With the rise of social media and streaming television, you might think fewer people than ever would be taking road trips. However, the sales of RVs and RV parts have reached a popularity peak in recent years. Since last year, some major RV companies have reported record-breaking sales.
Customers of all ages are driving these sales. Some are Baby Boomers who’ve finally retired, while others are Millennials craving a nomadic lifestyle. What they all have in common is a desire to unplug, explore, and connect with their fellow travelers.
Do you have an RV, or are you thinking of buying one? You might also be wondering about RV maintenance and repairs. An RV is basically an apartment on wheels. That means it can take a little more care throughout the year than your average vehicle. It’s smart to have a small arsenal of RV parts, tools, and accessories on hand.
But where should you get them? Is it worth it to buy RV parts online, or is it better to get them in stores? Well, we've got the answers for you.
Essential RV Parts to Have
You’ll need a few parts and tools on hand at all times. That way, you can do basic repairs and maintenance work on your RV.
Some of this work needs to happen on a regular schedule throughout the year. Other things will need to get fixed as they come up. Either way, if you don’t have the parts and equipment you need, these simple repairs will get held up. That could delay your trip or damage your RV.
Let’s start with some essential items you should always keep in your RV.
When a leak springs up in an RV, you need a quick and easy way to fix it before it causes major damage. It doesn’t take much water to cause serious issues.
Invest in a high-quality, flexible sealant so you can stop leaks before serious repairs are needed.
- Will not mar paint, rubber or plastic surfaces
- Electrically insulates, lubricates and waterproofs all types of mechanical equipment
- Coats hinges and channels, preventing locks, doors and windows from binding and squeaking
You should also keep spray lubricant on hand for all the sticky situations your RV might get into. The doors, slide-outs, and many other parts might get stuck. Spray lubricant will become your best friend for all kinds of different RV problems.
- CONVENIENCE: The Master Flow MF-1040 is a 12v air compressor that charges directly from your 12-volt cigarette lighter...
- MULTIPLE USES: The Master Flow MF-1040 portable air compressor is not only essential for topping off your car's tires,...
- EASY TO USE: Plug into your cigarette lighter, attach to tire with 16ft air hose, flip switch and inflate a tire in less...
A small, tankless air compressor is great if your tires need air and you’re far from the nearest town. Try to find one that can run on both 120 and 12 volts, and that pumps to 150 psi.
- 4, 000 peak watts/ 3, 500 running watts
- Capable of up to 15 hours of extended operation at half load on 3. 4 gallons of fuel
- Convenient wireless remote start allows you to operate the unit from up to 80 ft away
You won’t get too far without this essential RV part. Look for a quiet one that won’t disrupt you while it’s running. If it has a remote start, you won’t need to venture out to turn it on.
- Multi purposed Hose: great for camping, rving, gardening, washing your vehicle, watering your livestock and more;...
- Thicker than standard drinking water Hoses: Heavy duty hose is 20 percent thicker than standard drinking water Hoses,...
- Extended life: UV stabilized for longer life and made with NSF certified hose
You don’t want just any old hose transporting water to your RV. A certified portable water hose ensures you won’t get any weird smells or tastes in the water before it gets to you. Certified water hoses should be white or blue. This helps you tell them apart from other hoses.
Although they’re pricey, having a tire pressure monitoring system on hand makes it easy to avoid a tire blowout on the road. Blowouts are much more dangerous in an RV than in a car. It’s worth it to take this extra step for safety.
If your RV doesn’t have built-in tire pressure sensors, add your own system, and learn how to monitor the pressure yourself.
- Helps protect RV plumbing and hoses from high pressure city water
- Attaches easily with 3/4" garden hose threads
- Durable brass construction that is drinking water safe
A water pressure regulator ensures you won’t blow out your RV’s water system. For example, if the water pressure in your RV park is too high for your rig, it can stress your system and eventually cause leaks.
You’ll install the pressure regulator between your water hose and the RV. That ensures pressure changes can’t damage your system.
- 10 interlocking blocks stack to the desired height for safe and easy leveling
- Engineered with a patented design to optimize both strength and weight, resin is UV stabilized and built to last even...
- Strong, durable construction and a solid bottom to help keep them from sinking into the ground
A set of leveling blocks lets you navigate uneven ground and still sleep on a level surface. Since running your RV on an uneven surface can cause problems, it’s worthwhile to have levels, even if you don’t care about sleeping on a flat surface.
- Fill the water tank in a fraction of the usual time
- Quarter-turn pressure-sealed valve helps to selectively control the water flow
- Large 5 by8" fill tube helps to fill the water tank at or near full pressure while minimizing line backflow
When you fill your fresh water tank, things will go much more smoothly if you use a filler valve. These inexpensive RV parts attach to the end of the water hose and the fresh water intake. Filling the water goes much faster with these valves.
- Includes RhinoFLEX sewer hose, swivel bayonet adapter, 4 in 1 translucent elbow, 2 locking rings and 2 storage caps
- Fittings swivel for ease of use and are detachable
- RhinoFLEX sewer hose is made of 23 mils of durable polyolefin and reinforced with steel wire
Dumping the waste tanks is everyone’s least favorite RV maintenance job. However, the right waste hose can make the process much easier.
Make sure the hose you choose is long enough to reach the dump tank at any RV park. However, don’t get a hose that’s too long, or the waste won’t flow through the hose very well.
You should also make sure the hose has a frosted, clear view-piece. That lets you see when the waste is moving through it, and when it stops. That way, you won’t accidentally pull out the hose before the tank is empty.
Make sure you can store your waste hose in your RV’s bumper storage box, so you won’t have to dirty up one of the compartments. And don’t forget to make sure it’s durable. You definitely don’t want holes or cracks in the waste hose. Look for one that will hold up well even if it gets stepped on.
How to Choose the Best RV Parts
After you start with those basics, you’ll probably soon find that there are many other essential RV parts that you need or want while you're on the road. But it’s important to keep quality in mind and choose the best ones for the job. You don’t want a crucial part to stop working just when you needed it.
First, make sure to buy from a trusted manufacturer. If it’s a third-party seller you’ve never heard of with prices that sound too good to be true -- well, you get what you pay for.
Next, you should always check the customer reviews before you buy. Other RV owners who have already tried these parts can be your best resources for choosing the best RV parts. They’ve already taken care of the troubleshooting on the things you’re thinking about buying. You don't have to repeat their mistakes!
Buying Online vs. Buying in Store: Which is Best?
With that in mind, should you buy online or in the store?
For years, everyone had to buy their RV parts in store. Now that online shopping has become popular, many people still head to the store to pick up essential RV items. But you might sacrifice the quality of your parts if you only buy them in store.
It’s worth it to buy RV parts online. Online shopping allows you to compare prices, quality, and reviews in a way that in-store shopping can’t. No store will ever hold as many options for parts as the internet does. And if you want to check customer reviews in the store, you need to look things up one by one on your phone as you go.
Shopping online is both more efficient and gives you more options. It allows you to choose the best RV parts for your needs. Even if you see something you like in the store, make sure to research it online, so you can read the reviews and find the best possible price.
DIY RV Maintenance Tips
Now that you have your arsenal of RV parts on hand, it’s time to learn how to maintain your RV yourself. We can’t go over every last RV maintenance detail here, but these are some of the main things that will keep your rig running well through the years.
Service the generator
Your generator needs its own maintenance to keep working, so don’t forget about it. The manufacturer’s recommendations will tell you how often the filter and oil need to get changed.
When you park your RV for the winter, don’t forget to run the generator periodically to keep it working.
Lubricate the rails
One place you’ll regularly use your spray lubricant is the slide-out rails. That prevents that awful squeaking sound as you open the slide-out. It also helps prevent corrosion and rust that can eventually cause serious damage.
While you’re at it, you can also check the door hinges and other moving RV parts. They might need lubrication too. With a spray lubricant, it’s easy to reach out-of-the-way areas.
Open up your vents
To reduce the need for RV repairs, make sure to open the RV vents when it’s hot out and you’re not using the rig. This airflow helps prevent the breakdown of seals, flooring, seams, and other RV parts due to high heat.
Keep it covered
Covering your RV when you’re not using it also greatly reduces the need for DIY work to fix problems.
Many common problems stem from damage caused by the sun, rain, snow, and other weather. Your RV is built to hold up to the elements when you’re on the road. But if you protect it when it’s parked, you’ll have far fewer issues to navigate.
Finding Great RV Parts Online
You should start with the basic RV parts, and then work your way up to the other RV accessories that make life on the road easier and more fun. The more parts you have on hand, the more you can enjoy your RV without problems.
Although many stores still carry the essential parts, you won’t want to go back once you start buying RV parts online. Shopping online gives you the best prices and an easy way to compare the quality of different parts.
Not sure which brands are best? Don’t miss our RV parts and gear guides to help you decide.
Last update on 2021-04-15 at 09:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API