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RV Checklist for Preparing for Your Vacation

Taking Your RV Out of Storage

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As you know your RV has an enormous checklist of things to inspect and prepare after being in storage for any length of time before taking it out on vacation. Unless you use your RV regularly, some of these tasks are easy to overlook, or do incorrectly; others are a no-brainer. All together, something will definitely be overlooked if you don't make a list and check the items on it at least twice.

RV Safety Checks

RV safety checks are the biggies. There are numerous safety devices and safety elements built in and added on to your RV. They're there for a reason, and they can't maintain themselves.

It's easy to overlook them. After all, these components worked when you put your RV in storage, and they should be in the same condition now. Some will be, but those that aren't can cause problems.

Batteries run down, some leak, parts corrode, and the elements they're exposed to in storage will take their toll.

Water connections can leak. Window seals can leak.

Rubber and plastic seals can begin to break down, as can tires. Anything that can deteriorate will do so in storage as well as in use. Tires can blow when they begin to break down.

Take a look at the list below. Some will link to a fuller article or other information to help you get through your RV pre-trip preparations as quickly, easily, and inexpensively as possible.

Pre-trip Inspection Checklist

  • Check RV propane tank, inspection dates, integrity and content levels, regulator, gauge, connections
  • Check for RV infestations: insects, rodents, snakes, wild animals, bees, hornets, wasps, ants and spiders    http://camping.about.com/od/Michele-Boyer/a/RV-Household-Tips.htm
  • Check and flush RV water system: flush, drain, disinfect, refill water, and gray tank system and valves, RV water heater
  • Check alarms and change batteries in fire alarm, smoke alarm, CO alarm, propane alarm
  • Check RV fire extinguisher, expiration date, contents, pin intact, tank integrity
  • Check RV battery: deep cycle battery operation, water levels, charge as needed, clean treat battery terminals
  • Check interior and exterior lights, awnings, latches, seals, insulation, jacks, welds, locks, latches and their functionality
  • Check engine oil, transmission fluid, oil level, air filter, lube linkages
  • Check air conditioner filters (clean if needed,) shrouds for security
  • Check rooftop units for cleanliness and security
  • Check your hoses and connections: water hose clean, sewer hose and connections intact, electrical connectors undamaged, surge protectors intact
  • Check RV refrigerator function, connections, power sources (electric, 12-volt or propane,) exhaust fan switch ON
  • Check generator
  • Check RV black tank system and valves
  • Check RV brakes and tires: pressures, structural integrity, hydraulic or electrical controls, brake shoes, lug nuts
  • Check RV towing equipment: hitch, hitch ball, tow bar, emergency brakes, chains, lift system, dolly
  • Check for leaks when you wash your RV. Aging seals can crack or separate, parts can crack when temperature changes expand and contract them. Leaks can destroy the inside walls, fittings, insulation, and integrity of your RV if not taken care of right away.
  • Check for RV recalls: RV and RV parts recalls can be issued at any time, even many years after your model was manufactured. If you aren't the owner registered with the manufacturer or with any of the appliances or parts used in your RV, you may not receive a notification. Make sure you check for any recalls involving your RV, appliances, or parts.

Know How to Drive Your RV

As popular as RVing is, you can be sure the dangers involved are proportional to the number of RVs on the road. One thing we learned when we took a commercial truck driving course was how obvious an untrained RV driver is to the professional driver.

There are a growing number of RV driving courses across the country, and for good reason. These huge vehicles or truck trailer/fifth wheel combinations are cumbersome. They involve complex towing, braking, and warning systems. RVing involves an awareness of different weight categories  involving both rating and actual weights. They just don't handle like your daily driver. Make sure that anyone who will be driving or towing your RV knows how to drive it safely.

Check back periodically as I will add to this list and add links to fuller explanations of what's involved in some of these safety checks.

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