Are you hoping to break away this summer with a relaxed vacation in your RV? Any long trip requires good planning and anticipation to keep you and your family safe and comfortable. Whether you use your RV regularly or not, there are many components, mechanical and non-mechanical that can and do go wrong.
Before any trip it’s best to give your RV a good check-over. Here’s a checklist of the main things to consider:
Schedule a service
Like any auto before a road-trip you’ll want to be sure the engine is in good health, and that your fluids are checked and topped up, filters are clean etc.. Any auto mechanic can do much of this, but shops that specialize in RV repair will also consider the battery, air conditioner, electrical system, lug nuts, the awning and other fixings that regular autos don’t have.
Reserve places to stay
After a long day of travel, discovering that the campsite you’ve stopped off at has no space for you is never a good way to end the day. You don’t want to be driving around for hours trying to find somewhere, or end up at the side of some road somewhere. Novice campers may not realize that there are many reasons you can be turned away from a campsite, not just because it’s too full:
- Some campsites are only for seniors
- Some campsites don’t allow older RVs (10 years or older for instance – this can be to maintain aesthetics and standards)
- Pitches may not be long enough for your particular RV
Finding places to stay at such short notice can be a challenge in the summer. Choosing campsites is something that is often best planned ahead.
Get in practice (if you need it)
If you don’t drive your RV very often you may benefit from a little practice before heading out on a road trip. Of course the larger the RV the greater turning circle and the wider you’ll need to take corners. You will want to give yourself and other’s more space, you will want to pay more consideration to winds and the difference in your mirrors.
Do a full check around (and again)
Is everything fixed in place before you head off? Are you sure? You don’t want to be driving down the highway and all the contents of your cupboards spill out, or worse your dragging loose hoses behind you – it’s more common than you think.
Sweep around the RV at least twice, checking:
- Your electrical cable is disconnected
- All doors and cupboards are locked and closed
- Windows are locked and closed
- The antenna is down
- The gas bottle is disconnected
- The towing connection is secure
Take your time, don’t be in a rush. There’s a lot to think about each time you head off in your RV, far more than a standard auto. In an RV particularly you don’t want to be stressed, forget something or drive faster and harder than you would normally.
Check the tires
The tires are one of the single-most important safety features of your RV. Flat and blown tires are a common cause of breakdown in the summer. Make sure your tire pressures are correct for your vehicle, and that the tires have good tread. The legal minimum depth in the US is 1.6mm around the central circumference of the tire. It’s important to note that although RVs are not always used all the time, tires can deteriorate with age and you should also carefully check the condition of them to avoid a blowout.