Whatever the forecast, the great British summer is the perfect time to take full advantage of your motorhome investment. From updating your motorhome insurance, to carrying out maintenance jobs and renewing your camping club membership, you’ll have spent effort and money throughout the year and it’s now time for payback!
However, before setting off for your favourite outdoor location it’s important to give your home on wheels a once over.
After all, if it’s been stored away for several months, you’ll need to check that everything is ship shape and in perfect working order – you don’t want to scupper your first summer outing!
From making sure your motorhome insurance is fully up to date to flushing out your water system to get rid of any winter nasties, you’ll find plenty in our guide on how to get your motorhome ready for summer.
Check your tyres
Disaster might be just around the corner if you drive off without showing your tyres some attention.
After a few months in storage even the best tyres will lose air pressure and need re-inflating.
Driving on underinflated tyres can cause poor and uneven handling, a blow out or even a serious accident.
When checking the pressure also look for worn tread, unusual bumps, lumps or trapped debris, and make sure wheel nuts are secure.
Remember, though, that even if the tyres have plenty of tread left, just a few years of exposure to the elements can cause the tyre side walls to crack and become dangerous.
Looking over the exterior of your motorhome after a period away means you’re more likely to spot any dents, scratches, leaks, cracks, loose panels and paintwork problems.
Exposure to extremes of weather means it’s difficult for a motorhome to stay completely watertight over time.
Take a close look at seams and weatherstripping around windows, rooflights, TV aerials, and the front and rear corners.
From wing mirrors to bumpers, any damage to the exterior needs to be noted down and remedied before heading out.
While it’s a good idea to check all your electricals and appliances for faults, pay particular attention to both your standard starter and leisure batteries.
These may well have lost charge and if they haven’t been checked during the winter, they might be flat or need replacing.
Don’t leave this to the last minute as it’s not a great situation when the sun has gone down and you need to get your bed set up for the first time in months.
If you find your power needs are starting to exceed the capacity of your motorhome between sites then now might be the time to consider investing in solar panels. Just in time for the summer sun.
The water system
When storing your motorhome for winter you will undoubtedly have cleaned out your fresh and waste water tanks.
However, no matter how diligent you will have been, over the winter the tanks may have become home to some unpleasant bacteria or algae.
The tanks, as well as toilet/washing facilities, need to be sterilised and flushed thoroughly to make them fresh and safe ready for your next trip.
Follow these steps to thoroughly sanitise your motorhome water system:
- Close all drains and install drain plugs.
- Measure out 50ml of everyday household bleach for every 50 litres your fresh water tank holds.
- Pour the bleach into a 5-litre container and fill it with water.
- Add the bleach and water mixture into the fresh water tank.
- Fill the fresh water tank entirely with water.
- Turn on the water pump and open all taps.
- Run the water until you can smell the bleach and then turn off the taps.
- Let the solution sit for up to twelve hours in the water tank and water system.
- Drain all of the water from the system.
- Refill the fresh water tank with water.
- Flush the system by turning on the water pump and opening all taps.
- Allow the water to run until it no longer smells like bleach.
While you’re at it, check you’ve got all your hoses and connectors ready for when you need to fill up on site.
Checking your plumbing system for any leaks during this process could save you the pain of water damage later on.
Repairs can prove very costly particularly if you don’t have adequate motorhome insurance in place when problems arise.
The gas system
Checking gas bottles and appliances are still securely installed and working properly is an essential safety check to be made if you want to ensure a disaster-free holiday.
Before you start, make sure all gas hoses are not perished and all connections are tight.
If you encounter any problems then arrange an inspection from a professional Gas Safe Register engineer capable of advising you and rectifying any problems.
As well as cooking appliances, test your fridge in electric as well as gas mode – you don’t want your supplies to spoil before you’ve even set up camp.
While your engine should receive plenty of attention through a regular MOT and service, the odd extra check – especially before a long trip – wouldn’t go amiss.
Start by checking fluid levels in your power steering, transmission, engine oil, brakes, engine coolant and windscreen washer fluid. Top them up if they’re too low.
Then start the engine up and check your control panel for any warnings. Also check that all your lights and windscreen wipers are working.
If you encounter any problems then you might need to get out the toolkit or visit a trusty mechanic.
Ensuring your motorhome insurance policy is up to date means that if anything goes wrong when you’re out on the road, you’ll be protected. Indeed, some policies include optional breakdown cover.
Windows and air vents
When they haven’t been used for a while, sometimes windows and air vents can be difficult to open and close fully.
To ensure a pleasant flow of air through your motorhome and to keep it cool all summer long, check these before you travel.
Smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers are all there to fulfil a vital role. Check they are all operating properly and whether their batteries need replacing.
Never compromise your safety for the price of a couple of AA batteries. Remind yourself and the rest of your party of any safety procedures you have in the event of a fire.
Also do you know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent it? If not, remind yourself now.
Is your motorhome well protected while it’s at home and while you’re on the road? Is there anything you could install to make it less appealing to opportunistic thieves?
How up-to-date are your security devices – you need to get one step ahead of the thieves and install the latest tech to defeat them.
Motorhome insurance can cover stolen items but speak to your insurer beforehand if there are particular objects in need of protection.
Coming back to your motorhome after a period spent away from each other is the perfect way to look upon your cherished vehicle with fresh eyes.
You may have put up with various squeaks or rattles over the previous summer but now is the time to fix them.
The same goes for anything that’s broken or loose, replacing or fixing these will stop matters getting worse. It’s the best way to maintain your motorhome’s resale value.
And do you really want to keep hitting your head on that badly positioned shelf or trapping your fingers in that faulty door? Getting it sorted now will soon improve your travelling life.
Carpets, curtains and upholstery
Banish those bad smells for good by checking your upholstery, carpets and curtains for any damp patches or stains.
It could indicate a potential damp problem or maybe suggest you need a bit of an interior makeover.
Updating your look is great fun and the ideal way to get those holiday vibes flowing!
One of the flimsiest parts of a motorhome most prone to problems are the cassette blinds, which can lose their tension over the winter months.
Give them all a try to see if they retract properly. It’s the kind of thing that can get tiresome after a couple of days wrestling with them when you’re trying to go to bed!
Any that don’t work properly may need adjusting or even replacing. Also, now’s the time to have a look at your cab curtains, blinds or thermal screens.
Do they pull across fully, does everything still fit? If not, then some new ones might be in order.
Whatever the time of year, having a good clean and a clear out will leave your living space feeling fresh and ready for some new holiday adventures.
Start by removing everything from the motorhome and sorting through each and every item to decide whether it truly deserves a place in your getaway vehicle.
Channel your inner Marie Kondo by asking whether the items really ‘spark joy’ or are just cluttering up the place.
Even more than in your bricks and mortar home everything in your motorhome takes up space and adds weight. So, get rid of anything superfluous, particularly anything chipped and grubby.
As with the motorhome itself, if something is broken then it needs to be properly fixed or thrown away.
Then get out your marigolds and dust cloth and clean everything – front to back and top to bottom – and replace all the items (hopefully in the most convenient of places).
Emergency restock and supply
Being prepared for all eventualities is an important part of any successful motorhome trip.
Check your first aid and emergency supplies for expiration dates and restock anything that’s running low.
Food that’s past its best isn’t worth keeping and check you’ve got some bottled water in case of emergencies.
A useful medical kit would include:
- Waterproof plasters
- Rehydration sachets and Imodium tablets
- Paracetamol tablets
- Wipes, surgical tape and bandage
- Insect repellent
- Antihistamine and antiseptic cream
It’s also a good idea to make sure the tools and other supplies in your emergency motorhome repair kit are all still present and correct.
You don’t want to go to fix something only to find you left your screwdriver at home!
Entertainment and activities
No matter what incredible outdoor activities you have planned, sometimes the weather can get in the way and it’s always good to have some games of your own near at hand.
To keep boredom at bay consider packing the following:
- Fishing rod, reel and tackle
- Swimming kit and goggles
- Outdoor games like Frisbee, cricket, football, Boules, etc.
- Pack of cards
- Travel games such as scrabble, chess, draughts, dominoes, backgammon
Going on holiday is all about sharing time with your nearest and dearest – playing together is a great memorable experience. Even when you lose!
Memberships and passes
Any holiday wouldn’t be complete without visiting attractions and camping at your favourite spots.
However, there’ll be frowns all round if you’ve left your passes or membership details at home. And it’ll be worse still if you’ve forgotten to renew your membership altogether!
Whether membership of the National Trust or the Camping and Caravanning Club, a forgotten card or missed renewal should be easily solved but it can still cause unnecessary irritation and annoyance. Make sure your memberships are in place before you set off.
Motorhome insurance to protect your motorhome whatever the season
A motorhome is a big investment for any family, so whether you’re heading off for a summer break or a final trip out before the long winter sets in, make sure you’ve got the most dependable motorhome insurance.
The specialist team at Motorhome Protect has years of experience working with our panel of trusted insurers to arrange specialist cover.
Not only is it simple and straightforward to obtain cover, but policies can include a range of benefits such as:
- Up to £3,000 cover for camping personal effects
- Unlimited mileage cover
- Cover for motorhomes with a value up to £150,000
- Unlimited cover across all EU countries
To look after your motorhome this summer. Get a quick quote for motorhome insurance today.
Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.