It’s almost peak travel season. If your motorhome or caravan didn’t get much use over the winter months, here’s a handy list to help whip it into shape, ready for your summer adventures.
Check for cracking
Even the smallest leak can cause big problems. You’re probably ok if your motorhome or caravan had a snug indoor home over winter. But if it was exposed to the elements, check for cracks on the roof, body or sealant. Even under cover, freezing temperatures can cause damage. Small repairs can be DIYed with good sealant. If you’re in need of any major repairs, contact us for a recommendation in your local area.
Check the tyres
The other place to check for cracks is the tyres. They work hard (motorhome tyres especially) so don’t skimp on the safety and maintenance checks here.
Check tread is even on all sides of the tyre and they’re not too worn. Your manufacturer’s guide will tell you what kind of tyres to get if they need replacing.
Also, check the pressure and top up if needed. Correct tyre pressure is essential for:
- Fuel efficiency – the flatter the tyre, the greater the resistance.
- Wear - the flatter the tyre, the faster they wear out.
- Safety – tyre pressure affects how the vehicle handles, takes corners, speeds up and brakes; underinflated tyres are more likely to blowout too.
Believe it or not, fuel has an expiration date so if your motorhome went into ‘hibernation’ with fuel in the tank, flush it out and top up with fresh fuel.
Check the batteries
Batteries can lose about 10% current per month during storage so give them a good charge. In future, removing the batteries during storage and charging them periodically is a good idea.
Once charged, reconnect and test all battery-operated appliances are working. Check it again in 24 hours to see if the battery has held its charge; if not, or it takes a bit of effort to get the vehicle going, it’s time for a new battery.
If you have a wet cell battery, you’ll also need to check the battery fluid levels.
Get charge into your solar panels
Give them a good clean and get them charged up. Surprisingly people forget that if they’ve been undercover there would have been no charge coming into them!
Fridges need to be serviced annually and while you’re at it, check electrical warrants on all your appliances are current.
Clean and flush the water tanks/check pipes and plumbing
To sterilise the water tanks first, many people use Milton baby bottle sterilising tablets (available from the supermarket). One tablet per 50L of water left overnight will do the trick.
To flush them out:
- Hook a clean water hose to your garden tap and connect the other end to the clean water intake connection in your motorhome or caravan.
- Open the grey water tank and turn on all the taps, running them until the water runs and tastes clean.
No grey water tank? Collect it in buckets or direct it to a gutter or drain.
This is a good chance to check for any leaks and to make sure the water valves and pump are working well.
Also, change your water filter; they only last about six months.
Connect and test the gas
Another area with high safety requirements, be thorough when reconnecting and checking the gas cylinders. Check:
- All hoses for any signs of cracking, fraying or splitting
- Copper tubing for any dents, kinks or corrosion
- Appliances for rust or corrosion
- The date stamp on your gas cylinder (they need to be tested every 10 years)
- The flame on your burners. It needs adjustment if it burns yellow instead of blue
- For a strong LPG odour as this could be a gas leak. If you suspect a leak, apply soapy water to the cylinder connections and turn it on. If bubbles appear, you have a leak, so turn off the gas (closing off the valve tightly) and get your cylinder checked by a licenced professional
- All vents are clear as a lack of ventilation can be fatal
Inside: check for bugs, cobwebs etc. Wipe down all surfaces; open the windows for a good air out; and if you feel the need, wash the bedding and soft furnishings for a really fresh first run of the season.
Outside: check the awning for any insect squatters! Look for any holes or tears that need fixing and check it opens easily. Also clean off any mould or dirt that’s accumulated.
It can also be a good time to consider a good all over roof wash - a good opportunity to triple check all your seals have remained water tight over the winter.
Top up supplies
Make yourself a shopping list of all the food and cleaning supplies and other bits and pieces you need to keep your motorhome/caravan fully stocked. Make sure you check your tool kits, first aid kits and motorhome/caravan hoses and replace what you need.
Remember, you can always cut down on the pre-summer checks by scheduling in a service at our service centre in Pukekohe; it’s purpose-built to cater for all your maintenance and servicing needs and keep your vehicle in excellent condition.