The winter period is on its way out, so many of you will be thinking about taking your motorhome or caravan out of storage to enjoy the open roads again. If yours has been unused for some time, there are important maintenance checks to be done to keep you and your motorhome or caravan safe for your trip. Due to the similarities between the two, the essential advice and information applies to both, so here are some checks you should make before setting off on your spring adventure.
Before you take to the roads and spend time away in your home on wheels, a good clean is in order. Thoroughly check inside and out and remove any residual dirt – it may lead to unnecessary deterioration in the future.
It’s not just on the inside either, you should give your motorhome a good wash and polish both inside and out; keeping it clean will also help maintain its resale value while also alerting you to any minor pre-existing damages or leaks.
Water, gas and electrics
Too many motorhome or caravan owners make the mistake of not checking their water systems, leading to avoidable consequences. Flush out the water system thoroughly before using the motorhome or caravan, and give any internal tanks a clean.
Take a systematic approach and make a checklist beforehand; have you closed all the drain valves? Have you added the correct cleaning fluid or tablet to the drinking water tank? Are the taps turned off before flushing out the water system?
Then there’s the gas system too. Gas is the primary fuel source for heating and cooking in your caravan or motorhome, so having a reliable gas system cannot be overestimated. All fixed LPG gas appliances should be regularly services and safety checked every year by an engineer, and there are many regulations that need to be measured.
Your lights and wipers, along with other electrical components should not fail often, but they should be checked. Setbacks can easily occur if you suffer a blown fuse. Keep a lookout for any loose connecting wires, carry spare parts, and frequently check your headlights, indicators, brake lights, fog lights and wipers just in case.
Oil pressure and tyres
Tyre pressure will most likely have decreased over the winter months, so they will need to be adjusted appropriately. Use a good quality gauge or the nearest garage air line to check tyres are at the correct pressure, which you can find out by looking in the motorhome or caravan’s handbook.
Check for any visual signs of bulging, cracking, low tread depth or any objects that may be stuck in a tyre before setting off. Make sure to look for signs of UV degradation and hairline cracks that may appear on the tyre sidewalls too.
Regularly check the dipstick to make sure oil levels in your motorhome or caravan are correct, particularly if you will be going on a long journey. Background engine problems might be occurring if you find your oil consumption is high, but you can always take it to a professional to get it checked if you have any qualms.
Are there any signs of damp?
When it comes to damp, and everything for that matter, it’s easier to prevent something than to cure it. There are many things you can put in place to stop damp, mildew and mould setting in, such as; cleaning and vacuuming the entire interior of your motorhome and caravan regularly, wiping surfaces with anti-bacterial or disinfectant products, ensuring surfaces are clean and dry, and even just letting air circulate around for a bit if you don’t use your motorhome or caravan a lot to name a few.
However, even if you put all the necessary checks and precautions in place, your motorhome or caravan could be in danger of damp, so look for signs. Do you have a musty smell when you walk in? Can you see any black marks around the windows, doors or walls? Are there any other stains? Do the walls feel soft if you press them?
One easy way of checking is to invest in a damp meter. They can be reasonably cheap to buy at hardware stores or online and they’re reliable. If the meter shows any sign of damp, treat it straight away and seek professional help if necessary.
Paperwork and servicing
As you would with a car, you need to keep yourselves and other road users safe on the roads, so check that you have a valid MOT, that your driving license is up to date and that you have taken out insurance.
If your motorhome or caravan is still under warranty, it is likely that your servicing is also up to date. You should also consider a habitation service, which covers water, gas, electric and heating systems to be checked and maintained by experienced professionals. Services in time for spring get booked up quickly with people wanting to take their motorhome or caravan out in warmer weather, so it’s worth calling early in the year to get a date reserved.