By Mike Willis
There are countless “options” to consider when purchasing a new RV. However, there are a few of them that you should not consider optional!
One of my favorite features on my RV is the electric tongue jack. The tongue jack is different from the stabilizer jacks. Stabilizer jacks level the four corners of the unit, while the tongue jack raises and lowers the tongue of the trailer for coupling to your vehicle.
While it’s nice not having to hand crank your unit up and down, there’s an additional benefit to this feature that is a little less obvious.
The electric tongue jack drastically assists you during the installation of your sway bars!
Once coupled to your hitch, the electric tongue jack will lift the rear of your vehicle, allowing for easy sway bar installation. Traditionally, RV’ers had to utilize a pry bar and create enough leverage to install their sway bars. The jack will provide the angle-change needed to put your equipment in-line.
If you have already purchased an RV, but you don’t have an electric tongue jack, don’t be dismayed. These are easily obtained as an aftermarket part. Therefore, if you find a smoking deal on a travel trailer that is lacking an electric tongue jack, always know that this is an improvement that can be made after-the-fact.
My second favorite RV feature is the electric awning.
Without this electronic feature, you’re forced to crank the awning in and out by hand. You will exert a lot of unnecessary energy deploying and retracting this canopy. Awnings get damaged because owners won’t bother drawing them in when the wind kicks up. They gamble to avoid the frustration, a risk that those with an electronic unit need not take.
When things get tweaked and aren’t perfectly even, it can be cumbersome to manipulate your canopy without some real inconvenience. When you see your neighbor fighting their awning, you will quickly understand the value of having one that is controlled by pressing a button.
For those who are purchasing a unit that has slide outs, careful attention should be given to ensuring that these are not manually operated.
The cost of having a power actuated slide is not significant enough to justify the inconvenience in your new recreational vehicle. Power slide outs add too much value to pass up.
Many of the previously mentioned “options” come as a standard feature now. This is especially true for higher-end units in the market today. Some of the entry-level models will still cut corners in these areas to get the price point down. If you’re looking at used models, you need to take note of these features to ensure that you are not surprised on your maiden voyage.
I have never once regretted spending the money on these “options.” I still smile a little bit each time I use them as I realize the tremendous convenience that they offer. It’s these little things that make a trip feel like a vacation. Without them, it would just be another day at work!