Glossary of RV Terms

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Term Definition
ball mount

The part of the hitch system that supports the hitch ball and connects it to the trailer coupler. Ball mounts are available in load-carrying and weight-distributing configurations. An adjustable ball mount allows a hitch ball to be raised, lowered and tilted in small increments to allow fine tuning of the spring bar setup and to compensate for tow vehicle "squat," which occurs after the trailer coupler is lowered onto the ball.


Base Curb Weight (BCW) is the weight of a vehicle with standard equipment and a full tank of fuel. It does not include passengers, cargo or optional equipment.

black water

Disposal water from toilet system, held in holding tank until you dump it, in large tanks or dumping station available at most campgrounds.

brake controller

A control unit mounted inside your RV that allows electric trailer brakes to become activated in harmony with the braking of the tow vehicle. This device can be used to adjust trailer brake intensity, or to manually activate the trailer brakes.

breakaway switch

A safety device that activates the trailer brakes in the event the trailer becomes accidentally disconnected from the hitch while traveling.


British Thermal Unit. A measurement of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. RV air-conditioners and furnaces are BTU-rated.

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