Top 7 Tragic Rookie RV mistakes to Avoid

12:30:00 PM La Mesa RV 9 Comments

Top 7 Tragic Rookie RV Mistakes to Avoid
You’re out on the road in your RV for the first time and you commit that huge mistake that tells the world you’re an RV newcomer. It’s embarrassing, and maybe there’s a mess to clean up, but it wouldn’t have been so bad if there weren’t witnesses to see your mistake.
Everyone makes rookie RV mistakes, but you can avoid the worst ones if you do your homework ahead of time. Here are the most common mistakes new RVers make—and how to avoid them!
1) Drive-off Disasters
The most horrifying mistake a new RVer can make is driving off while you’re still connected to water, sewer, or power. The damage is expensive, and it’s extremely embarrassing. Also make sure you take down the TV antenna, pull in the slides and awnings, and pick up the wheel chocks before you leave! provides a great checklist here:
Pulling away from an RV Dump Station is a common one
2) Getting ahead of Using Your RV Before Learning How
It’s Sunday or Monday morning and you’ve had an awesome camp experience in your RV. Before you leave the campground, you make a quick pit stop at the dumping station…only to realize you have no idea what to do. As you search through the manual, you realize you’ve got a line of vehicles behind you waiting to dump.
There are a lot of new procedures you’ll need to learn—from simple things to more complex items like using the correct power switches and operating controls you’re not familiar with.
Knowing Your barriers are important. Being aware of distance can prevent incidents like this from happening
Before you leave home, read through your operator’s manual and step through a practice run of the big procedures, like leveling, dumping, and extending slideouts. 
3) Not Knowing the Size of Your RV
First time RVers can have a hard time learning how large their RV is. Usually, parking and cornering are the toughest tasks, but this happens too, sometimes. Make sure you know how tall and wide you are, whether you’re driving or parking. We recommend using a spotter every time you park.
4) Fridge on the Fritz
Your refrigerator is a big deal, and a nasty surprise in the fridge can ruin your trip. Here are a few things to remember:
·         Your refrigerator can get fried. Make sure you’re level or the chemical coolants in your fridge won’t circulate. Not only will your food spoil, your refrigerator could catch fire.
·         Clean out your refrigerator between trips. This sounds obvious, but we’ve heard many stories of campers who were positive they cleaned out their fridge, only to find out later that there was a bag of food tucked in a pocket in the door.
Pro tip: After cleaning it out, prop the fridge door open to prevent mold and mildew—just in case!
·         Pack enough food. It’s easy to underestimate how much food you’ll need for your trip. And once you’re settled in at camp, the last thing you want to do is disconnect, pull up the anchor, and drive into town for a couple days’ worth of food.
Knowing your size gives you an opportunity to plan effectively
5) No Plan No Prep
Many new RVers make their first mistakes before they even hit the road. The key to success is in the planning. For a smooth, worry-free trip, make sure you consider all of these things:
·         Your budget. Set aside more money than you think you’ll need—especially for food, fuel and camping fees. Also, be sure to set aside enough money specifically for an emergency.
·         Your route. Avoid narrow roads, roads with sharp turns, and highways with low bridges. There are apps for this or use an atlas.
·         Your reservations. Many an RVer has been denied entrance to a campground because they didn’t have a reservation. Popular camps fill up quickly and RV sites are limited.
·         Your necessities. RVs are tiny places, making it easy to overpack. Make sure you only bring what you need.
Prepping is key because there may not always be a store where you are staying
6) Not Doing a Walkaround?

There are many things that must be done when breaking camp with your trailer or RV. Often, a checklist is followed to assure that each item has been readied and checked before hitting the road.

General, the last item to be completed is a full walk around. This involves the driver walking entirely around the vehicle and checking everything, verifying that all slides and awnings ar retracted and locked, jacks are up, all appendages are disconnected from the services and stored, the hitch is secure, tires are fully inflated and not damaged, windows and vents are closed, antennas are all down, and no kids, items, or other obstructions lie under the vehicle. The ground should be checked to make sure no fluids are leaking.
7) Not Using a Checklist!
Every one of these newbie RV mistakes can be avoided by using a checklist before, during, and after your trip. Make sure you update it with every trip—you’re bound to learn a lesson or two as time goes on.
Want a great sample checklist? Here’s the ultimate collection of RV checklists!
Remember—everyone’s an RV newbie at some point, and we’ve all made some of these newbie mistakes. You’re in good company, so keep your sense of humor, a toolbox and consider yourself officially a veteran RVer.

We all can learn from our mistakes. RVing for the first time can seem daunting with so many details. There may be many questions you have that go unanswered or things you need to ensure a safe and pleasant trip. Let our RV Parts World and Service department at LaMesa Rv help you with those questions. 
After 40 years of refining every detail of RV service, we are uniquely qualified to provide you the ultimate in customer service that no one else can promise. With service centers located in California, Arizona, Florida, and New Mexico, we're never too far from some of the most desirable RV destinations in the United States.
Our service centers feature:
  • A full staff of factory-trained RVIA certified technicians & helpful service advisors
  • State of the art facilities
  • Factory authorized warranty stations for every make that we sell (Whether you purchased from us or not)
  • Parts & Accessories stores
  • RVDA Master Certified and Certified Service Technicians
Our goal of "No Unhappy Customers" is the personal commitment of every company employee. From the Customer Service Manager that greets you on the service drive to our technicians, we all share your passion for RVing. It is a passion that inspires us to deliver everyday.

Service Centers
Please visit our Locations page to find a service center near you.

Some other resources for first time rvers:

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