Many motorhome and campervan owners won’t have turned their vehicle’s wheels for a number of weeks with the travel restrictions in place across the UK.
And as many people are working from home, many tow cars will have been relatively idle or limited to the odd trip to the supermarket or pharmacy.
It’s still important to keep on top of your motorhome and tow car maintenance to avoid problems when you can hit the road again.
Firstly don’t break any Government lockdown rules to look after your motorhome or campervan.
In England, day trips to outdoor open spaces in private vehicles are allowed, so it could be an opportunity to give your motorhome or tow car a good run out, remembering to practise social distancing from other people outside your household. Before descending on tourist hotspots though, do check on whether they’re ready to welcome visitors.
A drive long enough to get the engine warmed up to temperature will be good for your motorhome, campervan or tow car – you don’t have to stop anywhere – unless you fancy a cuppa in a lay-by!
Here we offer some other tips on looking after your motorhome and tow car during lockdown and before you do hit the road.
If you have any concerns about your brakes, motorhome battery, or engine, then get these checked over first, if possible, although you might have to wait until dealership service centres are open – some dealers plan to re-open on June 1st. Also, you could consider a mobile servicing operator such as Habcheck.
If your motorhome is in storage in England and you want to go and check on it, check with your storage facility that they are open and allowing people to access their vehicles. Also, comply with any new rules they have in place. You might also want to take some antiseptic wipes and hand gel to keep your hands clean and to wipe down any communal surfaces, such as keypad entry devices.
Also, consider whether this is an essential journey – it certainly won’t be permitted in Wales and Scotland at the moment. In England, the legislation says you may not leave your home without a “reasonable excuse”. This includes obtaining basic necessities, such as food and medical supplies, and to “visit a public open space for the purposes of open-air recreation to promote your physical or mental health or emotional wellbeing, alone, or with one or more members of your household. ” (Source: Gov.uk)
Make sure your motorhome leisure and start batteries are charged.
If at home and you can hook up to the mains, this will help to keep your motorhome’s batteries charged, which in turn will keep any electronic security devices activated. Or if you have a solar panel fitted then this should be enough to keep the leisure and starter batteries adequately charged.
Starting the engine once a week if your car or motorhome is on the drive and allowing it to run to for 15 minutes can help to keep the battery charged and your engine in a good condition. In the case of petrol engine cars, it also helps to prevent engines from flooding with fuel. NEVER leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running for obvious theft risk or inside a garage as the fumes can be toxic.
Check your oil and water levels
Check under the bonnet
There might be a build of leaves or debris and perhaps even a nesting animal!
Keep your fuel tank full
A full tank doesn’t attract condensation from building up in the fuel tank and water getting into the fuel.
Turn the wheels
Moving the wheels forward a few inches will stop help to spread the load on the tyres and prevent flat spots from developing and cracking.
Moving your towcar or motorhome back and forth once a week will also help to prevent your brake’s seizing up. Sometimes when a vehicle is parked up for a long period with the parking brake on, the brakes can seize. To prevent this it’s good practice to release the parking brake and move the vehicle a short distance back and forth, at the same time as running the engine. You shouldn’t leave the parking brake off unless the vehicle is on private land with the wheels securely chocked.
Check your tyre pressures
When not in use your vehicle’s tyres might start to deflate. Make sure they are the correct PSI as specified in your motorhome, campervan or tow car handbook and consider buying a pressure gauge and tyre pump. The recommended PSI can often be found on the side of your vehicle’s door.
Check the condition and age of the tyres
Check for UV damage or cracks from being stood for many months. Also make sure they are not more than five years old, as they will need replacing.
Use for your essential shopping trip
If you have access to your motorhome and there are no height restrictions at your local supermarket car park, then taking it to the shops will get the engine warm and give the brakes chance to bed in again. But do make sure you’re not breaking any Government lockdown rules.
If your MOT is due don’t worry
From March 30th, car and light van MOTs were suspended for six months. But if you are driving your car and motorhome though you need to make sure it’s kept in a roadworthy condition for your insurance to be valid.
If I’m not driving do I need insurance?
Legally, even if you’re not driving you still need motorhome insurance and car insurance, unless you SORN your motorhome or car. However, remember that your motorhome insurance covers you for theft, fire, accidental damage and vandalism whilst it’s off the road. Plus it might also be a condition of your storage site licence.
Make sure you’re covered in the event of a breakdown
If you are going to take your motorhome for a drive then make sure you’re covered in the event of a breakdown. Our motorhome and campervan insurance automatically includes UK roadside assistance cover as standard.
Let’s hope we can holiday in our motorhomes soon!