Jim’s RV Do-it-Yourself Edition

While Jim’s RV can take care of any maintenance needs for your new or used RV in Nichols, NY. We also share tips and hints for work you can do yourself, so when you’re out of town, you can still care for your RV properly. Here are some practical do-it-yourself directions:

1. How to dump RV waste water holding tanks and thoroughly clean the black tank. Keeping your sewage tank super clean requires following a few simple procedures which will make it stay odor-free.

These step-by-step instructions will ensure that your RV holding tanks stay clean and fresh providing a healthier environment for your motorhome, travel trailer or fifth wheel.

2. How to install your own window awnings. Window awnings can help tremendously to keep your RV’s interior cooler on hot days and to also reduce the fading of the fabrics on your chairs and couch from the sun. This video by Carefree of Colorado shows how easy it is to install your own window awnings using only a few handy tools.

RV Window Awning from Webster City RV on Vimeo.

3. How to hang things on the interior walls of your RV.  Most walls on RVs and motor homes in Nichols, NY are the same thin material that isn’t strong enough to hold wood screws. Without access behind the wall panels, there’s no way to use bolts, since you can’t tighten down the nuts. Velcro generally only works for lightweight items. The solution as demonstrated in this video: Pop Rivets.

We enjoy helping our customers with the little details that make owning and personalizing your RV an exciting experience. From maintaining the sanitation, to the cosmetics – we do our best to leave no stone unearthed. Feel free to share with us any other great Do-it-Yourself videos to add to our blog. And if or when your D-I-Y RV project becomes overwhelming, stop in and see us. We love to help out our customers!


Germs and Your RV New York, Prevention is Key!

There are several common areas where germs lurk around campsites. One source of contamination comes from the misuse of your  RV’s black water tank — which holds waste. There are many diseases that are spread through contact with human waste – cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, measles, polio, typhoid fever, amoeba, giardia, hookworm, pinworm, roundworm, tapeworm, trichina worm – to name a few. Gloves are a must when handling black tank hoses and valves.  Always be sure to close the valve and tip the drain hose below the valve to catch any spillage that may continue to flow. After draining the tank, rinse the drain hose and drain area with water. Do not use the same hose you use to connect to your RV for fresh water. The key is to isolate clean from dirty.

The water supply (city water connection) to your RV can also be a source of germs. Before you go ahead and hook your hose to your campsite water hydrant, you may want to give it a wash down with some bleach or disinfectant spray. Dogs are a staple in most campgrounds and they tend to use the water hydrant for purposes other than drinking, if you get my drift.

Prior to using your fresh water holding tank disinfect it with chlorine bleach or an RV product made specifically made for this purpose.  Always use cleaners according to the specifications in your Jim’s RV manual.

The galley is a typical area for germs. Your RV kitchen can be a playground for cross contamination of foods.  After you have handled uncooked meats wash your hands, this will keep germs from being a part of the meal at your dinner table.

Germs that can cause disease or illness include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Germs really can’t harm you until you come in contact with them, so it’s a great idea to focus on prevention. Germs typically enter the body through the nose, eyes, and mouth; often transmitted from our own contaminated hands and fingers.

The key to prevention is to create a barrier between your hands and the infectious matter. Caution should be used when dealing with anything that can possibly be contaminated. Sanitary gloves can go a long way in these scenarios. There are many styles and materials to choose from. I, however,  recommend a disposable sanitary glove so that you can just trash it when you are done.

With so many odd bugs and illnesses surfacing from time to time, hand sanitizer is all the rage.  Therefore, another preventive measure is to sanitize your hands following any contact with germs. Oddly, people pass their hands through a faucet of running water and then rub them against a hanging towel which only makes the germs “wet”. To effectively control the spread of germs you must use soap. If there is none, then a bottle of hand sanitizer or antiseptic hand wipes are the next best thing.

Is this approach to germs obsessive compulsive, is it over-kill? It is up to you whether or not you want to fight this war, traveling sick isn’t optimal. Prevention is necessary and gives you a one-up in the battle with germs.


Television and Your Jim’s RV

One question that tends to surface from new RVers and those who consider purchasing a new RV in Nichols, NY is: Can an RV be wired so that all TV’s can be operated independent of each other?
My answer would be that you have many options where this is concerned, and all of them are dependent on your TV Signal and where it comes from.


Here’s a brief summary:

  • If your TV signal is coming over the air from broadcast TV then all you need to do is tune the TV’s to different channels. You will of course require converter boxes if you have old TV’s or if they are new they should already be High Definition compatible.
  • If your signal comes from a cable company, and you have cable ready TV’s then you just need to get a cable splitter and add a cable to the other TV. Generally, if you also have premium channels then you will need an additional cable box to get the premium channels.
  • If you are getting your signal from a satellite then you need at minimum two separate satellite receivers from your satellite company and two separate LNBs (low-noise block). This may require paying the satellite provider additional fees. You will also need to add additional cabling from the satellite dish to the other satellite receiver. Check the latest capabilities with your preferred satellite provider.
We recommend that you weigh all of your options by checking with television providers in your area. Make sure you tell them exactly what you are looking for so that you know in advance whether or not they can satisfy your entertainment needs whether you are traveling or stationary. Ask your Nichols, NY RV dealer about your options regarding televisions, we can definitely get you started in the right direction!

RVer Health Insurance for Full-timers in Nichols, NY

Question: What do you do for health insurance? Is there a RVers group plan?

Everyone’s situation will be different based on several factors. For example, one couple that I read about has medical insurance which offers a Point-of-Service plan. This means that even though they have to use in-network doctors for the best price, they don’t have to designate a primary care provider. So that makes it easier for them to go to doctors anywhere.

For some full-time RVers it is not easy to get a doctor to see new patients or ones they may never see again. It tends to be much easier if you can return to the same doctor every year – for consistency and to establish a relationship. Consider choosing a provider in a location that you consider to be your home base. If you have a plan that ties you to doctors/providers only in a specific state or geographic location, then this should be factored into your selection of a home base state since your address will be used as a basis for medical coverage.

The main types of policies are:

  • Fee-for-service insurance (indemnity insurance): Traditional type of health insurance that pays a portion of each medical service you get, such as doctor’s visits and hospital stays, while you pay the remaining cost. Premiums are generally higher than Managed Care.
  • Managed Care Plans: Also known as HMOs (health maintenance organizations) or PPOs (Preferred provider organization). The health insurance company has contracted with doctors and hospitals to provide services. You pay a monthly premium and then a small amount for each visit or service (usually $10-$15) called a co-pay. Some plans allow you to use doctors and hospitals outside of the plan network but you pay more per visit.

– RVLifestyleExperts.com

When researching what type of insurance that will best cover you and your situation, consider these questions:

    • How much of my doctor and hospital bills will this plan pay for?
    • What is the monthly premium?
    • How much will I have to pay for a hospital stay before the plan begins to pay?
    • How much will I have to pay for office visits to the doctor?
    • Does the plan pay for preventive health care, such as routine checkups?
    • Does this plan have rules for people who already have serious, chronic medical problems? Will this keep me from getting the care I need?
    • If there is a deductible, does it start over each year (preferable) or for each new illness?
    • What services are covered by this health insurance? Will it pay for visits to the emergency room or urgent care center? Does it cover routine surgery, hospital stays, doctor visits, skilled nursing facility care, home health care, and medical equipment and supplies?
    • Does the plan cover vision, dental or prescriptions?
    • Does the plan pay for catastrophic medical costs?
    • Is there a yearly or lifetime limit to how much the plan will pay for medical costs?
    • Are rate hikes based on individual or pooled claims?
    • Is the policy Guaranteed Renewable/Non Cancelable (preferable) or is it just Guaranteed Renewable?

Many RVers who can’t afford individual insurance join associations to take advantage of group rates. We recommend beginning your search online or asking your local Nichols, NY RV dealer for information on associations and RV groups, we can point you in the right direction!


10 Five Minute RV Maintenance Tips

Of course, Jim’s has a state-of-the-art RV service department with the latest in diagnostic and repair tools and parts that can handle just about any problem your RV faces. I say, why not just avoid RV problems all together. Here are a few quick and easy RV maintenance tips you can follow on your own to keep your camper in great shape from year to year.

Quick And Easy RV Maintenance Tips

Check sealants twice each month – check the rubber sealants around your windows to make sure they’re tight and not cracking. Cracked or loose sealant can let air in which causes drafts and leaks.

Check tire pressure before every trip –this one should be a no brainer. Make sure your tires are fully pressurized before you set off on your next road trip – it’s an easy RV maintenance tip that will prevent blowouts and it also  improves your gas mileage!

Run generator 2 hours per month under 50% load –letting your RV sit unused for months is not good for the generator. Run it under a light load for a few minutes each month to keep it primed so that it is ready the next time you decide to hit the road.

Check battery water level–making sure your batteries have enough water in them is crucial to ensuring that they will hold their charge. Check your battery water level frequently and add distilled water when necessary.

Clean holding tanks regularly –clean out your gray and black water tanks frequently to prevent bacteria and odors from leaking into the rest of your RV. Black and gray water tanks can get really gross, really fast – this is one RV maintenance tip you don’t want to forget! If you have to spend a vast amount of time on the road, cleanliness is a must.

Lube slide rails and gaskets twice each year –make sure all your slideout rails and all gaskets on your RV are properly lubricated to avoid friction. This will help make sure your slide rails stay in working condition all season long.

 Torque lug nuts before each trip – it is very important that you always make sure your lug nuts are fastened tightly before you head out. This RV maintenance tip is crucially important – if you’re not careful, your whole wheel assembly could fly off! Accidents slow down trips and can drain your pocket book, this type can be easily avoided.

 Sanitize fresh water system each spring – this is an RV maintenance tip that you should follow at the beginning of the RV season. Before your spring RV season starts, make a point to thoroughly sanitize your fresh water systems to keep your drinking water fresh and clean.

 Properly winterize each fall –this is one of the most crucial RV maintenance tips that you can follow. Before the winter hits it’s absolutely necessary to follow all of the steps to winterize your unit to protect it from the winter cold and lack of use (if you need help, check out our previous posts about how to winterize your RV!).

 Retract awning during heavy wind and rain – this RV maintenance tip is extremely important. On at least one of your camping trips you’re going to have to weather a storm. Make sure your awning is pulled back – otherwise, it’ll collapse like an umbrella and bend like crazy!

If you follow the above RV maintenance tips throughout the season, you may end up saving thousands of dollars in service costs! And remember, for all your RV maintenance and service needs, visit Jim’s RV Center in Nichols NY.


Pet and RV Owners in New York, Listen Up

When you’re training your dog, consistency is key. But when you’re a pet owner, who happens to own an RV in New York, consistency is your worst nightmare.  Because you spend time traveling across New York state and beyond,  it’s extremely important to master the art of training your dog while on the move.

Later in the day, you’re talking with another RVer about the benefits of a Class C vs. a Travel Trailer, while your dog is running around your camping area. You’re so wrapped up in your conversation that you don’t realize how your dog has jumped up on your leg and you are rubbing him behind his ear. It’s important to be consistent about only letting the dog jump up when we first tell him it’s okay– and with a command that is the same, every time.


Step 1

Watch your dog like a hawk.  This means she goes where you go.  Do not give a new dog total freedom to roam.  This applies to puppies and older dogs that are first being introduced to the RV.  This freedom can come with time, but never ever give it right away.  If your dog is not attached to you with a leash, she should be in a crated.  This should be followed until you are 100% certain that she is RV- trained.  NO EXCEPTIONS. Common times that your dog will need eliminate include 10-15 minutes after eating or drinking, during or after play or excitement, after waking up, or after chewing on a toy or bone.  The general rule of thumb for how long a puppy can “hold it” is number of hours per moths of age, plus one.  For example, a 3 month old puppy should be able to hold it for 4 hrs, even through the night.


Step 2

Establish the same type of place outdoors for her to go and take her to this spot every single time (ex. always near a tree).  While here, give a verbal cue such as “do your business” or “get busy”every 5-10 seconds.  Once she begins to go, repeat your verbal cue as she is going.  The second she has finished, give her a treat and lavish praise.  The treat needs to be given immediately, not once she is back in the house.  If you are using “wee-wee” pads, get rid of them.  Wee-wee pads teach them that it is okay to eliminate indoors and can lead to lots of confusion.  There are exceptions to this, but in general I do not recommend wee-wee pads.

Step 3

If your dog does have an accident in the RV, you need to immediately interrupt her.  After interruption, she should be taken to her spot outdoors and be given the opportunity to finish her business.  Care should be taken to to frighten her with the interruption.  You do not want her to develop fear or an aversion to elimination in front of you.


Step 4

Clean up any accidents with an enzymatic odor eliminator or another cleaner from Jim’s RV.  These type of cleaners will change the chemical structure of urine and feces and will totally eliminate the scent.  Cleaners and disinfectants found in other stores will only cover up the smell (maybe).  Stay away from anything that contains ammonia.  Ammonia is a component of urine and will actually cause your dog to return to that spot to eliminate.

Step 5

Set up a consistent feeding and watering schedule.  Do not leave food and water down all day long.  Most dogs will need to eliminate withing 10-15 minutes of eating or drinking.  Use this to your advantage and bring her to her outdoor spot before she has a chance to have an accident.  This does not mean withhold food or water, just give them at scheduled times in order to set everyone up for success.

A used RV in Nichols can be the ideal way to travel with any pet. Nevertheless, some animals travel better than others. Only you know your pet’s personality to the degree that you can decide whether or not a RV road trip is a good idea. Keep in mind, the best travelers are confident and accustomed to change and trustworthy around strangers.


Nichols RV Internet Access, How it Works

When customers come through our doors, one of the first questions we always ask, is what’s on your must-have list for a new RV? It turns out that when people are considering purchasing a new RV in Nichols, internet access is appearing more frequently near the top of those lists. Rving provides singles and families alike an opportunity to explore the open road, enjoy parks, experience all sorts of outdoor adventures. One might argue that having internet access along said journeys will only enhance the experience, and perhaps make traveling more efficient.

Dial-Up, DSL, Cable, WiFi, Wireless (Cellular)

In the past, the most reliable way for campers to enjoy – and I use that term loosely – internet access was to plug in to a dial-up modem at a campsite. This of course had it’s disadvantages as not all sites had access, or they offered extremely slow speeds in locations on the grounds that required trekking to a main office or some other site not necessarily close to where you were parked.

In some instances, campgrounds offer phone and cable connections at individual sites to Rvers. Campers generally have  to activate these connections by calling the phone or cable company in that area. For the RVer who is having an extended stay, this can be a good means of high speed RV internet access via broadband or DSL connections. For the visitor on the move who only spends a couple of days or weeks in a given spot, this is usually not an effective means for internet access on the road.

WiFi is a major improvement and allows RVers the ability to enjoy the luxuries of the internet in the comfort of their own RV. Most laptop computers come equipped with built in 802.11 capability suitable for RV internet access via WiFi. More and more parks are installing WiFi networks creating hotspots much like those found in airports, coffee shops, and restaurants all over the country. While the speeds are much improved over dial-up, access may not be available in all areas on a campground and many campgrounds also charge fees for use.

Many full-time RVers are looking for 24/7 access to the internet if possible. Most major cellular companies offer wireless access via smart phones that can be used to surf the web and check email. These cellular connections can also be used as a wireless modem and many providers also offer wireless air cards that are connected to the computer to tap into the network.

If internet access is near the top of your list of RV needs, consider these items:

What type of access do you need, intermittent or 24/7?

Does your laptop or computer have the capability to access the internet wirelessly?

Does the campground offer WiFi service and if so, is it available on the entire grounds, and are there any fees associated?

Does your cell phone provider offer wireless service or cards that can keep you connected, regardless of where your RV vacations take you?

Now that we’ve covered internet, what else is on your list when looking for a New or Used RV New York?


It’s Almost Time To Winterize Your RV Nichols


A lot of full time RVers are making their final plans to load up their rig and head south for the winter. For them, winter time means changing locations and doing things as usual. If you are not a full time RVer, and you don’t plan on using your RV or trailer during the winter months, then that means that you are probably getting ready to winterize your RV. Winterizing your RV is a very important part of RV ownership if you keep your RV in cold weather areas during the winter months. It protects your rig from common problems that occur during cold storage.

One of the most important parts of winterizing is taking care of your water system. If you have water in your pipes during freezing temperatures, there is a good chance that the pipes will burst, and leave you with thousands of dollars of repairs on your hands. It is important to drain and flush your entire water system. This is also a great time to give your tanks one last heavy duty cleaning for the year. Replace your tanks with water and antifreeze, and then run your faucets and toilets until you see that the mixture is coming through all of your pipes. Don’t use regular car antifreeze, but instead use antifreeze designed for RV winterization.

If you don’t have a garage or indoor facility to store your rig, then you will want to completely cover your RV and tires. The environment and dirt, dust, and grime can have their toll on your RV’s exterior and tires, so make sure you have a high quality heavy duty cover to keep all of these elements off of your RV.

With Fall quickly coming to an end, it is time to make sure that you have your RV ready for a long winter at home. If you are looking for help to winterize your RV, or products that are made to get your rig through winter, then be sure to come in and see us at Jim’s RV.


Cook in Your RV for Thanksgiving Nichols


Thanksgiving is only a few short weeks away, and that means it’s time to start getting your recipes all set for what you’re going to serve this year. If you have ever had a Thanksgiving meal in your RV, then you know that space is at a premium when preparing and cooking food. The biggest culprit of taking up room is the turkey. Whether you are having dinner with loved ones — or simply other campers at your campsite — having a big Thanksgiving meal is always great, so you shouldn’t have to sacrifice due to space constraints.

One of the best ways to keep your oven open for use is to fry your turkey. This may seem like an odd concept if you are not accustom to frying your turkey, but it will allow you to cook faster and easier than cooking it in your oven. In addition to your turkey all you will need is a large deep fryer (which is available in sizes four to seven gallons) and a propane tank. The fryer won’t take up much space when not in use, and you can use your existing propane line to keep the burner lit. It is popular to inject the turkey with spice mixes and then drop it in the hot oil and let the fryer do the work.

Before you heat your oil, place the turkey inside the fryer and then fill it with the oil. If you put the turkey in hot oil and it overflows, you are asking for a large fire hazard. Once the oil, preferably peanut oil, is hot, drop in the turkey and cook for 3 minutes per pound. This is a lot faster, but you will have to keep an eye on the fryer in case you start to experience problems. This will leave your oven open for any other cooking that you need to be done.

Thanksgiving is a great time to get together in your RV, so save some space and time and look at buying a deep fryer to help you this Holiday Season.


Get to Know Your RV’s Propane Tanks


One of the most essential components of your RV is the propane tanks and valves that deliver the gas to your RV. The propane does more than create heat, it also is used to run your refrigerator, power your water heater, and other appliances that are needed to make your RV into a home. It is important for you to know how it works and what kind of valves you have in order for you to troubleshoot problems down the road.

The first thing to know about is the actual propane tanks themselves. While you can get these filled at any propane station, you should still do a little bit of research on the tanks. Whether you own your own tanks, or trade them out for new ones, it is important to know their age. While you will likely never encounter a propane tank that is over eight years old, you can never be certain. Propane tanks are only certified for 12 years of use after the date they were manufactured. If you have tanks getting near that age and don’t want to let go of them, then you must  have them re-certified, which will only add five years of life to them.

The other important component is the valve system that connects your propane tanks to your gas line. It is recommended that you have ACME valves, which are sometimes known as QCC or OPD valves, on your RV. These are the kinds of valves that are easier to connect because they have a coupling that goes over the exterior of the tank valve. Not only are they easier to use, but they also have an over-flow protector which allows your tank to billed filled at the proper level without risking over filling. Your RV may have POL valves, which attach to the interior of the tank valve, which is okay, but you may want to think of changing them.

Knowing how your RV works, especially if you are a new RVer, is a great way to diagnose problems and do preventative RV maintenance in Nichols. Be sure to check out your RV’s propane system, or come by and we can help you with your RV questions.