The Motorhome Blog


Getting Ready for Spring and Summer

Thinking about getting your motorhome ready for the road in Spring? Here are some tips on the crucial things you should pay attention to:

Alloy Wheels:  Ensure all wheel nuts are properly locked on.

Batteries: The vehicle battery might need a bit of encouragement on first attempt (this really does depend on the state of your battery when you put your motorhome away for the winter) which can easily be provided by a pair of jump leads.  Your leisure battery could well be in need of a charge so make sure you check what state it is in before leaving home.  Charge as needed.

Damp Check:  Check all internal and external seals for signs of leaks and deal with anything you find; don’t leave it on the to-do list as this will only store up trouble in the future!  Also, check all furnishings for signs of any dampness.  If you have used any sort of moisture trap during the winter this will probably need replacing.

Driving Licence:  If you have recently had a 70 birthday and you drive a vehicle over 3500 kgs check your licence still enables you drive it – it probably won’t so you will need a medical certificate to send to DVLA.

Electrics:  Make a check of all lights (interior, exterior, and driving) and replace any bulbs not working.

Engine:  Look under the bonnet for signs of any leaks and top up washer bottles, etc as required.  Check oil levels and top up as needed.

Gas bottles: Check all connections are in good order and check how full the bottles are.  Replace as needed.  Run a check of all gas burners to ensure they are burning with a blue flame; if not seek professional advice.

General cleaning:  Time to give the interior and exterior a spring clean.  Get out the vacuum and marigolds and set to work!

Safety:  Test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarms to confirm they are working.  Also, ensure your fire blanket is in place and your fire extinguisher is still in date.

Tax, Insurance, and MOT:  Check these are up to date and valid.

Toilet:  Use a proprietary motorhome cleaning product to sanitise and freshen the toilet system.

Tyres:  Check your tyres for any sign of wear and tear – deal with anything you find if you value your safety and that of other road users!  Make sure they are fully inflated to the correct pressure.

Water:  To ensure that no bacteria has started to breed in your fresh water system, close all taps, including the outside drain taps, fill the tank with clean water (using and treat with a water treatment, called biocides. The best known of these is Aqua Sol - follow manufacturers instruction as to its use.   Once treatment has been completed, you will need to flush the system a couple of times with clean water.  Check your filters and clean and replace them as necessary.   However, these filters are for particulates and not for bacteria so do not only rely on filters for clean water. You will need to treat this side of the system as well, so drain down the heater, if not done prior to winter, and treat water.  For full instructions on santising your water system consult your dealer and/or follow vehicle manufacturers instructions.

Motorhome? Caravan?

The age old question: Which is better, a motorhome or a caravan?

The answer? It depends!

If you are looking for as much space as possible, a caravan wins hands down every time.

If you are looking for the easiest to drive then it's a motorhome as towing a caravan is definitely less fun than driving a motorhome!

A motorhome is also quicker to set up when you arrive at your destination, you don't have to do anything straightaway if the great British weather, or anyone elses' weather for that matter, is chucking it down - just get up from your driving seat and turn round to make a cup of tea - try that in a caravan!

If you are deciding on which type of vehicle is for you, consider how you will use it.  If you are looking to use it for long stays at one place, say a fortnights holiday, then the extra space and driving hassle may be worth the benefit of the extra space.

If, on the other hand, you are going to use it for short stays in any one place as your tour around, your choice has to be a motorhome.

Whatever you decide is best for you, enjoy!

Try before you buy!

Buying a new motorhome for the first time?  Do the research!

When it comes to buying a motorhome for the first time it is essential you take your time and thoroughly research all the options that are available to you, and there are many!

Motorhomes come in all sizes, specifications, and price brackets so deciding what works for you is crucial to making a successful purchase.

Whilst there is probably no right or wrong way to go about it, here’s how we tackled the problem.

  1. Visit a large motorhome exhibition and view as many motorhomes as you can – we went from trailer tents to motorhomes, via camper vans, in our quest to confirm it was a motorhome we wanted.
  2. Decide how many berths and the number of seat belts you want.  This is a useful and quick way to reduce the number of options out there.
  3. Think about what type of motorhome you want; for us the low profile was an easy choice.
  • Micro motorhomes:  Based on small vans or people carriers, often with a single berth. Most have a lifting roof.
  • Campervans: Volkswagen campers are the best example of this type.  Accommodation is for two or more and can be used as a family car.
  • Larger van conversions: Fitted with berths, kitchen and washroom. Large enough to ofer standing headroom. Not great for taller people!
  • Low profile coachbuilt motorhome: These use a cab and chassis from major van manufacturers with body built on. 
  • Conventional coachbuilt motorhome with over-cab bed.  Same as a low profile but with the bed space above the driving cab, denoted from the outside by the bulbous shape.
  • A Class: Large motorhomes without separate cab and often with two rear axles.
  1. Money is always another way to hone the possibilities down – we set a price limit and then did not look at anything over that limit.
  2. Decide on whether it will be new or used.  There are pro’s and cons for both, but we decided to go for a 2 -3 year used vehicle as this meant our budget went a bit further in terms of specification and we didn’t experience that large clunk of the VAT falling off the back when you drive anew one out of the showroom.  That said, for some that is a price worth paying to get that ‘new fresh’ smell that can only come with brand new.
  3. Once you have decided on roughly the size and type you want hire one for a test holiday.  Whilst this adds to the cost, it is probably one of the best things you can do to inform your final choice.  (See our blog Test Run posted in August 2017).
  4. Decide on the features that you want and those you would like to have in your motorhome.  We created a list broken own into ‘Must’, ‘Should’, and ‘Nice to Have’ categories and we use this to score each vehicle we consider.  Clearly, if a vehicle doesn’t tick all the must boxes then it is off the list, the winner will be the one that ticks all those and scores highest in all the other categories.  We give three points to must, two to should, and one to the nice to have!
  5. If buying second hand, expect to make compromises when it comes to making the purchase.  Despite all your research the one you want may not be available at that time, so you may end up with another model or manufacturer.  If you apply the features test (see above) you will still end up with a vehicle that is exactly right for you.

Electric Motorhomes

With the UK government set to prohibit the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles in 2040, what are the prospects for an electric motorhome?

Judging by the evidence above, this is the VW all electric Camper Van, electric motorhomes have come a along way since the first was unveiled in 2014. 

But cost and range remain, just as they do for cars, the barrier to consumer uptake.  However, the chances are that industry will fix both of these issues within the next five years, so it is entirely possible that the electric motorhome will become the norm.

The question is not really if the electric motorhome will become the consumer's choice but what this announcement means for the sale of new vehicles now?  

In truth, probably very little.  A diesel motorhome bought new today will be twenty three years old in 2040, and you see very few twenty three year old vehicles on the road now.  

Someone buying new today can expect to use their vehicle for 10 years easily before the spectre of it being politically incorrect and a toxic asset arises. Even then, the ban only applies to buying new so the used car and motorhome market can be expected to extend well beyond the 2040 cut off date.

If you are thinking of buying carry on. Enjoy the next ten years and then, and only then, may you have to consider the pennies!

Personally, I am waiting for the inductive charged solar road to make an appearance!