Monday, September 25, 2023


Caution: Never start the engine until you hear these sounds!

Thunk! Chunk! Snap! Click! These are the sounds you need to hear before you start your RV’s engine and hit the road. If you forget this “sound” advice, you probably won’t like what you see when you enter your RV upon arrival at the campground. Follow that sound and check out these tips for safer RV travel.

Don’t start your RV engine until you hear these sounds


This is the sound you’ll hear when you push against your RV’s interior cabinet doors. Yes, the door may be visually closed, but you need to push until you hear the “thunk.” Then you’ll know the door is secured for travel.

RV cabinet door latches are not like the ones in your stix-n-brix home. The door latches in your RV are specially designed to keep the door closed during travel. Think about it: Driving down the road can jostle things all around. Items inside the cabinets may push against the door causing it to open. No one wants to end a day of travel by picking up all the cabinet contents that jumped out of the cupboard and danced all around the RV. If you don’t hear the “thunk,” the door is not travel-ready. (Hint: Even the latched doors can open if you hit rough roads. That’s why we pack plastic plates, cups, etc. If the latch fails, at least we won’t have broken glass to sweep up!)


Just like with RV cabinet doors, you should hear a “chunk” sound when closing your RV’s interior drawers. That sound emanates from a mechanism usually mounted to the back of the drawer. When the drawer is pushed completely closed, the locking feature engages to hold the drawer shut for travel. Listen for the “chunk” before you leave.

Note: In addition to the built-in lock mechanisms, we use bands and Velcro straps around cabinet doors and drawers to keep them closed. This added precaution has saved us both time and money over the years.


Our RV shower door consists of three panels of glass. The outer glass panel has a hook on it. There’s also a knob mounted to the shower surround. To secure the shower doors for travel, the doors are pushed all the way to one side. This allows the hook to fit over the knob. But wait! You’ll need to push the hook down over the knob until you hear the “snap.” That sound means that the hook is securely latched into place and will not disengage during travel.


This is the sound I listen for when our RV’s solid step system is lifted back inside the entrance doorway for travel. One time, when I opened the RV door, the steps fell out. I hadn’t locked the steps in place! I didn’t listen for the “click.” Now I do. Every time.

All RVs are a little different. It’s important to learn about your rig and discover the sounds you need to hear before heading out on your next adventure.

Do you have additional “sound” advice to share? Please do in the comments below.


Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


  1. GROAN…the sounds heard when watching the fuel indicator sliding downward when towing. The price we pay for our independence when on the road. Thanks again for the article to smooth the path on our journey.

  2. Thank you, Gail! Good advice. We also test our air brakes before we begin the day’s drive. There’s some other stuff that they taught us at our three-day training session on our DP’s chassis, but the sheet is in the RV and I’m not. It, too, is “before beginning the day’s drive” stuff. 🙂

  3. The best sound of all is the “yes, we’re ready to roll” after going through your verbal check list with your significant other. 🙂

  4. I try to do a walk around the outside before I start driving it. Especially leaving the house and leaving a campground. Not so much if I just stop for gas or make a stop at a rest area, etc. Look to see no cords or hoses attached, slide fully in, compartment doors fully closed, no obstructions, etc.

  5. We use checklists. Simple back and forth read and acknowledge. Like airplanes, only fools fly without checklists! “Those who have (forgot to latch the door, put down the gear…) and those who will” (forget something!).

  6. “door door door door” -Me, making sure the latches are secure on the bedroom door, bathroom door, shower door, and refrigerator(/freezer) door.

  7. That’s nice and in the past worked well. However now with the terrible shape of our State and Federal roads we have had to use bungee cord on some cabinet doors and pillows to keep two drawers closed in the bathroom. I even added 2 extra cabinet clips to our smaller overhead cabinet doors and 4 on one of the 6 foot tall pantry doors. I never tow our FW at speeds over 60 mph. One stretch of road in the Oklahoma panhandle was so rough that it vibrated the 3/4” x 8” x 7’ solid Hickory trim boards off both slides in the kitchen and living room.


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