Have you ever wondered why certain things work the way they do on your RV? At first glance, these are pretty annoying features. But they are really RV safety features.
So stop being annoyed by these features and learn to embrace them!
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Last weekend, we were watching football when a new RV neighbor came over asking if we knew anything about RV awnings.
See, he had just bought an RV, driven 9 hours from home and couldn’t get the RV awning to come in.
All of the RV owners jumped up to go try to help a fellow RVer with his awning. Turns out, the problem wasn’t just the awning.
But as we troubleshooted the issues with the new RV owner, we started talking about annoying things that turn out to be safety features in your RV.
Here are some of the RV safety features that we discussed that many RV newbies may not know.
Awning Can’t Be Moved If The Key is in the Ignition
The RV awning can’t be moved when the ignition is on.
This RV safety feature is to stop you from unrolling the awning while you are driving. Because that would be bad.
You also can’t roll the awning up if the key is in the ignition. You’ll need to cut off the engine before moving the awning.
This was actually the first thing that RV safety feature that came up in our discussions with the new RV owner. When we first got over to his RV, the engine was running. He didn’t know that the awning wouldn’t work with the engine running.
Unfortunately, that didn’t actually solve the problem of him getting the awning in. Turns out, he had the engine on because the electronic brain for the house systems kept rebooting. There was definitely something wrong with his electrical system (the house batteries were reading 0 volts).
See Also: Best RV Features for Tailgating RVs
Slides Won’t Work Unless Key is in the Ignition
Meanwhile, you can’t pull out or in your slides unless there is a key in the ignition and it’s turned on or to accessory.
Moving slides can result in some big expensive mistakes if you aren’t paying attention. And perhaps something worse, like injury or death.
Think about it, if a kid decides to play with switches and pushes the slide out. Perhaps they get stuck behind some woodwork and injury.
More likely though, you’ll be in a rush and start to pull the slides in without checking your surroundings for things that might be blocking the slide’s path.
Beep, Beep Goes the Jack Alarm
When you put the key in the ignition when you are first starting to pack up from your tailgate, the beeping will get real annoying, real fast.
This is another RV safety feature. It tells you that your jacks are extended.
Because you don’t want to start to drive off with your jacks extended – that would cause major damage to your RVs.
It is highly annoying, particularly for my dog, as I pull in the slides and then raise the jacks before I am ready to leave. And that whole process can take some time since I have four slides on my Tiffin that all have to be pulled in.
See Also: Make Your Own RV Jack Pads
Steps Won’t Stay Down
While we are talking about keys in the ignition, have you noticed that even if you have the steps in the off position that they will always come in when you turn the ignition on?
This is another safety feature to make sure that you don’t drive off with the steps down.
Because how much would it suck if you tore up the stairs because you forgot to retract them before you drove off?
PS Add some reflective tape to the edges of your steps so that you can better see them in low light conditions (like when you forget to turn on the porch lights before you leave for a late game).
This Mylar Tape is what I used on the edges of the steps in the picture. It just happens to match with the colors of the RV paint scheme.
TVs Might Not Work While Driving
Passengers may want to watch TV while you are driving the RV down the road.
But often, the main TV over the driver won’t work. And this may be the only TV that is viewable with slides in.
This is another RV safety feature, this time designed to reduce driver distraction.
Because there is nothing quite like a distracted RV driver.
RV Basement Door for Propane Tank Won’t Lock
All of my RV basement doors lock. All except one – the propane door.
And the propane tank doesn’t take up the whole bay.
There is space over the propane tank that is a nice pass through storage space where I can put the folding tailgate tables, the collapsible dog pen, the Genturi, and the flag poles.
But it doesn’t lock. This is so that you can always shut off the propane, even in an emergency and if you don’t have the keys.
I’m sure the firemen really appreciate this if you get in an accident while driving the RV.
Generator Will Cut Off When Gas Tank is Quarter Full
So you are out boondocking and your generator stops working. One of the first things to check will be your fuel level.
Once the fuel gets to less than one quarter of a tank full, the generator will automatically cut-off.
This RV safety feature is designed so that you’ll typically have fuel to get out of your tailgate or boondocking location and get to the gas station.
Because how awful would it be if your RV ran out of gas in the middle of a national forest? Or a tailgating field?
At best, it would be embarrassing.
More than likely, you’ll pay a hefty bill for tow service or to bring you gas. And since our rigs aren’t exactly known to be the most fuel efficient, the Roadside Assistance will have to bring you a lot of gas (not the typical one or two gallons that they will bring for a car that runs out of gas).
Can you hear the cha-ching from the roadside service guys yet?
Water Drains When Driving
Ever notice that your fresh water will drain a bit while you are driving?
The water is actually coming out the overflow drain.
This small tube is designed to stop you from overfilling your fresh water tank and then flooding your RV.
The downside is that when you are driving or are sitting on a slope, you could loose a lot of fresh water. You’ll want to get your rig level ASAP to conserve all your fresh water.
And while I have heard of several people that will put shut-off valves on the overflow pipes, I highly discourage you from altering these safety features. After all, what happens when you forget that you have them closed when you are filling up and you overfill your tank? That water has to go somewhere and it is likely that you’ll do damage to your RV.
What Other RV Safety Features Do You Find Annoying?
Comment below with other RV safety features that you find annoying but actually provide a lot of useful safety considerations.
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