RV Road Test: Trailers

This checklist is intended as a guide for road testing towable recreational vehicles such as fifth wheels and travel trailers. It assumes that the RV Inspection Checklist has been completed.

A road test can be performed by individuals who feel comfortable driving the vehicle combination being tested, and have a good sense of how a well-functioning tow vehicle and trailer combination feels and sounds. Those individuals not comfortable assessing some of the items on this checklist should take along a qualified technician.

Disclaimer: All content as is, no warranty. More »

Download Get this checklist as a Microsoft Word document and modify to suit your needs. See the bottom of this page for details.

RV Details

RV Number (your own #):

Tow vehicle:

Road test date:

Driven by:

Checklist completed by:

For additional details, see this RV's completed RV Inspection Checklist.
Preparation Steps
Confirm that trailer weights are within tow vehicle ratings
Before connecting umbilical cord to tow vehicle, confirm that trailer batteries have a full charge (required for brakes in case trailer separates from tow vehicle)
Trailer has been prepared for departure and hitched to tow vehicle.
(See RV Departure Checklist: Trailers.)
Tow vehicle suspension does not appear overloaded
Trailer running lights
Trailer signal lights
Trailer brake lights
Trailer emergency flashers
Driver seat adjusted
Tow vehicle mirrors adjusted
Both sides of trailer are visible in tow vehicle mirrors
Parking brake released
Manually engage trailer brakes (via brake controller in tow vehicle) and attempt to drive forward
Drive forward slowly and manually engage trailer brakes (via brake controller in tow vehicle)
Drive forward slowly and depress tow vehicle brake pedal
Pull breakaway switch cable on trailer and attempt to drive forward
Re-insert breakaway switch cable
Post a spotter behind the trailer
Slowly drive in reverse while steering sharply in one direction, keeping a close eye on the trailer's front corners approaching the tow vehicle. Confirm that a 70° turn does not cause trailer to contact any part of tow vehicle.
Drive forward to straighten trailer, then repeat above step in other direction.
Post top clearance in driver's view, in feet and inches. During road test, observe bridge and other structure clearances to ensure that trailer will fit.
Road Test Observations
Tow vehicle stability:



Acceleration:



Braking:



Steering:



Cornering:



Cruising:



Sway:



Tracking:



Effects of large trucks passing:



Effects of wind gusts:



Tow vehicle temperature gauges:






Changin' Gears (http://ChanginGears.com)

Recreational vehicle information for RV camping and the RV lifestyle


See Also

RV Inspection Checklist

RV Departure Checklist

Determining Fair Price

RV Road Test: Trailers

This checklist is intended as a guide for road testing towable recreational vehicles such as fifth wheels and travel trailers. It assumes that the RV Inspection Checklist has been completed.

A road test can be performed by individuals who feel comfortable driving the vehicle combination being tested, and have a good sense of how a well-functioning tow vehicle and trailer combination feels and sounds. Those individuals not comfortable assessing some of the items on this checklist should take along a qualified technician.

Disclaimer: All content as is, no warranty. More »

Download Get this checklist as a Microsoft Word document and modify to suit your needs. See the bottom of this page for details.

RV Details

RV Number (your own #):

Tow vehicle:

Road test date:

Driven by:

Checklist completed by:

For additional details, see this RV's completed RV Inspection Checklist.
Preparation Steps
Confirm that trailer weights are within tow vehicle ratings
Before connecting umbilical cord to tow vehicle, confirm that trailer batteries have a full charge (required for brakes in case trailer separates from tow vehicle)
Trailer has been prepared for departure and hitched to tow vehicle.
(See RV Departure Checklist: Trailers.)
Tow vehicle suspension does not appear overloaded
Trailer running lights
Trailer signal lights
Trailer brake lights
Trailer emergency flashers
Driver seat adjusted
Tow vehicle mirrors adjusted
Both sides of trailer are visible in tow vehicle mirrors
Parking brake released
Manually engage trailer brakes (via brake controller in tow vehicle) and attempt to drive forward
Drive forward slowly and manually engage trailer brakes (via brake controller in tow vehicle)
Drive forward slowly and depress tow vehicle brake pedal
Pull breakaway switch cable on trailer and attempt to drive forward
Re-insert breakaway switch cable
Post a spotter behind the trailer
Slowly drive in reverse while steering sharply in one direction, keeping a close eye on the trailer's front corners approaching the tow vehicle. Confirm that a 70° turn does not cause trailer to contact any part of tow vehicle.
Drive forward to straighten trailer, then repeat above step in other direction.
Post top clearance in driver's view, in feet and inches. During road test, observe bridge and other structure clearances to ensure that trailer will fit.
Road Test Observations
Tow vehicle stability:



Acceleration:



Braking:



Steering:



Cornering:



Cruising:



Sway:



Tracking:



Effects of large trucks passing:



Effects of wind gusts:



Tow vehicle temperature gauges:




See our complete list of RV checklists at http://ChanginGears.com