What Should I Check Before Using My RV?

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RV Storage

Many of our renters decide to park their recreational vehicles (RV) at our storage facilities for long periods of time. The reason being that some storage facilities offer RV storage and there is a 72 hour limit for RV parking on public streets. Depending on where you are residing, your state's law may restrict you from long term parking of the RV in front of your house. Sometimes neighbors or nearby residents will call to have the vehicles ticked or towed. To prevent these kinds of incidents, owners will often park their RV's with us.

Since RV's are usually only used a couple of times a year for family vacations and road trips, there are a few "must do's" before your family starts the long drive:

Much like your everyday use vehicles, it is always safe to check and double check tire pressure and tire wear. It might have been a few months since you last used the RV and it is easy to forget about the tire conditions after your last trip. Inspecting your tire condition before your trip can save you a bunch of troubles in the long run.

Knowing the recommended replacement time period for your transmission oil and motor oil is essential to maintaining your RV. Fresh motor oil will keep your motor running for a long time and fresh transmission oil will keep your drive train safe.

Before you start your engines and start on your vacation, check the battery of your RV. Long periods of parking may result in the damaging of your battery. Be sure to check for corrosion and clean terminal connectors.

Holding Tanks:
A functioning holding tank is essential to any long distance road trip. One way to clean it out is to drain it, fill with 2 cups of vinegar, drive a bit to shake it up, and drain it again. This process cleans the entire tank and ensures that it is ready for use during your big trip.

If you didn't clean your out the refrigerator (link) before you left your RV at the parking lot last year, chances are it'll be in need of a thorough clean before your trip. A smelly fridge can be detrimental to the overall atmosphere while driving. Another thing most people usually forget about is to check the side and roof vents. Make sure they are clear of nests.

If your generator suddenly stops working during your trip then it would certainly make a situation pretty bad. To prevent this, check the condition of the belts and change the necessary components.

Engine Belt:
It is an absolute must to check for wear and tear on the engine belt.

As always, take a walk around the RV to scan for any cracks or damage that are new to your RV. Make sure they are safe and will not cause any trouble during the road trip.

Here is a complete printable checklist taken from RVresources.com that you can use:







Tire Pressure:
Vital to safe driving and good gas mileage


Tire Wear:
Safety concerns and can give clues as to improper alignment


Motor Oil:
Know recommend replacement distance/time, fresh oil and proper level will keep your motor running well for a long time


Transmission Oil: 
Know recommend replacement distance/time, fresh oil and proper level will keep your drive train safe




Clean terminals connectors and tops of batteries


Check Water level where applicable (only use distilled water)


Check for corrosion on terminals and cables


Holding Tanks:


Drain and fill with several gallons of water, add 2 cups vinegar (some people recommend a bit of bleach to kill bacteria) go for a drive to shake it up, run it through the lines to the faucets then drain.


Hot Water Heater:


Should be drained every 6 months per manufacturer instructions Check the condition of the electrode and pressure release valve




Clean and check for leaks


Make sure side and roof vents are clear and free of nests and check the roof vent from the top.


The flue, burner, baffle, fins and coils should be cleaned annually




Check level and change at recommended intervals


Check condition of belts


AC Units:


Check shroud for cracks or leaks


Check owners manual to see if fan motor shaft needs lubrication




Check for adequate ventilation


Install bug screens if necessary


Brake Fluid: Check level


Power steering Fluid: Check level


Engine Coolant: Check level or replace


Windshield Washer fluid: Check level


Engine Belts: Check for wear and cracking replace at recommend intervals




Inspect the body and roof of your RV for any separation or cracks.


Check Towing package/hitch for cracks or loose bolts


Check all lighting, headlamps, tail lights, turn signals etc.


Check beneath the RV for leaks, any thing loose or that looks out of the ordinary


Check propane gas levels and valves


Smoke Detectors: