RV Driving Tips: Pre-Departure Inspection
The importance of performing a pre-departure walk around inspection of your rig cannot be stressed enough. This is one of the first RV driving tips we ever heard on the Living the RV Dream podcast, which was a staple of our weekly schedule before we hit the road. Yet as important as this is for your SAFETY and PREVENTION of potential damage, so many RVers still just jump in and drive.
In our 2-1/2 years of travel we’ve seen owners depart their site with their awnings extended, stabilizer jacks extended, antenna raised and even flat tires. We always TRY to get the driver’s attention, but sometimes no one notices until the damage has been done.
I’ll admit it, I have on more than one occasion departed without installing the deck pivot locking pin on the tow dolly. Fortunately, because of the design of our Master Tow dolly this isn’t a critical mistake, unless you also forget to secure the vehicle to the dolly or you set the towed’s parking brake. But, as an added safety measure, we now double check before heading down the road. That is, we BOTH check to make sure it is installed. “PINS IN!” Lesson learned.
New or used, mechanical devices including RVs will give you indications of potential trouble. If your rig is older, you need to closely watch for these indications…unexplained dripping, stains, discoloration, cracks…etc.
On a recent walk-around I noticed some dark liquid running down the front rim from the center hub. This turned out to be Bearing Lubricant. I removed the center trim cap to inspect the wheel bearing lubrication reservoir. First and foremost, the reservoir had sufficient fluid to travel because it had not fallen below the “fill to” line.
The cause of the seepage as best I could determine is that the rubber (red plug in the center) is beginning to shrink and lose its elasticity due to age…it is twelve year’s old and has seen 50K+ miles. The shrinkage was probably brought on by the cold temperatures we’ve been experiencing. I’ll keep a close eye on this until I can find new plugs to replace the old ones.
The TAKE AWAY from this is – DO that pre-departure walk-around every time and LOOK closely with a discerning eye at every part of your rig before moving. A simple oversight can turn into a costly consequence.