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Your Simple RV Pre-Trip Checklist

If you know anything about pilots and airplanes, you’ll know that before each flight the pilot does what is called a “pre-trip”. He has a checklist that he follows to ensure that everything is in working order. This is done before each and every flight. As the pilot of your motorhome or travel trailer, you should be doing the same thing. To help you with this important safety task, we’ve put together a simple RV pre-trip checklist.

Cockpit Checklist by Jonas Hoffmann for NextRv.co Simple RV Pre-Trip Checklist
Cockpit Checklist by Jonas Hoffmann

RV Pre-Trip Checklist

We have broken this list down into interior and exterior sections. This is a basic list that you will probably want to customize to your rig.

Interior

  • All appliances, fans and lights turned off including furnace and AC.
  • All cabinet, fridge and interior doors secured, including drawers.
  • Make sure microwave and other appliances are turned off or unplugged.
  • Secure all loose items including furniture for travel.
  • Secure TV and TV shelf for travel.
  • Stow bathroom, kitchen and shower items.
  • Shut off gas pilot to stove and oven.
  • Tie back privacy curtains and pull window blinds up.
  • Turn water heater and water pump off.
  • Weight distribution – make sure weight is evenly placed throughout the RV.

Exterior

  • Attach safety chains and breakaway connector.
  • Awning is secured and stowed.
  • Check:
    • Brake lights
    • Headlights
    • Turn signals
    • Oil levels
    • Water levels
    • Tire pressure – including the spares
  • Chocks removed from tires and stored.
  • Clear roof.
  • Disconnect:
    • Cable
    • Electric
    • Phone
    • Sewer
    • Water
  • Extend mirrors on driver and passenger doors.
  • Hoses and cables rolled and stowed.
  • Latch all vents and windows.
  • Lock and secure hitch, jacks and levelers.
  • Lower TV antenna/dish and secure it.
  • Parking brake should be disengaged.
  • Refrigerator and contents secured for travel.
  • Retract or stow entry steps or ramps.
  • Roof rack or storage pods are secured and locked.
  • Slides retracted and locked.
  • Stow ladder, camp chairs, trash cans and other loose outdoor items.
  • Tanks:
    • Fresh water tanks filled.
    • Grey and black tanks emptied.
  • One last walkaround to ensure all items are picked up and the area is clear.

Make It Easy On Yourself

Take another page from that of the pilots – make yourself a reusable checklist. Print out your checklist and get it laminated. Put it on a clipboard with one of those dry-erase pens. Check your boxes off as you go through the list and then erase the whole thing with a cloth or tissue when you’re done. Hang it back up in the RV by the door and you’re now ready for your next pre-trip. No muss – no fuss.

Don’t Rely On Your Memory

You may think that you won’t need an actual, physical checklist to remember to do these tasks before each trip. You are wrong. Even if you follow a routine in the exact order every time, it is easy to get off-track. The phone could ring, your neighbor might stop by, or any other of a dozen things could take your mind off of the task at hand. You don’t want to miss an important pre-trip item that could make or break your trip. Put away the pride and pull out that checklist — you won’t be sorry as you prepare for take-off.

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