Pre-Trip Checklist

It's the beginning of the season, you have all your trips planned to the T. The days you have off, where you want to go, the route you want to take, the meals, and all the activities. The day of every trip is always the most stressful, last minute packing and all the little loose ends to tie up. You go to leave and Bam! You forgot something.


Pre Trip Checklists are always a good thing to have when you're just starting out and even for a seasoned professional. Forgetting to hook up your lights, the safety pin, if your RV was plugged into an outlet, it has all happened before and hopefully never again. Sometimes you catch it, and other times it is a costly repair bill. Here is a generalized pre trip checklist that is a good guideline to follow. 


  1. Safety items: Start with whatever you're hooking up to, for example a SUV to a trailer or an Rv to a tow car. Look at all your safety items and make sure they are connected and secure.

    1. Safety chains. These should be criss crossed and connected securely on both ends. If you need to roll your chains to keep them from dragging, you should have your chains shortened so they don’t wear prematurely. Also it will save you from getting a ticket for dragging your chains.

    2. Connect your plug. Walk through all your light functions (it is easier if you have a second person helping you). Make sure your brake lights, reverse, both blinkers, and running lights all work. It is very important to make sure all your lights work so that people can see you and you can see them.

    3. Hook up your brake away cable (if you have brakes you should have one). If you do not know what the purpose of a breakaway cable is, it is to stop your trailer if it ever becomes disconnected from your vehicle.

    4. Make sure your safety pin is in 

  2. Batteries: Every year you should have your batteries checked and serviced. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to hook up to your trailer and your jacks won't go up or down.

    1. Your Batteries run your

      1. Breakaway Switch

      2. Jack

      3. Lights

      4. Refrigerator

      5. Furnace

      6. Electric Steps

      7. Water Heater

      8. Slide Out(s)

  3. Turn propane off. Many go back and forth with traveling with their propane on or off. Personally, I prefer to travel with my propane system off, but that is a personal preference. Rule of thumb is to travel how you feel comfortable.

  4. Jacks are up. Walk around and make sure all of your leveling jacks or stabilizer jacks are up. Put away any blocks or jack pads that you have to help level your vehicle.

  5. Make sure inside the coach everything is secure. Anything on the counters are put away, there is nothing in the way of the slide out coming in, nothing that can roll around on the floor, and that the cabinets are secure. 

  6. Make sure all your vents are closed. If you have a vent cover that directs the flow of air over your vent lid then you do not need to worry about this, but if you don't the force of the wind going down the road is too much for your vent lid and can rip it off of your vehicle.

  7. Slide your slide out in.

  8. Make sure any external hoses or plugs are disconnected. If you're at home and you were plugged into power or if you were at a park and had city water hooked up. Make sure you are all unhooked and put away before pulling away.

  9. Chocks, make sure they are removed and put away 

  10. Check your tire pressure. All tires have a max load capacity, make sure you're traveling with the correct amount of air in your tires. Also check the condition of your tires, look for any cracks in the side wall or unusual wear on your tire tread.

  11. One of the last thing I make sure to do is walk my vehicle and check all the compartments and the entry door and make sure they are closed and locked


As a guideline this should help you get into a groove of what works for you and your vehicle. At Ernie’s, before the beginning of your season whether you're a snow bird, traveler, boater, equestrianist, or landscaper we always recommend to have your vehicle checked and inspected.

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