Don’t let anyone lull you into believing that your RV’s batteries will be ok if you leave them in the RV over the winter months. When we parked our RV for the winter (wish we could have driven it to the southern states instead), I had falsely assumed that the batteries that are part of the power system for the RV’s living area would be pretty much ok because they would still be connected to the solar panel on the roof.

I had chatted with several people and many had mentioned that the dark color of the solar panel would keep snow melting and the trickle of power that the panel would create would keeps the batteries topped up.

Boy was I wrong. And it’s looking like it will be an expensive mistake too. You see, during the summer, I had discovered that the two 6volt batteries that are part of the power system for the coach were almost completely shot. I ponied up for the cost of two new batteries in the tune of about $360.

Well, I came to the RV because I wanted to check up on it and found these two brand new batteries completely frozen! What happened? As it turns out, the coach part of the RV will draw a little bit of power from the batteries on a continue basis. Almost like a phantom power draw. I was able to thaw the batteries and put a charge back into them, but will they last? I”m not too sure. I’ll be testing in the next couple of weeks with a clip on 12v lamp to see how long it lights the lamp before killing the battery. Knowing the current draw and what the battery should supply will be a good starting ground.

Now considering the conditions at the RV, as it turns out, if snow does get on the solar panel, it doesn’t create enough juice to counteract this phantom power draw. I know this for sure as I had a 12 volt deep cycle battery in the RV as well that was disconnected. This battery fared very well even though it received no charge and the temperatures dipped to -30 degrees Centigrade.

So, my recommendation to you is at the very least, disconnect the batteries. I think though, from reading on different battery maintenance sites, leaving batteries disconnected in cold weather can result in dramatically shorten lifespans for the batteries as well.

What I’ve done now is I pull the batteries from the RV and bring them back to my garage. I’ve got a spot on my work bench where I’ve got a trickle charger running and I connect the batteries to it for a couple of days once per month. I’ve found that the temperature that is just above freezing and the trickle charge is keeping the batteries completely topped up.

Well, one good thing in regards to batteries have cropped up. Since the two new batteries purchased last summer have been damaged, they may not be any good for the long term – that’s yet to be determined. I’ve seen at Costco that they’ve got the 6 volt golf cart batteries for sale again and they are pretty inexpensive in comparison to what I purchased last summer. About the same capacity too.

So take my advice and do yourself a favor. At the very least, disconnect the batteries. For real guarantees that your batteries will be ok in the spring, remove them and bring them into your garage and trickle charge them every couple of months. Oh and be sure to use black tape to tape up the positive battery posts while the batteries are removed if you do have a solar panel. Leaving an exposed positive terminal that could short out to ground could damage your solar panel, as it can push just a few amps down the pipe in sunny weather!

 

It’s currently mid March and things are starting to warm up. Having an RV for the first year has taught me a ton of great lessons when it comes to owning one.

Let me run through what you should be looking into at this time of year, so you can be prepared for when the season is in full swing and I’ll provide another post in the near future on some of the important lessons I learnt over the winter!

Get Ready Now

Now is the time to take a look at your RV and decide what needs to be done for this summer’s fun. Let me use our RV for a perfect example. It’s easy to forget what needs to be repaired after the season has come and gone and a winter has passed by as well.

Here’s the short list of things that need to be done for us:

  • Repair the weather strip around the driver’s window
  • Repair some of the screws holding in the window decorations
  • Fix the passenger blind..
  • Wash the curtains in the RV.
  • Do yearly checks for critters that may have entered into places they shouldn’t be, such as the fridge header core, and other nooks and crannies.

So we don’t have a lot. One thing on the list, the weather strip repair should be fixed before the warm weather returns. Why? Glass repair companies are more then willing to get in there and fix these problems while the weather is still chilly because business is slow at this time. Other repairs that may have to be done at shops that are season dependent fall into this category.

It doesn’t take too much extra effort to get it in now, when you can negotiate price a bit and get it done right away. Even in late summer last year, the shops were very busy and were charging top dollar for repairs. Now, not so much.

So, definitely make use of the fact that you can get your more expense repairs that require a shop to deal with done now.

I would also suggest, if the RV has it’s own engine, take it to a shop to get the yearly maintenance things done, such as oil change, engine check, and etc. Again, when the shop isn’t as busy is the time to get these things done.

Prepare for Repairs You Can Do Yourself

The next thing to do is prepare for repairs you can deal with directly. In my example, I do have to deal with things like stripped screws, some water damage on the curtains, general stains and also fixing the dash, which I did forget to mention in the list above.

Nothing is stopping me from getting ready now by doing my research on the web and phone to get the details of what needs to be done and what will I need to do it. Then schedule an hour here and there and get out there and get things fixed up.

Making five or six trips out to the RV and just getting things done will put you into the perfect position to roll once the good weather decides to grace itself with us!

So get yourself ready ahead of time and if you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to drop them in below!

I was getting pretty distraught over the fact that it seemed that we would NEVER seem to get your RV dreams off of the ground. Well, I’m pleased to say, we finally did it!

We finally decided upon an A-class bus, called a Coachmen Mirada. It’s a 2001 model that has about 65,000 Kilometers (about 40,000 miles) on it. It’s in pretty good shape. Probably the only disadvantage I see is the fact that it has no slides in it.

Now, slides would be nice, but we were actually quite astonished at how roomy this unit is without slides.

Let me offer you some history, so you can understand our dilemma. I have left my full-time job back about five years ago now and I’ve been running my own business since then. Things were not too great for the first few years, as I established myself, but things financially picked up for us in the past year.

Meanwhile, our credit rating took a bit of a hit. Miss a few bills and it doesn’t take long to put yourself into a position where you are not too favorable a risk for the banks.

Plus, we have been looking at several options and none were perfect. For a long time we looked at the 5th wheel units as they were pretty feature filled at a good cost. But you had to consider picking up the appropriate truck to pull it. In many cases, we found that the truck was going to cost as much as the 5th wheel! We were basically looking at a good $50,000 touch to get to where we wanted to be.

Being that we have decided to start our rv living adventure slowly, this just didn’t fit the budget. The thought of paying out $500 plus per month for the several years for this didn’t sit right with me.

We’ve also looked at c class units but we really were unable to find anything that we really liked. Plus we discovered that the gas mileage was just about as bad as on the a class buses.

In the end, we saw the Mirada and just liked it. It has a few problems, which I’m sure money will fix, but all in all, we really like it. It’s a whole education, very quickly, but we did our first trip with it this past weekend, and I’ll fill you in on all the nitty gritties in a post to come.

The end result was that we had to find a unit that not only fit our wants and desires but also our budget and situation. I think we did ok on this one. When it all comes down to it, it feels like a tough pill to swallow, and it’s a bit scarey but in the end, you’ll thank yourself on your very first trip!

 

I never realized how hard it may be to get going on the road. When. I started this site a few years back, my wife and I were ripping to go. Since then life has definitely gotten in the way. Definitely not in a good way though.

You see, two years back, we had the funds, the time and the ability to hit the road. The one thing I didn’t have was astable consist flow of cash coming in. So I dug my heels in and keep trying to build that stream of income that was not onlylocationindependent but country independent as well.

Two years have flown by and other various things have occurred. I have built the location independence. But now we are short on funds! Grrrr. I’ve begun to replenish our financial stores and I’m hoping that by fall we will purchase a c class unit. Not the full meal deal but a start. I can no longer go to the USA full time as I first wanted, because I now rely on the health care system in Canada.

We will have to make adjustments for older children too. So it looks like we will keep our primary residence and rv it in the cold winters in the states.

So more on that soon. Please continue to share your stories of hitting the road and becoming a full time rver.

rv financingRV financing is one place where we are definitely struggling! And you don’t even have to worry when you aren’t looking at a class A diesel pusher, like the one in the picture here.

We’ve been looking at some of the larger 5th wheel units and there you can easily spend $100,000 putting together a 5th wheel and a good truck to pull it.

I know that rv financing is somewhere between like debt on a car and a mortgage on a house. You see, you can always get better rates if you have good equity to back the loan. It just simply offers much better security to a financial institution in case you default on your loan.

But with an RV rig, it’s easy to head for the hills and it will be a lot tougher to track you and your RV down. Hence, the higher interest rates. So, let’s just think about financing for a moment. If you are looking for rv financing, you can expect to pay higher then prime rate interest rates.

For example, it wouldn’t be too far fetched in today’s economy to pay 5% of that $100,000 loan.

We would be looking at payment of $791.00 per month and we would pay close to $42,334 in interest in a 15 year period.

So, this is one serious expense. Not for the light hearted or the weekend or very occasional RV warrior. RV financing is like taking out a mortgage on a second house!

We haven’t equated the cost of a pad per month to sit our RV on either. And i feel that it’s wize to consider around $500 per month for that alone. Together, we are now looking at $1291.00. Sounds definitely like owning that 2nd house!

It would be idea to be able to sell your current home to reduce the amount of rv financing that you’d require, especially if you are looking at full time rv living. But there’s one more fly in the ointment, so to speak.

Whereas your home will continue to appreciate in value, your RV will depreciate! I’ve been studying the values on RV units across the board and it’s not unusual for a new RV to depreciate by 25% in the first year and around 10 to 15% there after. Thus after even 10 years, your $100,000 investment is probably worth maybe $15,000! Ouch.

RV Financing – Real World Example

To give you a real example, if you don’t believe me, I just took a look at a 2005 diesel pusher that sold for around $350,000 in 2005 is up for sale at $150,000. It’s literally worth less then half it’s original value in little over 5 to 6 years. Meanwhile, the rv financing on the unit has to be costing way more then $350,000 at this point.

In comparison, 5th wheel units that are two or three years old are also only worth about 1/2 their original sales cost. That could be great for us, but when we get it, we too will feel the continued depreciation.

So I think it all comes down to considering your rv financing very carefully. Make sure that you understand the pitfalls of the unit you’ll be purchasing. It’s easy to get lulled into a unit that is very expensive because it’s so nice looking and heck, you’ll be full time rving! So, it’s got to be good!

RV Financing – Wrapping it Up!

But you do have to remember that this is a depreciating asset and your rv financing must reflect that. Best of luck and be sure to tell me if you agree, disagree or have a better idea below in our comments section. Thanks for reading this article on rv financing.