Friday, June 9, 2023


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter #15

Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to RVing from The information we present here every Monday through Friday is for brand-new RVers – those in the market to buy their first RV and those who just purchased theirs. If you are an experienced RVer, this material may be too basic for you.

This newsletter is funded primarily through advertising and voluntary subscription contributions from our readers. Thanks to all of you!

If you shop at Amazon, please visit through our affiliate site (we get a little commission that way – and you don’t pay any extra). Thank you!

Monday, July 27, 2020

If you did not get an email notifying you of this newsletter, sign up here to get one every time it is published.

[activecampaign form=38]

DID YOU MISS reading this morning’s RV Daily Tips Newsletter? Good stuff there.

RVing Basics

What advice do you have on buying a used RV?
We highly recommend buying “used.” Buying a used RV is not really different from buying a used car. You might find a better deal from an individual, but you’ll need to inspect the unit very carefully and thoroughly. If it’s a motorized unit, you should have it checked out by a good mechanic. If you’re looking at used RVs at a dealership, keep in mind that the dealer probably has a lot of flexibility built into the asking price. It’s still important to inspect the unit thoroughly and get the dealer to fix anything that isn’t working correctly before you take possession.

How long will an RV be on the sales lot before it is sold?
It can be days, or weeks, months or even a year or more. Be sure when buying a new RV to ask how long it has been on the sales lot, and check the chassis and elsewhere for any signs of water leaks, rust or other environmental damage.

Are RVs expensive to maintain?
The automotive part of a motorized RV is just like any motor vehicle when it comes to service. Change the oil and perform other regular maintenance and they’ll last for years. The living area of RVs are no more work to maintain than a small home. An RV does take some serious bouncing around, however, so things jar loose now and then. But a little puttering around with a wrench and screwdriver can usually keep this problem in check. If you are totally “unhandy” you may not even want to buy an RV. Service can be hard to find. As RV technician and instructor Terry Cooper explains to his students, “Eighty percent of repairs can usually be done by the RV owner.” Repair shops typically charge $120 to $150 or more an hour. You’ll save a lot by doing your own work.

Inflatable footrest is comfortable for couch and passenger seat
Missing your favorite recliner? Miss it no more! This inflatable foot rest is perfect for lounging on the couch, in the chair by the campfire, or in the passenger seat for long drives. Take it on a plane or to the grandkids’ soccer game. It weighs less than 1 lb. and folds down small for travel. Learn more.

Quick Tips

Check the drip tube in the back of your fridge 
It’s a good idea to occasionally take a peek in the back of your RV refrigerator. They have a drip tube that channels off water from evaporation. Sometimes this tube leads to a drip container (often near the chimney) that evaporates off this water; others may “port” the water out of the rig harmlessly. In any event, if the tube gets loose and starts dripping water onto your RV framework, it can lead to damaging rot.

Easy windshield cleaning
Keep a can or bottle of good-quality window cleaner within easy reach when you stop to fuel up. Before starting to pump fuel, spray your windshield liberally with the window cleaner. Let it sit while fueling and then use the “usually” available squeegee to easily remove the bug guts. The cleaner virtually dissolves and also releases the bug guts from the glass and it saves a whole lot of scrubbing. Our thanks to George Bliss!

How to make sure you get the right replacement faucet
Need to replace a faucet in your RV? Or just don’t like the one that came with it? Best to remove the old one, then take it with you when you shop for the new one. Some RV faucets have different spacing than “house” faucets and you need to ensure the less expensive (or greater featured-filled) ones from the “big box” store will fit.

Keep your keyholes clear 
Some bugs like to lay eggs in little spots – like in the keyholes of locks on RV storage compartments. Once in there, the stuff’s like glue. If your locks are steel, get small disc magnets from the hardware store and “stick” one over each lock.

Scraping bottom when exiting a parking lot?
If your RV bumper scrapes when entering or exiting a parking lot or other driveway, try taking the exit with your rig at an angle rather than straight on. Still no help? You may want to add skid wheels to the back of your trailer. Two types: bolt on and weld on. The former sometimes tear off, so the added hassle of finding a welding shop may be worth the trouble.

We welcome your Quick Tips: Send to

Common Terms Used by RV Salespeople

FIVE FINGER CLOSE: A car dealer technique used by some RV dealers to get the sales papers signed by the consumer without the consumer realizing that the numbers on the papers have been increased above what was orally discussed with the consumer. An example is where the RV dealership Finance Manager holds the stack of RV sales documents, such as the sales contract, finance contract, etc., still with one hand planted in the middle of the document while pointing to the signature line with the other hand. He then asks the buyer to just sign here and here and here, etc., thereby using their hand to cover up an area of the sales documents where numbers appear that the RV dealer does not want the buyer to see.

Another one next issue. Courtesy of the Burdge Law Office.

“Guide to Free Campgrounds” is a valuable resource
Any RVer that has been on the road for awhile likely has a dog-eared and ragged copy of Don Wright’s “Guide to Free Campgrounds.” Maybe it’s time for a new one, with more up-to-date information. Read more about it here, and maybe order a copy of the 832-page guide for yourself or for a gift for your RVing friends.

If you could tell someone new to RVing just one thing, what would it be?

From the editors: We asked our readers this question recently. Here is one response: 

“I would strongly recommend that they purchase and install a gate valve on the dump outlet. It is the cheapest fix for a leaky tank valve, and insurance against getting covered with nasty stuff if it happens. Valterra makes a good one that can be purchased on Amazon. We found out about them after we had an incident and bought one right away. After trading the trailer in on a new one, it was the first thing we bought.” — Astrid Bierworth

Random RV Thought

On a cold and rainy day, it is satisfying to camp with an RV, even though some people may think it’s best in warm, tamer weather. When the weather is foul, it’s a nice feeling to be inside, sheltered from the storm, warm and cozy, maybe with a good book or your special someone.

• If you’re a member of Facebook, be sure to sign up for our groups RV Buying Advice, RV Advice and Budget RV Travel. For a list of all our groups and newsletters, visit here.

• If you buy a defective RV and are unable to get it fixed or its warranty honored, here is where to turn for help.

• If you need an RV Lemon Law Lawyer, Ron Burdge is your man.

Why you should never finance an RV for 20 years!

A scenic alternative to RV parks
Stay free at farms, wineries and other scenic and peaceful locations. Save 15% on membership to Harvest Hosts. Learn more.

Read previous issues of Beginner’s Guide to RVing newsletters here.

RV Travel staff


Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Editors: Emily Woodbury, Diane McGovern.

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of or this newsletter. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Regardless of this potential revenue, unless stated otherwise, we only recommend products or services we believe provide value to our readers.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

This newsletter is copyright 2020 by


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Suzanne Quinn
2 years ago

My carbon monoxide alarm keeps going off. I brought my plug-in alarm to my RV and it didn’t detect any carbon monoxide. The other possibility is a low battery. How do I check for that and where would the house batteries be located? Thank you for your input

2 years ago

In the article Scraping bottom when exiting a parking lot? above be careful “twisting” the frame of your RV if you have a motorhome as you could pop out your windshield.

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  impavid

Thanks for the heads up and/or reminder, impavid. 😀 —Diane at

Brenda G
2 years ago

“Inquiring minds need to know…..”
I just viewed a Valterra gate valve on Amazon…….does it attach to an existing gray/black water “exit”?

Don W
2 years ago
Reply to  Brenda G


2 years ago
Reply to  Brenda G

Only if it is the Valterra T58

This is the one the article refers to.

Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.