Keeping Your RV Going

While today’s RVs are reliable, you must remember; they are built by imperfect people in an imperfect world, out of imperfect materials and needed repairs are always a possibility while traveling the highways and byways of the Pacific Northwest.

Repairs can take many forms, from flat tires or engine problems to failure of appliances in the house portion of the RV. Some will stop you dead in your tracks while others might reduce the livability of your RV until repairs can be made.

Following are some tips to make the need for repairs less likely and to provide a safer and less stressful situation when they do occur:

Maintain Your RV

By properly maintaining your RV with preventative and regularly scheduled maintenance you will reduce the chance of required repairs or service at less convenient locations and times. Spend the time and effort to have these items taken care of at home before departing on a trip, then you won’t be at the mercy of a questionable repair facility hundreds of miles away. Doing this in advance will help ensure a smoother and less expensive RV vacation in the long run.

Have Your RV Serviced Before Your Trip

Roadside Assistance Service

Unless you are an experienced mechanic, you should consider a roadside assistance service plan that includes RV towing. Towing a large RV can be very expensive as many can’t be towed by conventional tow trucks requiring special (more expensive) vehicles to be dispatched. In addition, if your choice of RV is other than a motorhome, most RV roadside plans will tow your RV to a campground or RV park and your tow vehicle to the repair facility. The peace of mind of having roadside towing will also ease the temptation to drive an unsafe RV to the shop yourself.

Safety First

When a breakdown occurs that disables your RV from moving under its own power, get to the shoulder of the road if possible, better yet, a pullout or parking lot.

A Pullout Like This Provides A Safe and Scenic Place for Repairs

If you cannot get your RV to a safe location and it is at risk of being hit by other vehicles, here are some tips for increased safety:

- Activate your hazard lights, set out safety cones or road flares alerting other drivers that you are there.

- Evacuate everyone from the RV to a safe location, like on the other side of the guardrail, in a stand of stout trees, etc.

- If it is something you can fix by yourself in a short period of time (changing a flat), put on a bright color shirt or reflective vest so other drivers can see you better while implementing repairs.

Remain Calm and Review Your Options

Remaining calm will help you to assess your situation and consider your options so that you can better communicate with those in your RV and those possibly coming to rescue you. When assessing your situation, determine if it is something you and your travel companions can remedy, if you know someone you can contact to provide you with information on how to fix it, if it requires roadside assistance or you can safely proceed until repairs can be made.

Stay Positive and Remember RVing is More About the Journey Than the Destination

There is a song entitled “Enjoy It” from the Disney movie In Search of the Castaways

Click here to listen to the song, here for the lyrics.

A sampling of the lyrics, go like this: “If there’s a complication, enjoy it! You're stranded in the jungle, enjoy the trees. We are travelers on life’s highway, enjoy the trip. Each lovely twist and byway is bum and dip”.

While encountering a problem during a much anticipated RV trip can be inconvenient, don’t let it steal your joy as you’re likely to discover it contains a “silver lining”. A small problem might reveal a much larger problem looming that can be simply addressed before it becomes a major expense with days of down time. (Example: a small easily repaired oil leak that could lead to engine failure if not corrected). While awaiting repairs, you may discover and enjoy a special place that wasn’t on your original agenda providing a lasting memory that you and your family can share around the campfire for years to come.

Always Travel With Supplies on Board the RV

It’s possible that some breakdowns and repairs may leave you in a situation where you are parked for a couple days without hookups. Keep enough water in your potable water tank and groceries on board that will allow you to comfortably spend a few days dry camping while repairs are made.

Be safe out there and enjoy.

In the next installment, we will look at items you might consider carrying in your RV to get you up and running again if a breakdown or equipment failure occurs.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.

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