An RV Drivers Checklist of Things to Do Before Pulling Out.
My Holiday Rambler motorhome in a Virginia campsit
A Great 8 Step Procedure
When you are traveling in your RV, and making those stops in places like Rest Areas, Gas Stations, and even supermarket parking lots, these stop-offs are a great opportunity for you to do a quick "walk around" and make sure everything is as it should be with your RV before you get in and start the next leg of your trip.
EIGHT-Step Driver Checklist before Pulling Out
If you are the driver of an RV, especially a relatively inexperienced one, then here is a quick and simple Eight-Step Checklist you should perform before pulling onto the Road.
This list is almost intuitive to the experienced RVer, but everyone should perform these steps whenever you are pulling your Rig onto the road.
And, these simple steps should be followed regardless of whether; you are leaving a campground after a long stay, you are leaving a rest stop, or you are just leaving a fuel station after a fill-up.
Again, they may end up being intuitive after a while, but remember, it is best to catch a potential problem before it happens, than to have something force you onto the side of the road with a breakdown, and a costly service call.
So, before pulling onto the road, perform these simple steps:
Important Checks to always make.
At some point you will intuitively make these checks before you enter or re-enter your RV and pull out and onto the road.
1 – Start UP and Warm UP:
First, always warm up the engine of your RV before you pull out onto the road. I can’t tell you how many stories I have heard from other Diesel and even Gas RV owners about such things as cracked exhaust manifolds that were a result of driving off in an RV before everything warms up properly.
So, the first thing you do is start your engine, then double check that you have the emergency brake on. Then you can walk through the following checks while the engine warms up.
You won’t regret it.
2 - Chassis Walk-around:
Go outside and take a slow walk around the RV, paying careful attention to the Chassis and undercarriage.
Particularly, look for fluids that may have leaked from your RV, as this is a bad sign that always requires further inspection. You could have hydraulic leaks from the slide systems or even your holding tanks.
You should take a quick look at your tires for low air pressure and check the sidewalls of each tire for potential cuts. I always reach over and touch the top of my RV, truck, or other vehicle and check for excessive heat.
Regardless of the outside temperature, a properly aligned tire with the appropriate level of air in it will always feel cool (or just warm) to the touch.
If one of your tires feels hot to the touch, then you have a potential problem that could cause a blow-out at any time.
Hanging Road Debris -
Believe it or not, you should also look under the RV for any hanging debris. I have had to crawl under mine to remove such items as; a tree limb, a large piece of a plastic tarp, and once I even removed a piece of a tractor-trailer tire from my Generator Exhaust pipe.
3 – Storage Compartments:
While performing your walk-around, look and confirm that all of your storage compartments are firmly closed and locked.
You want them closed firmly to assure that you don’t get to your destination and find that you have donated some of your stored items to the highway department for cleanup.
You want them locked so that you can pull off of the road, whether; at a rest area for the night, at a restaurant for a meal, or at a mall or department store to shop; and return to the RV later with some level of confidence that your property has not been stolen while you were away from your RV.
4 - Slide Windows:
And, believe it or not, while you are walking around the outside of your RV, look to see that all of your Slide windows on the RV are closed.
Driving through rain with an open window for a while can really get things wet in an RV, without your noticing, especially if the open window is in the back of the RV.
5 – Attached Items:
RVers inevitably end up with certain things that do not fit in their RV or their towed car, and they end up attached to the exterior of one or the other.
Such items as Bicycles, Ladders, Lounge Chairs, etc. top the list, and many are attached using Bungee cords and ropes.
You need to check that these things are still attached securely at every stop of your trip, because they tend to vibrate and shake in the winds generated as the RV travels down the road.
Remember, you don’t just have to worry about the cost of replacement of an item lost along the road, but more importantly, you should worry about the damage such items might do to other people and/or their property.
6 – Tow Vehicle:
Take a look and assure that your towed vehicle, whether it is a TOAD, a car on a Tow Caddy, or even a trailer, is still properly hitched to your RV.
Check the electrical connections, emergency chains, brake emergency pull cable, and the hitch itself and assure that all are still connected firmly to the RV.
7 – Loose Gear Check:
After completing the steps listed above, go back into the RV, and perform one more walk through, from the front to the back. On this walk through, you need to look for any loose items that might be sitting around, as well as any unsecured cabinet drawers or doors.
Remember, even something as simple as a flashlight, or a coffee cup, can turn into a dangerous missile when you slam on the brakes or take a sharp turn.
8 – Dash Check:
OK, if you went through the checks listed above, you can now sit down at the driver's seat with a level of confidence that you have a secure RV ready for the road.
Finally, Hit the Road!
The last thing, that you need to do now is;
You need to check all of your gauges and assure that they are indicating the appropriate levels for a warmed up vehicle.
Once this is done, another check of your mirrors, start your Pull-Out Procedure and …..
Hit the Road!
Emergency Road Assistance Kit
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2010 Don Bobbitt