Spring Checks for your Motorhome
Many people don’t use their motorhomes over the winter and put them in storage for several months. Even if you’ve followed all the advice for properly winterising your motorhome before it goes into storage, there are still some checks you’ll need to do when preparing your vehicle for the new season. You never know what might have happened over the last few months, especially if the weather has been particularly cold and you’ll want your vehicle in tip-top condition in order to make the most of any trips you’ve got planned.
Here are the most important checks to carry out before you hit the road this spring.
1. Check the exterior of your motorhome
The first thing you’ll want to do is have a good look around the exterior of the vehicle. This is especially important if the motorhome was stored outside. Even if it was under a cover, objects could have hit the bodywork in high winds and caused some damage.
As you’re doing this, make sure you have a good look at your tyres too. Firstly, check there’s no visible damage or warping of the tyres. You might find that there are some flat spots or a tyre has a bulge in a particular area after having the pressure of the motorhome on the same point for long periods of time. Damage to the tyres can affect all sorts of things like steering and your fuel consumption. You might also be more prone to a flat tyre if there’s some damage, so consider replacing the tyre if you spot anything.
Check your tread depth to make sure there’s plenty left before going on any long trips and check the tyre pressure too. Don’t forget to check the spare.
2. Flush the water systems
Even if you emptied the water system efficiently before putting your motorhome into storage, you’ll want to flush it through properly before using it again. It’s also a good idea to add some cleaning fluid to your water tank that’s been designed for motorhome water systems and running this through the system to make sure that no nasty bacteria gets left behind.
Open the taps and leave any plugs out of the drains and let everything run through for a few minutes. This means you’ll flush the waste water systems through at the same time. Rather than having to empty out your waste water tank, manoeuvre the motorhome next to a drain if you can and let it all run straight out.
3. Check the batteries
You’ll need to check both your motorhome’s engine battery and the leisure battery. Just as you might find with a car, the engine battery could well be flat if it’s not been used in a while and hasn’t been connected to a trickle charger in the meantime.
When you’re checking your leisure battery, run a few of the appliances to make sure that the battery is holding enough charge. If anything isn’t working properly, your first port of call should be to disconnect the battery and give it a charge.
4. Check your gas systems
Check to see how much gas you have left in your bottles and that all the hoses are free of damage. Each hose should be stamped with the date of manufacture so you’ll be able to check whether or not they’re due to be replaced. Once you’re happy that you have enough gas, that nothing needs replacing and that everything is connected up safely, test your appliances. A gas hob is the easiest way to check that everything is working properly. The flames should be blue and you should be able to adjust the flow.
5. Check for any signs of damp
Damp can often be a motorhome’s worst enemy. When you step inside your motorhome for the first time in a couple of months, you might notice a bit of a musty smell. Make sure you give your motorhome a good airing and it can often be a good idea to use a dehumidifier to get the level of moisture in the air down a bit. If any mould has appeared over the winter, wipe this away with a damp cloth and then use an anti-mould cleaner to prevent it from returning any time soon.
6. Clean the exterior of your motorhome
Give the exterior of your motorhome a good wash. Even if you cleaned your motorhome before laying up for the winter and have kept it covered throughout the months when it hasn’t been in use, this is still worth doing. As well as getting rid of any dirt that has built up, this is a great opportunity to check the seals around the windows, doors and skylights. If you can, get someone to stand inside your motorhome as you give it a good hose down to look out for any signs of leaking. Don’t use a jet washer to do this as it could cause more harm than good.
7. Clean the interior of your motorhome
If you had a good clean of your motorhome before the winter this shouldn’t take too long. However, a quick spring clean will make all the difference to how your motorhome feels when you set off on that first trip of the season. Give everything a good wipe down and it can also be a good idea to give any of the soft furnishings a wash. Giving the curtains and seat covers a clean can help make the motorhome smell clean and fresh, especially if there’s a lingering musty smell after a few months without much air circulation.
Take the opportunity to double check that there aren’t any signs of damp and open all the cupboards and storage compartments to get some air into these places too.
8. Take a look under the bonnet
Now you’re happy that the motorhome is back to being a comfortable place to stay, it’s time to make sure you’re going to be comfortable on the road too. Take a look under the bonnet and check the levels of your oil, windscreen wash and coolant. Top up or replace anything that needs it and go for a short drive to make sure everything feels right on the road.
9. Check your security and safety devices
It’s important not to forget to check your devices like your security alarms and your smoke detectors are all up and running. They might well need new batteries. If you use gas, make sure your carbon monoxide alarm is working too. Fire safety items, like extinguishers will also need checking to make sure they’re still in date. If you have a tracker, make sure to test this as well.
10 Get your paperwork in order
Before you hit the road, make sure you’ve got all of your paperwork in order. Is your motorhome insurance all up-to-date and suitable for your needs? Is any breakdown cover still valid? Are any routine checks on your vehicle due? Even if you think everything is all sorted, a quick glance at your documents just to make sure could save you a bit of a headache later on.
If you winterised your motorhome properly before laying up for the off-season, you should be able to make your way through this list of checks pretty quickly and without too much hassle. However, make sure you give yourself plenty of time before your first trip in the spring just in case there are any unexpected problems. You don’t want to find any issues a few days before your trip and find you don’t have enough time to fix or replace things. Get organised in plenty of time and you’ll set yourself up for a relaxing and enjoyable year of motorhome trips. Enjoy!