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Your RV Safety Checklist for When Your Motorhome is Parked

Parking an RV can be daunting. Oftentimes, drivers may be so focused on perfect parking placement that they aren’t sure what to do next. There are a few simple steps to follow once you’re in place to ensure your rig and its contents are safe and secure. Here are some tips to help you get started.

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4 Things RV Shoppers Must Know

Leveling and Stabilizing

RV leveling is critical for more than comfort. It ensures appliances like the fridge work and slide out sections can move freely.


Self-leveling Systems

Like all new Newmar models, your rig may have a self-leveling system, requiring the push of a button to make sure everything is even. Some have manual leveling options. You can change the levels for up to two tires at once to get the most even setup.

Releveling is important as the ground may shift under the weight of the rig. 


Manual Stabilizing

RVs without this auto-level feature, like many travel trailers and older motorhomes, will require more work. Keep a few blocks or 2-inch by 6-inch pieces of wood on hand to help raise or lower your motorhome. You can also purchase heavy-duty plastic leveling blocks that interlock. These options increase RV safety by preventing the blocks from separating when you need more than one.

First, place a bubble level in the center of the floor in the RV interior parallel with the front bumper. Your motorhome may have a center level and levels that align with the axles to make this process easy. The center reading will help you tell whether to add blocks to the left or right tires. Drive the rig onto the blocks after placing them in front of or behind the wheels on the motorhome’s lower side. Repeatedly check your level until it is even. 

If the ground is very uneven, create a ramp with blocks by placing one in the direction you’ll drive. Then, add two stacked blocks butting up to the first. Add a three-stack in front of that if needed. Check your level between each block addition. Safety tip: The wheels must be perfectly centered on the blocks to prevent the motorhome from rolling and ensure it is level.

Once the RV is even, get out your chocks. These RV safety accessories are often made of plastic or rubber and prevent the motorhome from moving forward or backward. Place chocks in front of and behind the tires that did not require blocks. 



RV slides conveniently add square footage to your living space. Some motorhomes have electric slide outs that extend in minutes. If your rig has this feature, make sure it’s level and push the button or flip the switch to extend the slide out.


Parking Brakes

Pull out the parking brake knob in the cab. It should be yellow. Always engage the parking brakes once the rig is parked, level, and chocked. 



RV awnings offer sun and rain protection. They can also make your motorhome more energy efficient by limiting how much sun enters through the window. If your awning opens automatically, make sure you are connected to shore power or a generator. If using an inverter, your batteries must be charged to power the awning motor.

Open your motorized awning by flipping the switch inside the cab or on the remote. If the awning doesn’t open, you may need a new remote battery. Ensure you are plugged into a power source, and the parking brake is set. If the brake is not engaged, the awnings may not open.

For manual awnings, undo travel locks on the arms. These safety devices may be part of the RV or as simple as velcro or string. Loosen the rafter knobs on the back of the arms to allow the awning to open. Use an awning rod to reverse the locking level into the “roll down” setting. Reach for the awning loop and slowly pull the awning backward away from the RV. Avoid adjusting the awning on windy days, as you could damage the motorhome or harm yourself. Once extended, lock the rafter arms by sliding them into place on the RV exterior. Tighten the bolts on the rafter arms to spread out the awning material and make it taught, avoiding flapping in the wind.

Now, extend the awning arms to allow for a slope with the part of the awning furthest from the RV a little lower than the part that connects to the rig. This slight decline will encourage rain and snow to flow away from the motorhome and prevent it from collecting and collapsing.


Emptying Grey and Black Water Tanks

First, a quick clarification for anyone new to RVing. When you run an RV faucet, the water goes into a built-in grey water holding tank. Anything flushed down the toilet flows into a black water tank. 

A new Newmar will come with 60-80 gallons of grey water capacity and 40-60 gallons of black water capacity. That means these tanks can go a few days to a couple of weeks before needing to be emptied depending on the usage.

Many resorts offer full hookups which include a sewer connection on the RV lot which allow the tanks to be dumped as needed without needing to leave the site. The alternative is driving the RV to a dump station on the grounds. Full hookups come with the obvious benefit of avoiding the need to relevel and stabilize for each dump. 

Wear thick rubber gloves whenever you’re dealing with sewage to prevent you from getting stomach bugs or other sewage-related illnesses. Close the RV sewer hose valves before opening the cap on the side of the motorhome exterior.

Use a sewer hose to connect the RV to the park sewer dumping station inlet.

Slowly open the black water discharge valves to drain the system. When empty, close the valve. Next, follow this process with the grey water. This order of operations will wash the sewage out of the hose, preventing an unsanitary mess. Once done, close the grey water valve. Disconnect the hoses and attach the caps to the motorhome valves. 

Use the non-potable water hose at the sewage station to spray the inside of the sewer hose before detaching it from the dump station. If any waste leaked onto the ground, hose it down to keep the area clean and odorless. Stash the hose in your RV storage area, where it will not mingle with other items. Disinfect or throw away your gloves before thoroughly washing your hands. 

Use a water hose at the sewage station to spray the inside of the tote and hose before detaching it from the dump station. If any waste leaked onto the ground, hose it down to keep the area clean and odorless. Stash the hose in your RV storage area, where it will not mingle with other items. Disinfect or throw away your gloves before thoroughly washing your hands.


Water Connection

Find your motorhome fresh water drinking hose in your RV storage. Add a water pressure regulator or a water filter if you plan to use them. Regulators can be helpful if you like high-pressure showers. Filters will remove minerals that can create unpleasant odors and tastes in campsite water. Screw the loose end of the hose into the potable campground water spigot. Make sure you are using the potable water spigot as it is safe to drink. 

Do not turn on the water pump if you are connecting to a city water connection as it is already pressurized. Only use the pump if you are pulling water from tanks inside the RV when you cannot hook up to an outside water source. Once attached to the spigot, slowly turn it and have someone in the RV turn on a sink. Once the water runs into the RV, you know the connection is correct.

Don’t forget that as a Newmar customer, you have access to Newgle. It’s information provided by Newmar’s team of experts to help you with all your needs. Click here for more!

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