RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 852

Issue 852 • February 20, 2018
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RVing Tip of the Day

It’s winter and batteries are dying

By Chris Dougherty
Chris Dougherty is a certified RV technician. He wrote this when he was serving as the technical editor at RVtravel.com.

Through the years I have helped many folks who had destroyed their RV’s batteries. What happened? In each case, they discharged during storage, froze and cracked apart.

Always maintain your batteries. Most RVs have parasitic drains in their electrical systems. These drains come from various electrical components, like carbon monoxide and propane detectors, car stereos, circuit boards, LED lights, relays and so on. Some drains will remain on even if an RV equipped with an OEM battery switch is turned off, to maintain memory in the stereo, and to keep CO and LP detectors operating.

Where this can become an even bigger problem is in freezing weather. Lead acid batteries will freeze if they lose their charge, which can result in their splitting apart. In any case, when they freeze, they are damaged beyond repair.

If you store your RV with the batteries in it, you should make sure that you have the batteries charging. This can be accomplished using shore power, or a solar charging system. The solar charging system should have a high enough charging rate to overcome the parasitic drains on the system.

Regular battery maintenance should continue, including keeping the batteries clean and filled with distilled water.

If, however, you don’t intend to use your unit for a season, it may be better to remove the batteries from the unit and store them in a climate-controlled area on a shelf up off the floor. 

Read yesterday’s tip: Do more than just let your thoughts keep you warm.

Did you miss the latest RV Travel Newsletter? If so, read it here.

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DyersRV Parts and Accessories
Give Dyers a try on your next purchase of RV parts or accessories. Large selection, great service, low prices and fast shipping. Visit our website.


QUICK TIPS

Simple custom-sized trash cans
Finding suitably sized trash cans for RVing can be a hassle. Visit the plasticware section of your local discount store and pick up a plastic cereal storage container. The same bag the cashier packs it in fits great for a trash can liner. If it threatens to slide around, use double-stick Velcro tape on the bottom.

Extend life of shore power cordsets
With electricity expert, Mike Sokol 
A great way to extend the life of your shore power cordsets and extension cords is to maintain the contacts with an occasional spray of CAIG DeoxIT D5 contact cleaner. While $18 may seem like a lot of money for a 5 oz. can of spray, you only need a little squirt of it on or in each of your plug contacts, and a can should easily last for an entire RVing season, probably more. It’s also safe for all plastics so you don’t have to worry about melting your connectors with an unknown contact spray. (Been there, done that.) We use CAIG cleaners on our big multi-pin connectors that cost many thousands of dollars each; so if I trust CAIG, then you can trust them too. 

Handy bedside water glass holder
Space tight in the bedroom? No room for a water glass? Your local auto parts store has a great selection of folding cup holders that can screw onto a nearby wall or bulkhead.

HOT TOPIC AT RV TRAVEL.COM 
A trip to the emergency room and what it taught me.


The best book on RV electricity, hands down!
RV Travel contributor Mike Sokol is America’s leading expert on RV electricity. Mike has taken his 40+ years of experience to write this book about RV electricity that nearly anyone can understand. Covers the basics of Voltage, Amperage, Wattage and Grounding, with additional chapters on RV Hot-Skin testing, GFCI operation, portable generator hookups and troubleshooting RV electrical systems. Learn more or order


WEBSITES OF THE DAY

Ten things you didn’t know Windex could do!
Betcha didn’t know that blue liquid could do that! A lot of these tips would come in handy in the RV.

100 fascinating facts about U.S. national parks.
Brush up on your history and trivia with these neat facts. You learn something new every day, right? 

Roads Less Traveled
Full-time RVers Mark and Emily bring you their excellent blog “to inspire you to get out and go, to lift your spirits with a fun travel tale or two from the road, and to share some tips for how to live this way.” Being published authors and photographers in various magazines, as well as having their story profiled in magazines, you can expect superior content in this beautiful blog — you won’t be disappointed!

Check out the long list of great RVing-related websites from RVtravel.com.


State, Regional,
City and U.S. maps
A GPS is great, but there’s nothing like a folded map to plan a trip or guide you where you’re going once you’re underway. Just about every folded map you would ever need is here. Most sell from about $2 to $6. Check ’em out or order.


VIDEO OF THE DAY

Lubricate your RV sewer valves
Nightmare scenario: Your black water tank is full and the drain valve is stuck. That’s a horrible enough thought to send just about any RVer into a cold sweat. But here’s a tip you can use to keep these valves lubricated so this nightmare never happens to you. The lubricant used in the video is available here.

CLICK THE VIDEO TO SEE THE TIP.
See all of our videos on our YouTube Channel.

2018 Large Scale Road Atlas now available
This 2018 Rand McNally Large Scale Road Atlas has maps of every U.S. state that are 35% larger than the standard atlas version plus over 350 city inset & national park maps & a comprehensive index. Road construction & conditions contact info is located above maps. Mileage chart shows distances & drive time between 77 North American cities & national parks. Tough spiral binding allows the atlas to lay open easily. Learn more.


MORE QUICK TIPS

Easy way to clean your showerhead
Can’t get your RV showerhead off to clean it? Fill up a plastic storage bag with white vinegar, “bag” the shower head and hold it in place with a rubber band or other tie. Leave it hanging overnight to dissolve mineral deposits.

“Exercise” your generator
Don’t just exercise the pooch, exercise the generator, too. Fire it up and run it at half-load (or more) for two hours each month.

Do you have a tip? Send it to diane (at) rvtravel.com .

Power tools galore!
If it’s not at Amazon.com it’s probably not easily available anywhere! Check out this huge selection of power tools — drills, saws, air compressors, impact wrenches, car vacuums, sanders, polishers, tool boxes — the list goes on! See what’s available and maybe pick up a great deal!


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LEAVE HERE WITH A LAUGH
An older couple walks into a bar. The husband starts flirting with some younger women. The bartender says to the wife, “Doesn’t it bother you that your husband makes passes at younger woman?” The wife replies, “No, not really. I mean, dogs chase cars but it doesn’t mean they know how to drive.”

Best-selling RV products and Accessories at Amazon.com. UPDATED HOURLY.
Today’s Daily Deals at Amazon.com


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RV Daily Tips Staff
Editor and Publisher: Chuck Woodbury. Managing editor: Diane McGovern. Staff writer: Emily Woodbury. Contributing writers: Russ De Maris, Bob Difley, Gary Bunzer, Roger Marble, Deanna Tolliver, Mike Sokol, J.M. Montigel and Andrew Robinson. Advertising coordinator: Gail Meyring.

ADVERTISE on RVtravel.com and/or in this newsletter. Contact Gail Meyring at Gail(at)RVtravel.com .

Everything in this newsletter is true to the best of our knowledge. But we occasionally get something wrong. We’re just human! So don’t go spending $10,000 on something we said was good simply because we said so, or fixing something according to what we suggested (check with your own technician first). Maybe we made a mistake. Tips and/or comments in this newsletter are those of the authors and may not reflect the views of RVtravel.com or this newsletter.

Mail us at 9792 Edmonds Way, #265, Edmonds, WA 98020.

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Related

14 Thoughts to “RV Daily Tips Newsletter Issue 852”

  1. Jillie

    If you really want to save money on cleaning your RV try Dawn dish soap. Yes Dawn. I could not bring myself to paying those obnoxious prices for RV cleaner. I remembered that if Dawn works on saving oil ravaged animals and areas with oil leaks that need cleaning why not Dawn. I did and wow. Got that camper trailer clean. Especially the bugs. So save yourself money and use Dawn dish soap. It does work.

    1. booneyrat

      Dawn works especially well on rubber and TPO roofs.A little dab’l do ya though.

  2. Susan

    I’ve seen in many blogs that one should never use WD40 on anything RV because it can get sticky and gummy. But you have an ad for WD40 to keep tank valves from sticking. Confused.

    1. RV Staff

      Thanks for writing, Susan. WD-40 is just the brand name, but they make many different products for different applications. Here’s what they say about their Specialist Water Resistant Silicone Lubricant, which is recommended in this video: “WD-40® SPECIALIST® WATER RESISTANT SILICONE LUBRICANT safely lubricates, waterproofs and protects metal and non-metal surfaces, including rubber, plastic and vinyl better than leading competitors. Our silicone spray dries fast and leaves a clear, non-staining film that doesn’t stick or make a mess, so it won’t attract dirt. Effective in a temperature range from -100°F to 500°F, it’s ideal for use on cables, pulleys, guide rails, valves, linkages, hinges, locks and more, and is 50-state VOC compliant.” Looking at their Site Map on their webpage, I see 16 different products listed for different jobs — so one just needs to be careful which product they use. I hope this helps clarify this for you. 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com

  3. Debbie Curry

    My husband and I are newbies and are in the process of buying our 5th wheel as we speak. We just got the mat that sits outside the trailer dropped off today at our house. I am getting into the habit of reading this newsletter first thing in the morning as well. Can not wait to get into our 5th wheel!

  4. Larry Wasson

    Did not receive RV travel news letter # 833. Was I removed from the list ? I signed up for ALL.

    1. RV Staff

      Hi, Larry. We’re sorry you didn’t receive your email notification of the newsletter (several people had that problem this time — we’re not sure why). But I just checked the list for email alerts, and you are on it along with your email address. Hopefully this was just a one-time thing. But if you don’t get your email alert, just go to http://rvtravel.com and click on the Current Issue link near the top. The email you receive is not the newsletter, just a reminder notice of a new issue. Sorry for the inconvenience. —Diane at RVtravel.com

  5. Marmot

    You can clean the contacts on your shore power cord without buying an $18.00 can of spray. Just pick up a $3.00 wire brush at Home Depot, Lowes, or Walmart, and give them a good brushing. They’ll be as clean as new.

    1. Mike Sokol

      But you can’t clean internal contacts that way. Plus there’s a small amount of lubricant in these contact cleaners that make plugging in and out easier, in addition to reducing future oxidation.

      1. booneyrat

        AGREED 100%

  6. Dr4Film ----- Richard

    Soapy suds are the last thing to come out of the grey tank and make a great natural lubricant for the valves. My procedure is to open the black back-flush water valve to run water into the black tank first. Then open the black tank valve to empty the tank. Next open the grey tank valve. When it is empty or close to empty (dribbling) close the black tank valve followed by closing the grey tank valve. Lastly shutoff the black back-flush water valve. Works like a charm every time.

  7. Diane

    The daily newsletter is the first thing I go to in the morning after coffee!

    1. Gail

      Thanks, Diane, so happy you’re enjoying it!

    2. RV Staff

      Hi, Diane. Thanks for reading our newsletters. They go well “with” your coffee, also. Just sayin’. 😉 Have a great day! 😀 –Diane at RVtravel.com

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