A man with his face in his hands kneels down outside out of frustration.

Why Do RVs Have So Many Problems?

No matter how many pretty pennies you spend on your RV, you’ll eventually have a problem. Every time you drive or tow your RV down the highway, it’s like your RV experiences a rather large earthquake.

It may not happen on your first or second trip, but the more you use your RV, the more likely you will experience an issue. Some issues will be larger than others, but you’re not doing your RV any favors by ignoring them.

Today, we’re looking at why RVs have so many problems. Let’s get started!

A man with his face in his hands kneels down outside out of frustration.

Are RVs High Maintenance?

While RVing can be a great way to relax and spend time with your family, an RV can be high maintenance. Part of owning one is taking care of it and keeping it in good working order. If not, you may be in for a surprise the next time you use it.

Keeping up on the maintenance of your RV requires you to inspect practically every inch of it regularly. Roof sealant helps keep moisture from penetrating your RV around vents and the edges of your roof. Your RV’s warranty may require that you climb on top of your rig, inspect it, and make any needed repairs to prevent voiding your warranty.

RV manufacturers typically include the recommended maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual. Some maintenance tasks are relatively simple, and any RV owner can complete them.

However, you might want to leave more complex maintenance tasks to professionals. If you don’t have the tools or knowledge, pay someone that does.

HOT TIP
Spring has sprung! Use our RV maintenance checklist to get your rig in tiptop shape for the new season 🌸

What Are the Most Common Problems With RVs?

No matter what type of RV you use, there are a few common problems across all makes and manufacturers. These common RV problems can quickly derail your RVing adventures and damage your bank account.

Leaky Roofs

An RV manufacturer will need to cut holes in the roof during the manufacturing process. This helps them secure air conditioners, run vent pipes, and install skylights.

The roof sealant creates a water-tight seal to keep the weather elements outside your rig. However, this rubber compound can age rapidly, especially when subjected to extreme heat from the sun in the summer. As the seals in your RV age, they’ll begin to crack and peel away.

It may surprise you how easily water can find its way through even the smallest cracks in your roof sealant. Many new RVs come with roof warranties; however, manufacturers will regularly require you to inspect your seals.

RV leaks can cause extensive damage. Not having proof that you’ve maintained your seals according to the recommended schedule will likely result in your warranty claim getting denied. You’ll be left to foot the bill for all the damages and repairs.

Electrical Problems

One of the scariest problems you can have in an RV is an electrical problem. Many RVers put their wiring to the test by overloading it.

Power-hungry appliances like pressure cookers, coffee makers, and electric heaters are often to blame. These devices require tremendous power and can cause faulty wiring to reveal itself.

Wiring connections in an RV can come loose as you use it. It can take a tremendous amount of abuse from bumps and potholes in the road. The older your RV, the more you want to watch for any signs of electrical problems.

Traveling down the road in your RV can loosen wiring connections over time.

These electrical problems can be very dangerous. If you can look behind some of the walls in your RV, you’ll likely find loads of wiring coming and going in various directions.

To keep the weight down when making an RV, manufacturers typically use a generous amount of wood for the structure. If an electrical fire were to break out in your rig, the entire RV could burn to the ground in minutes. Make sure you have working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers at all times.

Slide Out Issues

Some RVs have slide-outs that can significantly increase the amount of usable space inside the rig. However, these slideouts often use mechanisms that you must maintain regularly.

The various parts often work together to open and close the slides. Keeping these parts lubricated can help ensure they open and close smoothly.

It can be frustrating when you’re packing up to leave a campsite but can’t close one of your slides. It can be even more frustrating if your issue arises on a Sunday when most RV customer service will likely not be available. You want to do your very best to regularly clean and spray the appropriate lubricant on the moving parts of your slide-outs.

Why Are RVs So Poorly Made?

For decades RVers have complained about poor craftsmanship from manufacturers. The goal for RV manufacturers is to create cheap and lightweight RVs.

Some manufacturers that charge a premium price will use premium materials and take more time. However, no RV is perfect, and you can find unhappy RVers from just about every manufacturer.

Most RV manufacturers use factories with an assembly line. This means workers have a specific job that they repeatedly do throughout the day.

However, workers often have very little time to complete their tasks before moving on to the next rig. While most manufacturers do a multi-point inspection before the rig rolls out of the factory, things often get missed. Some problems may not show up until you take the rig out for the first few times.

How Do You Maintain an RV?

Maintaining an RV will require you to get very familiar with it, practically looking over every inch. This will help you spot any changes that could result from potential problems.

You’ll need to have a way to easily access the roof to inspect your seals and look for any signs of roof damage. A low-hanging branch may have damaged your roof. Rips and tears can allow water to penetrate inside of your rig and result in costly damage.

Maintaining an RV requires you to use almost all of your senses. You’ll likely find yourself looking, listening, smelling, and touching things to keep your RV running in tip-top shape.

The more you get to know your rig, the easier it can be to spot when something isn’t quite right with it.

Keeping up with maintenance on your RV can help you avoid critical damage.

What Is Routine Maintenance on an RV?

Routine maintenance on RVs will vary depending on the RV and how you’re using it. You’ll want to check your owner’s manual for the recommended maintenance schedule for your specific RV. The manufacturer will likely even provide tips and how-to instructions for maintaining your RV.

Depending on where your RV spends winter, you may need to winterize your RV at the end of each camping season. This is essential for any RV that will spend winter in a location that experiences freezing temperatures.

Water in your RV lines can expand and cause cracks in your water lines and fittings. If you don’t properly winterize your RV, you might be in for a surprise when you use your water system for the first time in the spring.

Are RVs a Waste of Money?

Like any vehicle or home, you’ll have to repair or fix something eventually. Some RV owners have tremendously good luck and never experience any major issues with their rig. Spending money maintaining and repairing your RV is a small price for the priceless memories you can make in it.

When you look back on your camping trips, you’ll remember the fireside chats and adventures. You may remember when you experienced a flat tire or other RV problems, but the money you had to spend will be an afterthought.

What’s the most significant RV problem you’ve experienced during your adventures?

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