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Lessons from the road

Lessons from the road

Lessons From The Road with Robert Henderson

Forgetfulness can lead to unexpected consequences when travelling cross-country in an RV

When you travel around the country in a motorhome, you tend to get into a routine and can sometimes become a little complacent in the process. More specifically, RVers sometimes tend to get in a hurry to leave the campground and forget to be thorough on their pre-trip walk-arounds. Motorhome owners are known to leave the satellite antenna up, the steps down, the awning not properly latched, an exterior storage compartment unlocked, or not fully retracting leveling jacks. Truth be told, if you’ve been RVing for any length of time, we’ve all been there, done that. It’s a learning process. The most common repairs we see at shops like ours, and RV repair centers around the country, are fixing damaged TV antennas, satellite dishes and entry steps. Such repairs can be very expensive, too.

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What can be even more costly is the damage caused by a tire blowout, an issue with the hitch setup for the towed vehicle, or failure of the coach’s engine or transmission because of improper fluid levels. What I’ve learned from many, many years travelling in an RV is the majority of theses types of common issues can be avoided by following a simple pre-trip checklist before heading out on the next leg of your journey. Whether you are driving a motorhome, a camper van, or towing a travel trailer, having a checklist is an excellent way to remember all of the little things we sometimes forget to check before we take our RV out on the road. (Pilots do this before every flight.) Taking a few minutes to complete simple checks can save you time and money for unnecessary repairs to your RV. Things like the following:

  • Check and adjust the air pressure in all tires. Always check the tires when they are cold, before traveling more than one mile.
  • Check the lug nuts on the wheels. Discoloration and stains around lug nuts indicate they may be loose.
  • Make sure all items in the storage compartments are secure. Lock all outside compartments.
  • Check the bike rack and bikes for secure mounting if applicable.
  • Make sure the power cord and water hose, and the sewer hose are disconnected and properly stored.
  • Make sure all slide outs are in and slide out travel locks are securely in place.
  • Make sure the TV antenna and / or satellite are down and stowed in the proper position for traveling.
  • Check the awning. Make sure that it is securely stored and all travel locks and knobs are tight and locked.
  • Raise all stabilizer jacks or hydraulic leveling jacks.
  • Look under the RV for any indications of leaks (motorized) or anything out of the ordinary.
  • Stow or retract the steps.
  • Fill the fresh water holding tank with enough potable water to get to your destination.
  • Check and secure the cap on the sewer outlet.
  • Turn all LP gas appliances off and turn the gas supply off at the tank or bottles.
  • Double check all hitch work on towable RV's and on vehicles being towed behind motor homes.
  • Check all fluid levels for motorized RV's and tow vehicles.
  • Remove and store wheel chocks and any type of leveling blocks.
  • Check all running lights, turn signals, brake lights and headlights on the RV and tow vehicle.
  • Check for an up to date inspection or emission sticker and license plates.
  • Check trailer brakes for proper operation.
  • Make one last walk around the outside and check for anything you may have overlooked.

I also want to encourage you to make a list that covers the tires (lug nuts and air pressure), vehicle fluids, hitch components, exterior compartments, roof-mounted equipment, hoses and drains, LP and water tanks, steps, stabilizer and leveling jacks, the slideout and awning travel locks, and so forth. The list should also include items such as bike racks and bikes, power cord and water hose, and sewer hose are all properly locked and stored for travel. Also, check under your RV for any indications of leaks or anything that appears out of the ordinary. Last, but not least, fill the fresh water holding tank with enough potable water to get to your destination. I know from experience how attention to such details can save time, money and a little anxiety.

 

Wishing you Safer and Happier Driving,

Robert Henderson

CEO

Henderson's LineUp / SuperSteer Parts

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