Best RV Camping in Idaho

Idaho offers visitors and locals alike some of the most beautiful places to camp in the country. Stunning mountain views, lakes, rivers, and national parks make our state a hot spot for camping. If you are thinking about touring Idaho with your RV, there are a few places that you should add to your list. Don’t forget to stop by Lake City Auto Care if your RV needs service before you head out into the wilderness!

5 Idaho parks and campgrounds to visit this summer

Sam Owen Campground

Sam Owen Campground is located in cedar and pine forests on the edge of Lake Pend Oreille. The wilderness around Sam Owen campground offers hiking, swimming, boating, and canoeing. The nearby Sam Owen Game Preserve is home to deer, birds, and other wildlife. 

This campground is open from mid-May to late September, offers potable water, and flush toilets. Campers have access to a boat launch and dock. Sam Owen Campground has a 14 day stay period.

Farragut State Park

Also located on Lake Pen Oreille, Farragut State Park offers swimming in both the lake and surrounding rivers, indoor restrooms and showers, drinking water, equestrian campsites, and a boat launch.

The surrounding area offers a wide variety of activities. The Museum at the Brig showcases the history of the Farragut Naval Training Station, as well as world war two. Visitors can rent equipment to play disc golf or visit the nearby Silverwood Theme Park.

Farragut is an ideal place to visit for families with children, and those who do prefer to not be extremely secluded.

Round Lake State Park

Round Lake State Park is located to the west of Lake Pend Oreille, 10 miles south of Sandpoint. This 142-acre national park offers camping, paddleboat, canoe, and kayak rentals. Visitors can swim and fish on the state park’s namesake, Round Lake. Flush toilets, an RV dump station, RV campsites, and is ADA accessible.

Lost Moose Campground

Located 45 minutes to the east of Coeur d’Alene, Lost Moose Campground offers a more secluded camping experience. You won’t find Wi-Fi, cell reception, or an RV dump station here. Lost Moose is over 10 miles away from most amenities like gas stations and grocery stores.

From the campground, visitors have access to ATV trails, a jeep road, hiking, and fishing. Latour Creek runs right by the campground, but if you want to swim in a deeper body of water, the Coeur d’Alene River is only 8 miles away.

Lost Moose Campground provides a much more remote camping experience. For those that enjoy this type of camping, it is a great place to visit!

Bumblebee Campground

Another spot located to the east of Coeur d’Alene; Bumblebee Campground is comprised of two loops with campsites. Large groups can reserve the entire west loop to accommodate lots of campers, but families and individuals also can reserve smaller sites on the east loop. This campground offers vault toilets, drinking water, and trash pickup.  

Bumblebee Campground is located 15 miles from the 803 Motorized Trail System. Visitors can fish and tube on the river, hike, climb, and horseback ride in the areas surrounding the campground.

Let Lake City Auto Care Handle Your RV Repair and Service!

Before you head out on a camping trip this summer, get your RV serviced at Lake City Auto Care! Our technicians have the skills to work on heavy line vehicles, and will get your rig ready for a summer of adventure. Call or schedule an appointment today!

How to Dewinterize Your RV And Get Ready For Summer

Summer in Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding wilderness of northern Idaho makes for some pretty awesome camping. As the weather starts to warm up, you are probably thinking about your first camping expedition of the season. Before you go out, it’s essential to make sure your camper is prepared, or “dewinterized”. Follow these steps to make sure your rig is clean and prepped for a summer of camping!

How to Dewinterize your RV or Camper

Your camper has been sitting in storage since the fall. You flushed, cleaned, and filled the water system with antifreeze, changed the oil in your RV’s engine, and parked it in a safe space to wait out the cold winter months. When you pull (or drive) your rig out of storage in the spring, there are several important services and checks you need to perform before hitting the road.

Check, Charge, and Install Batteries

The batteries in your RV power essential systems like water, lights, radio, and TV. Some campers utilize an AC power system that plugs into an external source, but if you spend a lot of time dispersed camping, you rely almost entirely on your RV’s batteries. When you pull your camper out of storage and re-install the batteries, there are a few things you need to check.

  • Ensure batteries remain above an 80% charge to prevent sulfation, which can drastically decrease the life of a battery.
  • Use a voltmeter to check the charge of your RV batteries in the springtime.
  • A fully charged 12-volt battery is 12.73 volts, and a fully charged 6-volt battery is 6.37 volts.
  • A 12-volt battery at 80% charge will read 12.4 volts

Ensure your batteries are reading above 12.4 volts before installing them. Ideally, hook them up to a battery charger and bring them to full charge before heading out on your first trip.

Check RV or Camper Tires

Sitting for months on end can cause abnormal wear and tear on your RV’s tires. Additionally, because campers and RV’s are typically used for only half of the year, the tires are not replaced frequently and can expire before the tread is worn down. Older tires succumb to rubber oxidation, which will lead to both internal and external rubber cracking. Cracked or old tires are unsafe and can lead to accidents.

If your tires are over six years old, be sure to replace them. For tires less than six years old, perform a visual inspection. Check for visible cracking, look at the tread depth, and check tire pressure. Tires sitting in storage all winter can lose up to three psi of pressure per month.

If your tires are old or show signs of wear and tear, replace them. Not only are they dangerous on the road, but running into tire issues when camping in the wilderness can leave you stranded.

Dewinterize the Water System

Your camper or RV brings many of the amenities of home on the road with you. Most campers and RV’s have a freshwater system with running water, a toilet, and a shower. In the fall, the water system is flushed and replaced with non-toxic antifreeze to prevent damage from frozen water during the winter months.

When getting ready for summer, the water system in your RV needs to be purged of antifreeze, sanitized, and replaced with fresh water.

  • Begin by opening all taps (both hot and hold) and pump water into the system from a hose.
  • Pump water through the system until the water coming out of the faucet runs clear. The antifreeze in the system will end up in the holding tank. This can be emptied at a dump station.
  • Flush the toilet several times while the water is still pumping.
  • Replace water filter cartridges.
  • Remember to drain antifreeze from the water heater if it WAS NOT put into bypass mode when you put your RV up for the winter.

After a few minutes of flushing, the water will be clean and safe to drink. Use baking soda to remove any unpleasant antifreeze taste that may still be present.

Sanitize your RV’s Water System

After purging the antifreeze from the water system, it’s important to sanitize it. While the antifreeze you used to prevent freezing isn’t toxic, mold and other bacteria can still grow while the system is in storage. Sanitizing the water system can be done with water and household bleach.

  • Close up all drains in the water system.
  • Use ¼ cup household bleach for every 15 gallons of water your tank holds (a 60-gallon tank would use one cup of bleach).
  • Pour the correct amount of bleach into a gallon jug and mix with water.
  • Add the bleach/water mixture to your freshwater holding tank.
  • Fill the rest of the tank with freshwater.
  • Turn all water fixtures until bleach can be smelled coming out of them.
  • Turn off all water fixtures and let the bleach/water mixture sit for 12 hours.
  • Completely drain the water system and flush until you no longer smell bleach.
  • Refill the system with freshwater, it is now safe to use.

Check for Leaks in the Water System

 This step can be performed while you prepare your water system. An easy way to check for leaks is to pressurize the water system and wait to see if it loses pressure.

  • With a full water tank, turn on the electric water pump and let it run until the system has adequate water pressure.
  • Turn the pump off and wait several minutes.
  • If the pump kicks back on or does not shut off, the system is unable to sustain water pressure, indicating a leak is present.

If the system holds pressure, it is unlikely there is a major leak. Regardless, it is still a good idea to check the pipes under the sink and around the toilet for seepage.

Look Over the Exterior of your RV

This is particularly important if you stored your RV or Camper outside. Exposure to the elements can cause damage to your rig’s exterior, especially if you live in an area that sees harsh winter weather.

Check the roof of your RV, especially if it saw snow. The weight from heavy snowfall can cause structural damage. Use caution when working on the roof of your rig. On towable campers, look over the hitch and associated components for signs of rust or other damage.

Be sure to check all windows and air vents as well.

Replace Propane Tanks and Check Propane Appliances

Some RV’s and campers use propane to power appliances. If your rig uses propane, install new tanks and ensure all gas lines are securely connected. You can apply soapy water to the lines and look for bubbling, which can mean you have a propane leak.

On RV’s with refillable propane tanks, get them refilled at the start of the season. Follow all the laws in your state related to propane tanks in RV’s, they can vary.

Ensure all Appliances Work

Once you have propane tanks filled and connected to your RV, check and make sure all appliances are working as they should. If you encounter any issues, have a professional take a look. Propane is explosive and can be extremely dangerous.

Check 120-Volt Outlets

Make sure all the appliances that get power from 120-volt outlets are working as they should.

Start and Test the Generator

Not all RV’s use a generator, but if yours does it’s important to make sure it works as it should. Check the oil levels and inspect the exhaust. If the generator is not properly venting exhaust fumes, it can be dangerous.

Start the generator and let it run for a few hours to ensure proper function.

Check and Change RV Air and Water Filters

Change out any air and water filters in your RV to keep your air and water bacteria and contaminant free. A good time to change the water filters is when servicing your camper’s water system.

Check the engine and brakes on your RV

When you take your RV out of storage, check all fluid levels in the engine.

  • Do an oil change, especially if you did not do one in the fall.
  • Check coolant levels.
  • Make sure there is enough transmission fluid, and it doesn’t smell burnt.
  • Check the engine air filter and replace it if it’s dirty
  • Jump in the driver’s seat and start the engine. Listen for anything abnormal, and ensure all gauges are reading as they should.

Be sure to check your brakes as well. Your RV is big, and the brakes are subject to a lot of stress bringing all that weight to a stop. They must be in good condition before you head out on a camping trip.

If you have any issues on the mechanical side of your rig, come visit Lake City Auto Care at our Hayden location. Our technicians have the skills to work on heavy line vehicles like your RV.

Before you head out

If your rig is ready to go, there are a few more things to remember before going out on the first camping trip of the year. Be sure your RV or Camper has First Aid gear, bottled water, nonperishable food, and tools just in case of an emergency.

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Visit Lake City Auto Care before your next trip!

If you want to be extra sure your RV is ready for adventure this summer, schedule an appointment with Lake City Auto Care. Our team will make sure your rig is mechanically sound and perform any repairs or services it may need before you head out into the northern Idaho wilderness!

Should I Get A Pre-Purchase Inspection?

Buying a car second-hand is a great way to save money. Brand new vehicles lose value the minute you drive them off the lot. Purchasing a used car circumvents the immediate loss of value but can come with a host of problems. The excitement, concern, and other emotions involved in making a large purchase like a vehicle can make it easy to miss or overlook potential issues during an inspection or test drive. Luckily, you can get help. A pre-purchase inspection (often shortened to PPI) is a service offered by many auto repair shops that can help protect you and ensure you are getting a safe, quality vehicle for your money.

What Is A Pre-Purchase Inspection?

A PPI is a bumper-to-bumper inspection of a vehicle before a sale. The goal of a pre-purchase inspection is to have a third party (not the buyer or the seller) look over and identify any potential mechanical or safety issues the car may have. Pre-purchase inspections should be performed by a qualified mechanic who has extensive knowledge of the brand of vehicle you are shopping for.

Should I get a PPI?

Getting a pre-purchase inspection is a good idea any time you are considering a used vehicle. This is particularly true in a private sale on the roadside, off Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist. Private sales do not include a warranty. This means you are responsible for any issues the seller did not disclose at the time of the sale.

Where Can I get a Pre-Purchase Inspection?

Most service and repair shops offer pre-purchase inspections. Any qualified mechanic has the knowledge to perform a PPI. At Lake City Auto Care, we offer pre-purchase inspections to residents of CDA, Hayden, and Rathdrum Idaho. It’s best to have a PPI done by a shop or technician that you know and trust. If the vehicle needs repair, you can get an honest quote from the shop doing the inspection and head back to the seller with even more negotiating power.

What happens during the inspection?

Pre-purchase inspections do not have fixed guidelines, so every shop will perform them differently. Oftentimes, the depth of the inspection will correlate with the price. PPIs can range from a visual inspection of the exterior, looking for leaks, damage, and other problems to in-depth diagnostic tests like cylinder compression, brakes, steering, and the engine control unit.

PPI’s usually cost between $100 and $200. More complex vehicles and more in-depth inspections can cost you more. In most situations, the potential buyer pays the price for the pre-purchase inspection. However, as a seller, it can be beneficial to get a pre-purchase inspection performed before you list your vehicle for sale. Having the documentation of the inspection and provide a potential buyer can help build confidence and lead to a sale.

Pre-purchase inspection tips

  1. Go to a technician or shop you have a working relationship with
  2. Get permission from the seller before scheduling an inspection
  3. If the inspection turns up issues with the vehicle, use these repairs as a means to negotiate a better price, or walk away.
  4. If the seller hesitates or refuses to let you do a pre-purchase inspection be wary, they could be aware of issues with the vehicle.

Get a PPI at Lake City Auto Care!

Live in northern Idaho and are looking at a used car? Give Lake City Auto Care a call or schedule an appointment. Our technicians can perform an in-depth pre-purchase inspection to ensure you are making a good purchase.