The world of RV’ing has its own language and common terms. It’s helpful to know these terms. Common language reduces confusion, easier to communicate to vendors and service centers, makes you look more like a pro around the campfire!
It’s important to be able to communicate with dealers, manufacturers, and mechanics about your coach. There are words and terminology that can make this communication much easier and more effective for you if you’re willing to learn them. When others understand what you’re describing, they’re in a better position to help you. We will use these terms throughout your onboarding process.
We’ll also review many things that you might be tempted to say you know about or don’t need covered – like turning on the AC or heat. An RV is NOT like a house! There are many details to know about to properly and successfully use many of your RV’s systems. Be patient with the training and through the process of learning the many “gotchas” and details on how to use these components. Not knowing how to use the most basic things (like water) can cause hours of frustration, money, or lost vacation time. That is a real thing.
It’s these little things that will impact the usability of your coach. Good RV understanding and orientation really consists of a long series of do’s, don’ts, and things to watch out for. It’s these simple things that can determine how much satisfaction you get from RV ownership, or whether it’s a hassle and disappointment. Decide now to commit yourself to learning about your RV, taking ownership of it, and learning the details necessary to understand how your RV can give you years of enjoyment.
Have you ever looked at your dashboard or control panel and thought to yourself “What are all these buttons?!” Your coach is actually a quite complicated machine, a combination of simple and complicated systems you must learn to manage in order to enjoy it to its fullest potential. But if you take it a step at a time, you’ll soon find yourself very comfortable managing and using all the systems your coach has to offer. Many people aren’t familiar with engine/exhaust braking. And most people aren’t familiar with the many switches, fuses, breakers, diagnostic lights, or status indicators that are becoming standard on many coaches. These things can be overwhelming and intimidating but don’t worry, we’re here to help!
Many people think it’s just a house on wheels. It’s not. Things your coach can do that your house doesn’t do includes: bounce around, sway side to side, experience abrupt starts and stops, experience drastic swings in temperature and humidity, and continuously turn everything on and off all together. At home, you don’t have to turn on the toilet to use it, or turn off the air conditioner to make a bag of popcorn. Your fridge doesn’t spontaneously throw all the food out on the floor! This also means there is so much more to know. You will enjoy your RV only to the extent that you understand how to use it!
Among pilots, there is a saying that a good landing happens miles away from the airport. It has to do with how prepared the pilots are, and how they prepare the plane: their speed, angle, landing gear, systems setup, etc. RV’ing is very similar. Often the success of your vacation or trip is determined before you even leave the house! Your coach has similar needs to what the pilots do: checklists, preparation of systems and fluids, proper packing techniques and destination planning. All of these activities add up to a fun and successful trip!
RV’ing brings to light many new safety considerations in addition to the standard considerations you may face on a trip.
Safety is a major concern for coach owners. Coaches are taller, wider, heavier, and longer than what you may be used to. They start and stop slower and they have a high center of gravity which makes tipping over a real concern to be aware of. Tires are also extremely important. We often don’t worry about the tires on our cars, since a blowout means pulling over and changing the tire. In a motor coach, a blowout can be a life-threatening event if you don’t handle it properly. Safety is a matter or mindfulness and preparation, which is part of becoming an RV Master.
One of the first habits that a new coach owner needs to adopt is that of “preparation”. When a pilot is guiding an aircraft into a landing, they set up and perform procedures long before they land. They prepare and position the aircraft to be ready for the landing. It is said that a good landing starts “miles away from the airport”.
Enjoying your coach is much the same. The success and enjoyment of your trip can be made or broken before you even leave. Preparing the home portion is important, as is preparing the mechanical and various systems of the coach. If this preparation is overlooked, it increases the chance of a less-than-enjoyable trip or vacation.
Today’s coaches are generally reliable, but there is always the possibility of a highway or back-road breakdown. Even if you have roadside assistance, you are vulnerable as you sit on the side of the road or in the back country waiting for help. Always be sure to keep your doors locked and only open them after confirming who the guest is by looking out the passenger side window. Make sure you have pulled off the road as far as you can, but without endangering yourself further (i.e. on the side of a hill).
Your coach is a house on wheels and contains many things that are valuable to you. Thieves and others know this as well. Our coaches are often full of tools, toys, camping gear, fishing gear, guns, money, jewelry and other valuables. It is very important to always be thinking about safety and security when using your coach, no matter where you are.
SECURING AND STORAGE SAFETY
Unlocked bay doors and items we leave outside can be an invitation to thieves for a quick swipe. It’s easy to forget to lock the bay doors, and sometimes it’s just inconvenient. But thieves also know that there is often treasure in those bays, and keeping them unlocked could be a costly mistake – yes, even when you’re IN IT! And remember that when you’re out and about exploring local sights, keep things secured and locked up – bicycles, bbq grills, etc.
The point: Find the routines that give you protection and help you remember these things. Get into good habits about locking doors, cleaning up the campsite before you leave, etc. This is why we provide you many great checklists to make it easier to build this into your lifestyle.