Do RVs break down a lot? (9 examples + how to fix)

In this blog post, we will discuss: Do RVs break down a lot? We will explain what are the most common RV breakdowns, why it happens and how to fix the issue in the shortest time possible. 

Do RVs break down a lot?

RVs certainly break down a lot compared to cars or static caravans, but this will mainly depend on how well you maintain your RV and whether you service it yearly or not. Below we will discuss the most common RV breakdowns and explain why it happens and how to fix it.  

We will explain how to deal with the following:

  1. RV mechanical breakdowns;
  2. RV electrical failures;
  3. RV gas outages;
  4. And various other RV breakdowns.

RV common mechanical breakdowns

  1. RV burst tires – The right front tire of the RV has burst and cannot be repaired.  This problem occurs especially in the event of over-inflation or in the event of under-inflation. The tread dimension carcass heats up in both cases and the inside edges of the tire crack, causing it to burst.

The actions to take in this case are very simple: check the pressure often, that is to say, at least once a week or before any departure, monitor the sidewalls of the tire because the visual condition largely indicates how the tire is doing and behaving.

  1. Switching off the immobilizer – The vehicle is equipped with a safety switch. This intervenes in the event of a shock. It immediately cuts off the fuel supply causing the vehicle to stop and triggering the warnings. This shut-off thus prevents the dispersion of fuel in the event of a rupture of the fuel supply piping, which could cause a fire to start in the event of sparks.

The key must be removed immediately from the ignition to prevent the engine battery from discharging. You must reset the switch by pressing it. Most of the time, this switch is located on the right side of the vehicle and more particularly in the hatch located on the ground under the glove box. 

CAUTION: if, after the impact, you smell fuel or if leaks appear from the fuel supply, the safety switch must not be activated, as this could cause a risk of fire.

RV electrical failures

  1. More current in the RV – This problem sometimes arises because the new generation of motorhomes is loaded with electronics and safety triggers that at the slightest warning of an overvoltage trip to protect the charging equipment and the components that operate the vehicle.

 It is often sufficient to activate the battery switch and switch it on again for the fault to disappear.

  1. The alarm won’t stop – This problem can occur without warning at any time. Prolonged non-use of the motorhome as well as the humidity and the particularly generous cold this winter seize the springs and oxidize the contactors.

Since you take so much care of your motorhome, then don’t forget any detail. Do not hesitate to release regularly all contactors, locks, hinges, etc., in contact with the outside. Your RV will thank you and it will save you a lot of hassle.

RV gas outages

  1. Faulty gas circuit – This problem occurs very rarely in fact. In this specific case, the customer is in a country where it is very cold at night, the temperatures can indeed be negative and the immobility of the vehicle and of the gas in the cylinder causes the gas to freeze in the pipe directly in contact with the regulator. 

As the temperatures do not rise, a plug of ice forms. The gas is already compressed to be liquefied and is already at -15 ° in the bottle. The weak stream of gas that still passes through the pipes is not enough to supply the boiler and the fridge which is very energy-intensive.

The solution is very simple but to be carried out with great care. Disassemble the lyre from the bottle side and then let some gas escape by opening the bottle slightly and being very careful not to be near a flame or a heat source such as a cigarette, gas lighter, candle, etc.… If there is no lighting in this place, a torch is more suitable for this type of manipulation. As soon as the ice plug is cleared, replace the lyre and everything should work normally.

  1. Smell of gas in the RV – This concern is systematic as soon as the fridge operates with the wintering grids in place. Without ventilation of the fridge and the aggregate through the external grids, combustion produces burnt gases that no longer escape to the outside but inside the RV. 

When using your refrigerator, all you need to do to remedy this problem is to remove the winter storage shelves. As a result, the burnt gases will be attracted naturally to the outside of the fridge and will no longer inconvenience the occupants of the motorhome. Also, your refrigerator will be at its peak performance.

  1. Water pump faults – In general, water pumps that are submerged or external to the clean water tank heat up and release the soul when they are running and your tank is empty. 

If the water pump is not working, it is either the switch that is off at the control panel, the fuse that is blown, or the electrical connections to the pump that are oxidized, improperly engaged or disconnected.

Regularly clean the pump filter which becomes clogged with lime. This essential maintenance will only take you a few minutes. In order to never be caught off guard, always have a replacement pump in reserve. It is very easy to change and you will be able to fully enjoy your RV. Always carry spare fuses.

  1. Blocked drop-down bed  – This problem occurs when the stop contacts at the bottom of the stop are set too sensitive or when the battery voltage is too far down. This also happens as soon as the electronic memory of the bed is deprogrammed.

The actions to remedy this problem are simple: all you have to do is disconnect the system from the electricity by activating the key and putting it back on again, this resets the original factory settings.

RV various breakdowns

  1.  Refuelling the clean water tank – To remedy this, there aren’t too many solutions. The only thing would be to put a sticker on the cap and a small arrow with clean water written on it, or else the water nozzle should be smaller than that of the fuel pump gun. 

To undo the error, after emptying the diesel, fill the tank with clean water and add a disinfectant detergent to clean and remove the fatty layer left by the diesel on the walls, drive for 30 minutes with the motorhome to stir the mixture, repeat the operation 3 times, then the same operation with a mixture of water and white vinegar, finally drain and rinse the tank thoroughly.

  1. Cannot update TV channels – Updates to TV channels are very frequent (new programs). If you decline the update, you will no longer have access to your TV channels. The system was designed that way.

When a suggested update is displayed on the screen, press the OK key to validate and then wait a few minutes for the updates to be installed. Then your TV will work as before.

Final thoughts

To prevent any RV breakdowns, it is important to properly maintain and clean your RV.  As a general rule, you should service a motorhome at least once a year or every 10,000 kilometres (whichever comes first). Even if your motorhome has been idle for months, you should still give it the attention it needs. Annual maintenance will help ensure that your next family camping trip is damage-free and stress-free.

During the annual technical inspection of motorhomes, 133 control points are checked in order to determine their general and mechanical condition. Here is the list of the nine functions that are checked in approved centres:

  • vehicle identification (vehicle documents, license plate, etc.)
  • braking devices (pads, discs, etc.)
  • the steering components (steering wheel, box, etc.)
  • visibility elements (windshield, mirrors, etc.)
  • lights, reflective devices and electrical equipment (including specific equipment for electric and hybrid engines)
  • axles, wheels, tires, suspensions,
  • the chassis and its various accessories,
  • other safety equipment (seat belts, horn, etc.)
  • the level of nuisance (pollution, noise emission, etc.).

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any suggestions, or questions about maintaining an RV and fixing the most common issues. 


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