The Value of Pre-drive Checklists

Nothing like waking up to a rain soaked camp sight. We got out easily.

At the moment, Kylie and I are one week into our first big trip in the new van and you would be forgiven for thinking we are on our first caravan trip. We’ve made all the classic mistakes. Perhaps after all these years we’ve become a tad complacent or we’ve just been a bit unlucky. One thing is for sure; a pre drive checklist could have saved us a bit of frustration.

One thing hasn’t helped and that’s been the weather. For the first three days of this trip it has rained almost constantly. Mostly when its been time to set up or pack away and, because we’ve been in a hurry to get out of the rain, we’ve probably rushed things a bit.

Having a good electrical toolkit and multimeter is essential.

Mostly it’s just the little things like forgetting to take the hose fitting off the tap at the caravan park or forgetting to turn off the tap before removing the hose. I copped a face full of cold water on that occasion. Probably the worst mistake we made was to leave the four seasons hatch open while driving in the torrential rain.  It was opened after we set off the smoke alarm cooking bacon for breakfast and nearly setting alight a tea towel in the process…!  Fortunately the only result was a bit of wed bedding and a fine spray of rain water in the living area. Nothing a wipe down with a couple of towels couldn’t fix. Considering the whole vent could have blown out, we got off lightly. Kylie discovered some new words in her vocabulary on that occasion..!

That little button on the far right of the battery monitor switches off the whole 12v system. Didn’t know that before this trip.

There are some things that cannot be avoided even with a checklist. Plugging in the power cord into the inlet without lining up the plug properly was a simple mistake anyone can make. Fortunately, we carry enough tools to fix little problems like that. We also discovered all the 12v system inoperative at one stop. I checked every fuse and connection to no avail. I was completely stummped. Using the process of elimination and a good multimeter, I was able to trace the problem to the solar controller having a power isolation function that is activated at the power meter. One of us must have pushed a wrong button at some point and switched everything off. Good to know we can do that…!

Make sure all the vents are closed before driving off.

At the end of the day, a checklist that you religiously go through before every drive will help avoid a lot of issues.  Knowing your van and being able to diagnose and fix minor problems is also essential.

After all, it wouldn’t be any fun if everything went according to plan. Where’s the challenge in that?

Safe travels everyone…!




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