glasses tip feb 2015

If you’re like me and thousands of others, we all have one thing in common; we wear glasses to make our vision better. Not only that, many of us have dual-vision glasses with reading lenses at the bottom. This is what I have had for many years and thanks to an Optometrist who had experience with commercial drivers, he had recommended that I have the “focal-point” for the reading glasses set so it was at the end of my arm’s length.

What this did was to allow me to sit in the driver’s seat and see the instruments perfectly clear through the bi-focal lenses without moving my head forward; all I had to do was to look down.

Why do I bring this up? Well I recently purchased new glasses and forgot to mention to the Optometrist that I drive large vehicles and need the bi-focal distance to be set out about 36 inches so I can see the dash instruments. It was when I put on the new glasses and could NOT see the dash instruments that I realized what a great tip this is for any large vehicle driver. My new glasses will be here soon.

RVTC Inspection

Once again, I was reminded yesterday of the importance of doing a Pre-Trip Inspection. To review, the Pre-Trip always begins in the engine compartment, checking fluids, belts, hoses and underneath the engine for signs of leaks. Next is the light check, clearance lights, turn signals, hazards, brake lights, backup lights and horn. All was good.

Last but never least, the Safety Check. Starting at the entrance door, making sure the steps retracted, I worked my way around the coach, counter-clockwise, so I was facing possible on-coming traffic. I checked the windshield wipers, made sure the mirrors were secure, the compartment doors were secure and tires had proper inflation.

Guess what I found when I checked the outside dually on the drivers side? The tire had only 22 lbs of pressure! Further examination revealed there were two nails in the tire and there was no way I would have made the 231 mile trip without having the tire go totally flat or even worse, come apart. Never assume everything is OK, always do your checks to make sure that everything REALLY is OK!

What you find may delay you for a few minutes but it’s better to fix a possible problem BEFORE you begin your journey rather than trying to do it on the side of the freeway.

sue p tip aug 2014One problem many new RV drivers have is making right-hand turns without hitting the curb. There are a couple of real easy tricks professional drivers use to make sure they DO NOT hit a corner.

One is to make sure the vehicle is close to the lane line on the left side of your vehicle when setting up for the turn, which should leave your RV about 3.5 feet from the curb on your right. The other is to keep your vehicle moving straight until your shoulder is just beyond the curb, at which time you will start your turn.

In addition to making sure you are at the correct starting position for your turn, any safe driver is going to be checking their convex mirror in the direction they are turning to make sure they are clear of the curb or any other possible objects in their turning path.

This past week one of my students, Sue P. found out how easy it is to make perfect right-hand turns and I was fortunate enough to have my camera rolling when the “light-bulb” came on. Great job Sue, I couldn’t have done better!

To get comfortable behind the wheel and learn ALL the tricks you need to know to be a safe driver, give us a call and register for RV Boot Camp.

 

towing tips advanced2Recently I replaced my ’04 PT Cruiser Toad with a new Chevy Sonic and to put it mildly, I can’t believe all the technology changes that have taken place in the past ten years!

Before towing the first time I read the recommended procedures:

When you turn the key and put the ignition in the accessory position, it can drain the battery over time. Removing the DLIS fuse, when towing, removes the power to the BCM causing the ignition relay to open which stops the battery from going dead.

So, what is the DLIS fuse and what is the BCM? No one can tell me what DLIS stands for but it does the job of turning the power off to the BCM. The Body Control Module is a generic term for an electronic control unit, responsible for monitoring and controlling various electronic accessories in a vehicle’s body. Typically, in a car, the BCM controls the power windows, power mirrors, air conditioning, immobilizer system, central locking, etc. The BCM communicates with other on-board computers via the car’s vehicle bus, and its main application is controlling load drivers – actuating relays that in turn perform actions in the vehicle such as locking the doors or dimming the salon overhead lamp.

For other vehicles, the recommendation is to pull the ECM fuse. Again, this is to turn off the various sensors within the car that are sending signals when the car’s engine is running.

Now that we know the terms, what does all this mean? Well for me it meant, after pulling the fuse and trying to put it back in without dropping it at night in the dark, frustration! How do I make pulling the fuse an easy operation? The answer was provided by my favorite mechanic, Rod, who installed the Base Plate, wired the lights and wired in a simple ON-OFF switch, (shown in the center of the picture) to disable the DLIS. When preparing to tow, I open the fuse panel and turn the switch OFF. When towing is completed, I turn the switch ON, close the panel and everything is ready to go. Too simple (and thank you Rod)!

Now if the Sonic is as great a vehicle as the PT Cruiser was and can run over 428,000 miles on the original clutch and engine, I’ll be a happy man.

Hang-on, now this just in, an email from my Sonic letting me know that no oil change is due at this time, my remaining oil life is 98%, no issues have been found, no actions are required but my right front and left rear tires are both one pound low on air pressure. This is what I call Hi-Tech!

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