Tip of the Day … Exterior Inspection Part 3 – Undercarriage. This is the final part of the external inspection. Lets start with the rock guards. These are the plastic pieces around the tires. Are they there and in good condition?
Although not actually under the carriage, check all of the lights. These include the brakes, running lights, backup lights, exterior lights and entrance lights. Are all bulbs working? Some of the new lights are LED and made up of multiple sets of LED. If all are lit then good, if the majority are lit, then I would pass it with a note. If less than half are missing then I would require them to be replaced.
If the RV has a trailer hitch, you want to make sure that it is working and has all the parts are there. See if there is documentation or a sticker on the capacity of the hitch. You want to make sure that you do not exceed the hitch rating regardless of the capabilities of the unit.
Check the jacks/leveler for operation. Make sure they perform as required. Manual jacks are not met to raise or lower the unit only to stabilize or reduce the movement of the unit when extended. Hydraulic jacks found on motor homes will literally raise the unit off the tires, but this is not recommended for long term use. For safety reasons, do not used levelers to change tires. Prior to operating any hydraulic unit, make sure that the pump has enough oil/fluid.
Tip of the Day … Exterior Inspection Part 2 – Side Walls. This is an area where most people make a cursory inspection. Things to look for here that are major areas of concern will be delamination. Delamination is caused by water getting between the outside material and the wood backing, causing the materials to separate. You will also want to look for damage due to accidents. Besides the side walls you will want to check the storage doors. Open all of the doors and check for rust, damage, operation etc.
Entry Step and Door are next. You want to make sure that the steps operator properly. If they are electric, there will be a lock out switch somewhere inside the unit. Test to make sure that it operates properly, preventing the stairs from extending. Check for excessive signs of rust. Check to make sure the stairs retract fully.
For the door, make sure that the keys work. Check around the window for any signs of leaking.
Check under the slide outs. Here you are looking for damage, both by water and accidents. Check for excessive rust. If the slide has a topper (awning), check the material and connections. Check for rusty or corroded screws and bolts. With a ladder, check the top of all the windows. See if they need caulking and for water damage.
Check all the appliance doors. These include the hot water heater, refrigerator and heaters. Make sure they all operate as required.
Check all of the awnings. Look for pin holes in the awning material. Operate the awning(s) to make sure it(they) retract(s) completely. Check that the metal components are in good shape and work normally.
Finally check the seals. There are two seals for each slide. One on the lip of the slide, which is the one to check while doing the exterior inspection. This seal is used to seal the slide when it is retracted. Its purpose is to keep water out of the unit when driving down the road. We will check this again, prior to the road trip.