Dave Solberg

Pre-Departure Planning

Dave Solberg
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Pre-Departure Planning
  • In-depth Instruction; over 51 mins
  • On-demand video access anytime
  • Bonus downloadable PDF resources
  • Access to class Q&A
  • Available for purchase: $29.99
Class instructor Dave Solberg will highlight the importance of a pre-departure checklist and give you a short preview of what you’ll see in this class.
Although not illegal, for safety reasons it’s a good idea to not travel with the propane tank open and the refrigerator running. Propane lines are very thin-walled copper and usually run very close to the sidewall. Clipping a sign or road construction could cause the line to split allowing propane to fill the rig.
Anything sitting loose on a counter or piece of furniture can not only be noisy going down the road, but can also become a projectile in the case of a sudden stop. This not only can cause damage inside the rig, but can also do bodily harm.
For years we’ve seen the old batwing style TV antennas sitting at “high noon” going down the road as they were easy to forget about. Out of sight, out of mind and eventually “off the roof”! Having a good checklist will help remind you of the items that are not visible.
Make sure all windows are closed so things don’t blow around and curtains don’t get ripped off. It’s also important to ensure windows are closed so moisture doesn’t get inside in case of rain. Roof vents are another unseen item and often forgotten. Most plastic vent covers are not strong enough to withstand too much wind going down the road and end up in the ditch.
Checking all fluids should be a must with any checklist, whether you are pulling a trailer or driving a motorhome. Checking the engine belts is also important to verify they are not weather checked or cut to prevent unwanted down time on the road.
Once you connect your trailer or 5th wheel, it’s a good idea to add it to the checklist one more time to verify the safety chains are properly connected, the electrical connection is good, and the breakaway cable is also hooked up.
Have a helper verify all turn signals, running lights, brake lights, and emergency flashers are working. Even clearance lights on the top of the rig must be illuminating not only for safety purposes, but for legal reasons as well. DOT officers are watching for proper running lights and will issue a ticket for failure to have them illuminating.
Tires are one of the most valuable components on an RV, but also one of the most neglected. Check your tire pressure before every trip, not just occasionally! It’s not uncommon to lose 2 psi in a week just due to valves and rim issues. Also check the condition of the tread and sidewall every time.
Verify everything is disconnected and put away before leaving the campground and taking the shoreline power post with you! Adding this to the checklist and verifying will ensure you don’t do any damage to the rig or the campground source.
Take one last walk around the rig to verify everything has been checked off the list. As the sign at many campgrounds reads; Antenna down, steps up, and wife in! Adding this to your checklist is a good idea.
If you are driving a motorhome and pulling a towed vehicle commonly referred to as “TOAD”, make sure it is properly connected, the safety cables are secure and not dragging, the electrical connection is good, and the unit is in the proper gear selection and key position. Nothing worse than finding your parking brake was on after you stop at the first filling station!
When leaving your campsite, you will want to make sure all garbage is cleaned up and thrown away in the main trash dump of the campground. Do not leave food or dangerous chemicals in the fire pit or garbage can. Also, make sure all fires are doused properly and most of all, leave the site cleaner than when you arrived!
Learn more about your instructor, Dave Solberg.
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15 Lessons
51  mins

Developing a pre-departure checklist customized for your rig and your RVing lifestyle can be an overwhelming task.

For most, the checklist is a work-in-progress as we continually add equipment and options to our rig and accessories. Even so, it’s important to have a plan and a checklist – and not leave buttoning up your rig for a trip to memory!

Just like a pilot flying a simple single engine plane, an RV owner needs to verify everything is put away, compartments are shut and locked, and everything necessary for lights and signals is connected. Using a thorough checklist and preparation process will ensure you don’t forget anything and don’t do any damage down the road.

For the truck and trailer owner, a good checklist will start with the tow vehicle – verifying all fluid levels are correct, belts are in good condition, trailer connections are verified with safety chains, wiring harness, and breakaway cables are hooked up properly and not dragging or binding.

For the motorhome owner, the checklist will also start with the engine compartment, verifying fluid levels and belt condition.

Both trailer and motorized prep will continue with a walk around the side, back, behind, and other side to verify all lawn chairs and other accessories are properly stored, and compartment doors are shut and locked if desired. An open compartment door going down the road will not only allow items to fall out, but could also do damage swinging open and shut.

Continuing along the side, verify all slide rooms are retracted, sewer, electric and water connections unhooked and properly stored. Ensure antennas down, steps in, and windows closed. Snagging a TV antenna on a limb will not only do damage to the rig, but is pretty embarrassing as well.

In addition to the detailed video instruction you’ll receive, this class provides you with several downloadable resources and helpful information, including: A detailed Class Guide you can follow and use as a reminder for the key points of the class instruction; a pre-departure checklist; guides to help with tire inflation and with a tow bar connection; and a resource to help in connecting either a 5th wheel or trailer.

Dave Solberg

Dave Solberg is the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. For over 25 years, Dave has conducted a wide range of RV maintenance and safety seminars, developed dealer and owner training programs, written RV safety and handyman articles, authored an RV handbook reference guide and logged over 100,000 miles on the road in an RV.

Dave Solberg

Bonus materials available after purchase

Pre-Departure Planning Purchase this class for $29.99.