Motorhome Basics | FMCA
Before setting out for that all-important rally this season, review this checklist to help prevent unpleasant and costly repairs.
1. CHASSIS SYSTEM
___ Check that the fluid levels are in operating range (oil, power steering, engine coolant, windshield washer, transmission, brake fluid if equipped, etc.).
___ Check chassis engine starting battery for clean connections and proper state of charge.
___ Check operation of all lights and flashers.
___ Check horn operation.
___ Prior to trip, start engine and check all gauges for proper operation.
___ Check for proper operation of foot brake and parking brake.
___ Check wheel lugs for proper tightness.
___ Check and set tire pressure according to actual axle load.
___ Check for cleanliness of the generating set as it affects efficiency.
___ Service the air cleaner as required by the owners manual.
___ Check oil level and change as required by the owners manual.
___ Check generator starting battery for clean connections and proper state of charge.
___ Keep governor and choke linkage clean.
___ Check manufacturer’s owners manual to ensure proper maintenance has been performed.
___ Operate refrigerator on gas and look at burner to see if flame is blue. If not, have repairs performed.
___ Check to ensure there are no obstructions in ventilation system.
___ Check to see that control knobs are not stripped causing a false thermostat reading.
___ When packing the refrigerator, do not pack so tightly as to shut off internal air flow.
4. AIR CONDITIONING
___ Check air filters and clean if necessary. Look to see if cooling unit coils are clean and free of debris.
___ Check to see that condensing unit is clean, free of obstructions, and there is nothing blocking air flow.
___ Check voltage at outside panel. Most air-conditioning systems are designed to operate at 120 volts plus or minus 10% (108-132 volts).
5. INSIDE THE COACH
___ Turn off the water pump switch.
___ Close windows and vents.
___ Check that cabinet doors and drawers are closed.
___ Check that refrigerator door is fastened.
___ Check that no heavy items are stored in overhead cabinets.
___ Check that countertops, range top, tabletops and shelves are clear of unsecured items.
___ Where is the location of the fire extinguisher(s) and are they fully charged?
___ Check that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and working properly.
6. ITEMS YOU MAY WANT TO BRING ALONG
___ Adequate supply of prescription medicines and copies of prescriptions.
___ Prescription sunglasses and prescription.
___ Camera and film, VCR.
___ Stationery and stamps.
___ Address book with telephone list.
___ Reading material.
___ Spare chassis parts, set of engine drive and accessory belts, fuel filters, oil, highway flares, light bulbs, fuses and a 12-volt trouble light with a cord.
___ Accurate tire pressure gauge.
___ Spare parts for generator (spark plugs, oil, air filter).
___ Emergency items: first-aid kit, heating pad, ice bag.
___ Special pet supplies.
___ Extra toilet chemicals and toilet paper.
___ Maps for areas you will be traveling to.
7. THOUGHTS TO CONSIDER
___ Be sure motorhome insurance is current and you have a current insurance card and vehicle registration with you.
___ Avoid carrying a great deal of cash while traveling: Use travelers checks and credit cards.
___ Confirm any reservations well in advance.
___ Make a clothing checklist.
___ Secure home and valuables before leaving.
___ Discontinue appropriate home services, mail, and newspaper delivery.
___ Notify neighbors and police of departure and return dates.
8. UNIQUE COLD WEATHER OPERATION
___ LP-gas appliances, furnace and gas operation of refrigerator are designed with sealed combustion areas. This is for safety to prevent danger from carbon monoxide or depletion of oxygen. If frost or condensation accumulates in closets or cabinets during long periods of cold weather operation, leave doors to these areas ajar to provide air circulation.
___ Be sure kitchen and roof vents are open when using oven or burners.
9. IF TOWING A CAR WITH A TOW BAR
___ Is the tow bar hooked up and checked?
___ Are the safety chains crossed under the coupling and hooked?
___ Are the towed vehicle lights working?
___ Is the transmission in the proper gear?
___ Is the driveshaft disengaged if need be?
___ Is the towed vehicle’s parking brake off?
___ Is the ignition in the first ON position?
___ Do you have a spare set of keys for the towed vehicle? If yes, lock the towed vehicle.
___ DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BACK UP WHEN HOOKED UP! REMEMBER, YOU ARE DRIVING A VEHICLE THAT IS 20 FEET LONGER!
10. JUST BEFORE DRIVING AWAY
___ Disconnect and stow electrical cord, sewer hose and water hose.
___ Check TV antenna to ensure it is in the retracted position.
___ For safety’s sake, the propane should be turned off, or have a device to shut off the tank in case a rapid leak occurs.
___ Check to ensure that items inside compartments are secure and the compartments are properly secured/locked.
___ Are the leveling jacks in the raised position?
___ Is the awning(s) up and secured?
___ Is the slideout(s) ready for travel?
___ Is the door step retracted?
___ Is the outside door locked from the inside?
___ Are the rear-view mirrors and driver’s seat adjusted properly?
___ Is your campsite clean?
___ Is everyone buckled up?
Fasten your seat belts!