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Great Escapes Around the Great Lakes: Readying an RV for Summertime Travel
The recording-breaking summer heat affects us all, regardless of our health or age. Although many people are attune to the impact the heat can also have on our homes (higher utility costs won't let this fact escape our attention), we often lose sight of how the environment affects our vehicles. Recreational vehicles can be tremendous investments, so prudent RV owners will take proactive steps as the summer heat approaches to ensure their property is prepared to withstand the weather. So, whether you're planning a short trip to a specific destination on one of the Great Lakes, or whether you have a longer journey to explore all the Great Lakes have to offer, these steps will help alleviate concerns about whether the summer heat will lead to a detour off course for you and your RV.
Check Out the Appliances
Nothing can derail a relaxing road trip faster than a malfunctioning hot water tank, refrigerator, cooking device, or television. Preventing appliance failures is often easy; it just takes a little pre-trip inspecting. Although owners should have the LP gas system professionally tested for leaks and pressure on an annual basis, a basic operational test to ensure everything is functioning properly before hitting the road is wise.
Inspect the Tires
Maintaining adequate tire pressure is vital to your RV's fuel efficiency and handling capabilities, but it's also a good safety precaution. Failure to monitor proper pressure makes tires more susceptible to blowing out, which could cause damage to the vehicle and injury to passengers. When monitoring tire pressure, make sure to use a high quality inflation gauge for measurement, and if one is not available, seek professional assistance. Further, don't rely on your past experience or a friend's recommendation in determining an ideal level of pressure. Instead, consult the manufacturer's guidelines. Finally, make sure that you have that trusty spare tire along for the trip.
Replace Old Filters
Filters for oil, fuel, and air should be checked prior to commencing a summertime journey. If the filters are showing any wear and tear, replacing them could help lessen the burden on the vehicle while operating in the heat.
Examine the Powertrain
All components of the RV that generate power, including the engine and transmission, require attention before hitting the road. That includes monitoring fluid levels throughout the vehicle. For most RV owners, that will require consultation with a professional.
Ensure the Batteries are Charged
Extended storage of an RV likely means the vehicle's batteries will need to be recharged or replaced. To minimize the effect of the heat, ensure that the battery is securely mounted and connections are clean and tight. After the battery has been charged, check to see if there is adequate water supply for the battery. If not, use distilled water to prevent any chemicals from contaminating the battery.
Freshen Up the Water System
If an RV has been stored for a long period of time, the water system needs to be checked for leaks and it should be cleaned. In fact, it's not a bad idea to annually sanitize the water system by using a small amount of bleach.
Monitor Seams and Sealants
If your RV has been stored outside prior to your trip, it would be a good idea to look around the vehicle's interior to ensure there are no signs of leaks. Even if you have kept your RV in a garage or other kind of storage facility, it's wise to inspect and, where necessary, reseal seams and sealants periodically to avoid future leaks. This kind of maintenance may be best performed by an expert, as some manufacturers recommend using specific products during the resealing process.
Reassess Your Emergency Plan
The summer months can bring erratic weather patterns, so it's always a good idea to have a consistent plan for dealing with the elements while on a road trip. First, make sure that you have radios or other technological devices capable of keeping you updated on the forecast. In addition, make sure a member of your crew is available to assist any young or elderly folks in the event of severe weather or any other type of emergency.
Tips on Operating the RV
Once you have followed all of these steps and are ready to embark on your journey, a few additional tips could help minimize the impact of the heat when operating the RV. For example, when possible, always park the vehicle in shaded areas. In addition, monitor the temperature inside the refrigerator to ensure that food is safety stored. Finally, make sure the interior temperature of the vehicle remains cool. Hot, sweaty passengers will ultimately be cranky passengers, so make sure everyone remains comfortable!
John Egan is managing editor of Car Insurance Quotes, a leading online provider of car insurance news.