A vehicle breakdown is enough to scare even the most seasoned driver. When you have an RV, that fear doubles since your vehicle is stuck on the side of the road, as is your living space. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to prepare yourself for a breakdown. Here, we cover what to do when your RV breaks down and how to avoid breakdowns altogether.
What to Do if Your RV Breaks Down
If you are in an accident or need immediate assistance, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency department. Make sure your vehicle is in a safe place, out of the way of traffic. If you cannot move your RV, set up visible warning signals for other drivers, such as safety cones or lights, and turn on your hazard lights.
Do not continue to drive your vehicle if:
- There are foreign smells
- You see or smell smoke
- You have a flat tire
- You hear a loud grinding or crunching noise
Once your vehicle is safely out of the way, you can perform a general assessment of the issues. Make sure to have a tire repair kit and spare on hand in your RV and available maintenance tools. Your priority should be getting your RV to a professional repair location or off of the highway, at the very least. While you may be unable to fix the issue, having a good idea of what is wrong with your RV can help you explain the situation to your repair crew.
Once your vehicle is patched enough to drive to a safe location, or you’ve determined it’s not moving anywhere soon, it’s time to contact a tow company. Remember to have your member identification handy if you have a tow service like AAA or another nationwide company. Otherwise, keep a list of tow companies by state in case you end up on the side of the road. In addition, some RV repair shops run mobile service options. Here at GoodSense RV, we service the New Mexico area, so be sure to contact us for details on our service area.
When a tow truck arrives, stay inside your vehicle and have them confirm information before allowing them to tow your vehicle. Only tell the tow driver your name or information after they verify their company, and be sure to double-check check you have the proper tow driver. This can help you avoid scams and keep you safe when traveling in unknown areas.
RV Emergency Supplies and Preventative Maintenance
Getting your RV tuned up before you hit the road is essential. Regular inspections and maintenance can help stave off breakdowns and help you feel more confident while traveling. Also, check your tire pressure before heading out on any long trip, and assess your tread. Nothing spells disaster faster than bald tires, so regularly replace your RV tires.
Other forms of preventative maintenance include checking for frame damage and assessing the body of your RV for any imperfections or damage. Of course, you want to ensure you are topped off on all RV fluids and change your oil regularly. If you’re unsure if you’re due for an oil change, check in with your local RV maintenance shop to get a tune-up.
When preparing emergency RV supplies, there are two categories you should consider: mechanical and personal supplies.
Mechanical supplies include things like:
- A tire repair kit, tire jack, and spare
- Emergency lights and cones
- A tool kit and protective gloves
- Extra oil and brake fluids
- Replacement headlight and taillight bulbs
- Electrical tape
- Duct tape
Of course, there’s no such thing as being too prepared for RV maintenance, so be sure to update your emergency kit regularly and talk to an RV specialist for upkeep tips and tricks.
Personal emergency supplies can vary depending on where you’re headed, but in general, you want to ensure you have things like:
- Water and food
- Blankets, warm clothes, and waterproof gear
- A first-aid kit and spare medications
- Plastic film and tape
- Personal identification cards
- Emergency money
- Solar chargers and/or battery backups
Your emergency kit may vary depending on your needs, so take the time to pull together a list of items you need in an emergency. Of course, you can tailor your emergency kit for the part of the country you’re visiting. For example, extra clothes may be necessary if you’re in a colder climate. Conversely, if you’re traveling through the desert, you’ll want to pack plenty of water.
If you’re looking to get an RV tune-up before hitting the road, check out GoodSense RV. We work hard to keep your RV in traveling condition and offer roadside services in and around Albuquerque, NM. If you’re interested in scheduling a tune-up or want to take a look a the RVs available on the lot, give us a call today.