up the barbecue to make dinner for your helpful friends.

Now you’ve installed your new awning here are some easy steps to help you clean and maintain your RV awning.

How to Clean and Maintain Your RV Awning

Apart from the fact that cleaning the awning of your RV will make it look better than it did, another reason to clean your RV awning is that much like the windshield of your car, when the awning of your RV is clean, it repels the water much easier and quicker.

Some Tools needed To Do This:

(Refer to your Owner’s Manual)

  1. Pull your awning out until it is 90 degrees with the ground.
  2. Fill your spray bottle with a gallon of water. Add a tablespoon of bleach, and a tablespoon of your dawn. It is important for you not to use much more than that, because you can actually potentially accelerate the deterioration of your awning.
  3. With the solution above, spray thoroughly the top and bottom of your awning and roll it up for 10 to 15 mins, and let it sit. This will allow the solution to soak into the fibers. Roll it back out again, and spray it a second time.

When done use a soft bristle car brush to scrub the surface of your awnings. This will get the crud off, but it wouldn’t scratch things up. Be cautious when doing this, since the bleach can cause a speckled mess to your shirt or pant.

  1. When done, rinse the awning and allow it to dry. This should wash away all the mildew and dirt, and get your awning looking clean and better than it was.
  2. Wait until the next day to treat stubborn stains, lubricate the mechanical parts of the awning.
  3. To deal with stubborn stains, such as the doors rubbing on the awning to create a black mark, bird poop, you can spray use a cleaner called “ Simple Green” on the stubborn spot. With the help of a towel, rob and wipe the spot till the stain is gone.
  4. When done, lubricate all the mechanical parts of the awning, this includes the hinges, arms, thumb screw, piston rod, and every little joint. We recommend you use a water-resistant silicone lubricant. Now, pull your awning in and out to enable the lubricant to spread out on every mechanical surface sprayed on.
  5. Finally, use a protectant such as a 303-aerospace protectant, which forms a coat to protect your awning from cracking, fading, and UV rays. A trick to applying this on your awning is to use a long RV brush, and a chamois cloth tied to the head of the brush. With this, you will have a long reach to enable you to get good coverage of the protectant over the awning especially the very top, making the job easier.

To use the protectant, spray the liquid on the chamois cloth and also on the awning, and then with the brush gently rub the protectant across the awning for about 2 mins and allow it to dry out.

  1. One problem encountered by RVers is that, when they roll out the awning, the door rubs on the awning creating a black spot on the awning which may eventually damage the awning. To curb this problem, you can purchase an awning door roller ball at an RV store near you, and you can install it on your RV door to deal with this problem.

With the above information, you should be able to take good care of your awning, by avoiding some mistakes such as not folding up your awning at night, and also rolling out your electric awning in just one shot.

Hope you found this post informative in repairing, replacing and maintaining your RV awning.

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Bonnie

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Bonnie