There is no place on Earth that enjoys football like Northeast Ohio. Friday nights mean checking out your favorite high school teams in the crisp night air. Saturday mornings mean getting ready for the Buckeyes or some great MAC Conference action. And Sundays? Well Sundays mean hitting the Muni Lot and firing up the grills as you get ready to cheer on those Browns. Win or lose (and since the season has just begun, we’ll emphasize the “win” part), tailgates are a time-honored tradition on the shores of Lake Erie, and they are as much a part of the game experience as the coin toss.
As the phenomenon of tailgating grows, the art of the tailgate becomes increasingly intricate. Each year, the layouts get more complex. What started with a couple of lawn chairs, an open trunk and a grill has evolved into fancy RVs and trailers designed specifically for game day. There are lines of Winnebago RVs painted like Browns helmets lining the parking lots around the stadium. Some are brand new and state of the art; most are fixer uppers that have been customized to be the perfect environment for a game day party. In either case, they are the focal point of any good tailgate celebration, and they have to be as ready for the season as you are.
As we all know, with any used vehicle, maintenance is crucial. In many instances, these vehicles haven’t been started up in months. Just like any great athlete needs to stretch before hitting the field to avoid injury, your RV needs to get warmed up before you take it to the game.
Here are some key items to check on before your RV takes a snap this season:
- Keep It Hydrated
Check all fluid levels: oil, power steering, engine coolant, windshield washer, transmission and brake fluid. Make sure they are all topped off and clean before leaving the driveway.
- Lace-Up Those Shoes
Check your brakes to make sure they are working properly. Check your tire inflation to make sure it is up to spec. Check all of your wheel lugs for tightness. Make sure that your parking brake is operational.
- Run the Power-I
Your generator is the heart of your fun for tailgate season. Make sure it’s clean for efficiency. Check the oil level on your generator too, and make sure the battery connections are clean and charged.
- Lift Some Weights
If you are towing the weight of a trailer behind you with a tow bar, make sure you check it before you take off. Make sure that the safety chains are crossed under the coupling and hooked. Are the tow lights working? Because you checked that parking brake earlier, make sure it’s not on now.
- Have Good Downfield Vision
Just like any good quarterback has to be able to see the whole field, you’ll need to see the whole road and parking lot when operating your vehicle. This is a big jump from your hatchback, so if you haven’t been on the road with it in a while, it wouldn’t hurt to hit an empty parking lot with the RV and practice some maneuverability before you go to a crowded area. Practice with the mirrors and make sure that they are adjusted as need be.
- Keep Cool Under Pressure
Late season games might be chilly, but for the first month or so you’ll need your air conditioning in top shape. Check all of your air filters and make sure they are fresh. Make sure that your condensing unit is clean and that nothing is blocking the air flow. Also ensure that you don’t over pack the fridge. Your food needs to be cool too, and if you over pack you run the risk of damaging the efficiency of your refrigerator.
- Strap Up Your Chinstrap
Before you hit the road, make sure all of the little details are addressed. Turn off your water pump switch. Close all of your windows and vents and make sure all of the cabinets and drawers are secured. Make sure you don’t have anything heavy in the overhead bins. Make sure you’ve got everything off of the countertops. Check all of your smoke detectors and install fresh batteries as needed.
If you aren’t sure that old reliable is ready for the season, bring it to the pros from Rad Air at any one of our 11 Northeast Ohio locations. We’ll make sure you’re in the game, not on the sideline, when tailgating season starts.