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Unique Vans - Jeff Johnston visits the 50th National Truck-In on RVing Today TV Segment 2024-07

Any time we’re traveling, safety is a top priority, there’s a little something that we do to make sure that nothing goes awry later on down the road. While we don’t have a hard-and-fast checklist, per se, all it amounts to is a simple inspection, a walk around the vehicle, we count the parts, more or less. 

Now, you have to get out of the vehicle and stretch your legs anyway, so, as you’re stretching your legs on your way to the restroom, for example, stop in, take a look at all your hardware that you need to, and you can make sure things are going okay with the rest of the vehicle. We’ll show you what we do. 

Stop number one is your tow vehicle’s tires. It’s a little hard to tell with today’s modern radial tires if a tire is low pressure or not because there’s a little bit of a bulge on the bottom of a radial anyway. But you can stop, take a look, give them a thump, make sure that they’re up to pressure, check them with your tire gauge, and just give a quick visual inspection of all the lug nuts and make sure it doesn’t look like anything is wearing loose. 

Next stop, and I don’t suppose there’s any need to tell you why this is important, is your equalizing hitch. Take a look at everything, make sure that it looks like it did when you started out in the morning. Check the spring bars, make sure they still feel tight, maybe your lock for the hitch, chains are all where they ought to be, plug is still in tight. Everything looks good here, but it doesn’t hurt a bit to stop and take a minute to just check the parts, you know? It’s such an easy thing to do and it can save you huge grief down the road. 

Next up are your tires and wheels, look for low inflation pressure, check for any signs of damage. Hold your hands kind of near the hubs to feel how warm they are. If you’re real careful to avoid being burned, touch the wheel or hub gently to find out if they’re all running about the same temperature. If one of the hubs feels really warm compared to the others, it could mean that the bearings are going bad and that would call for a stop at a service center at your nearest convenience. For this part of the walk around, a digital infrared thermometer comes in really handy. These are inexpensive, they can cost about $50 or less, this is a “Fluke Model 62,” it costs about 80 bucks, it includes a digital readout of temperature and it has a laser pointer to show you exactly where you’re measuring the temperature. You aim it at the surface you want to measure and you instantly get precise readout of the temperature. This particular style of wheel has a space in between the spokes that allows direct access to the brake drums, and that allows you to take your digital thermometer and take a reading directly off the brake drum to see how the temperature is running.

Brake drums are another indicator of the health of the chassis. If one of the drums is significantly cooler than the others, it could mean that brake is not being applied. At the same time, if one drum is really hotter than the others, that could mean that that brake is dragging. And either situation, calls for a stop at a service center.

♪♪♪ While you’re walking around your RV, check these guys out, make sure that they’re securely tight. How often have you been going down the freeway and you’ve seen these things flapping open in the wind, maybe with a sewer hose or extension cord or something hanging out and banging all over the place. You don’t really need that. Next item, you come around back, let’s take a quick look at both of your tail lights and make sure that nothing has happened to them, breaking out or anything. 

And is this guy tight? More or less. You know, it’s really amazing how many RV manufacturers consider a spare tire an option on an RV, kind of blows our mind sometimes. Wheels on this side are okay. Just take a look around. If there’s anything you can see that’s a moving part, that’s what you ought to consider. Make sure that the awning is in tight, all these little compartment doors need to be shut, entry door, it’s good and tight, steps are folded up where they ought to be, awning on this side looks like it’s tight, and the compartment is tight. It really doesn’t take long to walk around the rig as you stop and just give all the stuff a check, a couple of minutes is what you’ll spend, and you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle later on down the road and give yourself a safer trip. With your inspection out of the way, you can hit the road with confidence.