Are you heading out for a long (or short) trip in your motor home? Here are nine things to check before you head out!
1. Check things that can change: When you travel in your RV, it's normal for some things to be consumed, things besides paper plates and sodas! Before heading out, always be sure to check the "other" consumables: the systems in the RV itself. Even if you checked it all after the last trip, give it another once-over, just in case.
Give your rig a good going over by checking all fluid levels, the engine battery and even the lights, brakes, and wheel lugs. Don't forget the tire pressure. Also check the chassis.
Inside, check your water pump by turning on the sink (don't forget to turn the pump on first). If you're hauling your water, be sure to fill your tank, then fill your hot water heater and refill the water tank. Test the hot water heater (turn it off before you go) and make sure all the sinks work.
2. You might need the generator: Clean up your rig's generator by servicing the air cleaner, checking the oil level, and make sure it can carry a full charge. Clean the connections, the governor, and the choke linkage. It's also a good idea to fire it up and make sure it runs — just because it “looks good” doesn't mean that it'll work when you want it to.
3. Don't forget the fridge: Check your refrigerator by operating it on gas and looking at the burner to ensure that the flame burns blue. Make sure there are no obstructions in the ventilation system. Even check the knobs to make sure they aren't stripped. That could cause a false thermostat reading.
4. Check the air conditioner: We've got an air conditioner on our RV, but we can only use it at full-hook-up campgrounds since our generator isn't big enough. But, we ran power to our parking pad at home so we can always check it before we go (and, it's great to run while we're loading since it's really hot running back and forth from the house bringing stuff to the trailer!).
Check all of the air filters, and make sure the coils are clean and free of debris. Check the voltage at the outside panel. Most systems are designed to operate at 120 volts plus or minus 10 percent.
5. Now go inside: Turn off the water pump switch; close the windows and vents and cabinet drawers. We put bungee cords on all our drawers and cabinets to make sure they stay closed. Make sure the refrigerator door is closed tightly. (We've dumped the eggs before — what a mess!) Switch your fridge to power (not propane) and turn off any lights. How about your fire extinguishers? Are they in working order?
6. Don't forget the "other" stuff: Don't leave without your prescription medicines and copies of those prescriptions, your sunglasses, camera and film, stationery and stamps, your address book, a tire gauge, spare parts for your generator, a first aid kit, pet supplies, extra toilet chemicals and paper, and maps you'll need.
7. Insurance, anybody? Be sure your RV insurance is current. Avoid carrying too much cash. Confirm all of your reservations, have somebody pick up your mail and newspaper (or discontinue them for long trips), and notify your neighbors of your return date.
If you've got somebody coming to the house to care for pets you left behind, picking up the mail, etc, be sure to tell your neighbors who they are, when you expect them and what they drive — you wouldn't want a neighbor "helping" by calling the police on your house sitter.
8. Are you towing a vehicle with a bar? Check all of the connections and welds. Make sure the safety chains are crossed under the coupling and hooked. Check the lights, transmission, drive shaft, and parking brake. Take a spare set of keys and don't attempt to back up when you are hooked up.
9. And finally, just before you pull out: Disconnect and stow the electrical cord, sewer hose, and water hose. Check to make sure the TV antenna is down and all outside vents are closed and secured.
We've got a skylight in the bathroom that we've got to close and latch. Turn off the propane (be sure the fridge is running on battery). Raise the leveling jacks. Secure the awning, lock the outside door, adjust the rearview mirror, buckle up, and off you go — camping!
PS: Don't forget to retract the steps!
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