10 Steps to help get your travel trailers preparation ready
The days are getting longer and the temperature is rising, our thoughts are on spring and you know what that means for so many of us travelers! It is time for inspection and the summarization of our rv travel trailers to get ready for some fun in the great outdoors! Whether you like going on caravans or camping, there will always be comfort in knowing you have covered all angles with the travel trailers preparation guide we have prepared.
Let’s get started shall we?
Cleaning and Wash
I find the best place to start first is with a thorough wash and detail after the winterization of the rv, there is just something about having a clean camper that gets my motivation pumping!
I preferably use a gentle soap or rv wash and wax soap. For the awning many owners are using a product called Reliable, washing 3 feet at a time. After the wash some travelers use 1 cup of Murphy’s Oil soap in a pail of warm water and wash over the awning with a brush and finish with a rinse. This will make your awning look brand new and make cleaning next season a breeze as you will see the oak drips, pine pitch and needles, along with fine dust will rinse right off.
Next I am going to be looking for any damage and wear, making sure everything is up to standard for any planned road trips.
Tire and wheel inspection
Look for any cracks, leaks, wear or dry rot. If you notice wear on the tires there is a good indicator
of what may be the problem. I’ll check each tire’s air pressure, you can find the PSI (pounds per square inch) usually written on the side of the tire in small print.
Tire wear patterns
Center wear is caused from over-inflation of the tire. What you can do to prevent center wear is lower the tire pressure to recommended PSI. Wear on the outside is caused from under-inflation, raising the tire pressure to recommended PSI will solve this problem. Tires are a crucial part of traveling and keeping them well maintained is an important task. We recommend checking tire pressures monthly and wear even more often. Balance is the key to getting the most out of the tires on your vehicle and rv travel trailers.
Next we will inspect the rv camper appliances like the water heater, refrigerator, propane gas tanks and batteries. If you have solar panels on your rv trailers then those will also need to be checked to ensure they are in working order with powering the rv and charging the connected battery.
Make sure all propane tanks are turned off and there’s no open flames, sparks or smoking nearby. Does your rv have a leak detector? Make sure it is turned on inside the rv. Let’s open the propane valves, do you smell any leaks of propane? If you smell propane have a professional inspect and repair the tank for you. Occasionally the seals will dry out over the winter months causing new leaks that did not exist before.
I am going to inspect the battery first for cracks from where the battery may have become frozen over the winter. If I find any cracks then it’s time to replace the battery. If I find the battery in good working order I will disconnect and clean the battery connections with corrosion resistant cleaner and lubricant, check the fluid levels and charge the battery until fully charged. Re-connect the battery and we’re all set.
Our Legacy Elite and Legacy Elite II models come with a battery monitor to make checking battery levels an ease. You can always check your battery levels from inside the comfort of your Oliver. The monitor also reads water levels in all tanks.
Now I know what you’re thinking… we’re all a little spoiled and I love it.
Time to test the water lines before filling the travel trailers with water. Make sure the hot water heater bypass valve is in the normal position and all faucets are closed. On the outside: to fill your tank use the fresh water connection found on the left and to use city water without filling the tank use the city water connection on the right. Turn on a hot and cold water faucet, this will allow the air to escape while the water flows and fills up the tank. Now I am looking for any leaks from faucets and pipes.
If you used antifreeze for your winterization of the camper rv then you should run water through it until all of the antifreeze is removed from the system. Make sure the water pump runs by starting it and wait 30 minutes to hear if the pump cycles on again, if it does this means there is possibly a leak or pressure drop. If it does not cycle on the water system is ready to use. If you are not sure or have questions about this you may join our Oliver Travel Trailer community forums and gain many new insights in the care and use of your rv.
At least twice a year, you want to inspect your water heater for corrosion and loose connections. On a well-traveled rv we recommended changing the Anode rod (pictured right) once a year. If you find any problems you should have it fixed by a qualified service technician. When it comes to propane gas or electrical connections, this becomes a very serious business.
Stove top gas burner and Refrigerator
Turn on the propane tanks and light the stove burners. Turning on the gas burning stove will release any trapped air in the lines. After you verified they light and stay on you can now turn them off and move on to
lighting the refrigerator. To do this press the gas button on your refrigerator panel and ensure that the led stays lit.
We do not recommend leaving the refrigerator running while driving, in some states this is illegal. You can run the refrigerator by switching to D/C power, thus powering it from the batteries, the last thing you want is to get to your destination and the food has spoiled because the light went out halfway to your destination.
Inspect the outside furnace to make sure there is good air flow and nothing blocking it. Sometimes insects, birds, mice and other critters can block and interfere these furnace vents.
For the Oliver travel trailer we recommend getting the round Valterra Bug Screen for Suburban rv furnace, these fit right over the vents and help prevent intrusion of unwanted guests.
Smoker Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Last but not least, I always install new batteries every year, this way I always know my batteries are good and that is one last thing to worry about. After installing new batteries do some testing to make sure they are in working order. On the Oliver rv we have a propane gas detector as well, be sure to check this is working. Be sure to check your fire extinguisher, make sure the needle is in the green and full.
When I was young I learned from Boy Scouts “Be Prepared”, this invaluable information still serves me today.
Building an emergency kit for our travel trailers is just as essential as our inspection. When we’re out in the
wilderness or even roadside and something happens staying prepared will help tremendously. Here are a few of my top necessities to get started:
- Canned, food bars (2400 calorie)
- Drinking water
- Water purification tablets
- First Aid Kit
- Solar Radio with NOAA / FM / AM
- Batteries (Flashlight)
- USB Mobile Phone Charger
- Hand Warmers
- Waterproof matches
- Waterproof Poncho
- Coast Guard whistle
- Utility Knife
- Shop rags and Paper towels
Emergency Roadside Kit
- Emergency Roadside Triangle Reflectors
- Road Flares
- Basic tool kit (4-way lug wrench, socket set, pliers, screwdrivers, crescent wrench, wire cutters, tire valve stem tool etc.
- Blue Tarp (5×7)
- Fix A Flat Tire
- Heavy Duty Gloves
- Latex Gloves
- Ice and Snow Window Scraper
- Jumper Cables
- Tow Rope
- Duct Tape
- Extra Fuses (variety)
This sums up our travel trailers preparation guide. If you wish to participate in the discussion you can join in on our forums here: Travel Trailer Preparation Forums Discussion.
Happy camping everyone!