GET YOUR MOTORHOME BACK ON THE ROAD
Normality Maybe Just Round The Corner!
Hope for a return to normality has begun – in the form of a vaccine – and we are allowing ourselves to make plans for 2021.
If, like the rest of us, your caravan has been in lockdown for most of 2020 – then you may be looking to get in back on the road in the new year. Or perhaps (if restrictions allow) you are planning to get away sooner - for Christmas?
Make sure that your MOT, service, insurance and tax are up-to-date, then do some basic checks of your own.
So, what do you need to do to prepare your vehicle?
- The first thing you need to do is to clean the outside. This will reveal any damage that has occurred to the bodywork while in storage.
- Then clean the inside, checking for signs of damp. You should be able to smell it. Any damp found will require further investigation – to find the source and check the level of damage. Check that door and window seals are intact and working- this will help to prevent damp.
- Ensure that the services are all working correctly: the 12V and mains electricity, water, gas and sanitation. Check the fridge, oven etc are functioning.
- Check safety devices – fire extinguisher, smoke alarms etc – are within their service life dates, working and if applicable: contain functional batteries.
- Open all windows (and roof vents) and cupboards to air the vehicle. Do the same with any soft furnishings that have been stored inside the van.
- Just before you go away, make sure that the water system is sterilised. Flush out the pipes and tanks.
Ok, now the caravan is clean and prepared for living in. The next step is to ensure that it is roadworthy:
- Tyres: Check the tyre pressure and general condition – including for any wear and tear: bulges, cracks or embedded objects and the tread depth. Tyres will need to be replaced if they have been flat for some time or if any damage is found.
- Make sure that the wheel fixings are on the correct torque setting.
- Brakes: Check that the brakes (including the handbrake) are working and have not seized due to lack of use.
- Lights: Ensure that all the lights are in working order. Remember to keep spare bulbs in the van for future emergency use.
For Motorhomes & Campervans:
- Fluid: check all fluid levels – fuel, oil, water and brake fluid. Also check underneath the vehicle for any leakage.
- Make sure that the starter battery is connected. Removing any terminal corrosion.
- Engine: Start the engine, checking for any warning lights/messages.
- Engine Bay: Look for any damage or vermin nests in the engine bay – wiring, hoses etc.
- Exhaust: Make sure that the exhaust is free of any debris.
- Check that, when pushed, the overrun mechanism compresses with resistance.
- Ensure that the hitch mechanism is clean and moves freely.
- Towbar: Check the towbar socket. Remove any towball corrosion.
- Cables: Ensure that the breakaway cable and the towing electrics connecting cable/plug are in a good condition.
- Registration Plate: Check that you are displaying the correct car registration for your towing vehicle. It is prudent to do this as soon as you change the car intended for this purpose.
Even if you have had a lot of experience driving/towing your campervan/caravan – if you haven’t done so for a while you may be a bit rusty. Ease yourself back into the experience with a short test drive. Start the test drive by driving at a low speed and testing the brake function.
All that is left now is to drive safely and enjoy your holiday! Try an oversea tour recommended by the The Caravan and Motorhome Club.