RV adventures can make memories that’ll last a lifetime. But it’s important to stay safe on the road, especially if you’re crossing state lines. After all, you don’t want to be stranded in a town you’ve never visited, or have the trip ruined by unexpected maintenance. Consumer Reports shares a few tips on how to make RV trips safer and, subsequently, more enjoyable.
Perform checks to make sure you’re RV is ready to go
Before you even start the RV, Consumer Reports says it’s important to create a checklist of things you need to keep tabs on. For example, check the engine oil, check the belts and hoses, and make sure there are no leaks. You’ll also want to be extra careful in regards to your RV’s tires, but we’ll cover that more later on.
Imagine, if you will, that you’re retaking your driver’s test. Before they put you in the car, they check the vehicle to make sure it’s in full working condition, from the headlights to the taillights and even the lug nuts. If any of those things aren’t up to standard, you instantly flunk. You should apply this practice to your RV, especially since it’s five times heavier than a typical automobile.
Lastly, you’ll want to check everything inside your RV. Test the appliances to make sure they work, and look for any leaks in the corners where rainwater may have seeped in. Once you deem the RV roadworthy, it’s time to load it up.
Make sure the vehicle is loaded properly
This isn’t as simple as throwing stuff into the RV until you have all your supplies. For starters, you’ll want to load the RV evenly, trying to distribute the weight. This helps improve the handling of your RV, and can reduce wear on the tires. This is especially true if you’re pulling a trailer, as if the weight isn’t distributed properly, it will sway back and forth and likely cause an accident.
And while you’re rolling down the highway, you’d better make sure your supplies are secured. Otherwise, dishes can shatter and furniture can shift. A good idea is to hang items with Command hooks, rather than just using nails in the walls. The hooks have more area to hold your mugs or utensils, so they won’t fall when you hit bumps. You can also store things in plastic containers, that way they’re protected before you use them.
Be diligent about the tires on your RV
Let’s circle back to maintenance, because of all your RV’s components, your tires are the most important. If one of them pops on the highway, not only is your road trip over but there’s a good chance the vehicle will overturn and lead to deadly accidents.
The first step is to make sure your RV tires are in good condition. Considering that RVs spend most of their lives in park, it’s important to check for wear on isolated spots of the tire. Likewise, if the tires are old, you should probably replace them. Just make sure those RV tires are safe.
Lastly, you’ll want to double-check the tire pressure. That rubber has to hold up a lot of weight, sometimes more than 30,000 lbs. In order to do that, they need enough air in them. And if the tires are losing air over time while they’re in park, you may want to consider replacing them.
Other RV safety tips that’ll make road trips easier
On top of these tips, there are a few other strategies Consumer Reports recommends using for worry-free trips. For starters, be sure you’re comfortable driving the RV before hitting the highway. Going from a Mitsubishi Mirage or Chevy Spark to a full-sized Class A RV with a kitchen and shower is quite a leap. So practice maneuvering and parking the RV until you’re confident enough to operate it on the road.
And to make parking easier, it’s recommended to install a rearview camera. Whether yours is mounted on the dashboard, or hidden in the rearview mirror, rearview cameras aren’t just good for RVs, but for cars in general. It might cost you a few hundred dollars, but if you back into something because you didn’t have one, chances are those repairs will be more expensive.
All these Consumer Reports tips will help ensure that all your travels are happy. And while it might be late in the year, you can still have RV adventures in the fall. So pack up your gear (after loading it properly) and go make memories on the open road.