Pre-Flight Check – What to do Before You Hit the Road
Most of us are brought up knowing a few good basics about regular life; stretch before you exercise, remember your underwear…that kind of thing. But, when you move into a RV you can feel a little like a 4-year old in your first day at school. Thankfully, even an old dog can learn new tricks and with a bit of practice and good planning you can become a pro-RVer and keep the ‘ol machine running like a well-greased wheel.
With that said and using my lovely hubby as a model we’ll now illustrate our very own pre-flight check. That would be the things you do before you move the beast on the road. We do a version of this every time we leave a campsite.
1/ Check Fluids – oil, coolant, hydraulics and transmission
Like all machines the RV has it’s own set of fluids and oils that keep everything smooth and running and they do need a bit of checking. The oil stick in a RV is really no different from a car except it’s quite a tad longer. So, just pull out the “fishing pole” and check the level with your handy-dandy eye. Diesels use a lot more oil than cars so we check this every time we move.
The coolant in our RV is in an opaque container, so Paul developed a sneaky way of checking level with a piece of kitchen roll. Just dip and read…
Hydraulic fluids are another stick and the transmission we check electronically from inside the RV. We check these last ones once a month.
Our RV has 4 massive house batteries which are Liquid Lead Acid and need to have their electrolyte (liquid) levels checked at least once a month. You slide out the battery tray, screw off the caps and do a “quickie” check on the liquid levels by eye. Plates should be covered and if it’s getting low top it off with distilled water. If you’re the more nerdy type you can check exact levels with a battery hydrometer.
3/ Check/Dump The Tanks
If you’ve stayed at an RV site for more than a week or so black and grey tanks (that would be the tanks that hold liquids from the loo and run-off from the sinks and shower) will probably be getting full. So, give ’em a dump at a dump station, rinse the tanks and dump again. The order is always black first, then grey. Once you’re done, add tank treatment chemicals back into the loo (we love Happy Camper…never had any odors from the toilet since using it). We only dump when tanks are more than 2/3 full.
4/ Check Tire Pressure
Once your RV is off the jacks (down on the ground) and the slides are in, you’ll want to check tire pressure to make sure it’s where it should be. Correct pressure depends on your weight, but big tires tend to lose pressure with temperature and altitude changes, so it’s a good idea to check them often. We refill with air from our built-in compressor.
4/ Feel The Tires
Paul usually dons a glove and runs his hands round the tires to check for obstructions, nails or anything else that might be jutting out.
These are the biggies but there’s a few other quickie checks to do before you hit the road. We’ve heard of RV’ers who lost their antenna’s, or forgot to disconnect tank hoses leading to some major “duh” moments and rather costly repairs. So, we usually both do a walk around the RV and make sure there’s nothing “dangling” or hanging loose under, inside or out. Here’s some of the more obvious checks:
- Secure everything inside…if it slips or slides, pack it down
- Make sure RV is down off the jacks and slides are in
- Roll-in the awnings and make sure they’re secure
- Un-hook water and sewer hoses
- Make sure TV antenna is down
- Bring in the RV steps at the front door