Essential 10-Step Road-Ready Checklist for Your RV or Trailer

When your spring and summertime recreation revolves around an RV or trailer, there’s a certain amount of maintenance to be done before you hit the highways and back-country roads. We can help you get yours ready with this RV checklist and some help from your local Les Schwab.

De-winterizing your RV? We have some tips to help get your vehicle adventure ready.

Step 1: Tire Inspection and Maintenance

The overall condition of the tires on your RV or trailer depends on where it’s stored all winter. Sun and weather exposure can age a set of tires. Additionally, parking in one spot too long can cause flat spots. To ensure your tires are ready for summer, look for cracks around the valve stem or on the sidewall. Additionally, air them up and check the tread. Finally, verify the spare looks good and holds air. Even if you never use your spare, hot and cold weather can cause your tire to degrade and become unusable.

Tire for an RV

Les Schwab can check those tires for you. If you need new ones, you’ll be in the right place.

Step 2: Brakes & Suspension Evaluation

The brakes and suspension on your RV and trailer are essential for safety and comfort. If your brakes feel soft, it may be time to get them serviced. You’ll know your suspension needs a checkup if your RV bobs or sways too much over speed bumps and around corners.

Brake rotor close-up image

Schedule a pre-trip safety check, and our professionals will take a good look at your brakes and shocks and make recommendations to help keep you and your family safe all summer long. In some cases, that checkup may be free.

Step 3: Battery Testing

Before you go on your first adventure of the year, test all of your RV or camper batteries. When testing a 12-volt battery, it should read somewhere around 12.6 volts. If you get a reading of 11.2 volts or lower, the battery is dead and either needs to be charged or replaced.

The Les Schwab team can inspect your battery for corrosion, clean it, and charge it if necessary. Our FREE battery and charging system test includes a visual inspection and review at the overall health of the battery.

Step 4: Wheel Bearing Inspection

Even if your tires look good, your wheel bearings might need to be serviced — especially after a handful of harsh winters in storage. What’s so terrible about bad wheel bearings? If those bearings cannot move freely, your wheel won’t spin properly (or at all). That can leave you and your family stranded.

If you haven’t had your wheel bearings serviced in a while, Les Schwab recommends you get it done every year or so. Schedule a time to get yours repacked or replaced.

Step 5: Lighting, Indicators, and Safety Equipment Checks

Make sure your headlights (RV), tail lights, indicators, and other safety equipment are working. Your checklist should include smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and first aid packs.

Many Les Schwab locations carry compact, ready-to-go emergency safety kits for your next road trip and RV adventure.

Step 6: Fluids and Damage Assessment

Start up your RV and let it idle for a bit. Then, check beneath the vehicle for engine leaks, such as oil and other fluids. Next, turn off the engine and check the fluid levels in the engine compartment. On both RVs and trailers/campers, check the outside for cracks, rust, and other damage. Repair as needed. You’ll also want to check for rodent damage to wires and hoses.

Step 7: Plumbing System Maintenance

If you live in a cold region, you likely use antifreeze to protect the water system. To de-winterize and get your RV ready for summer, drain it completely, then, follow these steps (refer to your owner’s manual for specific safety steps and winterizing and de-winterizing of your vehicle):

  1. Flush the plumbing with clean water by adding fresh water to the holding tank, turning on the water pump, and opening up every faucet. The water should cycle through the ice maker, outdoor shower (use a bucket to collect the fluid), and water heater.
  2. Sanitize the plumbing using a chlorine-free water system cleanser or one-quarter cup of household bleach for every 15 gallons of water. Close all the drains and put drain plugs in place. Then, pour the cleanser or bleach into the fresh water tank and fill it with water.
  3. Turn on the water pump and run water through all hot and cold faucets until you detect the cleanser. Next, turn off the faucets and pump, then let it sit in the system for 12 hours.
  4. Drain, refill with water and drain again until all the remaining bleach or cleanser are flushed.

Step 8: Appliance and System Functionality Tests

To get ready for your first outing, verify that the AC, heater, hot water heater, stove, and fridge are working. Refer to your owner’s manual for help. If your fridge or other appliances run on both electric and propane, try them both ways. If something isn’t working, check the gas connections or breaker switch.

Step 9: Awning and Extension Inspections

Check the awning for holes or tears. Add lubrication or hydraulic fluid to pullouts as needed to keep them moving smoothly.

Step 10: Final Packing and Departure Checklist

Les Schwab has a full list of items you should pack in your summertime road trip safety kit. Additionally, properly store camping gear and other items, and double-check that you have everything you need for a safe and enjoyable road trip.

3/4 view of a RV ready for a trip

Start Your Adventures at Les Schwab

Swing by your local Les Schwab before you go anywhere in your RV or hitch up your trailer for your first weekend away. Our professionals will help make sure you get to where you’re going with a quick check of the tires, brakes, and battery on your RV and trailer. That includes a free, pre-trip safety check on your tow vehicle.

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