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The Most Common Reasons an RVer Ends Up on the Side of the Road

The Most Common Reasons an RVer Ends Up on the Side of the Road

No one wants to have to make an abrupt and unexpected stop on the side of the road. It’s safe to say this is everyone’s least favorite destination.

Here are the most common reasons for these unscheduled stops and what you can do to keep them from happening.

Let’s take a look!

The Most Common Reasons an RVer Ends Up on the Side of the Road

Hitting the road with an RV is never as simple as hopping into the driver’s seat and taking off. There’s always an extensive checklist before you can turn the ignition key. Taking a shortcut can often be a costly mistake.

These are the common emergencies that can stop you in your tracks.

We’ll tell you how you can help to prevent them.

Tire Blowouts

All tires wear out eventually, and sometimes it happens in an instant. This is called a blowout. It’s when a tire loses its air and goes flat. It’s shocking and dangerous when you have a blowout because you can lose control of your vehicle.

You might even hear an explosion or at least a loud pop.

Be aware: China Bomb Tires may be a leading cause for blowouts.

Why It Happens 

A big reason for blowouts is that tires are not inflated to the proper level. This causes unusual pressure on the materials that make up the tire. In other words, they’re stressed out to the max and need some relief.

They might just be old tires that have deteriorated because of dry rot. Sometimes your RV can have a blowout by running over a sharp object in the road.

Uneven weight distribution can also put more stress on tires.

How to Avoid It

Keep an eye on those treads to make sure they’re in good shape, and check the air levels often. Tires can blow when they’re under-inflated or over-inflated.

Modern vehicles have built-in systems to monitor tire pressure, so make sure you know what all of your warning lights mean. If you drive an older vehicle, keep a tire pressure gauge handy and use it often.

Tires have expiration dates right there on the sidewalls. It’s generally six years from their manufacture. Replace them when they get old.

Overheated Engine

Keep an eye on your temperature gauge, too. Your engine will run hot when you overwork it.

You’ll need to pull over to the side of the road and let your RV cool down to avoid permanent damage.

Why It Happens

An internal combustion engine generates lots of power, and lots of heat, too. A combination of things works together to keep it cool, including your radiator and water pump as well as a belt-driven fan.

You run the risk of overheating if any of these components fail. It’s a constant balancing act even under normal driving conditions. Going up steep hills too quickly and traveling during the heat of the day puts even more stress on an engine.

Another common stressor is carrying too much weight.

How to Avoid It

If you smell something burning or see steam rising from under the hood, it’s too late. Bypass this serious buzz killer by keeping a close eye on your coolant level.

Also, make sure your fan belt is tight and in good condition and know how much weight you’re loading. Study your towing limits closely and stay safely away from maxing out. If you’re traveling in excessively hot climates, travel in the morning and at night as much as possible. If you do overheat, pull over as quickly as possible.

It might sound weird, but you should also turn on your heater so some of the heat can escape.

Overheated Brakes

If you overuse your brakes, they can get so hot they’ll stop working correctly.

They can even fail completely if you’re not careful.

Why It Happens

Overheating of brakes is particularly common in mountainous areas where you have to navigate steep inclines. The main cause of brakes overheating is friction from the brake pads rubbing against a metal part called a rotor.

This might be happening if you hear a high-pitched squeal when you apply the brakes or detect a pungent smell. If they get too hot, it can even cause the brake fluid to boil.

It’s certainly not common, but sometimes the brake pads can actually catch fire.

How to Avoid It

Don’t ride your RV’s brakes on steep roads, and learn to use your engine to slow down by downshifting into lower gear driving downhill. If your vehicle has a tow or haul mode, use it on hilly terrain.

With the tow or haul mode, the transmission automatically helps regulate your speed, so you don’t rely as much on your brakes. Also, don’t tailgate the driver in front of you.

Maintain a safe distance so you can apply your brakes more gradually. If you sense that your brakes are hot, pull over into a safe, level area and let them cool.

High Winds

Strong winds can cause you to lose control of your rig or even blow you off the road. With gusts of more than 20 mph or so, it can be hard to maintain a straight path depending on the wind’s direction.

You run the risk of driving off the roadway or into oncoming traffic. With winds of 40 mph or greater, it can be downright dangerous.

The tall, flat sides of your trailer or motorhome can literally act like a sail on a boat and move you around.

How to Avoid It

In cases of seriously strong winds, the side of the road may actually be a good place to be. It’s even better to find shelter in a parking lot, hopefully with a building or other solid structure that acts as a buffer.

Wait out the storm if you have to. Pay close attention to weather forecasts. Delay your trip if you can, or even change your route to skirt the possibility of hazardous winds.

Slow down a bit and keep both hands on the steering wheel. Steer directly into the wind when possible.

Diligence and Preparation Can Help You Avoid Ending Up on the Side of the Road

Nobody wants to have a breakdown. Knowing the causes of common RV emergencies can help you prepare for them before you hit the highway.

Take more time ahead of your trip to ensure all your critical parts are in good working order. A little extra attention can help you avoid your most dreaded destination, the side of the road.

What’s a reason you’ve ended up on the side of the road in the past?

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