Safe RV travel starts with making sure your home on wheels is ready to hit the road without any surprises along the way. Basic items to check for should start from the ground up, starting with the tires.
One of the biggest problems I have seen on the road and heard about from friends is that they had a blow out. typically this is due to one of a few different issues.
1- Tires are not properly inflated
2- Tires are not the proper size for the load
3 -Tires are old and have not been cared for during their lifetime.
4- The load inside the RV is more than what it is supposed to carry
5 -The tires are undersized or the wrong type for the load
When it comes to tire care in general, here are a few tips that will help prolong the life of the tires and minimize the risk of failure on the road.
(1) Check the tire inflation before leaving on any long trip, the few minutes it takes could save you a lot of money and your life.
(2) Never use Glossy tire coatings, most of these can actually degrade the rubber and lead to premature failure of the sidewalls.
(3) Clean them and use a UV protection, or tire covers while parked for long periods.
(4) As much as possible, when parked for extended times, like being in a storage area, get the majority of the load off the tires by blocking and lifting the RV up. Reducing the load to a minimum reduces the risk of fracturing the sidewalls of the tires due to sitting with a load on them for extended periods.
(5) Tire sidewalls are designed to naturally lubricate themselves as they flex under normal use on the road, lack of flexing on the overall sidewall can degrade sidewalls which can lead to failure on the road.
(6) Check to see that all of the lug nuts on the wheels are properly torqued to rated specifications.
(7) Check for any damaged brake lines and the brake fluid is at the proper level.
(8) Check to see that the braking system operates correctly, which can be done in many different ways depending on the type of braking system on the RV. Check the manual or call your dealer for specific ways you can test your brakes before you hit the road.
(9) Do a visual inspection of your suspension system, looking for loose or broken components, also look to see if there is any evidence that your shocks are leaking. A damaged suspension, or bad shock can lead to stability and control issues on the road, which may lead to loosing control of the RV in poor road conditions.
(10) Next is check to ensure that all of your lights operate properly. Running or Parking lights as some call them should clearly mark all of the corners and sides of your RV. These make sure you are visible on the road in dark conditions.
(11) The Brake and Turn signals should be checked as separate functions, even though the turn and brake lights are often the same light, they may be placed in different areas on the RV, some may use an amber light for turn signals and are separate from the brake lights. It is important that you check each function separately, such as braking, turning, and four way hazard light functions.
Look for additional posts coming soon regarding the various tow vehicles, either the RV or the Towed vehicle. The majority of these are still covered above with some variations on the towing and towed units.