Have you and your loved ones been dreaming of taking a long drive into the great unknown highways and byways of America as your next vacation plans? Do you love the majestic journey more than the anti-climatic destination? If this describes you, you may be one of many Americans who love taking to the road with a loved one as a co-pilot, hands behind the wheel of your beloved RV.
And while there’s nothing wrong with leaving your destinations open to chance and fate, practical wisdom suggests you should always perform a thorough maintenance checklist of your RV before heading off to chase the next sunset. Take the time to go over your RV motorhome to ensure your adventure doesn’t lead to disaster and disappointment.
Here are a few things to add to your RV checklist before kicking dust onto your lawn, waving goodbye to your neighbors and finding that RV parts and service are nowhere to be found.
MAINTAINING CORRECT TIRE PRESSURE
It’s advised you check the tire pressure before and after adding load and storage. You want an accurate gauge on what the pressure will be with the added anticipated weight. Over inflated tires will reduce brake capacity and ensure a rocky ride. Under inflated tires will speed up the deterioration of the rubber. So be sure to head to a truck stop to weigh all your tires with your expected maximum load and refer to your user’s guide for the proper pressure.
CHECK YOUR ENGINE COMPARTMENT FOR SMALL, FURRY, WOODLAND CREATURES
This may sound funny, but if you’re camping in remote areas with wildlife, believe it or not many animals would find the engine compartment a nice cozy place to rest. It would put a real damper on the mood if you started your engine with a family of chipmunks in the fan shroud.
BE SURE TO CHECK RADIATOR AND CHARGE AIR COOLER
It’s very important to check these at regular intervals, the recommendation being every 7,500 miles. You don’t want your system to overheat from a collection of road dust. You can use a water hose and mild solvent to clean them.
CHECK AIR DRYER FILTERS
These should be checked and replaced if needed, every three years.
RIDE HEIGHT ADJUSTMENT
Be sure your ride heights are adjusted properly as front ride height can cause unwanted changes to your front axle caster settings and incorrect rear ride height will affect drive shaft angles. Both miscalculations will cause wear and tear, not to mention creating a growling noise from your unhappy chassis.
REMEMBER TO DRAIN THE AIR BRAKE SYSTEM
If your air tanks are not equipped with automatic drain valves, do this manually daily. If they are equipped, every six months you should still drain them.
REMEMBER TO PERFORM INSIDE TASKS AS WELL AS OUTSIDE MAINTENANCE
Not every task has to do with proper maintenance of your RV. Some may be daily menial task, but still good to remember. For instance, lowering the antenna when not in use. Turning off the AC or heat. Turning off the water pump or water heater.
Also, be sure all your gauges and dashboard devices are working properly. Everything down to the horn should be in tip top condition, not just when embarking on your journey, but also during your trip.
Create a checklist that covers vehicular maintenance such as engine checks, brakes, tire conditions, fuel levels and so on, but also create an interior one, even if just for a daily reminder.
ONE LAST CHECK: BE SURE YOUR PASSENGERS ARE ON BOARD
It would a little upsetting if you made it ten miles down the road only to realize the wife and kids are still at the last campground. You don’t want to create an awkward ride ahead.
Again, a proper checklist will ensure you avoid troubles down the road. RV parts and service may not be attainable at every rest stop. So make sure you are diligent in your inspections before embarking, continuing them daily afterwards.
ENJOY THE JOURNEY AHEAD!