Breaking down on the side of the road is something we shouldn’t wish on our worst enemies-it’s inconvenient, stressful, and just plain unsafe. There is nothing quite as disappointing as spending a rare vacation sprawled over a smoking engine with grease-covered arms.
Fortunately, with proper maintenance, hopefully you can prevent this from happening.
Properly servicing your camper van or motorhome does not have to be a difficult process, but regular maintenance can make a huge difference in the longevity of your vehicle.
Although accidents and breakdowns happen, here are some of the recommended services that can be regularly maintained on your Class B van or motorhome to protect you and your family from being stranded on the side of the road:
Exterior: First and foremost, be sure to regularly clean your van to protect the gloss and finishing from getting scratched by dirt and grime. Cleaning not only makes your ride look better, but serves a practical purpose by creating a shielding layer and discouraging things like rust and cracks in the exterior.
Make sure your van’s windshield is also properly maintained. It only takes one rock fragment to crack or shatter a windshield when cruising down the interstate, and replacing a camper’s windshield is more complicated than a car. On average it costs $50, so check to see if your insurance covers windshield damage.
Sealant: To keep the inside and outside properly separated, make sure your sealants are in good condition. After a while, many sealants become dry and cracked, leaking air in and out. Consult your owner’s manual or talk to a representative before you apply sealant, as some air holes are purposely designed to provide drainage, such as the bottom overhang of windows and doors.
Slide-Out Roof: If your camper van or motorhome has a slide-out component, then be sure to occasionally check the roof sealant. The friction caused by the slide-out rubbing against the van eventually wears out the sealant and makes it brittle.
Coach leveling: To have the best camper van experience, the vans must have proper balance when parked to ensure “rolling out of bed” doesn’t become a literal phrase. Refer to your manual on how to reset the coach leveling system if the camper van hasn’t been driven in 60 days or more. It is recommended that owners do this prior to starting a trip, so they aren’t stuck with an unbalanced van when they are on the road.
Electrical System: The vibration caused by driving your camper van requires that owners check up on the electrical system from time to time. Shorts and malfunctions can occur when a camper van has driven long distances, but they are usually a simple fix. All you need is a basic toolset to test electrical connections-just be sure to disconnect the battery at all times while repairing anything electrical.
Also, charging your camper van’s battery is usually a good idea before and after a long trip, but consult your owner’s manual for specific recommendations.
Plumbing: If there is anything you don’t want malfunctioning, it’s the plumbing system. Most camper vans have a basic toilet and sink, and motorhomes often feature showers. The fresh water pump and holding tanks should be thoroughly drained and cleaned after every long trip. It’s recommended that owners carry a spare pump in case it needs replacing on the road.
Water Heater: Gunk can quickly build up in the water heater pipes, so be sure to clean out the pipes carefully to remove any obstructions. A flexible wire brush or a vacuum are good tools to use for this maintenance. Also, drain and rinse the water heater tank before each long trip.
Don’t let a break down ruin your vacation. Sure, inevitably something will go wrong, but by properly maintaining your camper van or motorhome, hopefully these problems will happen later rather than sooner.
Fortunately, some companies make Class B camper van maintenance even easier by offering extended warranties on new and used vans, so talk to your representative to see the available options.