I’ve been browsing craigslist ads recently, looking at travel trailers for sale, and a caveat on one dealer’s ad caught my eye. Travel Trailers, it advised, are not meant to be long term housing. That warning was really about the use of formaldehyde in the construction of RVs, something we aren’t concerned with since our used trailer had likely off-gassed all toxic fumes before we purchased it. Nevertheless, travel trailers aren’t very sturdy and full-timing it with kids and pets really wears things out. We’ve been living in our little 26-ft trailer for about 14 months now and the list of things that need fixing has grown substantially.
The worst thing is the floor which has gone from soft in spots when we purchased the trailer to downright squishy. The duct tape keeps the linoleum down but doesn’t really provide any additional support. The floor really needs to be pulled up and replaced (after the leak has been located and fixed) but that just isn’t feasible while we live in the trailer.
Other interior troubles include blinds bent by inquisitive dogs and a cat; a loose bathroom doorknob that sometimes wiggles itself into a locked position (I tighten the screws and it gradually loosens again); a propane gas leak detector that went berserk and was forcibly and fatally silenced in the early hours one morning; a freezer door held closed by a tired Velcro strap after the plastic clip broke; and a dinette seat that has given in to the strain of daily transformation from bed to seat and the impact of my son leaping onto the seat from the sofa and has literally come unglued. I sympathize.
In addition the oven hasn’t worked since we bought the unit and only 2 of the 3 stove burners work. The cushion covers are looking really dingy, the catch on one cupboard is broken and the screen door is ripped.
On the outside the awning support got bent and the awning ripped in a windstorm but since we don’t have room to extend it at this park that hasn’t been an issue. One tail light is cracked and the door to the outdoor shower which was locked when we received the trailer (no key was provided) is now taped shut with duct tape. I think that’s about it.
We own multiple rolls of duct tape, a small powered drill, a hammer, several screwdrivers and miscellaneous other tools like hex wrenches and pliers, a bottle of wood glue and a tube of superglue. Enough you would think to tackle most problems. My approach to home repair and other DIY projects is amateurish and heavy handed and thus easy to spot. I can follow directions and can visualize the final product but the same flaw that prevents me from cutting a straight line or hanging a picture on level thwarts my ambitions.
Since repair doesn’t seem to be my thing, I searched the full-timer RV forums for advice on preventing wear and tear – sadly the consensus seems to be 1) don’t live in it, and 2) if you do, don’t take pets and children with you!