RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 1227


Friday, December 6, 2019
Welcome to another edition of RV Travel’s Daily Tips newsletter. Here you’ll find helpful RV-related and living tips from the pros, travel advice, a handy website of the day, tips on our favorite RVing-related products and, of course, a good laugh. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate you. Please tell your friends about us.

If you will do some of your holiday shopping at Amazon, please consider doing so through our affiliate program. The modest commissions from your purchases help us pay our bills (and you don’t pay any extra). Click here to browse or shop.

Today’s thought

“Have you ever noticed how ‘What the hell?’ is always the right decision to make?” ―Terry Johnson

Need an excuse to celebrate? Today is National Microwave Oven Day!

Tip of the Day

One experienced RVer’s advice on new vs. used motorhomes

From Bill Myers: Since getting started with motor-homing twenty five years ago, I’ve bought two brand-new motorhomes, and more than a dozen used ones. I bought the new ones because at the time, I didn’t know any better and thought buying new was the safest way to go. I was wrong. I learned that when buying new, you can have just as many problems as when buying used.

I also learned that when buying new, if you finance the purchase, you’ll likely be “upside down” on the resale value of the motorhome versus what you owe on it – often for most of the term of the loan. This makes it difficult and expensive if you want to sell or trade it in.

Buying a new motorhome should be a joyous occasion. And sometimes it is. But often, the joy disappears when you discover defects in workmanship, handling issues and costly repairs not covered by warranty. Even though the new motorhomes I purchased didn’t give me the long-term joy I’d hoped for, I’m grateful to have gone through the process.

Perhaps the most important thing I learned from the experience was how easy dealers make it to buy a new motorhome – as long as you have good credit. That said, many buyers of new motorhomes are delighted with the experience and are happy with what they paid and the quality of the motorhome they purchased. Most will have purchased a quality brand of motorhome from a reputable dealer that provides better than average before-and-after-the-sale support.

My advice: Don’t rush into the purchase of a new motorhome. Dealers know you’ll be in awe when you first walk into a new motorhome. They also know if they can get you to “sign on the dotted line” before you have time to go home and think about the purchase, it’ll be an easy sale. Again, be a reluctant buyer. Never purchase on the first visit. Do your research and if you do decide to buy, be a tough negotiator.

From Buying a Used Motorhome – How to get the most for your money and not get burned   Available on Amazon.com.

Do you have a tip? Submit it here.

Mystery of the smoking shore power connection

When Chris Dougherty, certified RV technician, was serving as RVtravel.com’s technical editor, he received a question from a reader regarding a smoking power plug. The reader had been watching his ammeters closely to make sure he wasn’t exceeding the electrical usage limit, but even below the maximum allowable usage the power plug outside was smoking and melting. Chris explains the probable cause.

Hanging out with mops and brooms
RV Travel Newsletter Issue 912Most RVs aren’t equipped with broom closets. Got a basement storage compartment long or wide enough to stick those long-handled tools? Stick ’em up to the ceiling by attaching spring-loaded broom clips to the lid of the compartment. Here’s the ever-RV-popular Command Strips version.

You may have missed these recent popular stories…

Reader poll

Clean your microwave with no hassle! 
RV Travel Newsletter Issue 910Is it hard to scrub off all that crusty gunk in your microwave? Admit it, when was the last time you cleaned it? Angry Mama, the miracle microwave cleaner, is here to do the dirty job for you! Add water and vinegar (maybe some lemon too) to this feisty lady and watch her steam away the mess. Within minutes your microwave will be sparkling! Click the image to watch video. Be right back, we’re buying one here!

Helpful resources


Quick Tip

How to tell if the black tank is almost full

Just before the black tank gets to the full stage, the toilet will start to sound a little different and a small burp or bubble of air will happen. This means the waste level is above the vent pipe and it’s time to dump! Thanks to Ray Burr at RV Happy Hour.

Random RV Thought

Always keep your motorhome or tow vehicle’s fuel and propane tank filled up in case you need to rush out of town in an emergency.

Great product, Brite Wash, promises effective RV cleaningClick here to learn more.

Website of the day

“Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods.” How about using this to make money from your RV? Or to shop for some terrific and unique items (perfect for the holidays!) – or browse through on a rainy day.

Clubs and useful organizations
PLEASE NOTE: We may receive an affiliate commission if you join any of these.

• Harvest Hosts: Stay free at farms, wineries and other scenic and peaceful locations for free. Save 15% on membership.
AllStays: The best website for RVers! Your membership will become your RV-bible.
Overnight RV parking. Directory of more than 14,000 locations where you can stay for free or nearly free with your RV. Modest membership fee.
Boondockers Welcome. Stay at homes of RVers who welcome you in their driveways, yards, farmland or other space on their private property. Modest membership fee.
Escapees. Best Club for RVers: All RVers welcome, no matter what type of RV, make or model.
No-park Walmarts. Best directory of stores that do not allow overnight stays with RVs.

Camco vent insulator keeps you cool!RV Travel Newsletter Issue 909
Is your RV too hot in the summer? Too cold in the winter? Camco’s vent insulator and skylight cover features a thick layer of foam which helps stop heat transfer, keeping you warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Installation is easy. The insulator is designed to fit standard 14″x14″ RV vents. Learn more or order here.


According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent $310 million on pet costumes last Halloween.

Leave here with a laugh

Today’s Daily Deals at Amazon.com
Best-selling RV products and Accessories at Amazon.com

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RV Daily Tips Staff

Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Emily Woodbury. Senior editor: Diane McGovern. Marketing director: Jessica Sarvis. Financial affairs director: Gail Meyring. IT wrangler: Kim Christiansen.

This website utilizes some advertising services. 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.

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 RVtravel.com or this newsletter.

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I don’t think I’ve replaced a headlight at all in 25 or 30 years, just a couple of brake lights. We had the last vehicle for 14 years.


Interesting Pole on headlites. I have changed the right outside (low beam) sealed beam on our 1994 Class A twice in 10 years. That lite get moisture inside the sealed beam! How does that happen? The connectors are sealed into the glass! The current lite has moisture beads now! The other three lamps – no problem! So, where does the moisture come from? Anyone have an answer? Thanks.


“Quick Tip
How to tell if the black tank is almost full”

For those that are new to RVing…

Factory installed tank sensors are wholly inaccurate. Previous polls on this site also substantiate this information. Deposits of paper and “other” things get stuck on the sensors. A perfectly empty tank can still read full as a result. Some folks have tried other methods such as dish washing soap, ice, hot water, and other methods that may work with mixed results.

There is another way to know your tank is full or close to it besides using sensors or sound. “Sound” is also a good indicator but in addition to that method, the closer to full, the more it smells (even if you use chemicals). You’ll want to dump for sure when you can’t take the smell any longer.

“Splash Back” is another indicator. Air will get trapped and when you flush, it bubbles back before it goes down.

If the three fail to warn you of impending doom (sensor, sound, smell), you’ll probably get to see a brown liquid coming out at the base of the stool at the floor flange. From there, it will ooze on the floor or into the basement. At that point, you certainly can’t miss it.

There are external sensors that tend to do better than the internal sensors. You can purchase them after-market and use the wires directly from the internal mounted sensors.

We are full-timers. Our black tank is 52 gallons. Without being conservative, we can average about two weeks for 2 persons. Sometimes 3 weeks if we are a little more conservative before we require dumping. Maybe this will help you gauge when a dump may be pending (no pun intended) 🙂


The only time I can remember changing a headlight was actually changing a headlight on my 1963, 6 volt, VW Westfalia camper. Both went out at the same time while crossing the Mississippi near New Orleans. That would have been 45 or 50 years ago.

Gary Reed

We use the propane on the water heater. the ac I do not use the electric on the hot water heater. We use the


I’m not getting it. The man bought at least 14 rv’s over 25 years. Out of those 2 were new and a dozen or so were used and he suggests the used ones might have been a better way to go.


I answered the Reader poll “May have done it a few times” because, when replacing a burnt out one with an LED light, and the other good light is an older incandescent light, I change both! Otherwise I only change one.
I dislike seeing an oncoming car with different types of light!

Gene Bjerke

The best way to buy an RV is an issue we see on these pages frequently. For whatever it’s worth I am adding my (probably overpriced) two cents worth. According to all the good advice (other than renting one first to see if we liked it) we went about it all wrong. We went for a Roadtrek Class B based on liking a friend’s vehicle. We went through two used rigs in the first two years, basically getting our feet properly wet. Then we went to a dealer in Florida and traded in on a new Roadtrek right off the lot. I wanted that model because I decided I wanted diesel. That was 2010, and I am sure I will never get the rig paid off.
That said, I am basically happy. I think I was lucky rather than smart. First off, Roadtrek has always been a well-respected brand (sorry about their recent problems, but they seem to be back on track). We bought the new one from a dealer that was recommended by the manufacturer (we live in Virginia, so we went out of our way to use them). I periodically check the Blue Book on my model and year and so far it should fetch more than the balance on the loan. Meanwhile, we have had basically good service from the machine. After nine years (and about 124,000 miles) we have it set up to our likes and preferences and would not sell or trade it for anything. Our only regret is that we can’t spend as much time on the road as we would like, but not because of any problem with the rig.
So I guess the bottom line is: if you are not all that smart, it helps a lot to be lucky.


Before plugging into the power pedestal I use a light coating of contact grease on my shore power plug. It makes it slide in easy and helps to make a better electrical connection. Before storing the cord I clean the contacts off so the left over grease does not attract dirt. I also keep a can of contact cleaner on hand and will also spray the female receptacle slots to help clean them up, just make sure the power is off and you check it with a meter first.

Steve - Alaska

We have owned several slide in campers, one class C, and two new fifth wheelers! This year we purchased a used class A diesel pusher. The new 5vers, purchased locally, each had small issues that the dealer fixed with no hassles! The “A” was our first and my wife and I are in love with it. We were going to take a 3 month journey across the lower 48, but first I took it to the Cummins dealer in Coberg Ore to get it serviced. Make a long story short, it cost us $30K to get it road worthy! I was ready to spend some cash on it, but this rolled us over the cliff and so we did not get to make it through the lower 48, and wondered if it would even get us back home to Alaska! It did and we had a wonderful month long trip home through Canada.

Yes, I know, shoulda done more home work on the rig, and I bought it with my heart, not my head! That said, my wife and I are absolutely in love with the coach and are slowly bringing it back to life! Buying new would have subjected us to a lot of unknowns and fixing this rig up means we can do what we want, when we want!

I turn 73 in a couple months and plan on driving this one until I can’t! And the wife and I are not afraid to take this one anywhere we want, including up in the HooDoo Mountains to ride our Polaris RZR with friends. Not sure I would want to subject a new class A to that kind of driving and camping!!

New is nice, but used and fixed is satisfying!!


We purchased a new rv this year, just over $100,000, not a half million $ Coach, traveled for 5 months and 5,000 miles with a toad, never had to go to any dealer for any kind of repairs, no breakdowns, everything worked, refer, ac, furnace, solar, generator, Truma hot water, shower, awning, etc.
Sure, a few screws came loose, easy fix but no horror stories. Good new ones are being built!


When replacing headlight lamps, I always replace both. I save the good one and when one of the new ones burns out I install the used one I saved. Then when one of them needs replacement, I buy 2 new ones and continue as before. Don’t have to buy new ones as often.


Keeping the RV ready to go on a moments notice is very important down here in hurricane country. We do have good general warnings, but to hesitate is foolish. You would end up competing with the other unprepared for needed fuel and supplies.
I would believe this ready-to-go attitude is also important in fire country and other natural disaster prone areas.
Tell other family members out of the strike area where you are going and have a means of communications that will work. Shameless plug for amateur radio.

Danny Wells

I’ve been driving since 1956 and can’t remember when the last time I’ve had to replace a head light. My guess is I haven’t had to replace a light since the mid 70’s


You can end up upside down on a used RV as well. We are “kicking tires” now and the rates/terms of the financing are as tricky as new. A 20 year loan for people in their 60/70’s? When buying used one runs the risk of purchasing a rig that has never been properly maintained. Without service records you have no idea what has been done or if there were any problems. Two rigs we looked at both had open safety recalls (not recent). It’s a crapshoot new or used. And if no one buys new there won’t be any used untis to buy. Bottom line – buyer beware and be educated!