Friday, June 9, 2023


Beginner’s Guide to RVing Newsletter #9

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.

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Friday, July 17, 2020

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

RVing Basics

I understand there are different ways that slideouts work. Are some better than others?
There are two types of slideouts, based on the type of equipment used to move them. Electric slides, generally found on smaller slideouts, use an electric motor for propulsion. They can be sensitive, so when buying an RV with an electric slideout, slide it in and out watching and listening closely. Hanging up while moving or making scraping or loud popping noises could indicate a problem. Electric motors can fail on these units, and gears can need replacement. Hydraulic slides use a pump and fluids to move the slide in and out and are more complex in design than electric units. Their failure points include valves, pumps, and hydraulic line leaks. They’re more often found on larger, heavier slideouts. If a slide shows any signs of glitches when in use, it’s best to get it looked at right away, rather than risk being stranded with a stuck slideout.

We have a lot of stuff. Which type of RV has the most storage space?
Class A motorhomes have the most capacity for motorized RVs, followed by Class Cs (space is very limited in Class B motorhomes). Larger units typically have more than smaller ones. If you are considering a towable RV, fifth wheels usually have more storage space than travel trailers of equivalent size. Be sure when you consider storage space that you also consider how much weight an RV can accommodate. It’s easy to overload an RV, which if done repeatedly can shorten its life. And overloading can be dangerous to occupants as well.

Can I ride in an RV while it’s moving?
Yes, in a motorhome or truck camper, but keep all seat belts fastened. If a motorhome sleeps four, then it should have four seat belts. If it sleeps six, it should have six belts. But, except for rare occasions, it is not legal to ride in a travel trailer or fifth wheel trailer. We strongly advise you never, ever allow any passengers to ride in them even if it’s technically legal – too dangerous.

The best phone mount for your RV
Endorsed by the RVtravel staff!
This phone mount suctions or clips to your dashboard or windshield, and is a sturdy, safe place to keep your phone while driving. Perfect for using the GPS while going down the road. The mount is cushioned for a wobble-free phone and can rotate 360 degrees. We highly recommend this one! Learn more or order

Quick Tips

Keep your sink drain clean to avoid “stink”
Working in the RV galley generates all kinds of small waste particles. If they go down the sink drain, they can form a “stink generator,” and they can foul up your tank level probes. Head to the hardware store and obtain the appropriately sized stainless steel sink drain screen. Clean it out frequently – by tossing the contents in the trash, not down the drain.

Easy check for water leaks 
Check your RV for plumbing system water leaks easily. With water in the fresh tank, turn on your water pump. After it shuts off, signaling the system is pressurized, it won’t turn on again until you “call for water.” If it does turn on, you have a leak.

Keep track of the fridge temperature
Keep a thermometer in your RV fridge and check it often. A remote reporting sensor-type thermometer placed inside the cooler is an easy read without hassle.

Check the battery’s water level before charging
Need to charge your batteries, but the “water level” is low? Wait until after you’ve charged them, then fill. Exception: If the level is below the top of the plates, fill to just cover the plates, then charge. After charging, complete the “fill up.”

Easy tip to help back up the trailer
Trouble backing up your fifth wheel or travel trailer? You know that you need to turn the wheel the opposite direction of where you want the trailer tail to go, but training yourself is the hard part. Hold the steering wheel at the bottom with your hand – whichever way you move your hand when there, the trailer tail will follow.

We welcome your Quick Tips: Send to

Common Terms Used by RV Salespeople

LOT LIZARD: The salespeople who stand around an RV dealership, usually in small groups of two or three, waiting for a customer to come along so they can pounce on them to make a sale.

Another one next Monday! Courtesy of the Burdge Law Office.

Two new guides to free campgrounds

Roundabout Publications has teamed up with the Ultimate Public Campground Project on these two new guides. Discover thousands of designated camping areas in the West and in America’s Heartland – real places – not big box store parking lots. Included are areas managed by various governmental agencies. Learn more about the West edition or Heartland edition.

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: 

“Have a knowledgeable friend or professional inspect the RV prior to purchasing!” — Claude Comeau

Random RV Thought

Dumping the holding tanks on an RV sounds like a disgusting job. But it’s normally fast, easy and seldom unpleasant. Just wear gloves.

• 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!

Mosquito repellent spray for dogs and cats is a must for campingClick here.

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


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Connie VH
2 years ago

“Lot Lizards”…. I like it!
But I always call them Lot Leeches….

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  Connie VH

Yeah, Connie, that works too. 😆 —Diane at

2 years ago

I enjoy your discussion, but I would like to add a couple points. On many 5th wheel trailers, the slides are configured with cables to open and close. The cable systems are simple but need to have occasional maintenance to tighten and adjust for even action. They are operated by an electric motor, but when maintained, they work well.

Regarding backing the trailer – a simple rule of thumb is place your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel and move your hands the direction you want the back of the trailer to move. And the other point is PRACTICE – PRACTICE – PRACTICE. Find a big ol’ empty parking lot and practice.

Happy camping!

2 years ago

I bought a 2 channel remote thermometer with a sensor in the fridge and a sensor in the freezer for about $20. It also has an alarm that goes off if either temperature goes over the programmed setpoint. I have a small (10.1 cubic ft) residential fridge and this was well worth the small investment.

2 years ago
Reply to  Jim

I see the price has gone up since I bought this 4 years ago, but the link is

2 years ago
Reply to  Jim

I use a 3 channel. The other sensor goes outside the trailer so I know the outside temp.

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