Well by now you have bought your RV and you are ready for your first trip. As with any travel adventure there is always preparation that should be done before you leave whether you are hitting the road or flying to an exotic destination.
There are many things to consider with RV travel. First your rig, is it ready? Is everything working inside and out, has it been serviced? Depending on the type of RV you own, whether it’s a truck camper, travel trailer, 5th wheel trailer, a small motor home or diesel pusher, preparation could be simple or involved. If your rig has been sitting for a period of time here are some things that should be looked at;
- Battery condition – Check for water level, corrosion. Coach batteries are used to start the engine if there is an engine, and most rigs have separate RV batteries that power everything inside your unit such as lights, water pump, fridge, etc.
- A battery tender is a good idea. It cycles the battery to help it last it’s full life, batteries do not like to sit idle, they will gradually go dead if left unattended. Disconnecting the cables will help preserve the charge. Check out the tenders on Amazon.
- Propane system – Propane tanks do they need filling, are they outdated (there is a date stamp and they are good for ten years). If your RV is approaching ten years of age you may want to check the dates on your tanks. they can be reconditioned or you can buy a new one. After you turn on your tank do you smell propane if so get out, turn it off, leave your door open for ventilation and do not cause any sparks or flame. I was told by a RVer that one time they opened the door on their RV a white mist started to flow out the door – it was propane.
Propane is heavier than air so it tends to flow down hill, he was lucky he was not smoking or he would not be around to tell the story. It is a good idea to check all the connections for leaks even at the tanks. Use a spray bottle with soapy water, if there is a leak the soapy water will bubble at the leak. If you discover a leak its best to get a pro to take care of it.
- Water System – pressurize the system (turn on the water pump) to see if there are leaks. Run some water into the drains, check throughout for leaks, under sinks and outside under your unit.
- Fresh water tank – it may need to be sanitized and flushed. Add 1/4 cup house hold bleach per 15 gallons of water. run the soution through all the faucets and let sit for 3 hours, drain and flush twice. Fill depending on how far you are traveling. If you are going to be traveling for several days I normally fill to 1/4 rather than full, water weighs about 10 lbs a gallon and some tanks hold more that 50 gallons which = 500 lbs. excess weight drives done your fuel economy.
- Hot water tank – is the drain plug in, check it after the water system is pressurized. Is it working on propane and/or electricity.
- Waste tanks – grey water, black water tanks need to be deodorized and have some water solution in them to start out. Click to check out tank and sensor cleaners at Amazon.
- Refrigerator – propane and electricity – check that both work.
- Furnace & air conditioner – they may be the same unit or separate, check for quiet operation.
- Propane sniffer (close to the floor propane is heavier than air) and Carbon dioxide sniffer somewhere higher on a wall. Some of these may have a light or a button to press the check. On some rigs there may be a switch on the propane sensor that turns off the propane also on some units if there is no power to the sensor the propane will not flow.
- Stove – sometimes it can take a few minutes for the propane to reach the stove if the tanks have been turned off.
I have created a list of the things you may need and where to get them, click here to check out my article on The Things you Need.
These are a few of the more common systems that need to be checked before you head out, there could be many more. Always consult your owner manual. Click this link for an RV check list.
If you enjoyed this article or have any questions feel free to leave a comment below.
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