How to Find and Kill Mold in Your RV

How to Find and Kill Mold in Your RV

Many people underestimate how quickly mold forms. It travels through the air, making it especially difficult to kill. For example, touching the affected area releases mold spores, which encourages them to land elsewhere. As soon as they reach another surface, they multiply, and the problem continues. Remember, nothing will depreciate your RV faster, so read on to learn how to find and kill mold in your RV.

Preventing mold growth is the best way to avoid this situation altogether. But it is easier said than done, as mold is nearly inevitable. For this reason, it is critical to know how and why it forms. With this understanding, you can take the necessary precautionary measures and destroy mold before it starts spreading.

Although we cannot see it, mold is present just about everywhere. In search of a suitable environment, it travels through the air, clings to humans and animals, and enters buildings or vehicles through vent systems. This fungus mostly seeks out damp areas, as it requires moisture to grow. When it finds its ideal home, it lands and rapidly reproduces.

Think of it this way – your camper is continuously being exposed to humidity and precipitation. Evaporation removes these water molecules using heat (typically from the sun). When condensation occurs, the water seeps into cracks and lands in dark, inaccessible places. The same goes for those who have a leaky roof or regularly keep their rigs in shady, forested areas.

How to Find and Kill Mold in Your RV

Recall that mold loves moisture, which makes these environments especially desirable. Spores land in these damp areas and continue growing with no restraint. Nothing in the natural environment kills mold, meaning humans must use chemicals to destroy it. Instead, you must be proactive to prevent wood rot or corrosion. Therefore, the following tips will help you find and kill mold in your RV.

1. Smell the Interior of Your RV

Contrary to popular belief, mold spores themselves do not smell. Instead, the blame falls on microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC). Interestingly, the mold’s reproduction, growth, and digestion produce stinky byproducts.

Furthermore, the odor depends on the age and species of mold. Some kinds generate an earthy, sweet, or putrid scent. However, most give off a musty or dank stench. A good rule of thumb is to check for mold if the air smells anything but ordinary.

2. Use a Toxic Mold Kit to Test the Air Quality of Your RV

Although controversy surrounds the capability of toxic mold kits, scientific and government research considers them safe and effective. They are relatively inexpensive, and you can buy them at any local hardware store. Toxic mold kits are also easy to use, as they detect mold through a “settle plate” or “gravity sample testing.” Note that you should only use this method in combination with others in the rare case it fails.

3. Visually Inspect RV for Stains

To find mold in your RV, first, use your eyes to direct you towards the root cause. Although fungus typically thrives in hidden, dark crevices, a significant infestation eventually becomes visible.

Look closely for mold in your RV camper walls, ceilings, and carpets. The affected areas will appear black, blue, green, or white. These types of stains usually indicate a roof or plumbing leak. Check the outside of your RV to find the source of the water damage.

4. Examine the Exterior

More commonly, mold forms as a result of exterior leaks, tears, or corrosion. Moisture then seeps through the electrical components, wood panels, and interior. The water encourages fungus growth within 24-48 hours, leaving you no time to reverse the process.

RV Awning MoldIf you find stains on your ceiling, floor, or walls, check for mold on your RV roof. Study the area with detail to look for rips and breaks. Tend and treat these areas immediately to avoid further leakage.

Mold on RV awnings is also another common occurrence. The problem happens because many people keep it rolled up, giving it little exposure to the sun. Precipitation and condensation leave it damp, thus promoting fungal growth. Regularly roll out your awning to check for any discoloration or smells. Always give it ample time to dry before retracting it.

5. Check Plumbing and Appliances

Understandably, mold lurks near the plumbing pipes of your RV. Water continuously flows through this system, providing the fungus with the moisture it loves. However, do not be concerned if you use your pipes frequently and repair leaks immediately.

On the other hand, campers with loose piping suffer severe consequences from the mold. Sometimes, you only realize these leaks after it is too late. That’s why you should regularly inspect for mold in your RV fridge, air conditioner, A/C ducts, and freshwater tank.

The bathroom is the largest culprit of mold growth, as moisture here is frequent and plentiful. Steam is particularly problematic if your vent fan is not working correctly. Therefore, you should perform regular checks in and around your restroom sink, shower, and toilet.

6. Look in Hidden Areas

The fungus is rather sneaky and enjoys living anywhere that is dark and out of plain sight. As a mold expert, you must look in both apparent and nonobvious areas. Think of any place that may accumulate moisture or dampness and give it a thorough inspection.

Mold can hide beneath your dash, cabinets or storage areas, and even under your RV mattress or couch. It is persistent and forms anywhere it can, meaning you must thoroughly check every nook and cranny.

How to Kill Mold in Your RV

Always kill mold immediately after discovering it. Remember that it can be extremely toxic. Therefore, you may need to seek expert help if the infestation is widespread. Always protect yourself by wearing gloves, a mask, and long-sleeve clothes, even with smaller areas.

For external molds, such as that on your roof or awning, use store-brand spray. Consult with your local RV dealer or hardware store to find the right product for you. Also, keep in mind that regular washes and treatments to your RV roof are the best defense against mold.

Conversely, you can treat the internal mold using various techniques. It is especially necessary to wear a mask inside the RV to avoid inhalation of mold spores and chemicals. Open your windows and doors, as well, to promote ventilation.

Natural remedies that get rid of mold are less harsh and work well on interior mold. Pour into a spray bottle, douse the affected area, and start scrubbing. With that, here are the best homemade mold killers:

  • White vinegar in a spray bottle works well and does not need dilution.
  • Tea tree oil keeps spiders away and destroys the fungus. Add 10-15 drops to a spray bottle of water.
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3% concentration) is an effective alternative to bleach, and you do not need to water it down.
  • Distilled ethanol, or bottom shelf alcohol, does not require dilution either.
  • Grapefruit seed extract is both a preventative and killer of mold. Mix 20 drops of extract with two cups of water for best results.
  • Baking soda also works well for the mold smell. Add ¼ teaspoon into a spray bottle full of water.

For tougher to remove mold, bleach or ammonia are secondary options. Please note that you should never mix these two, as the combination produces a deadly, toxic gas. Either way, these chemicals need to be diluted with water (1:1 ratio), as they are quite harsh on their own. Only use bleach or ammonia on hard, non-porous surfaces. Do not use these chemicals on fabric and carpets, as they will cause stains.

Conclusion

Knowing how to prevent mold, moisture, and humidity from forming in an RV saves you time and money. Abide by these simple guidelines to give yourself the best chance against it.

First, regularly clean your roof and inspect it for leaks or tears. Repair any damages as soon as possible. Second, park your RV in an area exposed to sunlight. Avoid staying under trees that drop moisture-ridden fruit or leaves on the roof.

Next, try to limit the water molecules inside your RV. Do this by covering all pots and pans used for cooking and hang drying wet clothes outside. Be sure to open windows and use vents after showering and cooking to rid any moisture.

Install insulation around your windows to prevent water and mold particles from entering the cabin. Set your RV thermostat to a temperature less than 70 degrees to restrict growth. Also, use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity levels between 30% and 50%. Note that condensation forms when cold water molecules meet hot, humid temperatures, so be careful not to set your air conditioner too low.

Don’t let mold hinder your camping lifestyle. Instead, stick to these recommendations to take control of the issue. By doing so, you will increase the lifespan of your RV and breathe happy, knowing your lungs are free of toxins.

Do you have any suggestions about how to spot and remove mold in an RV? Please leave your comments below and help your fellow RVers!

For more related information check out some of our other articles below:

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Why You Should Consider a Composting Toilet for Your RV

Why You Should Consider a Composting Toilet for Your RV

With the many kinds of camper toilets that exist today, you may be wondering if a composting toilet for an RV is the best choice. Their design is both unique and innovative, as they do not require water or hookups. Plus, they are easy to empty!

Because you can easily dump an RV composting toilet on your own, campground visits are not required. This advantage makes them perfect for boondocking or living off-grid.

Regardless, you must consider your needs as a camper, as well as your lifestyle, to choose the right kind for you. This guide provides you with insights so you can learn why you should consider a composting toilet for your RV or camper.

How Do RV Composting Toilets Work?

To understand the RV composting toilet basics, you must first know how a standard RV toilet operates. A regular camper toilet feeds into a black water holding tank. Here, the waste is stored until emptied via sewage hose. Therefore, this system works better for those who frequent campgrounds with available hookups.

RV composting toilets, on the other hand, are much different. Through this process, human waste is broken down by decomposition and evaporation. Water makes up the majority and evaporates through the vent system into the atmosphere. Conversely, the solid material becomes usable fertilized soil when it decomposes.

Furthermore, the composting chamber does all the dirty work. It is here that oxygen, heat, moisture, and organic material combine with aerobic bacteria. The interaction between these compounds converts the waste into fertilized soil. All pathogens and viruses are broken down by bacteria during this process, so the soil is sterile and ready for use. By this definition, you can use your waste to grow plants and trees. Crazy, right?

As for the liquid matter, the composting toilet also has this covered. Interestingly, water makes up around 90% of the waste. The system uses an evaporation process to rid the excess and eliminate moisture. Some have a waterless urinal, which is separate from the composting chamber. With this kind, you can manually empty the liquid waste or let it evaporate through the vent system.

Those with internal heating components speed up the process. The warmth helps to remove the water faster without evaporating all of it. The composting chamber needs some dampness to break down the waste. Add bulking material, such as sawdust, peat mix, or popcorn, to promote decomposition. These additives help oxygen flow throughout the debris to remove smelly and toxic bacteria.

RV Composting Toilets Pros and Cons

Like anything, an RV composting toilet has both its strengths and weaknesses. For many, the benefits outweigh the negative aspects of this toilet. Either way, it is crucial to consider each factor before deciding.

Pros

No hookups required. There is no septic system or connection for this toilet, as this entire process occurs in one unit. People who live in remote areas, tiny houses, boats, and cabins also use this no-flush system. It is low maintenance and eliminates worry about stopping at a campground.

Eco-friendly. Did you know that using a composting toilet saves the average family almost 8,000 gallons of water each year? That’s more than an 18′ round swimming pool! These toilets also cut down on the need for sewage plants, which use harmful chemicals to treat raw waste.

Space-saver. Many people enjoy the compact design of RV composting toilets. Without a black water tank attachment, they fit just about anywhere. This sizing makes them perfect for camper bathrooms, which are usually small and difficult to maneuver around. Plus, with fewer parts and mechanisms, repairs are more straightforward. Therefore, you will not have to squeeze into tiny spaces to find leaks or tighten loose screws.

Cons

They are pricier than others. Cost heavily influences this type of decision. Their unique mechanism, which makes them both practical and easy to use, increases their price. However, these toilets are worth the initial cost for most campers because they eliminate the need to use hookups.

You must get used to it. If done correctly, the fertilized product will be free of bacteria and looks just like topsoil. This process grosses some people out, as touching something that was once your waste is undoubtedly an odd concept. But rest assured, the soil is sanitary and safe to handle.

It requires minimal power. The exhaust fan that evaporates water requires a small amount of energy. Many campers fix this problem by hooking their RV composting toilets up to solar power. Otherwise, it will run on a 12-volt battery or 110-volt shore power.

How Much Do RV Composting Toilets Cost?

Understandably, RV composting toilets are a tad pricier than a traditional one. This technology is both new and highly efficient, so their costs make sense. You may cringe thinking about dishing out this kind of money for a toilet. But, surprisingly, it is more cost-efficient in the long term.

Although the initial price is a bit higher, you will save money over time. The average composting toilet will cost around $1000, give or take. The unit built into your camper is much cheaper. However, black tanks will eventually cost you more time and money.

For example, most campgrounds include a 25-50% fee for sewage hookup in their standard rate. Even if you do not stay overnight, they will still charge you to dump. And should I mention the gross and bacteria-ridden process of emptying your black water tank? For these reasons, choosing a composting toilet is much more practical, especially when it comes to dry camping.

Remember that you will still need to visit a campground every so often to dump your grey water tank. Fortunately, these visits are much less frequent, depending on how long and often you use your shower or sink water. With only one or two people, you may be able to last a couple of weeks before you stop. But still, using a composting toilet cuts down on overall campground visits.

Best Composting Toilets for RVs and Campers

When it comes to purchasing a composting toilet, there are a few that outrank the rest. You’re looking for a low-cost system that is both durable and long-lasting. Therefore, these high-quality toilets listed below are the top brands on the market today.

The most popular brand of composting toilets is, by far, Nature’s Head. With their affordability and extended lifespan, they make for a great addition to your camper. Their innovative design allows you to go for about three weeks, or 60 to 80 uses, between empties. They run on a 12-volt, non-battery system and with the proper attachment, you can hook it up to a 110-volt power source. Keep in mind that these toilets do not have drawers, so, to empty it, you must remove the whole assembly.

Furthermore, Nature’s Head toilets come in two kinds, with the only main difference being their handles and seats. The spider handle version only takes up 2 inches of extra space, but it is more difficult to turn. The standard crank handle, on the other hand, is much more natural to turn but takes up five extra inches of room. Both have very similar features and mechanisms, while their cost ranges from $925 to $960.

Sun-Mar is another brand to consider. They are quite pricey, starting around $1645 due to their added capabilities. With a waste emptying drawer and electric hookup power, they include more features than others. These composting toilets are also much more cumbersome, weighing in at 90 pounds. Note that they do not easily connect to a 12-volt system. For these reasons, they work best in a tiny home or cabin.

Do I Need Special Toilet Paper for RV Composting Toilets?

Primarily, toilet paper comes from three types of materials – trees, recycled paper, or other materials, like bamboo and sugarcane. Composting toilets best tolerate recycled paper. It breaks down faster and more effectively due to its thinner fibers. Lesser known, toilet paper also acts as a source of carbon during the decomposition process. Therefore, using it in your composting toilet may prove to be beneficial.

Like a black water tank, only use RV-safe toilet paper in your camper. It breaks down much better, especially when combined with additives. The tissue does not break down as quickly, so you will see it when dumping. Note that one-ply disintegrates quicker than two or three. We use Aqua Soft Toilet Paper in our RV and recommend that you use it too.

Some campers do not add their toilet paper to the chamber. Instead, they have a separate waste container for the used tissue. This way, the tank fills slower, allowing the user to go longer between dumps. Do not put items, such as wipes, diapers, and tampons, down the toilet. These items do not decompose, as they are made from non-organic cotton and contain chlorine-bleach.

How to Prep and Dump an RV Composting Toilet

Every user needs to know how to properly prep their RV composting toilet. Always clean and prepare just after dumping to ensure the quality of the system.

To Prepare the Toilet:

  1. Gather two liters of water, gloves, a shovel, a bucket.
  2. Take off the top off, then fill a bucket with two one-gallon Ziploc bags of sphagnum peat moss or coconut fiber.
  3. Add one and a half to two liters of water and combine.
  4. Next, dump the mixture into the toilet and fill to just below the agitator.
  5. Put the lid back on, and you’re ready to go!

Now, for the fun part – emptying. When done correctly, the composting toilet will eliminate any bacteria. However, you should always use gloves to protect yourself from any lingering germs. Once you get used to the emptying process, it should only take a few minutes. The more frequent you empty, the fewer problems you will have.

First, let’s start with the liquids. The bottle holds about 2.2 gallons, but you should empty it when it reaches about two-thirds full to prevent any unpleasant accidents. On average, it takes about three or four days for two people to reach this limit with regular use. If the urine sits for long periods, it will smell strong and putrid. Keeping a second holding bottle on hand helps when you cannot dump, but the tank is full.

To Empty the Liquids:

  1. Take off the seat and lift the toilet to a 45-degree angle.
  2. Pick up the handle, put on the cap, and pull out the container.
  3. Dump the liquids in an area that is legal and safe, such as a public toilet.
  4. Rinse the bottle with vinegar or detergent and put it back in the composting toilet.
  5. Put the seat down, clean up, and you’re all set.

Let’s move to the solids. Try to turn the handle on your composting toilet. If you find it difficult, then it’s time to dump the compost. You will also know to dispose of the waste when the base reaches three-fourths full.

It is best to dump the tank in the morning so the compost can sit overnight. You should wait at least eight hours after using the bathroom to empty it, giving it time to decompose. Emptying the tank is relatively simple, as it does not smell and takes only a few minutes. Without further ado, throw on your gloves and start dumping.

To Dump the Solids:

  1. Quickly remove the lid and take out the liquids bottle. Cap it to prevent spillage. Put the top back on.
  2. Disconnect the vent hose and power cord, unscrew the bolts, and take the entire toilet outside.
  3. Take off the seat, again.
  4. Place a 13-gallon trash bag, or composting bag, over the top. Flip the unit and dump the contents.
  5. Prep the base using the process stated above. Do not worry about cleaning the inside of the chamber, as the decomposition process will take care of it.
  6. Bring the toilet inside and reconnect the vent hose and power cord.
  7. Put the liquids bottle back in, then place the lid back on.

And that’s it! You’ve emptied both your liquids and solids and prepped for your next dump. The process is actually much easier than connecting your black water tank to a sewage hookup. Overall, it is more sanitary and takes less time. Plus, you don’t need to find the nearest campground to dump. Easy as that!

Do RV Composting Toilets Smell?

When people think of composting toilets, they automatically associate them with gross and smelly waste bins. Ironically, it is quite the opposite. If used correctly, these toilets are free from harmful, odor-producing pathogens. Many argue that composting toilets smell even less than other types of RV toilets.

There are a few reasons that composting toilets cut down on the stink. First, a ventilation fan pulls air from the bathroom into the tank. This system then feeds to the outside of the RV. These vent stacks eliminate odors using negative pressure, which strictly forces the air outward.

Second, compost starters also help to restrict foul smells and promote the decaying process. These accelerators consist of nitrogen, oxygen, micro-organisms, and shredders (i.e., paper products and wood chips). This mix destroys bacteria and breaks down the waste into functional soil.

Plus, if you’re a coffee drinker, you’re in luck! Adding leftover coffee grounds into your composting toilet will further cover the smell. The coffee grinds also function as additional bulking material to break down the waste.

Lastly, you can also mask the stench by purchasing a spray bottle designated for the toilet. Fill it with a water and vinegar mixture, then spray the inside after use. Some use vinegar as a natural housecleaning remedy due to its antimicrobial effects. You can also add essential oils to give the bathroom a refreshing scent.

Avoid putting regular soil or material into your composting chamber at all costs. By doing so, you are inviting pesky insects into your camper. They are tough to get rid of and can ruin your camping experience. Instead, purchase regulated bulking material. It is worth the cost to reduce the issues you may face later.

Conclusion

There are many benefits to these toilets, especially for those who enjoy living off-grid. With a bit of practice, the process is rather simple and eliminates the need to use hookups. So, are you ready to ditch your old routine and install a composting toilet in your camper?

Do you use a composting toilet and have any tips to share? Please leave your comments below!

For more info please check out some other of our articles below too.

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9 Easy Tips for Cleaning Your RV Rubber Roof

9 Easy Tips for Cleaning Your RV Rubber Roof

Camper maintenance is the best way to keep its value and prevent damages. Therefore, we’ve provided you with 9 easy tips for cleaning your RV rubber roof.

Over time, oxidation will begin to destroy your roof. When this happens, water seeps into your ceiling, walls, and any electrical components in between. As you may know, water and electricity are not friends, potentially causing you hundreds of dollars in repairs. Connections may burn out, thus ruining your outlets. Or you may be putting yourself or others at risk for electrocution.

Water damage is also dangerous for your health, as persistent moisture and humidity encourage mold formation. This growth causes allergies, germs, and a persistent, lingering odor. Breathing in these spores may increase breathing issues and feelings of sickness. It will also depreciate the cost of your RV and deteriorate the inside.

By taking precautionary measures, you can easily prevent or reverse this process. For example, properly cleaning and treating the area prevents breaks, leaks, and mold growth. A thorough clean takes time but proves well worth it in the end. To achieve best results, tend to your RV roof frequently and with detail.

Types of RV Roofs

Before buying your camper, you should always inquire about its type of roof. Weak roofing material promotes tears and breakage, which invites water to seep into the cracks. Water damage occurs quickly and is one of the most challenging problems to fix, as it often results in mold and wears away the interior. Having a durable, sturdy RV roof prevents these issues and ensures a long-lasting experience.

These RVs roofs are wooden boards covered with a layer of rubber made from either ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) or thermoplastic olefin (TPO). Although they are both made from rubber, each has distinct features and have separate maintenance routines.

EPDM is one of the most common and reliable RV roof materials. It generally goes by the name of “synthetic rubber,” and many manufacturers use it in their design. An EPDM rubber roof is much cheaper, resists UV-light better, and has increased durability compared to its “natural” counterpart.

This type of rubber is used for flat roofs due to its strength, making it best for RVs specifically. EPDM is not only resistant to water but also prevents chemicals from mixing with the liquid. Depending on the type of roof, moisture can mix with toxic substances causing damage and potential toxicity. Avoid this issue by choosing only an EPDM rubber roof and regularly washing it. With their low maintenance and easy cleaning, anyone can effortlessly maintain their RV rubber roof.

TPO is becoming increasingly popular in the RV world. Some say that it may eventually outrank EPDM due to its preferred features. TPO roofing deflects sunlight, which reduces heat absorption. Keeping your RV cool puts less strain on your air conditioner and cuts down on your energy usage. Furthermore, it is also durable and highly resistant to mold, dirt, and rips. TPO is the economical and efficient version of the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) roofing. It differs from plastic PVC material, as TPO is rubber-based. Maintenance is relatively simple if you follow the proper guidelines.

Why is it Important to Clean an RV Rubber Roof?

Regular roof cleaning rids dirt and grime while extending its value. Exposure to rain, water, ice, and other outdoor elements deteriorates rubber over time. As the roof weakens, it becomes more susceptible to cracks, rips, and caulking separations. Moisture can eventually enter these crevices and cause expensive repairs.

Whether it’s your house, apartment, or camper, water damage occurs just about anywhere. Wetness destroys electrical and mechanical components in your RV, meaning you will have no choice but to replace them. Damp areas also eventually turn into black mold and fungi, which can cause health and respiratory issues.

Parking in shaded areas increases the risk of mold or mildew formation. Staying under trees also poses an issue, as falling fruit and seeds promote roof moisture. Instead, keep your rig in sunnier areas as much as possible to dry the rubber and keep it clean.

Furthermore, RV insurance does not cover most water damage. So, properly cleaning your RV roof at least four times a year is cost-effective and prevents these expensive damages. If you live in a highly polluted area, you should clean your RV more often to guarantee clean rubber.

9 Easy Tips for Cleaning Your RV Rubber Roof

1. Ensure Your Safety

Properly cleaning your RV roof means climbing atop the rig and performing manual labor. This process is already dangerous, but when you add soap and water to the mix, it becomes especially hazardous. Slipping and falling can be life-threatening and typically ends with a trip to the hospital.

For this reason, always use a spotter and make sure they keep an eye out. Use a secure ladder and double-check that it is stable against the RV. Hoist your cleaning supplies, bucket, and brush up using a rope. Only wear gripped shoes and never walk across the wet surface. 

Also, there are correct and incorrect places to walk on an RV roof. Check out my article called Can I Walk On My RV Roof? for more info and a video about how and where you can walk on an RV roof safely.

2. Sweep and Thoroughly Inspect the Roof

Climb onto your roof and sweep any excess debris off. Now is the perfect time to examine for mold, mildew, sap, or any other contaminants. Also, check the caulk and seams for leaks or breakage. Fix these problems right away to avoid further damage.

3. Rinse Your RV Roof Before Cleaning

Use a hose to rinse and remove loose dirt and grime. For exceptionally dirty roofs, cover the sides of your RV with plastic to prevent dirty water from dripping down and staining.

4. Choose Your Brush According to Needs

A long-handled sponge mop is preferred to remove dirt and grime. This extension gives you the option to stand on the ladder, so you do not have to worry about slipping off the roof top. Use a medium bristle brush for general cleaning, as it will remove most of the filth. For tougher stains, use a soft bristle brush to scrub the specific area.

5. Only Use Approved Non-Corrosive Rubber Roof Cleaners

When choosing a rubber roof cleaner, remember that petroleum distillates destroy latex and may void the warranty. Swelling, sections of uneven thickness, and loose spots occur following direct contact. These effects happen because the chemical loosens the adhesives, which causes the roof membrane to swell. Using any other abrasive cleaners and acidic or citrus solvents increases the likelihood of corrosion, as it strips the rubber.

Only use cleaning chemicals that are free of petroleum distillates to maintain the integrity of the roof. Refer to the owner’s manual or manufacturer to find the best soap to clean your RV. Examples of safe chemicals include high-quality cleaning brands or mild laundry detergent diluted with water.

For sap residue, add mineral spirits onto a soft bristle brush and rub it into the area. If you spot mold or mildew, dilute bleach or vinegar (not together!) with water and scrub.

6. Clean the Rubber in Sections

To ensure safety, always clean your RV front to back. This way, you can climb off the ladder without stepping over the wet, slippery surface. Using a spray bottle, cover a 3-foot by 3-foot area. Then, use your brush of choice to clean in a circular motion. Apply moderate pressure, but not too much, as you do not want to hurt the rubber. Rinse off the dirt in the bucket and continue mopping.

7. Rinse Thoroughly to Prevent Residue Buildup on Roof and Sidewalls

After cleaning, rinse thoroughly to remove any extra dirt and grime. Be especially mindful of the roof sides and walls to prevent residue buildup. Failing to hose down these areas properly can cause further issues.

Also, be cautious not to slip and fall off the wet roof. As previously stated, cleaning front to back is much safer. While climbing off, do not trip over the vent or air conditioner, as this may be treacherous.

8. Repeat the Technique Until the RV Roof is Clean

With regular cleanings, you should only have to clean your RV roof once. However, if you haven’t cleaned it in a while, it may take a few times. Although it can be a bit labor-intensive, it is well worth it in the long-term. Avoiding leaks and water damage is cost-effective and maintains the quality of your RV. 

9. Clean Your RV Roof at Least Four Times a Year

Being thorough and cleaning your RV roof often makes the process much more pleasant. Therefore, you should tend to your roof at least four times a year. Those who live in highly polluted areas or keep their RV under trees should clean the RV more often. Inspecting your roof also gives you the chance to fix any potential maintenance issues before they ruin the rubber.

How to Treat RV Roof After Cleaning

Treating your RV roof after cleaning is one of the most significant determinants of residue buildup. RV Roof Treatments protect against the sun and prevent oxidation. They also contain chemicals that resist contaminants like droppings from trees and animals, as well as dirt and grime.

Purchase EDPM and TPO safe protectants either online or at your local RV supply store. Inquire about products that are free of corrosive chemicals to prevent any mistakes.

Apply the roof treatment just after cleaning your RV roof. You will need about 16 to 20 ounces to cover the entire area. Spray in 3-foot by 3-foot sections and spread with a clean, damp sponge mop. Continue this process until you coat the whole roof. It needs 24 hours to air dry completely.

Conclusion

Like anything, correctly maintaining your RV increases its lifespan and prevents further issues. Protect your investment by choosing a rubber roof and giving it a routine, thorough wash. Also only choose safe, non-corrosive brushes and cleaners.

The entire cleaning process takes about 45 minutes to an hour and a half, which is much less expensive and time-consuming than repairing a water-damaged RV.
Hopefully, these 9 easy tips for cleaning your RV rubber roof have taught you how to wash your rig thoroughly. Now, get cleaning!

For more info about cleaning your RV check out these articles too!

 

Do you have any tips to add about how to clean your clean your RV Roof? Please leave your comments below. You never know but your comment may help a fellow RVer!

Can I Use Flex Seal on My RV Roof?

Can I Use Flex Seal on My RV Roof?

I have had many people ask me the question Can I Use Flex Seal on My RV Roof? In fact, I’ve asked myself that question once or twice. So, I decided to find the real answer once and for all. The short answer is – yes, you can use flex seal on your RV Roof! However, you do need to go into this with your eyes open.

Your new RV is your ticket to many grand open-road adventures. Therefore, it is essential to take good care of your RV. Proper maintenance will ensure you get many years of trouble-free travel from your investment. However, even the best RVs are susceptible to problems caused by normal wear and tear or even accidental damage.

One particularly damaging and costly repair issue for RV owners is a leaking roof. A leaky roof will quickly lead to other water damage problems and significantly decrease the resale value of your RV should you ever decide to sell it or trade it in. Therefore, the faster you can effectively stop leak in your RV roof, the better off you are, period.

Types of RV Roof Repairs

It is important to remember that there are different kinds of repairs you may need to consider depending on the situation in which you find yourself. Are you home from a recent trip and have discovered a possible problem with a roof seam. Or, are you miles from anywhere with a severe leak during a monsoon season. The situation you find yourself in my also determine what RV roof repair or sealer products are best, or even appropriate.

First, there is the permanent repair. Often this repair will be performed by an RV repair service or a dealer. It will take a reasonably long time to complete and will be quite expensive. However, if you are a do-it-yourself kind of person, there are products available to completely and permanently repair your RV’s leaking roof. Second, you have the roadside repair emergency. For example, you are staying in a remote campground in the wilds of Nevada, and a tree limb falls on your RV roof, creating a leak. A leak like this is something you need to repair right away. And, often this kind of repair will be temporary.

It is important to note that this second type of repair should not be considered permanent. It is a repair designed to fix the leak and buy you time to plan and schedule a permanent roof repair.

Emergency RV Roof Repairs

A leaking RV roof is something that you need to fix immediately. The longer a leak continues, the more water damage will occur, and the higher the cost of any future repairs will be. When you discover a leak in your RV roof, you will need a way to quickly and effectively stop the leak. And you will probably need to do this with something you can carry with you in one of your RV’s storage compartments. In a situation like this, one way to stop the leak in your RV’s roof is to apply a durable and waterproof sealant over the leaky area. There are many new rubber coating products on the market today. The question is, which might be the best suited to fix the leak in your RV. Flex Seal is an excellent option to consider. However, as with any product, Flex Seal has its limitations. And, there are some advantages and disadvantages to using this product.

Advantages of Flex Seal

Flex Seal provides a low-cost option to an otherwise costly repair. Repairing a roof is going to cost much more than using Flex Seal. It dries fast and seals leaks within minutes of being applied. Flex Seal is readily available at a range of retailers and is perfect for quick fixes while on the road until a more permanent repair can be arranged.

Disadvantages of Flex Seal

Flex Seal is a temporary fix and not a permanent solution to a leak. Flex Seal should not be used to repair a whole roof. When there’s a lot of roof area to cover, you will want to consider other options.

Four Types of Flex Seal and How to Use Them On an RV Roof

Flex Seal comes in three forms: Flex Seal Liquid, Flex Seal Spray, and Flex Seal Shot. Flex Seal Liquid and Spray both come in black, white and clear. Flex Shot comes in white and clear. The great thing is that you can use Flex Seal with many all RV roof materials.

Flex Seal Liquid

Flex Seal RV Roof ProductsFlex Seal Liquid is liquid rubber in a can and, it will stop leaks fast. Flex Seal will protect your RV’s roof surface from corrosion. It also will not melt, peel, or crack because of harsh weather conditions. Being a thick liquid, Flex Seal is incredibly versatile and can be rolled, dipped, brushed, or poured on surfaces. When it cures, you will have a waterproof layer of sturdy, flexible rubber.

Flex Seal Spray

Flex Seal Spray is the most commonly used spray-on liquid rubber sealer available. The convenient aerosol spray allows for the easy application of Flex Seal with no brushes or rollers required. However, be careful with the overspray. It can be a bit messy.

Flex Shot

Flex Shot is a perfect solution for those tight, hard-to-reach places. It is ideal for caulking around your windows or air conditioner, etc. It’s straightforward to use and will stop flowing the minute you release downward pressure on the bottle.

Flex Seal Tape

Flex Seal Tape can be applied to the leaking area of a roof before using one of the other flex seal products above. For example, the tape is perfect for a tear in your roof that could be caused by hitting a tree branch.

What Kind of RV Roofs Can Be Repaired with Flex Seal?

There are two primary materials designed and used specifically for RV rubber roofs. They are EPDM and TPO. Both TPO and EPDM are classified as rubber roofs, but they are a bit different in form and appearance.

TPO

TPO RV roofing is the most popular option for RV roofs in use today. It is a popular choice because it is inexpensive to buy and it’s white. The TPO membrane has a shiny, laminate appearance with the outer layer having a plastic look and feel to it. It can either be fitted with screws or otherwise mechanically attached. It can also be glued down. When it comes to detailed work and seams, both glue and heat can be used to create a seal.

EPDM Rubber Roofs

EPDM is a second popular option for RV roofing. It differs from TPO in several ways. EPDM is a synthetic rubber material which can be vulcanized. This means it can be dried and cured to form sheets. Alternatively, you can also use EPDM in its un-vulcanized form. In this form, it’ll never completely solidify. It’s relatively common to use both EDPM types together for an RV roof. Vulcanized EPDM would be used for the roof membrane, while non-vulcanized EPDM can be used for any flashing or detail work. EPDM rubber roofs are usually maintenance-free for about ten years, but they will oxidize over time.

Fiberglass Roofs

Fiberglass is becoming a common RV roof material as well. Fiberglass RV roofs, like EPDM roofs, will oxidize over time. Newer RVs with fiberglass roofs have a clear coat finish on them which does slow down the oxidation of your RV’s roof.

Metal RV Roofs

Metal was the preferred RV roofing material until TPO and EPDM showed up on the scene. Flex Seal will adhere to almost any surface including wood, metal, aluminum, plastic, fiberglass, rubber, or vinyl or just about any dry (or even wet) surface. It does work best on dry surfaces, but if you are dealing with a leak during rainy weather, you can still stop the leak.

How to Use Flex Seal 

A leak in any of these RV roof materials can be repaired using Flex Seal. Again, the important thing while on the road is to stop the leak and prevent further water damage. Flex Seal is an excellent product for that purpose. Once you have completed your trip and you are in a position to schedule and complete a more permanent repair, you should go ahead and do so. Flex Seal is an excellent temporary fix for your water leak, but it is not a permanent repair.

Does Flex Seal Work as Well as Dicor Lap Sealant?

Dicor Lap Sealant is another often recommended option to repair RV roof leaks. Dicor Lap Sealant is a self-leveling compound which is applied in a bead that will then spread and seal the leak. By most accounts, Dicor Lap Sealant works well and is an excellent product. The drawbacks are that Dicor Lap Sealant requires careful prep work and the proper temperature conditions to level and seal properly. This prep work and ideal temperature condition may not always be possible or available during an emergency repair while touring the Alaskan wilderness or a desert in the Southwest.

You can find various opinions on both Flex Seal and Dicor Lap Sealant as to these products performance and reliability. When you have the time and right tools to properly prepare the leaking area for repair and the right temperature to allow Dicor Lap Sealant to level and seal the leak, it is indeed the better product. However, when you are pulled off on the shoulder of the Trans-Canada Highway with a leaky RV roof, and the storm clouds are brewing, having a few cans of Flex Seal Spray in one of your storage compartments might be just the thing you need.

What Have We Decided About Flex Seal RV Roof Repairs?

Many RVer’s have used Flex Seal for repairing leaks in their RVs. From reading RV forums, it is clear that some were very happy with the results while others had nothing good to say. Relying on Flex Seal as a permanent solution to a leaky RV roof may not be a good idea. It could be argued that Flex Seal is not designed for RV roof repairs. However, many of the negative reviews seem to stem from those expecting Flex Seal to be a permanent repair.

The ready availability of Flex Seal at major retailers, as-seen-onTV stores, and online, makes it very easy to keep a few cans of Flex Seal Liquid, Spray, or Shot on hand for emergencies. It might not hurt to have a roll of the tape as well. Flex Seal is also relatively inexpensive. You can apply it on almost any surface, in cold weather, hot weather, on dry surfaces, and wet surfaces. It does stop leaks and will certainly get you to a point where you have the time to shop for a more permanent roof repair for your RV.

Personally, I keep a roll of Eterna Bond Tape, Dicor Self Leveling Lap Sealant Caulk and another tube of Dicor Non Sag Lap Sealant Caulk on board my RV for any emergency repairs I have to make. I’ve used flex seal and although I think it worked, it was really hard to work with. Have you used Flex Seal to make a repair on your RV Roof? Please share your comments about it below. You never know but your comment could help a fellow RVer! Check out some of our other articles about RV roofs and repairs below:

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RV Camping in Humboldt Redwoods State Park

RV Camping in Humboldt Redwoods State Park

RV Camping in Humboldt Redwoods State Forest is a great way to see the giant redwoods in Northern California. There is a lot to do and see here from driving along the Avenue of the Giants to taking in all that nature has to offer. Including seeing some of the black bears in the area.

This article provides a good review of Humboldt Redwoods State Park and everything you need to know for a great RV camping trip!

Which Campgrounds in Humboldt Redwoods State Park accommodate RVs?

There are three developed campgrounds in Humboldt Redwoods State Park that can accommodate RVs and trailers. The maximum length for RVs and trailers at all campgrounds is 24 feet. Not all campsites can accommodate trailers and RVs so be sure to check the length requirements of each site when you book.

If your rig is too large for the park campgrounds, there are private campgrounds located just outside of the park. A few of these parks are along the famous Avenue of the Giants. The rates at these locations range from $45-69 per night for full hookups.

Two campgrounds close to Humboldt Redwoods that can accommodate larger rigs are Giant Redwoods RV and Camp Destination and Ancient Redwoods RV Park.

Are Reservations Needed?

Camping in Humboldt Redwoods is popular, and reservations are required. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance and it is highly recommended that you book early. To reserve, call (800) 444-PARK (7275) or book online at http://www.reservecalifornia.com Please note that reservations cannot be made at the park.

Are There Hookups at the Campgrounds?

There are no electrical or water/sewer hookups in any of the campgrounds within the park. Generators are allowed for daytime use between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. All developed campgrounds all have flush toilets and coin-operated showers. Potable water is also available.

Each campsite has a fire ring and picnic table. While there are no dump stations in the park, there is a Shell Gas Station in Fortuna with a dump station.

Camping in Bear Country

Black bears live throughout the Humboldt Redwoods so proper precautions must be taken with food. Bear lockers are provided at each campsite. Food in your hard-sided travel trailer or RV is permitted, but there should be no food in any tents or vehicles. If you have a pop-up camper you will need to store your food and scented items in the bear lockers.

Keep in mind that these precautions are taken to protect the bears and prevent them from becoming used to human food. Negative interactions between bears and humans are extremely rare in California. If you are concerned, speak with the ranger when you arrive regarding bear activity in the area.

Which Campground is Right for You?

Albee Creek Campground

Albee Creek Campground Humboldt Redwoods State ParkLocated just a few miles away from the Avenue of the Giants, Albee Creek is a quiet, 40-site campground that is very popular.

The sites are located in either a second growth redwood forest or an open, sunny meadow. If you prefer a shady spot instead of a sunny one, be sure to check out the images of each campsite provided when booking.

Albee Creek provides both trail and creek access. It is very close to the Rockefeller Grove of Redwoods. Because it is not on the Avenue of Giants, it is quieter than the campgrounds at Burlington and Hidden Springs. Keep in mind that this campground is only open mid-May through mid-October and is not always staffed.

Albee Creek Campground Map: https://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/425/files/albee%20creek%20map.pdf

Burlington Campground

Burlington Campground Humboldt Redwoods State ParkBurlington Campground is centrally located within the park in the middle of old growth redwoods. It is very convenient to activities and trails. The campground has 57 sites in old and second growth redwoods and is adjacent to the Visitor’s Center and the Avenue of the Giants.

Because it is alongside the main road through the park, it is not as quiet as Albee Springs. If this is a concern, select a site on the far side of the campground, away from the road.

During the summer months, the Visitor’s Center offers numerous ranger talks, hikes, and programs that are all just a short walk from your campsite. A small creek wraps around the park and there is a nature trail that leads to the river for swimming and fishing. A seasonal bridge during the summer months gives you direct access to more trails across the river.

While Burlington is a great spot for smaller RVs, campers, and tents, the access road into the campground has many tight turns around the trees and parking can be quite challenging depending on the site. If you have limited experience parking your travel trailer or RV, you may want to consider one of the other campgrounds.

Burlington Campground Map: https://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/425/files/burlington%20map.pdf

Hidden Springs Campground

Hidden Springs Campground Humboldt Redwoods State ParkLike Burlington Campground, Hidden Springs Campground is located along the Avenue of the Giants. There are 154 campsites set among the trees, making it the largest campground in the park.

There are many hiking trails around the campground and a swimming hole is nearby. Hidden Springs Campground is only 5 miles from the Visitor Center making it convenient for activities.

The campground is only open during the summer months, beginning in early May and closing after Labor Day weekend.

The campground loops are on a hillside and have many twists and turns that may be a challenge. Each campsite is unique and private, making for a lovely stay in the redwoods.

Hidden Springs Campground Map: https://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/425/files/hidden%20springs%20map.pdf

What is the Weather Like in Humboldt Redwoods State Park?

Humboldt Redwoods is open year round with highs in the 50s during the winter months and 70s to 80s during the summer. Even during the summer, cooler weather is possible and temperatures can vary significantly throughout the day. While most rainfall occurs during the winter and spring, plan for rain no matter what time of year you visit.

Average Tempertures and Precipitation Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Best Time of Year to Visit Humboldt Redwoods State Park

The summer is the best (and busiest) time to visit the Redwoods. Temperatures are pleasant and you can cool off on hot summer days with a dip in the crystal clear Eel River.

July and August are the busiest months in the park. A visit in May, June or September will allow for you to enjoy the warm weather without as many crowds.

If you would like to have the park to yourself and don’t mind cooler weather and a bit of rain, fall is a pleasant time of year to visit the area.

The Avenue of the Giants

The main attraction at Humboldt Redwoods State Park is the Avenue of the Giants. This 32-mile drive takes you through one of the most well protected old growth redwood forests in the world.

Plan for several hours, or even an entire day to complete this drive as there is so much to do along the way.

Along the Avenue are many great spots to picnic, hike, or take a dip in the lovely Eel River. Pick up a park map at the Visitor’s Center to help you find these spots. Restaurants, inns, and private RV parks are also located along the sections of the route that are outside of the state park.

Outside of the park, you will find many tourist attractions such as the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree in Leggett, the One Log House Gift Shop and Chapman’s Gem, Mineral Shop and Museum. You can also pick up redwood products such as carvings, boxes, furniture, and clocks.

Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree

Drive Through Tree Humboldt Redwoods State ParkThis attraction has been popular with visitors to the area since it opened in 1937. A $10 admission fee gives you access to a drive through a redwood grove and the chance to have your photo taken with the drive-thru tree. There is also a gift shop, picnic area, and a few hiking trails.

Most vehicles will fit through the tree but if you are towing your trailer or driving your motorhome you will need to park in the available lot. You can still have your photo made with the tree. You can also ask the employees at the entrance if your vehicle will fit through the tree.

 

One Log House Gift Shop

This unique stop is, well, a one log house! The café and gift shop are housed in a huge redwood log that is over 7 foot high and 32 feet long. Here you can pick up redwood crafts along with coffee, a smoothie or a sandwich. It definitely makes a great stop for a one of a kind photograph.

Chapman’s Gem, Mineral Shop and Museum

This family museum and store has been popular with travelers to the area for many years. The free museum contains a vast collection of gems and minerals collected by the Chapman family.

The gems and minerals are from all over the world, with many from the local area. You can also take home your own treasure from the shop at the museum.

Popular Day Trips

Ferndale

This quaint Victorian town is only 21 miles north of the Avenue. Many people visit to take in the charming architecture. There are also many wonderful antique stores, art galleries, and shops.

Trees of Mystery

The Trees of Mystery is a popular day trip from the Humboldt Redwoods area. Located 100 miles north of the Avenue, this stop has a little bit of everything! From a huge statue of Paul Bunyan and Babe to hiking trails, gift shops, and the famous gondola ride. There is also a café and motel.

A ride on the gondola over the redwoods and up to the observation deck is free with your admission. This is the highlight of the attraction and makes for a memorable experience in the redwoods.

Admission is $18 for adults, $14 for seniors and $9 for kids 6 and up. Children 5 and under are free. There is also RV parking available.

How Much Does it Cost to RV Camp at Humboldt Redwoods?

All campsites in the Humboldt Redwoods are $35 per night. This includes one vehicle. If you have additional vehicles there is an $8 fee. Additional vehicles may not be able to park at your campsite due to space limitations.

Things to Do in the Humboldt Redwoods

Interpretive Visitors Center

The Visitors Center is a great place to begin your time in the park. It is well staffed with volunteers on hand to answer your questions. They can also lead you to the best trails, swimming holes, and attractions based on your needs.

The Center has a variety of exhibits on the wildlife and geography of the area along with a gift shop. They also offer ranger talks, programs, and ranger-led hikes.

Founders Grove

Located just off of the Avenue of Giants, the Founders Grove features some of the biggest trees in the park. A 1.3-mile trail takes you through this impressive grove. You can also view the fallen 362-foot Dyerville Giant. This trail gets crowded so try to visit early in the day to beat the crowds.

The Rockefeller Loop

This short hike (.7 miles) winds through some of the oldest trees in the park. It is also less crowded than the popular Founders Grove trail. If you are traveling with children, stop by the Visitor’s Center to pick up a scavenger hunt activity to complete on the trail.

Federation of Women’s Clubs Grove

This quiet area features hiking trails, a picnic area, restrooms and excellent river access for swimming. The river is calm here and great for children. This section of the river is also popular for tubing.

RV Camping Tips for Humboldt Redwoods State Park

If you need cell service during your stay, keep in mind that service is unreliable in much of the park. It is possible to make calls in many locations while other areas have no service. Pay phones are located at each campground.

While there are markets in the area of the park, the nearest supermarkets are located in Redway and Fortuna. Miranda Market is a well-stocked market with reasonable prices.

Dogs are not allowed on trails within the park and must stay within developed areas such as the campgrounds.

You can take your 4WD vehicles on the river bars within the park. Be sure to check out the gravel trails to the river bars before driving down as many vehicles get stuck in the rocks.

Poison Oak is present throughout the area, including at many of the campsites. Educate your family and make sure everyone knows to avoid this plant.

Mosquitos are active during the summer months. Bring your mosquito repellent and a citronella candle.

Park Map: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=24250

Park Map: https://humboldtredwoods.org/map

There is a nice PDF Topography map here: https://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/425/files/HumboldtRedwoodsSP_WebBrochure2014.pdf

Have you ever gone RV camping in Humboldt Redwoods State Park and have any great sights to see or tips to share? Please leave your comment below! You never know but your comment could help a fellow RVer!

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Do I Need Wheel Chocks for an RV or Travel Trailer?

Do I Need Wheel Chocks for an RV or Travel Trailer?

Wheel chocks are necessary for your RV or travel trailer to keep them from rolling away. Parking brakes work well to keep your rig stable, but they are not reliable on their own. Instead, they are much less likely to fail when used in combination with chocks.

RV wheel chocks are sturdy wedges that fit right under your tires. They come in many materials, sizes, and shapes, giving buyers many options.

While there are dozens to choose from, they all serve one essential purpose – to prevent damage or injury. Read on to learn about wheel chocks and how to use them, so you can decide which type works best for you.

Do I Need Wheel Chocks for My RV?

Whether you are at a campground or in your driveway, always use wheel chocks for your RV. They are reasonably priced and easy to use, making them a preferable choice.

Using chocks is beneficial for a few reasons. First, they keep the vehicle from slipping. Second, they prevent excess movement while walking inside the cabin.

Although you should always use wheel chocks when parked, they are especially important when on uneven, or steep surfaces. Use wheel chocks in combination with air brakes, as they work best together.

Remember that it only takes one quick moment for your RV to lose its grip and cause an accident. Taking as many safety precautions as possible will prevent these tragedies from occurring.

Wheel chocks also help to secure the RV while you are parked. Excess motion causes frustration when you have to tie things down all the time. Chocks help solve this issue by locking the body in place. Note that they will not stop it from swaying side to side but they will limit most of the back and forth movement.

While using wheel chocks when you have a parking brake may seem silly, they will make your stay much more safe and secure. Taking a few extra moments to put them in will pay off in the long run.

Do I Need Wheel Chocks for My Camper Trailer or 5th Wheel?

Chocking your camper trailer or 5th wheel is especially important since there is no parking brake to keep them from rolling.

Even when attached to a vehicle, use chocks whenever the unit is parked. The emergency brake on a car or truck is not strong enough to keep your rig from detaching and heading downhill. To avoid losing both your camper and vehicle take these simple preventative measures.

Like an RV, wheel chocks will stabilize your trailer and prevent excess movement while you’re inside. Uneven gravel and steep terrains will make this issue much worse; therefore, only parking on smooth, flat ground will help a lot.

Although campgrounds try to give campers a level campsite, you should always plan for unlevel conditions. If you must park on a slope or a rough terrain, you want to be positive your chocks are reliable. Even when you have properly secured your chocks, stay extra cautious, and take necessary measures to guarantee safety.

Spending a few extra dollars before is much better than owing thousands of dollars in damages later. Purchase heavy duty wheel chocks for your travel trailer or 5th wheel as soon as possible to avoid severe consequences.

How Do You Use RV Wheel Chocks?

To learn how you use RV wheel chocks, you must understand their purpose. These small ramps oppose the force against your tires to keep it steady. For instance, if you are on an incline, the chock will prevent gravity from moving the wheels downward. In turn, the trailer cannot move, giving it stability.

RV Wheel ChockTry your hardest to park on only pavement and concrete since these surfaces have the most friction for the chocks. And, if possible, park on the flattest areas to reduce the pressure against the tires.

Loose dirt or gravel, on the other hand, makes for a tricky situation. Both the chocks and RV or trailer are much more likely to skid on these terrains. Wet or icy conditions will also pose a threat since the unit can slip or slide. Keep your camper in wind-protected areas, such as those surrounded by trees or buildings. Strong wind gusts can cause excess sway and may throw the RV off balance.

Installing your wheel chocks is relatively simple whether you are camping or storing your RV. First, park in a secure location and put on the emergency brake. Then, securely place the chocks to the tire against the incline. For example, if your front end is slanting downward, then place them in front of the tires. Conversely, if the back end is on a slope, put them behind the wheels. Be sure to place chocks in the center of the rubber, as putting them on the sides will lessen their ability to lock the RV into place.

For travel trailers or fifth wheels, follow a similar procedure. Move your vehicle into the desired area, put it into park, and turn on the emergency brake. Next, install the chocks using the process stated above. You may detach your vehicle and drive away once you complete this step.

How Many Wheel Chocks are Required for an RV or Travel Trailer?

Weight and incline grade determine how many wheel chocks you need for your RV. Smaller RVs may only need one or two. But larger motorhomes may actually require four. Refer to your owner’s manual for specifics, as it should give you more insight.

Nonetheless, heavier vehicles need more support. RVs and heavy trailers fall into this category. Therefore, you should use one chock per tire to make sure it does not roll away. Using four chocks also secures both the front and back end to limit movement.

For smaller trailers or fifth wheels, you may be able to get away with two chocks. However, you should read the guidelines from your owner’s manual for more information. If you only use two chocks, be confident that they are sturdy and secure.

Always make sure the wheel chock is snug against the tire to reduce the chance for slipping or sliding. Remember that using more chocks correlates with better safety.

Types of Wheel Chocks

Choosing the right type of wheel chock for your RV is crucial. For example, the wheel may roll over a chock that is too small. Likewise, a low-quality, plastic chock can easily break from the weight of the rig. To prevent these dangerous situations, purchase only the best chocks for your unit.

Do not be fooled into buying plastic chocks. Although typically cheaper, they are also more likely to fail due to wear and breakage. Spending a little more here goes a long way, as sturdier RV chocks will both work better and last longer.

Only purchase chocks that are specific to your motorhome or trailer to guarantee protection. Furthermore, choosing durable materials like aluminum and rubber makes them more dependable.

Aluminum does not rust and will not wear over time. These chocks will not break or bend, no matter the weather. They also usually have metal teeth on the bottom to better grip the ground and further secure your RV.

Rubber and synthetic is also a great alternative with its resistance to damage from weather and erosion. Synthetic material resists corrosion from oils and chemicals, as well. They are well worth the cost, as they last longer than any other type of chock.

Chock shape is another factor to consider. Some chocks are curved and fit to the exact shape of the tire. Others have a pyramid design with a bottom lip and act as a wedge between the wheel and the ground.

The weight of your RV and tire size will determine the right chocks for you. To get an idea of the dimensions, first, measure the height of your tire. Divide this number by four, and select your chocks based upon this size. Packaging will specify which vehicles they accommodate, so abide by these details when purchasing.

What About X Chocks?

X ChocksX Chocks are used between the tires of an RV with two sets of tires. The X-chock fits between the tires and then it is tightened so it expands and creates pressure against the tires. However, the manufacturers of x chocks say not to use them as wheel chocks for your trailer which means they will not prevent your trailer from moving down a slope. They are really just meant to limit the movement of the trailer or 5th wheel while you are walking around inside.

However, some people say they have used them with no other chocks without having any problems. I’m guessing they probably park on the most level surface they could find. To me, it’s just not worth the risk. I think wheel chocks are the safest way to go.

It only takes the one time for the x chocks to slip and your camper trailer to roll and cause damage or worse yet, hurt someone.

DIY RV Wheel Chocks

Homemade wheel chocks are a temporary solution when you are in a pinch. They should never be a permanent solution, however. Only those who have experience with DIY RV wheel chocks should make their own to prevent damage or injury.

Furthermore, many RVers who use wooden blocks are unaware of the dangers of using them. Unlike other sturdy materials, wood wears away after time. Water and heat damage are especially corrosive, which may result in breakage and bending. And if the wood snaps, there is a high chance your RV will lose its balance.

Despite this risk, some still prefer DIY RV wheel chocks. If you must make your own, then follow these simple guidelines to make them as safe and sturdy as possible.

For standard 15-inch tires, use a 4x4 treated wood piece that is approximately 12 inches long. Typically, a 45-degree wedge angle will suffice, but for an exact measurement use your tire angle as a reference. Mark the wood, then use a handsaw or electric saw to cut along this line.

To help you better pull the wheel chocks out, attaching rope may be helpful. You can do this by screwing a metal loop into the wood and weaving rope through it. Or you can staple the rope and loop it around the chock.

Now, place your homemade chocks under your tires and you’re ready to go!

Can I Use Leveling Blocks and Wheel Chocks at the Same Time?

Using leveling blocks improves your camping experience by leveling out your RV or travel trailer. For example, you might find yourself in a position where it’s difficult to keep your balance when walking in your RV. This situation will get old quickly and leave you very frustrated.

An unlevel RV or trailer is annoying, but also damaging. Uneven grounds will cause your absorption refrigerator to sit at an angle. If this occurs, the liquid inside the fridge will not reach the area needed to cool it down. In this case, your food may spoil, or the unit may break from overheating.

To fix this issue, use leveling blocks in tandem with wheel chocks. Together, they will level the unit and prevent it from rolling away. Some sites or parking lots appear level even though they are not. Therefore, you should always use both leveling blocks and wheel chocks when parking to promote safety.

Tri Lynx Wheel Chocks and BlocksLeveling blocks are easy to use and require very few tools depending on the kind you purchase. Again, always use store brand blocks rather than making them yourself to guarantee their safety and ability.

We use Tri-Lynx Leveling blocks and Tri-Lynx wheel chocks for our RV. They are made to fit together so we can very easily level and chock our RV in place. Plus they are bright orange so there is less chance we will forget them when we break camp and drive away. You can either click the links here in the article or check them out on our Gear page for more info but we think they are great products and highly recommend that you use them too.

Conclusion

Letting your rig slip away can cause irreplaceable damage or injury. RV wheel chocks ensure safety for both you and those around you. Spending an extra few minutes to put in and take out your chocks is more than worthwhile. They are both cheap and easy-to-use, making them a simple solution to a potentially catastrophic situation.

Do you use wheel chocks? Or do you use x chocks with or without regular wheel chocks? Please leave a comment below.

For more information check out our helpful articles below:

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