General RV Operation
Everything on board an RV depends on battery power. Management of this resource is key to success in an RV, here are some tips that will help you along your way.
Motorized RV’s are equipped with two sets of batteries:
- Engine Batteries (supply power to engine starting and cab functions)
- Coach Batteries (supply power to the rest of the RV: lights, water pump, furnace etc..)
If your batteries are low, you will need to charge them. Here’s how:
- Generator:Engine and Coach batteries charge while the generator is running. The generator uses the Coach batteries to start. If the Coach batteries are too low to start the generator, you can use the “aux start” switch located at the dashboard to “jumpstart” the generator from the Engine batteries.
- Main Engine:Engine and Coach batteries charge while the main engine is running. The main engine uses the Engine batteries to start. If the Engine batteries are too low to start the engine, you can use the “aux start” switch located at the dashboard to “jumpstart” the engine from the Coach batteries.
- Shore Power:When the RV is plugged into an outside power source at a campground, house etc…the Engine and Coach batteries charge. Refer to orientation for utility hookups.
In general, it is best to charge batteries a minimum of two hours per day using generator or shore power methods to maintain performance during your RV stay. This time may be adjusted according to demand and outside weather conditions (cold weather is more demanding than warm weather). Do not use an external battery charger.
If the RV is equipped with a power inverter, specific power outlets and appliances such as TV’s, DVD players etc..will be active while the inverter is switched on. The power inverter consumes Coach battery power to provide 110V power supply without the need for generator or shore power.
- Fresh Water:Fresh water is supplied to faucets and toilets using the water pump. The water pump switch must be in the “on” position and adequate fresh water supply must be available in the fresh water tank. If the RV is correctly hooked up to an external pressurized fresh water supply, the water pump is not needed. To avoid frequent fresh water tank refilling, minimize wasteful water usage. Refer to orientation for utility hookups.
- Gray Water:Gray water is waste water collected through the drains of sinks and showers. The gray water tank must be emptied properly for continued water usage and to avoid odors. Refer to orientation for utility hookups.
- Black Water:Black water is waste water sewage collected from the toilet. The black water tank must be emptied properly for continued toilet usage and to avoid odors. Refer to orientation for utility hookups.
Frequently Asked Questions On RV Operation:
Which appliances require generator usage?
- Air Conditioners
Can the generator run while the vehicle is in motion?
Do I need to run the generator if the RV is plugged into shore power?
Which appliances run off of Coach batteries?
- DVD Player
- Water Pump
- Slide Outs (MUST remain retracted while vehicle is in motion)
- All other 12 Volt Accessories
How does the refrigerator work?
The refrigerator can operate while the vehicle is in motion. RV refrigerators require Coach battery power. To cool, the refrigerator will use propane unless 110V power is available from the generator or shower power. The refrigerator will switch back and forth between propane and power sources automatically. RV refrigerators take longer to cool than home units. Avoid frequent or prolonged refrigerator door opening and/or loading the fridge with warm food to maximize performance. From ambient, an RV fridge may take 12-24 hours to reach cold temperature. If the “check” light is lit or flashing, turn the fridge off, check propane and battery supply, turn the fridge back on.
How does the furnace work?
The furnace can operate while the vehicle is in motion. The heating furnace uses a thermostat for operation and requires Coach battery and propane to heat the RV. If the furnace is blowing cold air after being on for at least 10 minutes, shut the furnace off and check propane and battery supply. If good, after 10 minutes turn the furnace back on to desired temperature.
How does the water heater work?
The water heater uses propane to heat a small tank of water. After the water heater is switched on, it may take 20-30 minutes before water is hot. The water heater off/on switch is accompanied by an “ignition failure” lamp. If the lamp is lit for more than ten seconds after the water heater is switched on, the water heater needs to be reset. Turn the off/on switch to the off position and wait for 2 minutes before turning the water heater back on.
Why won’t the slideouts extend or retract?
Ignition key to be in the on position and the parking brake to be set in order to operate slideouts.
The generator is running, why don’t I have power at the outlets, microwave or air conditioners?
After starting the generator, power will become available after 30 seconds of warm-up time. If power is not available while the generator is running after the warm-up period, check the circuit breakers located below the microwave. Also the shore power cord is required to be plugged into the generator outlet located in the shore power cord storage compartment.
For Emergencies, dial 911. Non-Emergency Technical Support: Call or Text (623) 980-3495.
It is illegal and extremely dangerous to leave the driver’s seat while the vehicle is in motion and/or using cruise control function. Obey all applicable laws including traffic, restraint, speed limit, parking, use and driving laws.
Should I Ride the Brakes when descending downhill?
When descending a hill, if shifting out of Overdrive still causes your RV to pick up too much speed, hit the brakes and slow down until you are safely able to shift down into Second gear without over-revving the engine. If the rig still picks up too much speed, hit the brakes again and really slow down, so that you can safely shift into First gear. (For our particular RV, safely shift down into Second gear when going less than 50 mph, but slow down to almost 25 mph before safely shifting into First gear—otherwise the engine will scream in agony of being over-revved.
Another important rule to remember descending mountain grades is to not ride your brakes to keep a constant speed. Riding your brakes will cause them to get hot and eventually fade—leaving you with little or no braking power when you need it the most.
TIP: Learn a trick from experienced truckers. When you need to slow down on a long grade, step firmly on the brakes and slow down about five miles per hour or so, and then get off your brakes—let ‘em cool down. When your speed gradually picks up again, step firmly on the brakes again to slow down and then get off of them. If you are doing this every half minute or so, then you are driving in too high a gear and should slow down and shift down.
How much space should I leave in Front of me when driving?
When driving an RV, please get in the habit of leaving alot more space in front of you than you think is necessary. Remember that an RV cannot stop nearly as rapidly as your car.
Watch Out For “Attack” Trees. When driving down city streets or country lanes, watch out for “attack trees.” Attack trees are those with low hanging branches that are closer to the ground than the height of the RV—and don’t forget the air conditioners on the roof.
This same advice holds true for many of the older gas stations that have low overhangs or roofs. If in doubt, have your co-pilot get out and check to be sure that you won’t wipe out the roof of your rig or the florescent lights in the gas station overhang. After some experience on the road, you will soon be able to tell, right from the driver’s seat, whether the overhang is too low for your rig to safely clear it.
Be Alert When Trucks Pass You. One of the “facts of life” to RVers is getting passed on the highway by 18-wheelers usually going much faster that your RV is moving. When you see a large truck coming up behind you, be sure that you have both hands on the steering wheel.
As the truck is almost even with the rear end of your rig, you will feel a fairly strong push toward the shoulder of the road. The wind wake of the 18-wheeler is trying to push you off the road, so you need to compensate by steering slightly in the direction of the truck—to counteract his wind wake. Then, as the truck finally passes the front of your rig, you will feel a pull in the opposite direction. The vortex behind the 18-wheeler will suck you over toward the truck, so you need to compensate by steering slightly away from the truck.
Always be alert and have two hands of the wheel when you are about to be passed by an 18-wheeler. Sometimes you will be quite surprised by the amount of counter-steering that you have to do to stay in the center of your traffic lane.
City Freeway Driving. For those of you used to the country life and not too much traffic, driving through a metropolitan city on congested freeways can be a harrowing experience. However, if you are aware of some simple techniques, you can survive megalopolis.
Because of heavy congestion, slow-moving traffic, and usually unfamiliar roads, interchanges and on-ramps, you are advised to always try to avoid driving through large cities during rush hours—either morning or evening. In some areas, the rush hour can last more than two hours, so just pulling over and waiting can seem an interminably long time.
Be very aware that most city folks are in a big hurry to get wherever they are going, and, in their minds, a big lumbering motorhome should never be slowing their progress. City folks also don’t know what it means to leave a safe stopping distance between them and the car in front of them.
You need to be constantly on the alert for cars suddenly darting in front of you and then slamming on their brakes. If you leave a safe stopping distance between you and the car in front of you, be prepared for two and possibly three cars to cut into your safe space. There is not much that you can do, except slow down some more and still leave yourself some stopping space.
Be very aware, also, that freeway traffic can suddenly come to a stop. You are advised to keep a sharp lookout several cars in front of you and watch for a sudden burst of brake lights. Also be aware that freeway stopping can be very sudden—don’t expect traffic to gradually come to a stop.
As you are passing on-ramps, be on the alert for cars suddenly zooming up the ramp and darting in front of you. And the same goes for cars that suddenly change lanes, jump in front of you, and then zip down the off-ramp. City drivers always have the me-first syndrome, especially when they see a large truck or motorhome.
Most large city freeway systems have more than two lanes going in the same direction. When that is the case, you are advised to move over and travel in the. middle or second lane from the right. By staying in this lane, you are less impacted by the drivers that are scurrying to get on or off the freeway. Never travel in the fast lane, especially if there are only two traffic lanes in your direction of travel.
The most difficult part of city freeway driving, especially in rush-hour traffic is trying to change lanes. Hopefully your co-pilot can give you adequate warning, maybe even a couple of miles ahead, that you need to be in a different lane. Even with your turn signals flashing your intention, very few of the local drivers will give you the courtesy of falling back and giving you the room needed to change lanes. If you are fortunate to be just in front of a trucker, most of the time he will fall back and give you the room to change lanes. But sometimes, you will not be able to get over into the other lane. Just keep trying, and you can always reverse direction and come back to the exit that you missed.
Be very aware, though, that trying to “play chicken” with your motorhome and toad against a seasoned freeway commuter will almost always result in you losing. Some freeway maniacs can be forced onto the shoulder and they still will not yield the right-of-way. Just be patient, and be thankful when you finally get out of the mess.
Loss of Lane (i.e, three lanes to two lanes). In many metropolitan areas, the number of traffic lanes often changes—usually to a smaller number. The most common lane reductions are 3-to-2 or 2-to-1. In an RV, you can easily see the warning signs (unless you are right behind an 18-wheeler) in plenty of time to plan your lane change. However, the smaller vehicles following behind you won’t see the lane reduction sign until they are almost past it.
Don’t do the typical mindless driver stunt and simply start to move over when you run out of lane. Most drivers in the lane to your left won’t be paying any attention to the loss of your lane. However, when you suddenly start moving over into the next lane, an ugly situation might easily develop that involves both you and another driver.
Look and think ahead—and use your turn signals plenty early. Most metropolitan commuters are going to ignore your turn signals and speed up to try and get in front of you. However, your turn signals are telling drivers in two lanes (behind you and to your left) that you intend to merge to the left. But, don’t wait until the last minute (when you have run out of space in front of you) to start merging.
Watch your side mirror, backup camera and try to anticipate a small break in traffic (but, during commute hours there won’t be any break). Some drivers will courteously slow down to allow you into the lext lane, but sometimes you have to think like a long-haul trucker and start slowly merging even if there is no traffic break. Your RV is bigger, wider, and heavier than most other vehicles, and eventually even a seasoned commuter is going to let you into the next lane.
The important thing to remember is to use your turn signals early—and not wait until the last minute. Let the other drivers around you know what you intend to do (before you do it).
Use Hazard Flashers as a Warning Signal. Sitting in your RV, you usually have a good vantage point for seeing the road ahead (unless you are right behind an 18-wheeler). Sometimes traffic flow changes very suddenly, and you see a sea of brake lights coming on in front of you—and you realize that the traffic ahead is either slowing rapidly or maybe even coming to a sudden stop. You can see the situation developing ahead of you, but the drivers behind you only see the rear of your RV.
When you see an unexpected rapid slowing or stopping of traffic ahead, turn on your hazard flashers as a sign to those drivers behind you that something is going on. Most drivers will react to seeing your hazard flashers by slowing down—just what you want them to do. After several cars behind you have slowed down or stopped, then turn off your hazard flashers (they did the job—as long as some inattentive idiot didn’t rear end you—which, unfortunately has happened to us).
If you are involved in stop-and-go commute traffic, don’t use your hazard flashers. But, if you are traveling down the road at a good clip and see an unexpected sudden slowing or stopping of traffic, then use your hazard flashers until the vehicles behind you have also slowed down or stopped.
Understanding Our Fees:
Reservation Deposit: is due at time of booking and is non-refundable. You are welcome to change your dates with in the current calendar year as long as you give notice more than 7 days prior to your departure.
Remaining Balance: is due at time of pick up.
Refundable Security Deposit: is due at the time of pick up. This is refundable within 5 business days(Mon-Fri) as long as the RV is returned reasonably clean, full of fuel, full of propane, and damage free.
Cleaning Fee: There is a $150 cleaning fee unless RV is brought back clean.
Taxes: 8.1% of reservation total and a 5% DMV-Rental Vehicle Surcharge-Tax
- You may provide your own insurance binder (must be pre-approved), and you are responsible for the deductible on your binder.
- or you may purchase an MBA Choice insurance policy through us, which costs between $19 and $28 per day, this policy comes with a $1000 deductible per occurrence. This means per incident so if you damage the RV twice in one trip and have purchased an MBA Choice insurance policy you will be charged 2 deductibles, one for each occurrence.
- Returning The RV:
- Early Returns:We do not offer refunds on early returns.
- Refuel Convenience Fee:A $50 convenience fee plus fuel and/or propane cost is charged if the RV is not returned full of fuel & propane. This will still be incurred even if it is only a few gallons low because it takes us time and labor to refill it for the next customer.
- An example of this fee being incurred while the renter tried to comply is if the renter refilled the RV 25 miles down the road and drove back to drop off the RV, this RV would then be 2-3 gallons low on fuel, which we would then have to fill up for the next customer, thereby incurring the convenience charge on the renter.
- Labor for Damages:charged at $85 per hour.
- Damaged or Missing RV Parts:charged for parts cost and freight plus our standard labor rate to install them.
Before you return an RV it is your responsibility to make sure a few basic items are taken care of:
- Pickup any trash, remove personal effects, and cleaned any major messes
- You’ve filled the fuel & propane tank (There is a $50 convenience filling fee plus fuel cost if we have to fill them for you)
- You’ve dumped the Gray and Black Tanks: recommended dumping tanks before driving to eliminate unwanted odors that may occur while driving
- You’ve made a thorough inspection of the RV and have listed any damage that’s happened throughout the rental period on the sheet provided
- You’ve listed any problems or challenges you’ve encountered
- You’ve left the folder containing the registration and insurance information in the RV.
- You’ve appropriately parked the RV, locked the doors and left the keys either with an authorized RV Family Adventure personnel.