RV Owners Manual

An RV owners manual is an extremely important tool for an RVer to have on hand. RV's have a lot of parts and contain not only the mechanics of a car but also of a home. A lot of information is needed to run and maintain an RV and it is all in the owners manual.

Contents

Inside of an RV owners manual is a wealth of knowledge. Vital safety information is contained within these pages and should be carefully read. Before you even get to the first page you will see the words warning, danger, and caution at least once. This is because there are a lot of electric and combustible parts to an RV. A recreational vehicle has gas to make the engine run, propane tanks to heat the water and turn on the stove, as well as enough ampage to run not just the RV but also a generator. You can already see why this manual is so important.

In addition to helping you stay safe, the RV owners manual has information pertaining to the warranty, a list of repair parts, and cargo capacity. Specific details about what your RV can and cannot tow especially in regards to weight limits can be found in this book. Electrical diagrams, Authorized Service Dealers, operating details, and troubleshooting information are also provided in the manual.

Where to Buy

If you purchase a new RV than you will receive the RV owners manual. If you purchase an old or used RV, you may or may not receive the owners guide. At some point this very crucial book may even become lost. So now what do you do? You have a few possible options. First and most obvious you can call the manufacturer or go to their web site. Depending on the year of the RV and how long the maker keeps the manuals on file you may be able to purchase a copy through them.

If you have an RV whose manufacturer is no longer in business, was bought out, or simply cannot provide you with the owners manual don't panic. You may be able to find the book online, in a book store, or through an RV shop.

EBay

EBay currently has 37 owner's manuals for sale. Most of them are vintage but there are a couple of newer ones available. The prices are currently starting at $5.23 and are as high as $104.98.

RV Basics

This is a very helpful web site. They provide information on how to obtain manuals for motorhomes, travel trailers, and fifth wheels. Models include GMC and Airstream and go back as far as the mid-1960's. The company also offers some good old common sense. Many of the older RV's are not in original condition. Throughout the years parts have been replaced and mechanics updated. At this point the original RV owners manual may not be of any use to you. RV Basics advises two things.

  • First, look under the hood and on the chassis for manufacturer names. Just because the RV was made by Coachmen it doesn't mean that they made the engine or the undercarriage. If you can't find the RV manual try looking for the guide put out by the auto maker or pick up one of Chilton's Truck and Van Repair Manuals, recommended by RV Basics.

  • This is also the second piece of advice offered by the company. If you cannot find the specific manual you are looking for, simply use a basic guide.

For more recommendations you can visit RV Basics on the web.

Old Usually Means No Manual

My first motorhome was a 1970 Winnebago that was over 20 years old. Needless to say it did not have an owner’s manual. Of course that was in the days before the internet was so available, and eBay was still a dream.

The first major issue I had with it was that it needed a complete wiring harness and rewire. Thankfully my brother was pretty handy and also in the Air Force at the time. He was able to find a schematic somewhere on Base and do the work himself.

Of course that was only the first of many issues I had with that old motorhome that would have been less traumatic if I had an owner’s manual.

Finding an RV owners manual can be challenging, especially if you absolutely must have an original. Some people want the guides for practical reasons while others just like to collect them. In either case just be sure to tap into all your resources. People are always selling something either online, at the flea market, or in the Penny Pincher. If you know where to look you have a good chance of finding exactly what you want.