Embarking on an RV adventure is a thrilling experience, but ensuring your vehicle is in top-notch condition is crucial for a smooth journey.
This comprehensive guide aims to cover every nook and cranny of your RV, from the exterior walls to the intricate systems that make your RV a home on wheels.
Whether you own a Class A motorhome or a cozy travel trailer, this checklist is your go-to resource. Before diving in, make sure you have essential tools like a flashlight, tire pressure gauge, and a basic toolbox.
Also, keep your RV's owner's manual and service records at hand for reference.
Preparing for an RV Inspection
Before you start, gather the following tools to make your inspection efficient:
- Flashlight: For those hard-to-see areas.
- Tire Pressure Gauge: Essential for checking the health of your tires.
- Toolbox: A basic set with screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers.
Having the right paperwork can save you a lot of time and hassle during the inspection:
- Owner's Manual: This will guide you on manufacturer-recommended settings and specifications.
- Service Records: Keep track of past repairs and maintenance to identify potential future issues.
Before diving into the nitty-gritty of the inspection, it's essential to have a clear understanding of your RV's basic specifications. Knowing these details can help you better assess the condition of various components and systems.
- Make/Model: Identify the make and model of your RV. This information is crucial for sourcing replacement parts and understanding specific functionalities.
- Year: The age of your RV can impact its overall condition and the availability of replacement parts.
- Mileage: High mileage might indicate wear and tear on the engine and other mechanical parts.
- Dimensions and Weight: Knowing the size and weight of your RV is essential for legal and safety reasons.
- Tank Capacities: Be aware of the size of your fresh, gray, and black water tanks, as well as your fuel and propane tanks. This will help you plan your trips more efficiently.
The exterior of your RV is your first line of defense against the elements, so giving it a thorough check is crucial. Here's how to go about it:
Walls and Panels
- Surface Condition: Look for any cracks, dents, or signs of rust. These could be indicators of more significant issues.
- Signs of Leaks: Check for water stains or discoloration, especially around windows and joints.
Windows and Sidewalls
- Cracks and Discoloration: Inspect the windows for any cracks or fogging, which could indicate a broken seal.
- Sidewalls: Check for delamination or bubbles, as these could be signs of water damage.
Steps and Ladders
- Security and Movement: Ensure steps and ladders are securely attached and do not wobble when weight is applied.
Awnings and Storage
- Functionality: Test the awnings to make sure they extend and retract smoothly.
- Material Condition: Check for tears or fraying in the awning fabric.
- Storage Compartments: Ensure they are dry and free from rust or mold.
Tires and Rims
- Tread: Use a tire tread depth gauge to ensure your tires are not worn out.
- PSI: Check the tire pressure and compare it to the manufacturer's recommendations.
Hitch and Stabilizer Jacks
- Condition: Look for signs of rust or wear and tear.
- Operation: Test the hitch and stabilizer jacks to ensure they operate smoothly.
Once you're satisfied with the exterior, it's time to move indoors. The interior of your RV is your living space, and ensuring it's in top condition is crucial for a comfortable journey.
- Flooring: Check for any loose tiles, carpet tears, or signs of water damage.
- Walls and Ceiling: Inspect for cracks, peeling paint, or water stains that could indicate leaks.
Windows and Doors
- Functionality: Make sure all windows and doors open and close smoothly.
- Seals: Check the rubber seals around windows and doors for any signs of wear or damage.
- Quality and Condition: Examine the upholstery for tears or stains. Test any fold-out beds or recliners for ease of use.
- Storage: Open all cabinets and drawers to ensure they slide smoothly and latch securely.
Stove and Oven
- Functionality: Test all burners and the oven for quick ignition and temperature accuracy.
- Temperature: Use a thermometer to confirm the fridge and freezer are at the correct temperatures.
- Heating: Test with a cup of water to ensure even heating.
- Flow and Taste: Check the flow rate from the inline or under-sink water filters and taste the water to ensure it's up to standard. Consider getting a big Berkey water filter so you're not sacrificing on the quality and taste of your water.
- Indicators and Functions: Ensure all gauges are working and showing the correct levels for things like battery charge and water tanks.
- Switches: Test all switches to ensure they operate the intended lights or systems.
RV Systems Inspection
Your RV is more than just a vehicle; it's a complex system of interconnected utilities that make life on the road possible and comfortable. Here's how to ensure they're all in working order:
- AC and DC Outlets: Test all electrical outlets with a multimeter to ensure they're functioning and providing the correct voltage.
- Lights: Check all interior and exterior lights, including indicators and brake lights.
120 Volt AC Outlets
- Functionality: Test all 120 Volt AC outlets with a multimeter to ensure they're providing the correct voltage.
- GFCI Breakers: Make sure the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) are functioning correctly to prevent electrical shocks.
12 Volt DC Ports
- Power Supply: Check all 12 Volt DC ports to ensure they have power.
- Battery Charging: Confirm that these ports are charging when connected to shore power or when the generator is running.
- Shore Power: Verify that the RV receives AC supply when connected to shore power.
- Generator: Confirm that both AC and DC supplies are available when the generator is running.
- Inverter: Check that the RV receives AC supply when the inverter is running off batteries.
- Battery Charging: Ensure that the batteries are charging when connected to shore power, when the generator is running, and from solar panels if applicable.
- Automatic Power Switching: Confirm that your RV automatically switches between available power systems like shore power, generator, and inverter.
Fuse and Breaker Boxes
- Location: Know the location of fuse and breaker boxes for quick access during emergencies.
- Inspection: Regularly inspect these boxes to ensure there are no blown fuses or tripped breakers.
- DC Supply from Tow Vehicle: If you're towing your RV, ensure that it receives DC supply from the tow vehicle via the umbilical cord.
- Solar Panels: If your RV is equipped with solar panels, confirm that they are effectively charging the batteries.
- Leaks: Turn on all faucets and look for leaks. Don't forget to check under sinks.
- Faucet Functionality: Ensure all faucets provide both hot and cold water and that the shower works as expected.
- Leak Checks: Use a propane leak detector to check for leaks at all connection points.
- Appliance Operation: Test all propane-powered appliances like the stove and water heater to ensure they ignite and function correctly.
- Fluid Levels: Check oil, coolant, and brake fluid levels.
- Visual Examination: Look for any loose belts or hoses and check for leaks.
Motor Home Cockpit Inspection
The cockpit is your command center on the road, and ensuring its functionality and comfort is paramount for a safe and enjoyable journey. Here's what to look out for:
Upholstery and Carpet
- Condition: Check for any tears, stains, or signs of wear and tear.
- Cleanliness: Ensure the area is free from dust and debris.
Instrument Panel and Controls
- Dashboard: Ensure all gauges, lights, and indicators are functional.
- Steering Wheel: Test for any looseness and ensure all controls on the wheel are operational.
Seats and Seat Belts
- Adjustments: Test all seat adjustments, including height, tilt, and lumbar support.
- Seat Belts: Check the condition and functionality of both driver and passenger seat belts.
Windows and Visibility
- Windshield: Inspect for any cracks, chips, or signs of fogging.
- Mirrors: Ensure rear-view and side mirrors are adjustable and provide a clear view.
Entertainment and Communication
- Audio System: Test the radio, CD player, or any other audio equipment.
- Navigation System: If equipped, ensure the GPS is functional and up-to-date.
- Air Conditioning and Heating: Test both systems to ensure they are working efficiently.
- Storage Compartments: Check for accessibility and ensure they latch securely.
- Beverage and Snack Holders: Ensure they are securely attached and functional.
When to Consider a Professional
While DIY inspections are invaluable, there are instances when seeking professional help is the wisest course of action. If you encounter complex electrical issues, suspect a significant propane leak, or are dealing with engine troubles that go beyond your expertise, it's time to consult a certified RV technician.
A professional can provide a more in-depth analysis and can also perform tasks that require specialized tools or knowledge. Choosing a reliable RV technician can save you time, money, and ensure your RV is in the best possible condition for your adventures.