The Pre-trip Walkaround

There are many things that must be done when breaking camp with your trailer or motorhome. Often, a checklist is followed to assure that each item has been readied and checked before hitting the road.

Generally, the last item to be completed is a full walk around. This involves the driver walking entirely around the vehicle and checking everything, verifying that all slides and awnings are retracted and locked, jacks are up, all appendages are disconnected from the services and stored, the hitch is secure, tires are fully inflated and not damaged, windows and vents are closed, antennas are all down, and no kids, items, or other obstructions lie under the vehicle. The ground should be checked to make sure no fluids are leaking.

Oddly enough, the walk around seems to be the most missed departure procedure, even though it may well be one of the most critical. The majority of damaged components while departing a campsite could have been prevented by a simple walk around. In some cases, the damage amounts to thousands of dollars.

Perhaps one of the main reasons this procedure is missed is the repeated familiarity of departures over the years. We have done it so often, it seems we could do it in our sleep. Cold weather, wind or rain can also cause people to skip this on occasion. Drivers who are in a rush also are likely to skip this chore.

Aircraft pilots must always do a walk around, without fail. This includes even those flying commercial airliners. They must look for fluid leaks, loose panels and cowlings, collision damage, undercarriage condition and just about anything else that can be visually inspected from the ground. If you are a passenger on a flight, you are probably glad the pilot does this for each and every flight.

So next time you get ready to hit the road, be sure to do your due diligence of performing a full walk around check. It could save you from an expensive repair or worse. Remember that old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” It still holds true today.

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