Buying advice: Preparing your motorhome for summer
Words: Richard Dredge Photo: Peter Vaughan
The days are getting warmer and longer, which can mean only one thing: spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner.
Banish those negative thoughts of the past year from your mind and look forward, this year, to the season that you never got to enjoy in 2020.
There are bound to be a few restrictions that you could do without but, as you’re reading this, it won’t be long before you can enjoy the open road once again in your motorhome.
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The thing is, your motorhome needs to be prepared before you take it travelling, especially if it hasn’t moved for months. When you drive your motorhome, the onus is on you to ensure that it’s in a roadworthy condition, which means checking it from bumper to bumper.
It’s always a good idea to get your vehicle serviced and to put it through its MOT at the start of the season, rather than part-way through. Think of an MOT as the inspection of your vehicle to give you peace of mind as you notch up the miles over the season ahead.
Bear in mind, though, that the MOT for your motorhome checks only the same things as with your car, such as the condition of the brakes, suspension, steering, tyres and so forth.
What it doesn’t do is ensure that the gas or electrical systems within the living area are safe. One of the terms and conditions of your motorhome insurance is likely to be that you maintain your vehicle properly, so driving around with flat tyres, worn brakes or leaking shock absorbers could lead to a whole world of pain in the event of a claim that results from your neglect.
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There are other considerations, too, of course, one of the most important of which is the weight of your motorhome once you’ve loaded it up with all of the paraphernalia for a family fortnight away.
Stick four bikes in there, food, entertainment and clothes for four people and you could easily find that your motorhome is well over its plated weight.
After all, it’s not unknown for a motorhome to be close to its maximum gross weight even when unladen and, if you then stick another half a tonne inside (four people can easily tip the scales at 300kg combined), it will be dangerously overweight.
There isn’t the space here to go into detail about what your driving licence entitles you to drive because there are so many intricacies, but the chances are that you passed your test before 1 January 1997, so you can drive a vehicle that has a maximum gross weight of up to 7,500kg.
If you passed your test between 1 January 1997 and 1 January 2013, your limit is only 3,500kg (unless you’ve taken an extra test), but, regardless of all this, your motorhome mustn’t exceed its plated maximum weight, which may well be no more than 3,500kg.
If you’ve got a smaller campervan, rather than a motorhome, you could easily be restricted to 2,800kg or even less.
So, when you’re preparing your motorhome for the open road this summer, invest a few quid in putting it on a weighbridge and establishing that you’re not going to break the law each time you take it out. Being unaware of your vehicle’s laden weight is no defence, so make sure that you always drive within the law.
Andrew Evanson of Motorhome Protect, comments:
“With lockdown due to ease, hopefully you’ll soon be able to hit the road. You may have been maintaining your motorhome throughout the winter months, but it’s vital you do your checks before you embark on the season ahead.
Potential jobs to add to the list include flushing out your water tanks, checking all your gas hoses have not perished or split, inspecting the tyres, testing the battery and electrics, and ensuring that your documentation is in order. Making sure you have the right insurance in place is essential, too.”
In association with Motorhome Protect Insurance Specialist
Tel: 01865 818331