RV Check List & Tips

            Start Up Checklist

            Owner/Renter Operations Orientation

            • Driving Guidelines
            • Parking Practice
            • Tire Changing
            • Emergency Protocols
            • Vehicle Registration/Insurance Documents
            • Owner's Manual/ Warranty Papers
            • Smoke detector operational
            • ABC Fire extinguisher current
            • Leveling the Vehicle
            • Slide Outs/Awnings
            • Water Tanks and Septic Systems
            • Bathroom Operations
            • Generator
            • Propane
            • Kitchen
            • Electrical
            • Cockpit
            • Monitors
            • Entertainment System
            • Towing



            • Secure compartment doors (are stored items secure?)
            • Check emergency equipment (Jack/Wrench, Blocks, Flares, Fire Extinguisher, etc.)
            • Tire pressure and tread (including spare)
            • Check fluid levels (oil, generator oil, brake, radiator, water)
            • Sewer valves closed
            • Check for overhead clearance or any obstacles



            • Entry door is latched and locked
            • Antenna lowered
            • Roof vents closed
            • Refrigerator locked and make sure it is operating on L.P. while you drive
            • Water heater off
            • Water pump off
            • Fresh water holding tank level
            • Toilet supplies
            • Furnace off
            • Stove pilot off
            • Cooktop cover closed
            • Drawers, closets, windows closed
            • Store and secure loose items in vehicle


            Start Engine

            • Operations check: Temp, Pressure, Idle, Charging, etc.
            • All exterior lights operational (head lights, brake lights, turn signals, trailer, etc.)
            • Dashboard lights
            • Windshield Wipers
            • Horn
            • Brakes (including emergency)
            • Seat Adjustments
            • Mirror Adjustments
            • Seat Belts


             A listing of great RV usage tips from an experienced RV enthusiast can be found at RV-camping.org, the following is a bit of general information on operations.

             Additional Info & Tips


            Propane is used to power the refrigerator, furnace, and hot water heater. The propane tank is located in an outside lower storage compartment. On the tank is a gauge and there is another gauge, usually over the stove. On the tank there is also a valve which is usually in the open position, except when filling. By law, the tank may be filled only to 80% full and only by a certified technician. Have all propane appliances turned off prior to filling. Propane tank is full on departure and must be full on return.

            12-Volt Electric

            A 12-volt direct current system is the main source of power for the operation of lights and motors of certain appliances and accessories. The power is stored in 12-volt batteries which are charged by the alternator on the RV engine, by the power converter attached to the 110-volt power cord, or by the generator. There is a 12-volt system for the coach portion of the RV and a 12-volt system for the engine.

             110-Volt Electric

            AC power is used primarily for a roof top air conditioner, refrigerator, color TV and VCR and to supply electricity to wall outlets for operation of other appliances which you may bring along such as toasters and electric razors. 110-volt electricity is supplied by running either the generator or plugging in the RV.

             Water System

            Your RV has two sources of water. One source is via a direct connect to a pressurized water system. The hose and water pressure regulator supplied can be connected to the city water inlet on the RV and provides pressurized fresh water. The RV also has a water tank which can be filled using the supplied hose. To use the water tank, turn on the water pump at a switch usually located near the kitchen sink or above the stove. Leave the pump off when not in use.

             Refrigerator / Freezer

            The refrigerator works on propane and 110-volts. Leave the refrigerator switch in the auto mode and it will select the available source of power. If electric power is available it will use that, otherwise it will automatically switch to propane. It is not unusual for your refrigerator pilot to blowout occasionally as it is subjected to strong gusts of wind. If this happens, turn the refrigerator off and restart it after about 10 seconds. The check light should remain out if the refrigerator is working properly.

             Water Heater

            The water heater is propane with an electronic ignition. Simply turn the switch to on and when the red light goes out, the water heater is working. Most water heaters produce six gallons of hot water at a time and take about 15 minutes to completely recycle.


            Your RV heater consists of a propane burner and an electric (12-volt) blower motor. The heater can be operated by turning the heat switch to on and setting the thermostat to the desired temperature. The heater will cycle on and off continuously as needed. If the RV is not plugged in, the heater may drain the coach battery overnight. Insure the battery is fully charged (see gauge over stove) before retiring. If not, and the motor home is not plugged in, simply run the generator or engine for 20-30 minutes to insure a full charge. If the battery gets weak during the night, run the engine until recharged.

            Air Conditioning

            Your RV comes equipped with a dash air conditioner and may have one or two roof top air conditioners.

            Television, VCR or DVD

            The TV, VCR, or DVD supplied with your motor home operates on 110-volt current only. As you move from location to location, most TVs require rescanning to locate channels in that area. There also are some RV models that have a 12-volt system for the TV and VCR.


            The generator is a gasoline powered engine. It uses the gasoline from the engine fuel tank and burns about 3/4 to 1 gallon of fuel per hour. It is recommended that the generator is used sparingly. Generators do get hot in the summertime and are not considered reliable for extended periods of time.

            Monitor Panel

            The monitor panel, usually located above the stove, will tell you how much battery power you have, amount of propane remaining, levels of holding tanks and water tank, and sometimes will have the generator start switch.

            Holding Tanks / Septic System

            The dump valves for draining the holding tanks are located to the rear of and under the unit. There are two holding tanks, one for the toilet only and one for all sink and tub waste water. The dump outlet has one common outlet and two valves, one for each tank. The gray water (sink waste water) outlet is the smaller of the two and the black water valve is the larger. Make sure the valves are closed before removing the cap. Twist the cap to remove, connect the supplied drain hose securely and place other end into an approved dumping station. Never empty into a ditch, gutter, bucket, or anywhere other than an approved dump station. Pull the large valve and dump your toilet first. After the toilet is dumped, close the valve and flush the toilet several times to rinse the toilet. Open the valve again to rinse the tank. Now open the gray water valve and rinse the gray water tank. When complete, insure both valves are closed, remove the hose and store it away, and replace the cap. Add the appropriate toilet chemicals and a toilet bowl full of water and you're ready to go.

            Shower & Toilet

            The sinks and showers or tubs work the same as those in your home with some small exceptions. When using water from the water tank, you must turn on the water pump. The water pump switch is usually located on or near the monitor panel. Since the capacity of the hot water is only six gallons, showers must be quick and efficient. We recommend that you rinse completely, shut the water off at the shower head, soap completely including shampoo, and rinse again. This will not only conserve water, but insure a refreshing and hot shower. If you will be staying at a campground that has showers, please enjoy your long showers there.


            Try to arrive during daylight hours for easy location of your campsite. Some campgrounds have obstructions and trees, which can damage the overhead or undercarriage of an RV.

            Always ask for a campsite that is level so your refrigerator will work properly.

            If you plan to arrive after the campground office is closed, it is helpful to call ahead so the campground doesn’t give out your site. You may run the risk of not having full accommodations. While you can run your generator for electricity, you may be restricted from using it after dark.

            Electrical Hook Up

            Whenever possible, ask for electrical hookup. If your stay is for longer than one day, you should ask for full hookup (electric, water, and dump facility). This will make your stay more enjoyable, because you will be charging your coach battery, and also running your appliances, without using the 12-volt battery.

            Connecting your motorhome to the campsite electric supply is simple and easy. Just remove the shore line from the receptacle inside the shore line compartment, and plug into the campsite 120-volt receptacle. You can also use the provided adapter in case the campground only has a 15-amp receptacle.

            Water Hook Up

            Remove the fresh water hose, connect it to the RV and the campsite water faucet. Caution: some campground water supplies are on wells and the water may not be fit to drink.

            Note: Some campgrounds have very high water pressure, which may cause a leak in your water system. If you encounter very high water pressure, we encourage you to use a 30 – 50lb water pressure regulator (available at most campground stores) to prevent water lines from rupturing.

            WARNING: If the overnight temperature is expected to go below freezing for an extended period, you must insure that the RV is winterized. Please follow the instructions in the fresh water system (winter operation and freeze damage) section of the RV manual. You will be liable for all freeze damage to the motorhome.

            Sewer Hook

            Remove the sewer hose from its storage compartment and connect to the motorhome sewage drain outlet. Keep the two waste dump valves closed, even while connected to the campground sewer system. Monitor the tank levels, and empty the tanks only when the panel reads 3/4 or above. After dumping, close the valves and fill the toilet 1/4 full. Add toilet chemicals, and flush so waste can dissolve in the water.

            CAUTION: If you are camping and are able to leave your sewer hose hooked up, please keep the valves closed. Open the valves only for dumping and then promptly close them again. Dump only after the tanks are 3/4 full so there will be ample pressure. If you simply leave the valves open, solid waste will settle and your waste tank will become clogged!


            Do not leave valuables in the RV while you are away. Take valuables with you. Secure all windows. Close the curtains and the front privacy curtains.

            Overnight at Primitive Sites

            If your campsite does not have electrical, water or sewer hookups, ask the campground office where their dump station and water fill are located.

                                1.If not hooked up to electricity, be sure the engine fuel tank has enough fuel to run the generator. (The generator will use about 1 gallon of fuel per hour of operation and will shut down when the level in your fuel tank drops below 1/4 full.)

                                2. Be sure that the fresh water tank is full.

                                3. Light the water heater only when you need hot water. Turn off after use.

                                4. Use the generator for all electrical operations inside the coach. <b> THIS WILL ENSURE THAT YOUR COACH BATTERY REMAINS FULLY CHARGED. <u>IMPORTANT:</u></b> Using the furnace and your interior lights and appliances will quickly drain your coach battery.

                                5. Check that the refrigerator pilot light is still lit. If necessary, relight the pilot light per the instructions on the refrigerator section of the RVs Manual.

            Departing The Campground

            1. Disconnect the shore line from the campsite receptacle, plug the end of the electric cord back into the 120-volt receptacle in the RV shore line compartment. If you used the 15-amp adapter, store it in the shore line compartment also.

            2. Close both dump valves. Disconnect the sewer hose from the RV. Lift the hose to drain any remaining liquid.

            3. Turn off the water spigot and disconnect the fresh water hose from the RV.

            4. If you need to add fresh water to the tank, remove the fresh water fill tap and place the hose end in the fill hole. Only turn the faucet partway as the tank has to vent as it fills. Fill the fresh water tank.

            5. Stow the sewer hose back in its compartment.

            6. Turn off the water and disconnect the fresh water hose from the campground spigot, allowing excess water to drain off before stowing the hose in its compartment.

            7. Secure all compartment doors before departing the campsite.

            8. Turn off the water heater. We advise this because the water heater is a rapid recovery system.

            9. Secure the refrigerator door and check to ensure that your refrigerator is operating on L.P. Gas while you drive

            10. Close roof vents.

            11. Make sure all loose articles inside the motorhome are secured and stowed away.

            12. Check all tires. If any tires are low, air them up as soon as possible.

            13. Adjust side mirrors if necessary.

            14. Always have someone outside the vehicle to guide you while you are parking or backing up.

            15. Retract any awnings or exterior extensions. 

            16. Latch and deadbolt the entry door.

            17. Before driving away, make sure all passengers are buckled up with seatbelts.

            Updated: 29 Aug 2018 10:09 AM
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