For those looking for a taste of the RV life, it’s a great time to explore the open road. Recent reports indicate an uptick in RV sales and rentals for families eager to experience a safer way to travel. Before you go, we offer the following RV travel and maintenance tips to help you get started.
Research the right RV for you
RVs run the gamut from basic to extravagant. From class B RVs that resemble a van, to class A RVs that are more like traveling homes and may require a license endorsement, know your needs and driving skills before committing.
Whether renting or purchasing, this handy guide will help you understand the pros and cons of each.
Have an RV travel plan
Planning your itinerary will require some research, but you also want to leave room for improvisation. Keeping a loose schedule will give you the freedom to veer off the beaten path to explore the sights and sounds of whatever catches your eye.
Check campsite requirements, availability and accessibility to determine what meets your needs. Boondocking, or parking in an area overnight without water, electricity or services, is another common RV tactic.
Learn more about this cost-effective option here.
Keep your RV measurements handy
Keeping a note of the RV’s height and length on the dashboard will give you a quick reference point when traveling the unknown highways and roads. You may happen upon bridges and overpasses your rig can’t clear.
Pack like a pro
Deciding what necessities and comforts to bring along on your journey can get overwhelming fast. Start by envisioning a roster of items you use daily, beginning with your morning routine.
Towels, toilet paper, cookware, bedding and silverware are common forgotten items.
Entertainment is essential to help pass the hours driving, so bring books, tablets, games and other items to entertain passengers. Be mindful of the weight limits and pack your RV evenly to distribute the weight.
Remember that bumpy roads can send items flying, so be mindful of how you store and display things in your RV.
Document your RV travels
One recurring piece of advice from RV enthusiasts is to document your travels with photos, videos and journal notes. You’ll always have the memories, but they’ll fade over time. Make a scrapbook or journal so you can fondly reminisce about your road trips for years to come.
RV maintenance tips
No matter where your RV travels take you, don’t overlook maintenance or you won’t be going far.
Everyone knows the importance of changing oil to engine performance and life. RV engines can operate under increased stress, especially if you’re towing a boat or car. Add a dose of intense summer heat and the oil has its work cut out for it.
Increased stress and heat cause some oils to chemically break down and fail to protect the engine against wear. High heat contributes to harmful deposits that rob the engine of efficiency and life.
Use a premium synthetic motor oil when performing RV maintenance to ensure maximum wear protection and service life.
Synthetic lubricants can increase fuel economy
Another great benefit of synthetic oils is their ability to maximize fuel economy. Synthetics flow more readily when cold, meaning the engine wastes less fuel at start up.
Steve Scheuring, owner of Scheuring Speed Sports, offers a real-world example. He spends his winters traversing the country so his racers can compete in the AMSOIL Championship Snocross Series. In the “off-season,” he and mechanic Elliot Burns travel the Midwest to compete in the Championship Off-Road Series.
In the summer, Scheuring usually parks his Monocao Dynasty Yorkshire in his pit. He relies on AMSOIL Signature Series Max-Duty Synthetic Diesel Oil to keep engine temps running cool in the summer heat.
“Running AMSOIL Synthetic Diesel Oil, we get about a half-mile better per gallon, which is a lot when you are only getting about five miles per gallon.”Steve Scheuring
It’s the same story in the transmission, where the intricate system of gears, clutch packs, solenoids and other components rely on a steady supply of clean, high-quality fluid to ensure smooth, consistent shifts.
The stress of a heavy RV combined with extreme summer heat and towing increase stress to gears and clutches. Heat breaks down the fluid, leading to gear and clutch wear. Sludge can form, which plugs narrow fluid passages and delicate solenoids.
Over time, the transmission can shift hard, jerk or hesitate if you use a low-quality fluid.
Opt for a premium synthetic transmission fluid that fights the effects of heat and provides excellent wear protection. AMSOIL synthetic transmission fluid delivers reserve protection against heat and promotes smooth, consistent shifts. It helps keep your rig running strong mile after mile.
As you might imagine, the differentials need good protection, too. All that power and torque must pass through the differential gears and bearings before they reach the wheels to push your RV down the road.
As temperatures in the differential climb, gear lubricants tend to lose viscosity, while extreme loads and pressures can break the lubricant film, causing increased metal-to-metal contact and heat. The increased friction and heat, in turn, cause the lubricant to further lose viscosity, which further increases friction and heat.
Friction and heat continue to spiral upward, creating a vicious cycle known as thermal runaway that eventually leads to greatly increased wear and irreparable equipment damage.
Here again, AMSOIL synthetic lubricants deliver. Not only does AMSOIL synthetic gear lube resist viscosity loss due to mechanical shear, it resists thinning at high temperatures to protect high-stress gears for the long haul.
If you elect to change fluids yourself, check out the AMSOIL easy-pack, which reduces mess and hassle when changing gear lube and transmission fluid.
Wherever your RV travels take you, stay safe and have fun.