Keep Things From Rattling In Your RV While Driving
As RVers, most of us have learned to be patient travelers. But those continuous and monotonous rattles, scrapes, bangs, vibrations, pops, and more…well, those may test us. And sometimes, those scenarios can cause serious damage. So, where do we start?
Isolate the culprit
Start off by identifying where the rattling is initiated. This can be done in a few ways. First, listen for where it is coming from. If you are in a fifth wheel, you may need to take a brief ride down the road inside your RV. If you are in a van, you need to get someone else to drive while you focus on the directional sound. We did this test in a fifth wheel—my spouse was driving and I rode in the back. Thankfully, there were not a lot of issues to deal with.
Next, try looking for damage. Shaking and ratting items can all cause damage. Look for scratches, drag marks, sawdust, paint scraps, worn areas, and other signs that items have moved around in your RV. We found sawdust on the floor near our slide, which let us know a picture we thought was secure was rubbing on the wall.
Look in the most problematic rooms. Kitchens and bathrooms hold the most rattle-making objects. Go through these rooms very carefully and think through the areas that can be high-ranking issues. Think cutlery, dishes, bottles, glasses, canned goods, and medicines.
Finally, pay attention to where items are prior to going down the road. Have any of them shifted to a new location? Moving items can not only contribute to rattling, but they can cause the items they are near or on to come loose as well. One time we arrived at our RV park and found an ice cube tray in the sink. Somehow it popped the freezer door open and made its way out. (Thank goodness it melted in the sink!)
Manage the damage
What you found will help you determine the action you need to take. Here are some issues that you might not think about but are common RV rattling issues and how RVers solve them:
- Wheel wells – Remove the plastic wheel liners and wheels. Use tape or plastic to cover the rotor and frame. Before applying, clean the wheel well of rust or debris with a wire brush. Apply liquid sound deadener to the metal areas. Add more layers as needed. Cover with a sound-deadening mat for louder rattles. If you hear the rattles inside, add a mass-loaded vinyl sound-blocking layer on the inside of your RV.
- Generator box – It depends on the type of generator you are using, but you can add soundproofing and possibly a rubber mat underneath it to prevent rattling.
- Water pumps – Try wrapping the pipes to prevent rattling sounds coming up through the pipes.
- Doors & windows – Try weather stripping or caulking, which will help hold things in place more tightly.
Products to stop rattling
Depending on where it is occuring, there are products you can use to reduce rattling. Here are some common products used by fellow RVers to help manage rattling issues:
- Weather stripping
- Rattle silencer for hitches
- RV stabilizers
- Slip stops
- Sound dampeners
- Rubber mats
- Bubble wrap
The other thing you can do to reduce rattling noises is purchase plastic items instead of glass, or purchase objects that won’t easily move or slide. Store items you don’t use as often further away from you.
Non-purchases can also help. Don’t buy as many back-up products you will have to store a while before use.
No matter what, when you hear a rattle–take care of it. Rattles are only an indicator that something is loose or not properly seated. The rattle may turn into a greater issue or more damage on down the road.
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.
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Since 2019 Lucinda Belden has been a full-time RVer and travel writer specializing in topics such as living on the road, working while traveling, RVing with outdoor recreation toys, and discovering unique location experiences. She is also the Program Director for MyRVRadio, a non-stationary radio station for RVers broadcasting news, events, culture, expert advice, humor, and entertainment. As a skilled entrepreneur, promoter and travel industry consultant, she and her husband Will Belden organize national events for the outdoor industry, such as the Direction Wide Open RV & Motorcycle Rally. She draws daily inspiration from the full-time RV lifestyle, motorcycling and world travel expeditions.