Roadside Assistance-Who To Choose

There is a love hate relationship with roadside assistance providers and which one others are using is a common question and discussion among RVers.  Let me explain how Roadside assistance works.

Auto insurance companies offer roadside assistance as either a cost to you add on or perk to its policy holders as it is a very profitable income stream. Most of us who have it will probably never use it. Millions of drivers are paying for it and a fraction of those who do will never actually use or need it during their policy period. It’s a win for you if you ever need it and it’s a really big WIN for the insurance companies if you don’t.

Why A Jeep? Part 2

Schnebly

In part one I discussed the towability of the Jeep making it one of the most preferred vehicles to drag along behind a motorhome.

Now on to the other reasons a Jeep is such a gem of a vehicle for the RVer who drives a motorhome. While it isn’t the most fuel efficient, it typically is far better than what a motorhome delivers in mileage. I always point out to those asking about which is better a trailer/5er or a motorhome that with the motorhome they can tow a high mileage comfortable riding vehicle to use. Whereas they would be driving for pleasure trips the same stiff riding, fuel guzzling and hard to maneuver pickup truck when they aren’t towing their home on wheels.

Why A Jeep?

While you will see a variety of vehicles being towed behind motorhomes, probably one of the most popular are Jeeps. Why?

While they aren’t necessarily the most comfortable, cheapest to buy, most reliable or economical to drive they are probably the easiest to “setup” to be flat towed. It is also due to the fact that, more and more of the newer vehicles on the road today can’t be flat towed. And if they can they often require extensive and/or expense modifications to do so. Here in lies the strength for Jeeps being so popular a choice.

Bye Bye Dolly Its Been Fun To Have Towed Ya

If you follow us on Facebook, you already know that we made some changes to our RVing lifestyle in 2020. For years now we have wanted to replace our towed with something that we could tow four down and the vehicle had to be multipurpose including off road exploring.

So, after much looking as something to occupy some of the long days during this worldwide health situation, the one we all have all been keenly aware of, we searched for a used Jeep. Given we have spent the last several winters in Arizona where Jeeps are immensely popular it goes without saying its popularity there drives up the prices.

New JeepersIt was not until we returned to our home area in Wisconsin did, we come across a gem while out doing some other shopping and errands. On one of the local dealerships lots was a used 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (JK) with the Sahara trim package for what we considered a more reasonable price. After having our Honda Accord appraised and a comfortable trade in offer accepted, we made the deal and drove our new to us Jeep home.

Going from dolly, towing a sedan to flat towing a Jeep requires some adaptation. First, we considered using the dolly to tow the Jeep around until we could get the appropriate towing system but upon reading the Jeep Owner’s manual that idea was eliminated. You cannot tow a Jeep Wrangler other than flat on all fours or up on a flatbed trailer.

Dolly being towed away.

Good Bye Dolly!

Shedding ourselves of an unnecessary tow dolly was rather quick and easy. I gave it a thorough washing and snapped a couple of pictures of it and listed it on Facebook Marketplace. I had a clear idea of what a new one cost and set my pricing accordingly to make it affordable and appealing to someone who needed one. Within hours of posting the listing I had an inquiry.

Never jump at the first offer, especially when the person wants it for as close to free as possible. I left myself some negotiating room, but literally giving it away was not an option. The income generated was going to offset the costs of the tow system for the Jeep.

I let the ad run through the Memorial Day weekend and did not get any other nibbles although it was being watched by several people. I updated the price, dropping it by one dollar, which was enough to spark someone’s interest. The negotiations began and when it was done, I made a one-day cash only deal which the person accepted and the next day arrived cash in had and took possession of the dolly.

 

We purchase our Tow Master Dolly new in 2013 just prior to going full-time. In that time we install three sets of tires, only paying for one set out of pocket. Two years ago I replaced the wheel bearings out of precaution more than necessity. We replaced the tie down straps about three years ago. Overall, it saw more than 50,000 miles over the last seven years without any complaints from us. Yes, it was cumbersome to use in the beginning but soon we got the hang of it and it was weaved into our traveling routine. At the time we had a vehicle that couldn’t be flat towed, even replacing it with yet another. While there are benefits to flat towing, don’t kick the idea of using a dolly aside. It can be an affordable option if you already have a vehicle you like and can’t afford to replace. We recovered about 80% of the cost to purchase and maintain it, which shows a dolly is a viable option financially.

If I had to do it over again, the dolly still wouldn’t be my first preference, but given the situation at the time it turned out to be a very good choice.

Sewer Smell Fix

Sewer Vent

The sewer system in your RV works the same as in a home, with one exception, there are tanks to hold the contents until ready to dump into a septic or sewer main.

In order for liquids to flow through a pipe, air must enter behind the fluid to prevent a vacuum thus stopping the flow. A simple example of this is filling a drinking straw with liquid, then placing your finger over the end. The contents of the straw stay in place until you remove your finger and release the seal allowing the liquid to flow out the other end.

ISewer Ventf your RV is more than 10 years old or if you primarily stay in drier climates and you’ve tried all of the other tricks to eliminate gray tank odor, then consider this. Replace the drain vents that are usually located underneath the sinks. A shower may or may not have its own, usually connected to the bathroom sink if in close proximity of each other.

 

Inside of the vents, there is a rubber membrane that acts as a valve. Over time these valves can dry rot and not move to close off. (Like the finger on the end of the straw works.) Once these disks loose their elasticity, they stop moving freely and stop functioning properly. This allows for gases to back up (and liquids) and pass out thru the valve opening.

These are easily replaced. I just purchased three for our rig off Amazon for just under $7.00 a piece. Unscrew the old one, then screw in the new one.  The hardest part is reaching some of them, but fortunately for me, mine were within easy arms reach.

So, if you’re dealing with gray tank odor and have cleaned your P traps, deodorized the tank and emptied the holding tank completely and you still are getting odors inside the coach…check the condition of the vent valves and replace if the rubber membrane feels dry or hard to the touch.

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