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Service Q&A

  • Does my awning have a wind sensor?

    Only power driven awnings can utilize a wind sensor. A wind sensor serves no purpose on a manually operated awning. Wind sensors work with the electronics of a power awning to automatically retract the awning when the wind reaches a set speed. This helps to protect the awning from wind damage. While a wind sensor may be a standard feature on some power awnings, it is usually an optional feature. Therefore, just because you have a power awning does not mean that it has a wind sensor. To determine if your power awning has a wind sensor and how to identify it, visit the awning manufacturer’s website to review the specification for your awning.

  • Can I patch a hole in my awning?

    Depending on the size of the hole you may patch the damaged part of the awning. When an awning fabric gets holes in it, often these holes will start to tear and become larger. If you plan to patch your awning, do not wait long or you may have to replace the entire fabric. Awning patches and application adhesive can be found in our parts department.

  • When should I pack or re-grease my bearings?

    Axle manufacturers recommend an axle inspection and potential repack every 10-12 thousand miles or 1 year, whichever comes first. Considering the axles are the biggest difference between your home and your RV, checking more often than this is not a bad idea!

  • What do I do for my battery in the winter time?

    There are two main counsels commonly given in response to this question. The first is to make sure that your battery is not sitting on a cold surface such as the ground or a concrete driveway. The second is to make sure that the battery is fully charged and topped off as needed throughout the winter.

  • How often should I check my batteries water level?

    Inside each battery is a liquid called the “electrolyte.” This liquid at first is simply distilled water, but after the battery is charged and discharged, this distilled water becomes battery acid (Sulfuric Acid). Sometimes this liquid evaporates or can even boil out if the battery is overcharged. It is recommended to check your water levels and fill if needed monthly. Make sure that you only use distilled water as tap water contains many minerals which may damage your battery electrode plates.

  • Will my generator charge my batteries?

    Yes…but no. When your generator is running, it is supplying 110 volts to your converter which then supplies a trickle charge to your batteries. Why no then? If you refer to “How long should I charge my batteries,” you will see that on a trickle charge, batteries must be charged for several days. This type of use is not typical for a generator.

  • How do I hook up multiple batteries?

    If you have multiple 12 volt batteries and also a 12 volt system in your RV (This is usually the case), you want to connect your batteries in PARALLEL.
    If you have two 6 volt batteries and a 12 volt system in your RV, you want to connect your batteries in SERIES.

    Series Connection
    Series Connection

    Parallel Connection
    Parallel Connection

  • Which wire is Positive and which is Negative?

    There are essentially two different color schemes which you need to be aware of.
    At your battery hook-up station, you will have either white and black, OR red and black wires.

    In the white-black configuration,

    White is negative (-)
    Black is positive (+)

    In the red-black configuration,

    Black is negative (-)
    Red is Positive (+)

    There it is! Just don’t ask why… If you want to simplify the process of hooking up your batteries, get some colored electrical tape and flag the wires to be colors that make more sense to you.

  • Which is most detrimental to a battery, heat or cold?

    Both extremes create battery problems. Extreme heat will allow the battery to increase its short-term performance level; however, heat internally accelerates corrosion and other deterioration factors that reduce a battery’s life. Extreme cold reduces short-term performance. For example, a fully charged batter at 80 ?F should operate with 100% efficiency, at 32 ?F 65% efficiency, and at 0 ?F with 40% efficiency.

  • Do Marine/RV deep-cycle batteries develop a memory?

    No! Lead-acid batteries do not develop a memory. What does this mean to you? Lead-acid batteries have the ability to cycle to various amounts of depth of discharge (DOD) anytime during their service life without a memory developing inside the battery.

  • How long should my batteries last?

    The answer to this question depends on the way in which you discharge and charge your batteries. The figure below shows the different types of cycles. If a battery is deeply discharged, it may only last up to 325 cycles, whereas if it is only moderately discharged, it may last between 2,200 and 1,000 cycles. For the longest lasting batteries try not to deeply discharge whenever possible.

    Types of Cycles

  • Should I completely discharge a Deep-Cycle battery the first few times I use it?

    No! A marine/RV deep-cycle battery does not require a complete discharge at any time in its service life. In fact, for best results, it is recommended to shallow or moderately discharge the first five to 10 cycles.

  • Can I use a standard orange extension cord to run my RV?

    Absolutely Not!

    At least a heavy duty 12 gauge extension cord is required. A standard duty extension cord can heat up and melt causing a short in the cord and potentially many other severe problems to both your RV and home. (Remember wire is rated by the “gauge” of the strands of metal inside. The smaller the gauge, the larger the wire and more capacity it has. A 14 or 16 gauge cord is much smaller than a 12 gauge cord and is not safe for RV use)

  • How long should I charge my batteries?

    This question has several answers depending on the type of battery (See Battery Section – Types of Batteries), wiring configuration, and charger you are using.

    Typically RVs are equipped with a charge line from the converter. This charge line is known as a trickle charge line and usually supplies between 2 and 3 amps. Your RV must be plugged in to “shore power” or in other words an outlet providing 110 volts like a standard outlet in your home. Usually, at least a 20 amp circuit and at least a 12 gauge extension cord (if needed) are required to provide ample power to a trailer. On a trickle charge, it is recommended to charge a single Deep Cycle Marine/RV 12 volt battery for approximately 2-3 days. Two 12 volt batteries wired in parallel should be charged for 3-5 days. Two 6 volt batteries wired in series should be charged for 5-6 days.

    It is important during charging that you monitor your batteries often to prevent overcharging. If you are using a standard charger, please refer to its user manual.

  • Types of Batteries

    There are really three types of batteries commonly used. Batteries are typically classified as starting, deep-cycle, or 6 volt.

    Starting – A starting battery is designed for high power output over a short amount of time. These batteries are typically found in cars and trucks. Starting batteries are great for delivering several hundred Cold Cranking Amps (CCAs) for a few seconds to get your car started, but they then need be charged by the vehicles alternator or the next several starts may not be possible. Because starting batteries charge and discharge very quickly, they are not well suited for RV and Marine use therefore they will not be our primary focus.

    Deep-Cycle Marine RV – Deep-cycle batteries are designed for consistent power output over a relatively long period of time. Deep cycle batteries have the capability of being discharged and charged hundreds and even thousands of times. A marine/RV deep-cycle battery can be used for various applications including boats, motor homes, travel trailers, tent campers, etc.

    Deep Cycle 6 Volt Batteries – Most starting and deep-cycle batteries produce approximately 12 volts whereas 6 volt batteries obviously produce 6 volts. This is because they have fewer, but larger electrode plates inside. Two 6 volt batteries wired in series will produce the necessary power for an RV of 12 volts. Because the plates are larger in 6 volt batteries, they take longer to charge, but they will also last longer when powering your RV and other devices.

  • Do I need to inspect my roof?

    Absolutely! We recommend inspecting your roof at least 2 times a year and especially anytime you drive through low hanging tree branches! If you see ANYTHING that looks like it may become a leak such as cracked plastic in antennas or roof vents, or peeling sealant, either seal it yourself, or schedule an appointment with our service department immediately. Neglect can be a very expensive alternative!

  • Can I cover my RV with a tarp?

    Absolutely Not! Emphatically the answer is NO! Covering your RV with a tarp can trap the heat and moisture in the cover with your RV. This can result in peeling decals, delaminating fiberglass, excessive corrosion, and many other unwanted things! Tarps will also rub the corners of your roof and can cause severe damage which will void your warranty. NO TARPS! Please see “Should I cover my RV for the winter?”

  • Should I cover my RV for the winter?

    It depends, if you are going to use a fabricated RV cover, covering is definitely recommended. If you plan to use a tarp, it would be better for you to leave your RV under the baking sun indefinitely! Fabricated RV covers such as the ones we carry in our parts department are made of materials which breathe and let the heat and moisture escape. RV covers such as the Polypro III Deluxe model made by Classic Accessories feature three layers of polypropylene on the roof and around the top corners. What this means for you is that as the wind blows and shifts your RV cover across the corners of your roof, these three layers rub against each other instead of rubbing the corners of your roof. This feature is vital in avoiding future costly repairs to your roof. This particular model also features zippered access side panels which allow easy access to the storage areas on your RV. Whatever you do, DO NOT COVER YOUR RV WITH A TARP! We see people all the time who bring their RV in to our service department with delaminating decals, rubbed roof corners, and several other tarp-covering related problems. The money you save by buying a tarp instead of a fabricated RV cover you will only have to turn around and spend on repairs!

  • Can I use a power washer to wash my RV?

    We don’t! Usually the answer is no. The reason for this is that power washers will often force water under the decals and cause them to shred and peal. If you were to be really careful around the decals, you could pressure wash your RV. Here at Motor Sportsland, our detail department has a pressure washer, but only uses it for off-site washing.

  • What do I wash and wax my RV with?

    Because your RV uses different paints than your car and usually has vinyl decals, you should be careful when choosing washing and waxing products. Our parts department is always stocked with special RV washing and waxing products. Our knowledgeable parts staff can direct you to the best products for your particular application.

  • How often do I need to wax my trailer?

    We recommend waxing your trailer in both the spring and also the fall. Frequent waxing will prevent discoloration and fading of decals and paint.

  • How do I adjust my brake controller?

    Most brake controllers have an adjustment dial which controls the braking power. Several other controllers have pre-programmed settings depending on how many axles are on the trailer. Because brake controllers are all so different, refer to your owner’s manual for detailed instructions on your particular brake controller.

  • What does a “brake controller” do?

    Many trailers are equipped with electric brakes. These brakes are designed to slow down the trailer instead of putting an extra load on your vehicles brakes. Ideally, the tow vehicle brakes should have the same stopping load whether towing, or not towing. A brake controller is required for trailer brake use. It is important to note that the trailer brakes are not controlled by the brake lights on the trailer. The brake wire is completely separate from any other wire going to the trailer. When towing any trailer equipped with electronic brakes, we strongly recommend using a brake controller. This is for both the safety of the vehicle operator and passengers, and to ensure proper tow-vehicle brake life.

  • My brakes are new and when I push on the brakes they do not seem to engage.

    New brakes go through what is called a “Burnishing” or “Seating” phase. It is common for new brakes to not feel like they are fully engaging as desired. This phase should be relatively fast. The outside coating on the brake pads just needs to be worn down to the actual braking material.

  • What is the difference between a Converter and an Inverter?

    Converter – A Converter is more commonly found on an RV. This device in an RV is typically designed to convert 110 Volts AC to 12 Volts DC. The converter is useful because it can charge your 12 Volt RV batteries when your trailer is plugged into “shore power” or an external source of power (such as a plug at your house or an RV park). The converter will also run all of your 12 Volt appliances and lighting when you are plugged in to shore power. The converter will not usually run things like microwaves, TVs, and other common household items.

    Inverter – An Inverter is basically the opposite of a Converter. An RV Inverter will connect to your batteries and convert the 12 Volts DC to 110 Volts AC. An inverter will allow you to use appliances such as a microwave, TV and other standard household appliances from your batteries. While inverters can be very convenient for short term use, their continued use is highly dependent on the state of your batteries. Using an inverter for too many appliances, or for too long can deeply discharge your batteries.

  • Should my converter fan blow constantly?

    No, converter fans are designed to turn on only if the converter heats up to a point where it needs to be cooled. If your fan turns off after running, the fan is usually functioning properly.

  • How do I tell if my converter is charging the batteries?

    The easiest way to check your converter charge line is to follow the following steps…

    1. Unplug your RV from any external power source and switch off the generator and solar panels if equipped.
    2. Using a volt meter, measure the voltage of the batteries.
    3. Plug your trailer in to a 110V source or turn on your generator. (Keep solar panels disconnected.)
    4. Using a volt meter, measure the voltage of the batteries.
    5. When comparing voltages from steps 2 and 4, if no change occurred, your converter is not properly connected, has a blown fuse, or needs to be replaced.

      If the voltage increased from step 2 to step 4, your converter is usually charging properly.

  • Where are the fuses on my converter?

    Converter fuses are usually located on the back side of the converter. Sometimes removing the converter from its mounting location is required to check the fuses. If you cannot find fuses on the back of the converter, they may also be located inside the converter housing. If you do not feel comfortable removing the converter, call our service department to schedule an appointment.

  • Will my converter charge my batteries?

    Yes, most RV converters are equipped with a trickle charge line which slowly charges the batteries. (See Batteries Section “How long should I charge my batteries?”)

  • Why will my fridge not light?

    While the average person finds the smell of propane very unpleasant, oftentimes small insects are attracted to it. It is very common to find small spider webs and the like in the ventilation tubes of the burner system. If the burner orifice is clear, try to bleed the propane lines by lighting the stove and letting it run for about 2 minutes. Try again to light the fridge. If that still doesn’t work, call to schedule an appointment with our service department to have a technician fix the problem.

  • My furnace fan turns on, but it doesn’t heat up?

    This is usually an indication of low batteries. If the fan cannot reach a certain speed due to low battery power, the propane burner will not ignite. This is to avoid overheating of the coil. Another solution may be to check your propane levels. If your propane tanks are low, your furnace will also not light. Remember that our Propane Certified Service Staff can fill your propane tanks for you. If you try both of these possibilities and still have problems, call our service department and make an appointment to have a technician look things over.

  • Can I use normal toilet paper in my RV?

    No! We realize it is sometimes an inconvenience to have to store two types of toilet paper, however, RV grade toilet paper is different from your standard household toilet paper. It is made to break down and decompose much more quickly than regular toilet paper.

    Using regular toilet paper will also increase your risk of clogged monitor probes in your black tank. (See “My tank monitor reads full but my tank is empty.”)

  • My tank monitor reads full but my tank is empty.

    Tank monitors rely on electrical probes inside the tank to relay the tank levels. Particularly in the case of the black tank, these probes can become clogged by waste and debris inside the tank when not emptied and cleaned sufficiently (eww…).

    This problem is easily overcome by keeping the tank clean using plenty of water to flush the system. Our parts department also supplies special tank cleaning chemicals which will help to unclog probes.

  • Inverter Problems?

    Inverters are one of the most complex electrical components found on most RV’s. Because of the many different scenarios that could be causing an inverter to function improperly, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our service department to have your inverter looked at by a professional technician.

  • What is the difference between a Converter and an Inverter?

    Converter – A Converter is more commonly found on an RV. This device in an RV is typically designed to convert 110 Volts AC to 12 Volts DC. The converter is useful because it can charge your 12 Volt RV batteries when your trailer is plugged into “shore power” or an external source of power (such as a plug at your house or an RV park). The converter will also run all of your 12 Volt appliances and lighting when you are plugged in to shore power. The converter will not usually run things like microwaves, TVs, and other common household items.

    Inverter – An Inverter is basically the opposite of a Converter. An RV Inverter will connect to your batteries and convert the 12 Volts DC to 110 Volts AC. An inverter will allow you to use appliances such as a microwave, TV and other standard household appliances from your batteries. While inverters can be very convenient for short term use, their continued use is highly dependent on the state of your batteries. Using an inverter for too many appliances, or for too long can deeply discharge your batteries.

  • Where can I fill my own propane tanks?

    It is illegal for customers to fill their own propane tank regardless of the tank type, capacity, or valve type. Those who fill propane tanks at our dealership are always propane certified as required by law.

  • My propane detector has a solid alarm noise. Do I have a propane leak?

    Yes. A solid alarm from the propane detector is an indication of a propane leak. Turn off your propane, and bring your RV to the service department as soon as possible! Note: Aerosol cans contain propane as a propellant so if an aerosol cans is used in the area, the alarm may sound as a result.

  • My propane detector is beeping on and off. Do I have a propane leak?

    No. A beeping propane detector actually indicates low battery power. A solid alarm noise indicates a propane leak.

  • What is an OPD valve and why do I need one?

    OPD stands for Overfill Prevention Device. An OPD is required by law on any vertical propane tank with a capacity of 10 gallons or less. Because of this law, we are unable to refill these types of tanks without OPD valves. We will however dispose of your old tank free of charge. Note: Motor Sportsland does not install OPD valves on portable tanks.

  • What does LPG stand for?

    LPG stands for Liquid Petroleum Gas

  • What do I seal my roof with?

    In our parts department we sell approved sealers for all roof types. Come in and talk to one of parts or service employees for expert advice on your particular application. Remember, an RV roof is not the same as your home’s roof. The generic roof sealers from your local home improvement store will not do the job and may even cause more problems than what you started with. Don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself? Our service department professionals will do it for you, just call for an appointment.

  • Do I need to inspect my roof?

    Absolutely! We recommend inspecting your roof at least 2 times a year and especially anytime you drive through low hanging tree branches! If you see ANYTHING that looks like it may become a leak such as cracked plastic in antennas or roof vents, or peeling sealant, either seal it yourself, or schedule an appointment with our service department immediately. Neglect can be a very expensive alternative!

  • Can I cover my RV with a tarp?

    Absolutely Not! Emphatically the answer is NO! Covering your RV with a tarp can trap the heat and moisture in the cover with your RV. This can result in peeling decals, delaminating fiberglass, excessive corrosion, and many other unwanted things! Tarps will also rub the corners of your roof and can cause severe damage which will void your warranty. NO TARPS! Please see “Should I cover my RV for the winter?”

  • Should I cover my RV for the winter?

    It depends, if you are going to use a fabricated RV cover, covering is definitely recommended. If you plan to use a tarp, it would be better for you to leave your RV under the baking sun indefinitely! Fabricated RV covers such as the ones we carry in our parts department are made of materials which breathe and let the heat and moisture escape. RV covers such as the Polypro III Deluxe model made by Classic Accessories feature three layers of polypropylene on the roof and around the top corners. What this means for you is that as the wind blows and shifts your RV cover across the corners of your roof, these three layers rub against each other instead of rubbing the corners of your roof. This feature is vital in avoiding future costly repairs to your roof. This particular model also features zippered access side panels which allow easy access to the storage areas on your RV. Whatever you do, DO NOT COVER YOUR RV WITH A TARP! We see people all the time who bring their RV in to our service department with delaminating decals, rubbed roof corners, and several other tarp-covering related problems. The money you save by buying a tarp instead of a fabricated RV cover you will only have to turn around and spend on repairs!

  • What are the primary causes of roof leaks?

    Roof Leaks are typically caused by cracks in vents, tubes, antenna bases, etc. Anything that requires a cutout in the roof is the first place to be suspicious of. Obviously damage may occur from tree branches, or other types of obstructions. A roof leak is not something to be taken lightly. The sooner it is repaired, the less damage will occur to the RV. If you have a leaky roof, call and make an appointment with our service department to get it repaired immediately or it could cost you a lot of money in repairs!

  • What safety devices are available for RVs?

    Although the list below does not include all possible safety devices, however these are some common devices you want to consider installing in your RV if it is not already equipped…

    General

    Smoke Detector
    Carbon Monoxide Detector
    LP Detector
    Fire Extinguisher

    Towing

    Emergency Break-Away (Engages brakes if vehicle disconnects)
    Sway Bar
    Equalizer Hitch

  • How often should I check my lug nuts?

    We recommend checking lug nuts before each trip. Safety is more important than the 60 seconds it takes to check the lug nuts!

  • What tire pressure should my tires be at?

    RV tires should typically be inflated to the max psi rating of the tire. This rating is written on the sidewall of the tire.

  • How often should I check my RV ‘s tire pressure?

    We recommend checking tire pressure before each trip. Safety is more important than the 60 seconds it takes to check tire pressure!

  • What size socket does my water heater drain plug require?

    There are commonly two types of water heaters found in RVs.

    Suburban water heater drain plugs can be removed using a 1 1/16 inch socket. (Note; this plug is also attached to the anode rod of the heater.)

    Atwood water heater drain plugs can be removed using either a 7/8 inch socket on the older models, or a 15/16” socket on the newer models.

  • How do I drain my water heater?

    Water heaters can be drained by removing the drain plug located on the exterior side at the bottom of the water heater. Be very careful to make sure that the water inside the heater is not hot as burning may occur. Also make sure that your water heater is turned off when no water is in the heating tank!

  • My water heater will not light, what should I do?

    The most common cause for a water heater failing to light is debris in the intake tubing (webs, etc.) Clear the tubing and try again. Another fix may be to bleed the propane lines by lighting the stove and letting it run for about 2 minutes. If this doesn’t work, call to schedule an appointment with the service department.

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