Tuesday, March 21, 2023


RV boo-boos: Backing up in the dark without a spotter

Reader Dennis G. got an emergency call-out. His aging mother had a medical emergency, and his Class A was the ideal choice for getting there. What wasn’t ideal was arriving at Mom’s place near midnight, and having to back into the driveway without a spotter.

spotterDennis’ Fleetwood Flair flattened his mom’s gutter. And the Flair’s rear trim also took a beating. He confesses, “I was so embarrassed that I hit the roof gutter on my mom’s house that I didn’t take a picture,” before taking the trim piece off the motorhome. We don’t have a “before the fix” photo for the gutter damage, but Dennis took after it with what tools he had on hand and a bit of paint.

spotterBut as for that rear cap cover. Which RV body shop would “take the prize” of trying to make that Class A look, well, “Class A” again? Dennis eschewed the idea of farming the job out. After he got the rig home, he removed the “ouched” trim piece and set about setting it to rights. “After drilling out tons of rivets, it took me a four to five hours to slowly press the trim back into shape with a wood buck, our 10-ton press, and some fine hammer work with hard wood dowels.” The results make his Fleetwood Flair look factory fine.

Don’t back in at night without a spotter

And as for Mom? “My 77-year-old mother is doing better now,” says Dennis. He does conclude with the moral of the story: “Lesson learned, don’t back in at night without a spotter.”

Spot an RV boo-boo, or have one of your own? We’d love to hear about it. Drop us a line using the form below, and include “Boo Boo” in the subject line.

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Other stories by Russ and Tiña De Maris




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Jim D
1 month ago

GOAL – Get Out And Look. I never have a spotter.

1 month ago

One is not always going to have a spotter. But there is a very simple solution. First, do a thorough pre-inspection of the area noting potential obstacles and make a plan. Back in a little then get your hinder out of the seat (I know that takes some effort), go outside, re-inspect. You might have to do this several times, sometimes only moving a foot or two, depending on the situation, but you will get parked safely. The time and effort spent will be far less than paying for or fixing damage from hitting something.

1 month ago

My thought is be aware of your spotter. We were in one of the more upscale rv campgrounds that had rangers that spotted you in. Don’t know what this ranger was watching but he spotted right into a tree. Thankfully I stopped as soon as I felt something as was going slow. My ladder is what hit and luckily no real damage. After that I prefer my BH do the spotting.

1 month ago
Reply to  robert

Exactly why I never trust someone I don’t know and who doesn’t know my rig. If the campground wants to have someone spend their time directing me in, that’s up to them, but that person usually knows nothing about the turning characteristics of my rig. I’ve had these people directly telling me to start turning well before I should, or not when I should, based on my very long wheelbase. They tend to think very one dimensionally about only one point on the RV versus successfully getting the whole rig in efficiently. Net…I am ALWAYS in control. I will get out and personally check even if the campground sent someone to babysit me.

1 month ago
Reply to  Spike

Very true, YOU have the control not a stranger. I rarely pull into a campground after dark but when I do I have some seriously bright backup lights along with a good backup camera that can be manually left on regardless if I’m moving reverse or forward. Works great.

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