RV Tips: Pre-Trip Reminders

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Last month, I completed my RV spring preparation checklist and we took our first RV trip of the season. We loaded the RV and headed to the Gettysburg KOA in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. If you ever get a chance to visit Gettysburg, I highly recommend it. Standing on the battlefield, walking through the cemetery and reading the Gettysburg Address brings a reality to the sacrifices made by our forefathers that have allowed us to enjoy the freedoms we have today.

The Gettysburg KOA is centrally located to Hershey, Pennsylvania, the Amish country, Washington, D.C., Antietam and Baltimore, Maryland. This KOA makes a great home base when planning some terrific day trips to all the surrounding areas. If you’re a Harley-Davidson fan don’t miss out on a factory tour of the York Harley-Davidson facility right down the road in York, Pennsylvania.

Now that we have this first RV trip of the season behind us, I wanted to offer a simple RV pre-trip checklist you can follow to keep your RV road-ready for all your trips this camping season. Regardless of the type of RV you have, you need to get in the habit of making these pre-trip checks every time you use your RV. Taking a few minutes to complete these simple checks before leaving home or before leaving your favorite KOA can save you time and money on unnecessary repairs to your RV. This is an excerpt from my Checklists for RVers E-Book available at www.rveducation101.com

Let’s start with the outside of the RV:

Check and adjust the air pressure in all tires. Always check the tires when they are cold, before traveling more than one mile.

Check the lug nuts on the wheels. Discoloration and stains around lug nuts indicate they may be loose.

- Make sure all items in the storage compartments are secure. Lock all outside compartments.

- Check the bike rack and bikes for secure mounting, if applicable.

- Make sure the power cord, water hose and the sewer hose are disconnected and properly stowed.

- Make sure all slide-outs are stowed and slide-out travel locks are securely in place.

- Make sure the TV antenna and/or satellite are down and stowed in the proper position for traveling.

- Check the awning. Make sure that it is securely retracted and all travel locks and knobs are tight and locked.

- Raise all stabilizer jacks or hydraulic leveling jacks.

- Look under the RV for any indications of leaks (motorized) or anything out of the ordinary.

- Stow or retract the steps.

- Fill the fresh water holding tank with enough potable water to get to your destination.

- Check and secure the cap on the sewer outlet.

- Turn all LP gas appliances off and turn the gas supply off at the tank or bottles.

- Double check all hitch work on towable RVs and on vehicles being towed behind motor homes.

- Check all fluid levels for motorized RVs and tow vehicles.

- Remove and store wheel chocks and any type of leveling blocks.

- Check all running lights, turn signals, brake lights and headlights on the RV and tow vehicle.

- Check for an up-to-date inspection or emission sticker and license plates.

- Check trailer brakes for proper operation.

- Make one final walk around the outside of the RV and check for anything you may have overlooked. You might be surprised what you missed the first time around.

Don’t forget about the inside of your RV:

• Walk through the entire RV and secure all loose items that could move, fall or get damaged while traveling.

• Turn off all appliances, gas and electric. Turn off all pilot lights.

• Close all roof vents.

• Close all doors, drawers and cabinets.

• Check for anything in the refrigerator that could spill. Lock the refrigerator and freezer doors.

• Turn off the 12-volt water pump.

• Close the range top cover.

• Turn off all 12-volt lights and accessories that could drain the auxiliary battery. Don’t forget the TV antenna booster.

• Close the windows and secure blinds.

• Secure any items like TVs and computers that might move or fall while traveling.

• All weight in the RV should be distributed evenly. Adjust your mirrors and seat and hit the road.

This pre-trip checklist does not cover everything, but it’s a good start. You can add to this list and tailor it to your specific type of RV. The most important thing to remember is to use this checklist every time you use your RV. It’s easy to forget something without a reminder!

Happy RV learning,

Mark J. Polk

For more information on how to purchase, use and maintain your RV be sure to visit www.rveducation101.com.