Get your RV road trip ready
Considering dusting off the RV and heading for the open road? Before you hit the highway, maps in hand, spend a little time to make sure your RV keeps rolling.
Brakes: Inspect them thoroughly for wear and tear.
Keep in mind, however, that brakes on heavier vehicles wear faster and need longer stopping distances.
Lights: Do the standard lights (headlights, turn signals) work properly?
Don't forget the top and side-mounted running lights that are required on larger vehicles. Replace any burnt out bulbs in the interior as well.
Windshield wipers: Are they streaking? If so, replace them.
Generator system: make sure it is in good working order, especially if it hasn't been used since last year.
Battery systems: are another power source to check; they're often overlooked. A little forethought guarantees peace of mind when you're out in the wilderness, far from civilization - and any garage!
Propane gas: is highly flammable and explosive. Be sure it's stored securely outside of the passenger compartment.
Keep in mind if you are using fuel for cooking (or anything else) isn't recommended in a moving vehicle
Tires: Check to make sure they are inflated correctly, and don't forget the spare.
Keeping a close eye on tire pressure while you're on the road will extend the life of the tire and prevent tire failure as a result of overheating.
Cooling system: Do check the coolant system in the radiator when it's cold, as well as levels in the plastic expansion tank.
A mixture of 50/50 water and antifreeze is recommended even in the summer because it protects against boil-over.
Do you remember the last time you had the cooling system flushed? If you can't, or it hasn't been done in the last few years, do it before you go.
Hoses and belts. These are generally reckoned to have a safe usage life of about four to six years.
The outside may look okay to you, but you can't see what the inside looks like. To be on the safe side, if they're old, replace them anyway. While you're back under the hood, also check for cracking or fraying on the drive belt and make sure it's adjusted to the right tension.
A few items that are worth packing - just in case:
- A first aid kit
- Booster cables
- Extra fuses
- Roll of electrical tape
- A few common tools
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Small fire extinguisher
Loading an RV for Good Stability on the Road:
- Cargo and passengers should be distributed evenly among the axles and across the RV from left to right.
- Any inside contents should be firmly secured so they don't shift while the vehicle is moving.
- If the weight is poorly distributed, or shifts in transit, it can adversely affect the handling of the vehicle, or cause equipment failure - with serious consequences!
Lastly, familiarize yourself with the height of your vehicle, and know its exact dimensions. Remember, storing bikes, or other cargo on top, will affect your clearance. Don't laugh. It's happened.