Planning a motorhome trip? Before you leave, make sure your vehicle is safe with these essential motorhome checks.
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Essential Motorhome Checks before a Road trip
If you're a new motorhome owner, it can be daunting to know what you need to do before each road trip.
Much as I would love to, I can't give a specific list of pre-trip and departure checks for every single possible vehicle you might be doing a road trip in- not least because I don't know that much about vehicles!! 🙂
So this post is courtesy of Mr WB and is a general checklist of things we look at before our big Motorhome road trips. Whether you're travelling by Motorhome, Campervan, caravan or car, the checklist will be roughly similar.
Of course, if you are hiring your motorhome, you won't have to worry about it at this stage. HOWEVER, the information is worth a quick read through, so that you know what to look for when you pick the hire vehicle up. For everyone else, let's dive in.
Here is a list of essential things we check on our Motorhome before our Road trips:
- If the vehicle hasn't been started for a while, start the engine and give it a run, just to be sure!
- BRAKES. Check your brakes and brake fluid. Please. Halfords do a free brake check and after our horrible experience of driving down a mountain in Switzerland without any brakes, we check ours regularly!
- Tyre tread. Our tyres are currently ok on our Motorhome- but we're about to do a HUGE trip over 6 weeks (Helllllooooo, Norway) and so we've chosen to replace them before we go. If your tread is very low and you're about to set off around Europe, consider doing the same. If you're going for a couple of weeks and your tread is ok, you should be fine until you get back. If you're not sure, ask your local garage.
- IMPORTANT- motorhome approved tyres are NOT the same as normal car tyres, even if the sizes are the same. On our first motorhome, we had three tyres split at the seams because standard car tyres had been put on before we bought it… and we didn't know enough to check. If in doubt, ask your garage to confirm you have the right tyres fitted.
- Tyre Pressure
- Windscreen. Check for chips, cracks or other imperfections. You may be covered by insurance in Europe, but if it cracks completely, it's going to eat into your holiday time. Better to get it sorted now and not have to worry about it.
- Lights. Make sure all your lights, indicators etc are working. It's scary how many motorhomes and caravans we've seen with indicators or brake lights which aren't working correctly. Don't give the European police an easy reason to fine you. (And those fines are on the spot!)
- Washer fluid
- Water levels in radiator if you have an older motorhome/ campervan.
- Battery- if you are in any doubt about the starter battery or domestic battery (or any other battery you may have), get it checked and replace if necessary
- Check awning
- Check hydraulic legs if you have them
- Make sure all interior lights work- replace bulbs as necessary and consider carrying a couple for spares
- Check batteries in smoke alarms and CO2 detectors- after our motorhome caught fire we are insistent on these things
- Switch on interior electronics and ensure everything is working
- GB Sticker- make sure you have a sticker fixed to the rear of your vehicle.
- Headlamp adjustments- because the English drive on the other side of the road to the rest of Europe, our headlights point the wrong way. You need to attach headlight stickers in order to comply with EU law.
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Do your Essential Motorhome maintenance BEFORE your holiday
One of our biggest motorhome tips for beginners is: if you have jobs which you KNOW need doing, like a faulty shower/ toilet/ tap, you will find it much easier to fix it in the UK than trying to find parts in Europe. The hose sizes we use here in the UK are not the same as the rest of Europe, and it's a lot easier to find your local motorhome/ caravan shop and ask for what you need than it is trying to do it in sign language in another country!
Having said that, the Europeans love motorhomes/ caravans and there are shops and suppliers all over the place. Should the worst happen and you need to fix something urgently (like, say… you rip the tap off your freshwater tank and lose all your water!), then you can usually find something to help fix the problem until you return to the UK, even if it's not the perfect solution. So don't worry too much about damaging your vehicle whilst overseas. (We'll cover insurance on a day very soon!)
Other things to check on a motorhome: Trailer or bike rack
If you have a trailer/ bike rack, make sure you give that some attention too.
- Check to ensure bolts haven't worked loose on bike rack
- Check towbar and all electrics
- Check straps for fraying
- Check tread on trailer tyres
- Grease wheel bearings in trailer
- Check brakes if it's a braked trailer
- Look over covers (we use covers on our motorbikes) to check for rips/ holes/ damage
- MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A PROPER NUMBER PLATE and a GB sticker for trailer.
- Check fixings on roof boxes/ external luggage carriers to ensure they are still properly fitted.
ESSENTIAL MOTORHOME CHECKS- TASK LIST:
- Complete your list of vehicle checks
- Book in any MOTs, tyre checks, battery checks etc.
- Check any trailers/ bike racks/ exterior luggage holders
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