The Caravan and Motorhome Club offers advice and inspiration to maintain your vehicle without leaving the driveway
If you’re lucky enough to have access to your caravan, motorhome or campervan during these difficult times, there are things you can do to make sure it’s ready to get back on the road when sites re-open and explorations can resume.
Five Top Tips for basic maintenance
- Spare wheel and stowage mechanism. Remove wheel, check age, condition and pressure of tyre. Free up and lubricate the mechanism if need be, especially if it’s never been used
- If the vehicle’s being left longer than expected, chock wheels and leave handbrake off to remove the risk of the brakes jamming on
- With battery or mains connection disconnected, clean electrical connections (12V and 230V) and check cables for damage
- Check how much gas is left – will you need a refill before your first trip away?
- Keep the leisure battery and (towcar/motorhome) starter battery in good condition. Charge them periodically, or use a trickle charger if you have one
Sort out your paperwork…
Read the manual. We never do, do we? Well, now’s your chance. Find out where the fuses are, and what that mysterious switch you’ve always wondered about is for
And while you’re dealing with paperwork…
- Check insurance/cover/service renewal dates. Don’t let cover lapse, as it protects against ongoing risks like theft, fire, weather and accidental damage even if the outfit’s not currently in use. It may be hard to get annual servicing done at present, but plan for this before getting back on the road if you possibly can. At the very least, identify the fixed and mobile service agents in your locality – note that your usual choice may be booked up, so find some options
- Put loose handbooks and instruction sheets in a folder to keep in the outfit, and originals of important documentation like insurance/cover certificates, registration documents and warranty details in another folder to keep safely at home. Copy relevant reference numbers and contact details from those documents into your ‘travelling’ folder. Should anything go wrong on a future trip, you’ll really appreciate having those details to hand
Chuck out the chintz!
- It’s springtime – get cleaning! Take time to really get into the details we all normally miss. Give loose carpets a good vacuuming outside. Clean around the seals, hinges and latches of doors and windows. Use upholstery cleaner to get rid of that stubborn mark that’s been on the seat nearest the kitchen for the past two years. Look for things needing minor repair as you go – a deep clean really helps you scrutinise the inside and out for flaws
- Take this opportunity to prune that list of ‘nice to haves’ down to true essentials. Weigh everything that comes out (kitchen scales for smaller items, bathroom scales for big stuff). Can you save 10kg, 20kg or even 50kg? You might be surprised
- If you’ve time on your hands, weigh everything that’s not part of the outfit itself. Did that add up to more than you thought? Go back to the previous point if it did…
- Now you’ve cleared space, is there anything truly useful that you really need to add? Put it in now, or make a note to buy it in due course
- Replace tired old curtains with fresh ones…or get rid of them for a cleaner, modern look if you’ve got blinds anyway
- Buy (or make) some scatter cushions. Add a personal touch and a splash of colour and style
- Fit USB charging points close to where you want to put your phone at night. Or where the kids use their devices
- Mark any bit you’ve previously walked into or hit your head on at night with white or fluorescent paint or tape
- Fit a Bluetooth speaker so you can play music from your phone, laptop or tablet
- Install a water-saving shower head
- Improve your internet. External antennas/signal boosters, 4G or 5G routers and such like will all help keep you connected
If you can’t get to your outfit at this time
Make lists! What do you need to do when you can get at the outfit again? It could be maintenance, repairs, cleaning or enhancing.
- Read the manual. If you haven’t got the original to hand, many manufacturers publish electronic versions on their websites
- If your outfit’s out of sight, don’t let it be out of mind. Check that insurance/cover renewal date, and identify local service agents for when you can get a service done
- Be imaginative. You know what annoys you about that cupboard under the sink, that corner that needs another spotlight when you’re reading, or that lack of a USB socket nears the kids’ beds. Plan your improvements, and if you can, get the parts ready
Please remember that most vehicles will still require a full habitation service to ensure safe and reliable use, so plan for this in advance.