With the weather warming up, folks are eager to dust off their RVs and embark on another summer of outdoor fun. Before you think about hitting the open road though, there are a few things you should consider to make sure your unit is in proper operating condition and ready for the open road. Ensure that your trip is both safe and successful by following this basic pre-trip checklist.
Exterior of your RV
Before hitting the road, take a walk around the outside of your unit and make sure everything looks safe and prepped for travel.
Tires: Under-inflated tires and over-inflated tires can cause serious damage to your unit. Check with your owner’s manual to determine the correct tire pressure for your RV’s loading and set the air pressure accordingly. Inspect the condition of your tires as well, noting any damage or excessive wear.
Lug Nuts: Take note of any discoloration or stains around the lug nuts as this could be an indication that they are loose. Make sure to properly tighten the lug nuts or you could risk losing a wheel.
Storage Compartments: Lock the outside storage compartments, making sure the doors all latch properly and there is no damage to the hinges or panels.
Awning: Nothing will put a damper on your journey quite like watching your awning fly off your RV as you cruise down the highway. Make sure your awning is properly stored in the travel position and locked to ensure you don’t lose it on your way!
Slide Outs: Don’t forget to put in all your slide outs. Double check to make sure you have locked them securely before taking off.
Hookups: Make sure your power cord and water and sewer hoses are disconnected and properly stored away. Secure the cap on the sewer outlet as well.
Antennas or Satellites: Antenna damage is a common repair made to RV’s because they can be easy to overlook. Avoid a costly fix and make sure your TV antennas or satellite dishes are retracted or stored securely.
Jacks: Before hitting the road, check that your stabilizer jacks or hydraulic leveling jacks are in the raised position and ready for travel.
Entry Steps: One of the most common repairs made to RVs is for step damage. Avoid a common mistake and make sure the entry steps are retracted and stowed away before hitting the road.
Propane: Turn off all gas appliances and tank supplies before driving away. Check the intake and exhaust vents for blockages, debris, or nests. For added safety, consider installing a propane gas detector.
Fluid Levels: If applicable, look at your oil, power steering, engine coolant, windshield washer, transmission and brake fluid. Ensure they are all within operating range.
Brakes: Check your air brakes, parking brake, and the tow brake to ensure that they are in proper working order. Remember, most RVs use air brakes rather than the conventional hydraulic brakes, so expect a slight delay when applying pressure.
Exterior Lights: To ensure safe operation on the road, make sure your headlights, brake lights, flashers, and turn signals are all in proper working condition. Double check both your high and low beams.
Under-rig Inspection: Get down and check under the RV for leaks or anything out of the ordinary. Fluid loss can be an indication of component failure so you will want to get it repaired before departure.
Interior of your RV
It isn’t just the outside of your RV that you should inspect before travel. Take a walk through the inside of your unit too and make sure everything looks safe and ready for the open road.
Loose Items: It might not seem like a big deal to have some loose items in your RV when traveling, but they can pose a big risk in the unfortunate case of an accident. At 55mph, a 20-pound object hits with 1,000 pounds of force. For safety and peace of mind, secure all loose items before hitting the road.
Cabinetry: Ensure that all the cabinets, doors, and drawers are closed and secure them shut so they don’t fly open once you’re mobile. Take a look at these organizational tips to make sure everything in your cabinets are stowed away most efficiently.
Interior Appliances: Turn off all your appliances before taking off, and never travel with the burners lit. Turn off your water pump switch and if there are any devices that could drain your auxiliary battery, turn those off as well.
Refrigerator: Have a look inside your refrigerator and take care of any contents that may spill and make a mess once you get moving. Lock the refrigerator and freezer doors and make sure they are securely latched.
Vents & Windows: Close all the windows and secure the blinds just before departure. Close the roof vents as well.
For a final inspection, take one last look around the inside of your RV and make sure everything looks prepped for travel. Make one final walk around the outside of your unit too. Double check and look for anything that you may have missed to ensure that your trip is safe and successful!