Maintaining Your RV’s Roof

Out of sight, out of mind is not a cliche that should be applied to RV roofs. They should be cleaned several times per year, and inspected for any potential issues.

During cleaning, scrub your RV roof with a medium bristle brush, or any other brush recommended by the manufacturer. You can use a cleaning liquid while doing this, but be sure not to use cleaners made with petroleum solvents, abrasives, or citruses, as those will weaken the strength of the roof materials. 

After scrubbing, rinse the whole RV thoroughly, both roof and exterior walls. Any grime dripping off the roof will go down the exterior walls, and if not rinsed, will leave ugly stains. 

Inspecting the roof while cleaning is vital, and should be done thoroughly. Check all sealants and seams, skylights, vents, and roof rack for mold and cracks. Fix any rips or tears immediately, before they snowball into other problems. 

To passively protect your RV roof from weather damage, keep it away from weather, and avoid the sun! RV storage facilities are ideal for protection, but RV roof covers will separate the roof from the elements. Be sure to use a proper RV roof cover and not any other kind of tarp, which can reduce airflow and result in mold.

At Pete’s RV Center, we have all of your RV maintenance needs in mind. Visit us at petesrvcenter.com to find a location near you!

How to Check Your Travel Trailer for Maintenance

Whether in the middle of a camping season or after a long winter, inspecting your travel trailer for any maintenance needs is a vital component of keeping your RV healthy. Here’s a helpful checklist of what to look for when you’re checking out your RV.

  1. The Roof. Look for any holes or cracks where water could possibly enter the RV, damaged sealant, soft spots, damage to any solar panels, or mold. Just like a house, a damaged roof can bring down the whole RV. 
  2. Walls. Check the interior and exterior of all walls for cleanliness, holes or cracks, warping, which indicates water damage, sealant leaks around the windows, and soft spots.
  3. Tires. The date the tire was made is stamped on the tire, so inspect that and the general condition of the tires, which can erode if left uncovered. Look for uneven wear patterns between the different tires, which could indicate a bent axle. While you’re at it, check your axles for holes and rust. And don’t forget to inspect your spare tire!

  1. Underneath the Travel Trailer. Often overlooked by those unwilling to crawl under the RV, the undercarriage’s condition is fundamental to holding the RV together. Excessive rust, holes where animals could enter, dangling or disconnected wires, accident damage or a bent frame, or any visible holding tank issues are a few important things to look for. 
  2. Outside Connections. Power, cable, water, and sewer connections should all be routinely inspected, because you don’t want to go without any of them! Check if the water leaks out of the connection point, or leaks during water tank dumping. 
  3. Driving Components. Lights, brakes, turn signals, and the emergency disconnect switch should all be checked on to avoid hazardous driving. 
  4. Propane Tanks. The tanks collar will state the year they were manufactured, and propane tanks must be recertified once they are over 12 years old, and every 5 years after that. Make sure you don’t smell propane when the valves open, which indicates a leak in the connecting hose. Replace your tanks if they’re rusty or turning a dark color. 

For more RV maintenance tips and tricks, follow our Pete’s RV Center Info Blog today!

Tracking Your RV Maintenance

It’s relatively easy to know when your tires need changing and rusting needs a touch up, but how are you keeping track of all the routine maintenance that needs to be done on your RV? Not everyone can be an expert in keeping every little piece of your travel trailer or motorhome up to date, so there’s bound to be something you don’t know how to care for. As usual, there’s an app for that!

maintainmyrv.com is now a part of RV LIFE Pro Suite, which for $49.00 per year sets up a schedule customized for your RVs maintenance timeline based on schedules already recommended by RV manufacturers. You will get an email alert when it’s time to maintain a part or get service, and can track expenses, key dates and fuel consumption.

The best part? Tracking up to 3 vehicles means you can also keep up with the car or truck that’s towing your RV, ensuring smooth sailing on camping trips. Give it a try, they offer a 7-day free trial!

If you want to take care of your RV without outside help, there are a few common fixes you may want to get a jump on. Inspecting the unit’s roof and seams to look for any leaks or holes is important to reduce leaks, so don’t forget to check those skylights!

Checking your tire pressure should be done before every camping trip, just as you’ll need to check your car or truck’s pressure if you’re towing a travel trailer. It’s also a good idea to check on the battery life and waste systems before each trip, as either of those acting up could make camping very unpleasant.

Each spring, check on your RVs brakes and slide outs, pursuing professional service if necessary. This is also a good time for an oil change and possible air conditioner filter replacement. Putting each of these critical RV maintenance items into your calendar now will help you preserve your RV’s value and avoid a disaster situation at the campground or on the road.

For more RV maintenance tips and tricks, check out our Pete’s RV Center YouTube channel which includes a playlist of your most common camping questions.

How to Clean Your RVs Holding Tanks Sensors

How to Clean Your RVs Holding Tanks Sensors
Wednesday, November, 26th 2014 15:26:23

Resident RV Expert Randy Murray discusses a multitude of ways to clean your gray/black water holding tank sensors, clearing all inaccurate monitor panel readings from your camper on the†Pete’s RV YouTube Channel.

Sometimes you may get a full tank reading on the monitor panel inside your camper even after youve dumped your gray and black tanks. Randy notes that this is generally caused by a buildup of waste materials or anything that might have made its way down the toilet. These items can block the sensors preventing the correct readout.

Randy provides a few preemptive approaches to make sure you won’t have to deal with that faulty reading. The first is making sure before you flush that you add extra water so the toilet paper (making sure you use RV toilet paper) won’t clump up or dry out to the inside of the tank walls, the next is making sure the tanks are as full as possible (making sure not to overfill) before they are dumped. Randy suggests the use of a tank flush chock to assist in filling your holding tank before it’s dumped.

The good news is that there are other tools for when all else fails. The first one Randy recommends is what’s called an RV swivel stick, which he explains attaches to a hose and sprays around water at a high velocity to break down any tank buildup. †Depending on whether you own a travel trailer or fifth wheel, a longer flexible version is available for the harder to reach holding tanks. Lastly, filling up a 5-gallon bucket with hot water and pouring it down the toilet should help alleviate the issue by steaming away the blockage from the sensors.

Pete’s RV Center is an extraordinary recreational vehicle dealer with locations in South Burlington, VT, Schererville, IN and South Windsor, CT. An RV sales and service provider since 1952, Pete’s RV Center carries an extensive inventory of Keystone, Crossroads, Coachman, Heartland, Evergreen and Forest River RV-branded campers.

To learn more from Randy as well as stay up to date on all things Pete’s RV be sure to visit and subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

How to Prevent Damage to Your Camper’s Water Heater

How to Prevent Damage to Your Camper’s Water Heater
Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 18:00:03

PetesRV.com Resident RV Expert Randy Murray brings attention to a common mistake made by turning on the hot water heater and how to prevent any damage from occurring.

When it comes to using the hot water heater in your camper, it’s crucial to make sure that there is actually water in the tank. Randy stresses that no water in the tank results in a burned out electric element–rendering the hot water heater useless.

Randy demonstrates an insanely simple way to prevent the element from getting damaged. Every hot water heater is equipped with a pressure relief valve. It functions to protect the water heater from building up to much pressure. If it does, water is released from the valve. A quick press on the spring-loaded valve handle will tell you immediately whether or not there is water in the tank. If there is, you are good to fire up the water heater. If not, check hookups and bypass valves to ensure water flowing to the tank.

Learn more tips and service advice from Randy as well as much more on the Pete’s RV YouTube Channel.

Setting Up Dual 12 Volt Camper Batteries

Setting Up Dual 12 Volt Camper Batteries
Monday May 19th, 2014 19:02:48

Resident RV Expert Randy Murray displays how to properly connect two 12 volt batteries in parallel for extended dry camping power.† Rather than a single battery connection where you will be required to replace it with a fresh battery, a dual connection alleviates this procedure and provide more even use of battery life.

By connecting the campers positive wire to the positive terminal on one battery and connecting the campers ground wire to the negative terminal on the second battery, Randy illustrates the correct way to achieve equal battery drain and how to ensure top notch battery life.

With the use of jumper wires (one for both positive and negative as Randy explains) that are equal or greater to the gauge of wire found on your camper, connect each line to the corresponding positive and negative battery to complete the connection and enjoy some extended dry camping.

Make sure to subscribe to the Pete’s RV YouTube channel for more quick tips and information on sales and other events!

Determining a Camper’s Insulation R-Value

Determining a Camper’s Insulation R-Value
Tuesday, December 3rd 2013 21:10:37

RV Lifestyle Consultant Randy Murray unfolds the mystery of the R-Value in relation to how well a camper is insulated on the Pete’s RV YouTube Channel.

When shopping for a new camper, the salesperson will usually sling around R-Values like they’re the next best thing since the black tank flush. The only problem is that these values hold little meaning to you other than the bigger the number the better the insulation.

R-Value is a measurement of thermal resistance. There is a scale and calculations surrounding R-Value, but as Randy points out, you can take a much less technical approach to determine how well an RV is insulated:

1. Look for visible proof of sound insulation construction practices such as a sealed underbelly, finished storage compartments, and the use thermal foil beneath the carpet in slideouts.

2. Request a breakaway view of the RV you are shopping. This allows you to see where and what type of insulating materials are used throughout the coach. Quite a few manufacturers provide breakaway views in their brochures and promotional materials. A salesperson that is on the ball can get you this information plus be at your service to point out all of the insulation features found in any camper that is on your buying radar.

3. Hints of a good R-Value is a camper with a published temperature rating. Nowadays, most campers come with a thermal package (i.e. “Arctic Package”). Manufacturers relate these packages with a degree rating (some are even third-party certified). Note here that while manufacturers push how well these coaches perform in cold weather, it is also a good indicator that they are equally effective keeping interiors cool in hot weather.

Per Randy’s mention on how helpful it is to see a breakaway view of an RV to determine who well it is insulated, Pete’s RV makes current year brochures available on our website for all of the brands we carry as well as owner’s manuals.

Basic parts and accessories to help improve your RV’s insulating performance in hot and cold weather are available in-store and online at Pete’s RV. You’ll find items such as joint sealants, hot water heater blankets, and window shades.

Video Transcript | How  Do I Determine a Camper’s Insulation R-Value?

 

Randy: Hey guys Randy with Petes RV TV here today, another quick tip segment for you. Today Im going to talk about R-values and what they do for your camper and pretty much what they are. So an R-value is a way we measure our insulation value in the unit. You know R-value is a measurement of thermal resistance so how quickly heat passes through whatever we are trying to block it with pretty much. So in the RV world our values are often exploded, so they, they say that they are a lot better than they actually are.

 

So a really great thing to do if you want to educate yourself best on the product that you are purchasing is ask to see a breakdown of the unit. See where the insulation is in the unit. Some of our manufactures will supply us with things like this. This is actually a floor for a big horn this is a laminated floor, and this is a very well insulated floor. This is the roof of the same big horn unit; its a laminated roof.

 

Its going to take a while for heat to pass through that so this has got a pretty good R-value in it. Also in the RV world we are passing were adding things like this here foil wrap here to a floor, under a floor, which also creates some thermal protection for us as well. And that will add and stack a little bit of an R-value.

 

When we get in to our less expensive units our aluminum sided campers and things like that, they are going to have a little less R-value in it than we are going to see on say like a fiberglass sided camper just because of the insulation they are using, the thickness of the walls. A little bit less expensive unit were apt to see a little less insulation. Insulation is a little bit expensive. So another great way that you can find out how well a unit is insulated is some manufactures will put a degree rating on the unit.

You know, everybody will say oh my walls are a R11 and my floors are R27, what have you. What is that camper good down to? What has it been tested at? Not everybody does this but some of the big manufactures will do this when you look at like some of the Cougars. Theyre tested down to 20 degrees and some of these guys are even going a little bit further than [02:00] that when we get up into the Montanas and the big horns.

 

Were seeing a zero degree rated unit with the furnace on, so grab a brochure or go to a website or go to our website, petesrv.com. Weve got all our product on there with brochures and pdfs so you can see the breakdowns. On this Cougar here, if Josh will pan in on it, we can see that they have showed us how they have put the insulation in the roof and into the floor systems and things like that.

 

That way we can see what kind of insulation we are getting in the rig, if its going to work in our particular application. People are using these a lot further in the fall now, A lot earlier in the spring. Camp grounds are opening up a little bit more so here is another great example. Bullet from Keystones has actually done a great breakdown and shows us how they insulate their walls and their floors systems. So educate yourself on what you are getting and if its an important thing for you make sure that you know what you are talking about and your sales guy knows what you are talking about.

 

If you have any questions you can always give us a call. Wed be happy to educate you on it and talk about those degree ratings and how you are going to be using the unit, and if its not the perfect insulated unit for you, how you can achieve to use it in the circumstance that you want to use it and if youre going to be trying to use it in a little colder weather as well.

 

Another thing that people dont think about with R-values too is warm weather. When we have an air conditioner on inside and its really hot outside the R-values are going to help keep us cool as well. So if youre in a climate that has a little bit warmer and your down in the southwest or something like that, where we see lot longer heat days for more portion of the summer the R-values are going to be very important for you as well, too.

 

So make sure you know about R-values, make sure you know what you are getting, if you have any questions at all feel free to contact us. Check out the information. We try to provide as much as we can for you on our web site, also on our Facebook page as well.

So there it is in a nut shell, R-values. Thanks for watching Petes RV with Randy today.

RV Winterization To Do List

RV Winterization To Do List
Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 20:37:56

RV Lifestyle Consultant Randy Murray neatly ties together his series of winterization videos with a short introduction on preparing your camper for cold weather storage.

The primary areas he touches on:

1. Water System – Use non-toxic anti-freeze
2. Spot Sealing – Inspect and treat all exterior joints and seams
3. Awning – Clean and dry before storing
4. Battery – Disconnect and store indoors
5. Tires – Inspect, clean, torque lug nuts, and using tire covers a sound decision
6. Refrigerator – Clean with disinfectant and prop door open during storage
7. Rodent Control – Inspect for openings and treat with dauber screens & Mouse Free
8. RV Cover – Regular tarps do not breathe or provide a snug fit.

Related videos for all of the above can be found on the extremely educational Pete’s RV YouTube Channel’s RV Service Tips playlist.

Please remember that Randy’s demonstrations cover general RV winterization tasks. All campers come equipped differently, so be sure to consult with your owner’s manual.

The winterizing parts and accessories recommended in this and related videos are on sale at the Pete’s RV Parts & Accessories Store.

Mouse & Rodent-Proofing Your Camper

Mouse & Rodent-Proofing Your Camper
Friday, March 1st, 2013 20:03:07

Service Writer and resident RV expert Randy Murray educates viewers on an effective solution for keeping mice and rodents out of your camper or motorhome. Setting traps and scattering dryer sheets when not in use does not prevent these critters from getting into the coach.

While making their way into an RV, mice and rodents can create thousands of dollars in damage to wiring, tubing, and other vulnerable materials found in the undercarriage and sidewalls.

Mouse-Free-1-Gallon-RV-Mouse-Repelling-Undercarriage-Lubricant-With-Spray-Gun-repellent-mice-rodents-trailer-boat-USAMouse Free is a non-toxic formula that stops the entry of mice into your RV. It keeps them and other pests from entering through the small holes and cavities on the underside of your motorhome or trailer.

As Randy explains, Mouse Free contains natural oils like peppermint that acts as a repellent to rodents’ keen sense of smell (and primary means of navigation). These fragrances are much stronger and retain their potency longer than dryer sheets or balsam repellents.

Mouse Free is available at  the Pete’s RV Parts and Accessories Store at all locations and online.

The makers of Mouse Free recommend it be applied annually with a compression sprayer. One gallon of Mouse Free treats up to a 24 foot RV. If you prefer not to go the do-it-yourself route, an authorized dealer such as Pete’s RV offers an affordable application service that can be performed during winterization or regular maintenance visits

Selecting the Right Generator for Your Camper

Selecting the Right Generator for Your Camper
Thursday August 9th, 2012 20:56:09

Service Writer and resident RV expert Randy Murray provides a “Eureka!” moment for those unfamiliar on how to pair up the right-sized generator with their RV.

Through his explanation of “Watts Law” (P [watts] = I [amps] x E [volts]) and breaking down the power requirements to run appliances such as the television, microwave, air conditioner and/or hot water heater, you immediately gain a better understanding on what you need to shop for in a generator.† This enlightenment empowers you to select a generator–most importantly–based on power output rather than features, price, or worse yet, guessing!

View this video on our YouTube channel.

Here are a few key takeaways from Randy’s demonstration:

  • Consider how you will balance the use of the generator with propane for a dual-powered refrigerator and/or hot water heater
  • If you are running the generator through the power convertor, know that a portion of the wattage output will be dedicated to recharging the RV battery
  • If you want to power your appliances and run the A/C for long periods of time, plan on buying a generator with high-wattage output
  • Investigate features, making sure they meet your needs–especially the starter (EZ-pull, electric, chokeless, etc.)
  • Cheaper is not better! Shop for a generator based on ease-of-use, durability and reliability

Generators and hundreds of electrical parts and accessories like the examples shown below are available at the Pete’s RV Parts Store.

Mercedes-Benz-Winnebago-Itasca-Reyo-25T-RV-generator

Feel free to contact Pete’s RV with further questions regarding camper generator selection and best use practices.

Pete’s RV Center is an exceptional dealership group serving the United States and Canada since 1952. With multiple locations, Pete’s RV provides sales, service, parts, accessories, and education to our community of RVers all across North America.