Check Your RV

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Check Your RV

Pre-Trip RV Inspection

30 days and counting

Whether you do it yourself or take your rig to a qualified RV service center, make sure you have a full mechanical check up of your recreational vehicle far enough in advance that if you do have a problem, there’s plenty of time to get it fixed. We recommend at least 30 days before you plan to leave on your vacation. Also, since RVs vary, be sure to check your individual manufacturer’s owner’s manual to ensure that all necessary maintenance has been performed. Download and print the Pre-Trip RV Inspection Checklist in PDF format.

Chassis System

  • Check that fluid levels are in operating range (oil, power steering, engine coolant, windshield washer, transmission, brake fluid, etc., if so equipped)
  • Check chassis engine starting battery for clean connections and proper state of charge
  • Check operation of all lights and flashers
  • Check horn operation
  • Check for proper operation of foot brake and parking brake
  • Check wheel lugs for proper tightness
  • Check and set tire pressure according to actual axle load


  • Check for cleanliness of the generating set as it affects efficiency
  • Service the air cleaner as required by the owner's manual
  • Check oil level and change as required by the owner's manual
  • Check generator-starting battery for clean connections and proper state of charge
  • Keep governor and choke linkage clean


  • Operate stove on propane, look at burner to see if flame is blue. If not, have repairs performed
  • Check and ensure there are no obstructions in ventilation system
  • Check to see that control knobs are not stripped causing a false thermostat reading

Air Conditioning

  • Check air filters and clean if necessary. Look to see if cooling unit coils are clean/free of debris
  • Check to see that condensing unit is clean/free of obstructions + there is nothing blocking air flow
  • Check voltage at outside panel. Most air conditioning systems are designed to operate at 120 volts plus or minus 10% (108-132 volts)

Additional Items

  • Check that the fire extinguisher is fully charged
  • Check smoke detector battery
  • Check for an up to date inspection or emission sticker and license plates
  • Be sure RV insurance is current

15 days and counting

Two weeks before departure, it’s time to consider what you’ll need in your RV and at your campsite to make your stay more enjoyable. Consider whether or not you’ll want to take the following items:

Campground Essentials Checklist

Food Preparation

  • A small propane or charcoal grill with charcoal and starting fluid or propane tank
  • Butane lighters (preferably the longer ones used for starting fireplaces)
  • Storage containers, aluminum foil, napkins, plastic zip lock bags
  • Cutting board, knife and knife sharpener
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes and silverware (consider using heavy plastic ones and dispose after a couple of outings)
  • Kitchen linen (napkins, pot holders, tablecloth, towels)
  • Coffee pot/tea kettle and filters, tea and coffee
  • Cleaning items (soap, sponge, paper towels, kitchen brushes and cleaners)
  • Paper/plastic bags for trash collection
  • Several gallons of bottled water or good water filter

Outdoor Relaxation

  • Lanterns and fuel for outdoor lighting
  • Outdoor furniture (stools, folding chairs, stackable chairs, etc.)
  • Outdoor sleeping gear, if desired (air mattress, ground cloth or moisture barrier, sleeping bags)
  • Battery powered radio (with weather bands is an excellent choice)

Campsite Maintenance

  • Spare batteries (9V, 6V lantern, D, C, AA, AAA)
  • Tool set (screw driver, etc.)
  • Ropes, tarps, bungee straps, tape (electrical, duct, etc.) + other items necessary to secure gear
  • Small shovel, ax, level and small pails
  • Wood blocks and levelers to assist in leveling your recreational vehicle
  • Broom, mop and dust pan
  • An ample supply of toilet paper, toilet chemicals and tissue
  • A good camping manual (if new and unfamiliar to necessary campground procedures)

10 Days and Counting

The big trip is right around the corner! Here’s a quick checklist to help your planning go smoothly.

  • Confirm reservations
  • Make a clothing checklist
  • Check medication for needed refills
  • Temporarily change of address or stop mail order to USPS
    • Start Date: __________ Stop Date:_________
  • Get General Delivery ZIP codes for mail-forwarding destinations
  • Temporarily stop on newspaper delivery
    • Stop Date: __________ Restart Date:___________
  • Check Maps and Tour Guides
  • Notify neighbors and police of departure and return dates

When It's Time to Hit The Road!

Recreational Vehicle “Day of Trip” Checklist

Around the House

  • Check lawn sprinkler control setting
  • Remove all trash and garbage
  • Check refrigerator/freezer temperature settings
  • Secure home and valuables before leaving

Outside the Recreational Vehicle

If your RV is connected, make sure to disconnect and stow:

  • Shore Power Cord
  • City Water Connection Hose
  • Sewer Hose

Take an exterior walk around:

  • Check all exterior lights for operation and damage
  • Check wheel lugs for tightness
  • Check tires for correct air pressure
  • Check and lock all exterior compartments and filler doors
  • Check and secure all items stored on the exterior of the coach
  • Check the areas around/below/above the coach for obstacles to move or avoid when driving away
  • Turn main LP gas valve OFF
  • Check that the leveling jacks are fully retracted or removed
  • Check that the TV antenna is fully retracted
  • Check that the awning (s) are up and secured and in lock position
  • If auxiliary power is necessary, start generator and check 120V system

Inside the Recreational Vehicle

  • Lock the entrance door from the inside
  • Make sure the entrance step is completely retracted
  • Check adjustment of rear-view and driver's seat mirrors
  • Close all windows and vents
  • Turn off the water pump switch
  • Clear and stow all loose articles from counters, range, sinks and shelves
  • Check that heavy items are stowed in lower cabinets, NOT overhead
  • Close and secure the bathroom door, shower door, all cabinet doors and all drawers
  • Turn off all interior lights
  • Check refrigerator for proper settings and that door is securely fastened
  • When packing the refrigerator, do not pack so tightly as to shut off internal air flow
  • Recheck smoke detector battery
  • Check that air conditioning switch is off before travel
  • Make sure current insurance card and vehicle registration are in vehicle

If towing a vehicle:

  • Check running lights, turn signals, brake lights, emergency flashers and headlights on tow vehicle
  • Check foot, parking and trailer brakes for proper operation
  • Adjust the interior and exterior automotive mirrors
  • Check that all fluid levels are normal; oil, coolants, power steering, batteries, transmission, windshield, washer, etc.

If towing a vehicle with a two bar:

  • Check that tow bar is securely locked
  • Check that safety chains are crossed under the coupling and securely hooked
  • Make sure the transmission is in proper gear
  • Check that the drive shaft is disengaged, if needed
  • Make sure the parking brake is off
  • Check that the ignition is in the proper position (consult your owner's manual for details)
  • If you have a spare set of keys/separate door keys, make sure to lock the vehicle

Frequently forgotten items (Don't forget!)

  • Prescription glasses/sunglasses (and prescription in case they are lost)
  • Camera/film/video recorder/ extra digital image storage
  • Stationery and stamps
  • Address Book/PDA with phone list
  • Cell phone, charger, instructions, accessories
  • Quarters/Dimes/Nickels
  • TV/Satellite manuals
  • Rock salt supply (for water softener)
  • Power inverter
  • Battery jumper cables/flares/flashlight
  • Accurate tire pressure gauge
  • Emergency items: First aid kit, heating pad, ice bag

If you forget something, don’t worry. Many RV parks and campgrounds have well-stocked stores with some RV maintenance supplies.