RV Lifestyles Ezine
June 25, 2015
No. 323
Buying that First RV; running away from home to follow the sun; frugal RVing; working on the road.

1. A Note From Margo: Pre-Purchase Inspections
The first recreational vehicle we purchase has an important bearing on our enjoyment of the RV lifestyle. This is even truer when it is to be our retirement home for several years. If we bought a “lemon,” and certainly if we got juiced twice when the dealer worked out a solution, the whole dream melted away. If only we had hired someone to check it out first (gosh, we did that when we bought our home).

Since pre-purchase inspections are not routine, we wind up searching for someone to carry out this role. RV dealers, like auto dealers, generally do not suggest or support this inspection process. Unfortunately, until last year there was no organized training and review process in place for RV inspectors.

RVReviews published this 8 point list. Use it when you get that pre-purchase inspection.

“What to look for in a Pre-Purchase Inspection (or “PPI” as we industry insiders say):
1. Fit and Finish: Open and close all doors, drawers and windows. Check for proper latching. Doors especially get “out of whack” during transport from the manufacturer to the dealer and require re-adjustment.

2. Operate all heating and cooling systems. Check that air flow is adequate from all vents. A kinked line can greatly minimize air flow and should be corrected. Heating systems are usually pretty reliable but air conditioners often have issues. Since most camping is done in the summer months, make sure the A/C is blowing strong and cold. Let it run for a minimum of ten minutes. The RV should be noticeably cooler in that time.

3. Electronics: Turn on the TV, the stereo, GPS, and test all buttons. We hear numerous times a year that brand new TV’s don’t work. Just because it’s new don’t assume everything is working -or even hooked up!

4. Plumbing: Most systems will be dry at the dealer and there’s not much you can do to test it but leaks are not uncommon on first time trips. Once you get set up for the first time with water, check under the sinks and under the RV itself for any signs of leakage. You don’t want to discover a leak a week after it starts.

5. Leveling systems: More and more RVs are equipped with hydraulic jacks. The reliability of these is excellent but make sure they extend and retract smoothly and you thoroughly understand how to operate them. Now is the time to ask questions.

6. Slideouts: ALWAYS open and close the slideouts several times. We can’t emphasize this enough. Listen for bumps or grinding. Have someone operate the slides while you watch them from underneath. They should travel freely both ways without hesitation. Any “catching” or rough spots should be addressed immediately by the dealer.

7. Roofing: Roofs on RV’s today are pretty darn good but leaks are not unheard of -and if the leak drains into interior walls, frequently don’t become obvious for months. Climb up and give the roof a good visual inspection. Look for gouges, cuts, and tears, anything that may enable rainwater to access the interior. Check the trim around the perimeter of the roof. Is it secure?

8. Tire pressure: Most RVs sit for weeks or months on a dealer’s lot. It’s expected that tires will lose some tire pressure. Low tire pressure is not always visually evident and dealers don’t always check this like they should. Bring a tire pressure gauge and check the tires for proper pressure. This is the simplest part of a PPI but may have the largest impact on your safety.”

 Last year an association formed to train and certify RV inspectors. The RV National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association, Inc. tests and certifies RV Inspectors in addition to connecting Inspectors with clients that need inspections done. To find an inspector for your pre-purchase check, visit nrvia.org/locate/.

Find out if the RV lifestyle is right for you. If you have questions, The RV Lifestyle: A Dream Come True; an ebook that contains the answers.

– Buying That Dream RV - Things to Consider
– Equipping an RV and Tips on Maintenance
– Managing Power, AC and DC
– Emergency Road Service
– Towing Your Auto
– Planning Trips - How To Get The Most For Your Money
– Boondocking (Primitive Parking)
– Earning an Income on the Road

– Staying In Touch with Family and Friends


2. RV Lifestyle: Oil and Coolant Analysis

Well, just take a look at some findings from RV inspections conducted so far during 2014 where oil and coolant analysis was included as part of the RV inspection.

Testing shows that 35 percent of RV oil systems have problems. Many needed either immediate service, engine diagnostics, or both. Fluid testing ranged from engine oils, to transmission fluids, to generator oils and detected problems included oil breakdown and contamination, internal part wear and coolants and fuel leaking into the oil.

Even more shocking, the data shows that 67 percent of all RVs tested, had cooling system problems. Problems included improper water/glycol mixture, incorrect freezing and boiling points, incorrect pH, and insufficient amounts of coolant additives which left these systems vulnerable to damage from within.

Read the rest of the story at the RVDailyReport.


Readers Comment:

Dear Margo,

 I read your article on buying a RV as a response to a readers question. You made the point that the RV should be inspected. I fully agree with this statement but to have the service tech or dealer do the inspection and then do the repairs would be a conflict of interests.

One should either do the inspection or do the necessary repairs but not both services for the interest buyer.

Using a 3rd party certified inspector eliminates the conflict of interest possibility since these inspectors per the Code of Ethics, cannot repair a unit inspected for a minimum of 12 months. For 3rd party RV Inspections contact the RVIC, Recreational Vehicle Inspection Connection, at 800-628-1455 or info@rvinspectionconnection.com



Thank you, Briggs, for your comment. This pushed me to find the National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association, Inc. reported on above.  Pre-inspection is such an important item and dear to my heart. Now there is someone to call that is certified and dependable, let’s celebrate. ~Margo


Readers Comment:

Greetings from a reader of your ezine. My wife and I are closing in on our retirement and wanted to do as Christina, another reader who wrote Margo. Along with Margo's response, I'd like to add that we have had a good experience with the folks at www.rvreviews.net.

With 39 months to go, their materials helped us to zero in on what we needed, what brands to look for (specifically made with the needed quality for full-timers) the checklists needed etc. Since they don't use advertising to pay for their site, it seemed like an unbiased and reasonable place for folks to use for research.

Likely, with all your experience and as long as you folks have been on the road, you already know of these folks. I guess it's just my 2 cents worth.

Happy travels,


Tom, your 2 cents is worth at least 5 cents here at the RV Lifestyle eZine. We have been hearing good things about RVReviews.net, so I wandered over there myself.  Nice site and we picked up some good information to share. ~Margo


Margo's eBook, "Conquer the Road: RV Maintenance for Travelers" is available at all major eBookstores. It covers all the basic systems: air conditioning, awning, generator, hot water heater, hydraulic levelers, inverter/converter, roof, sewer, tires, and much more. Driving and weight
balance tips are included.




  3. RVing Nugget: Public Land Fee
A bulletin from Jim Koca, Advocacy Director, Escapees RV Club:
"As some Escapees are aware, a bill has been introduced in the United States Congress, HB 5204, entitled The Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Modernization Act of 2014, which will allow fees to be collected for most of the "public land" that is controlled by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

If the bill passes, it would allow the Federal Government to charge fees for any activity on land that we presently have access to for free. Fees could include a permit fee, day use fee, or a special use fee. There is the possibility that the bill could be attached to an appropriation bill, which would allow the bill to pass without public comment or debate.

It is time now to get involved and contact your congressman and senators where you have your domicile and let them know that HB 5204 should be defeated. In the past, public lands have been turned over to concessionaires that allowed them to charge fees or to refuse to give discounts for entering the federal lands.

This bill may not pass, but don't take a chance, contact your house representative or senator. It only takes a few minutes to let the representatives that we elected know how we feel."

To find your congressman, go to http://www.house.gov, and for senators, go to http://www.senate.gov.

If you would like to review the bill yourself:
You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
Margo Armstrong is an RV lifestyle expert full-timing on the road for more than 18 years. She specializes in making the RV lifestyle seem friendly, interesting, adventurous, and safe, all at the same time. She is the author of 18 eBooks (9 about the RV lifestyle). She also maintains a weekly blog and two websites. Her writing workshops pop up wherever she stops along the road.  
Find out more about her ventures at her blog, MovingOnWithMargo.com, and her website, TheMaxwellGroup.net, that showcases her ebook collections.
Visit RVLifestyleExperts.com for information on everything about this great lifestyle.
4. RV fun, resources and news
Google Flights, better than any travel agent?

If you are in the mood to fantasize about leaving the comfort of your RV and flying off to some exotic port or romantic destination, this is the website to visit.
You don't even have to know where you are going to use the data stored on this site.

Once on the site, select your departure airport. In the blank field next to it, type in Europe. In a drop-down list, choose which part of Europe, north, south, etc. A map of that area pop up, along with graphic inserts showing beautiful photos of popular destination, prices, and length of travel time.

You are able to compare how much it would cost to fly to London versus Paris, for instance, and you can even filter the options by type of airline, duration of flight and price you're willing to pay.


What a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon in your RV! https://www.google.com/flights/

Read the rest of the story HERE.


What is it About Road Names

Road names are pieces of history. They encode the culture and geography of America. In Arizona, popular street names are Apache, Palo Verde, Mesquite. In New Mexico, Cedar and Pinon top the list; In Colorado, it’s Aspen and Spruce.

Here are the top ten most popular road names in America as calculated from 2014 road data.

1.  Park
2.  2nd/Second
3.  Oak
4.  1st/First
5.  3rd/Third
6.  Maple
7.  Pine
8.  4th/Fourth
9.  Cedar
10. Main

Thankfully, we now have GPS to safely navigate this country's roads. When the city founders (or municipal pencil-pushers) add Avenue or Drive to these popular names, my head starts spinning.  Now add East or West to roads that run North and South...you see what I mean.

Click HERE to read the rest of the story.




Contact information 

RV Lifestyles Ezine is published twice a month. Part I comes out on or about the 10th of the month. Part II comes out around the 25th.

Contact information:

Contact Margo

MovingOnWithMargo Blog


Publisher: Margo Armstrong
The Maxwell Group
 222 Rainbow Dr.
Livingston, TX 77399-2022

Disclaimer: The information presented in this ezine is for use at your own risk. RV Lifestyle Newsletter makes no warranty to completeness, accuracy, or fitness for any purpose. Use common sense and take normal precautions in how you use this information.