Motorhome maintenance

But, mechanical and electrical systems have become much more sophisticated and fuel injection/complex turbo diesel engines have all but ended home tuning. However, that doesn't mean there is nothing to do.

 

What I can do?

Since prevention is better than cure, regular inspections in a number of areas can well save time and money. Starting with the engine there are the water, coolant, windscreen washer, oil and auto transmission levels to check.

Tyres are often neglected more than they should be, and and a regular tyre pressure check, particularly before extended travel is a good idea and may save excessive tyre wear. Don’t forget the spare wheel, wherever it might be stored. Windscreen wipers also need to be changed regularly, although most of us usually get a warning in the form of a smeary windscreen!

Included in the cab chassis type items are lights, be they the head, running or safety variety.  If on the road, a weekly check is quite easy to do by turning everything on and walking around the vehicle.

Regular washing and cleaning not only keeps your motorhome looking good, but it’s also a time for having a look around to make sure everything is intact and functioning. Items like window seals deserve special attention for any perishing or wear. Whilst doing a bit of interior cleaning, have a look in all the dark spaces, like the rear of cupboards and under seats, for any revealing damp places or water leaks.

Proper ventilation not only helps items like fridges operate correctly, but it also minimises LP gas accumulation and damp issues, so a check and clean of all vents is quite a simple and effective thing to do.

In the leak prevention department are water and gas hoses. Gas can usually be smelled (is your gas detector working properly?) and water pipe leaks are a bit obvious.  The problem areas inside are often in cupboards or lockers where stored items are constantly lifted in and out. Externally, pipes that dangle a bit (and even those which don’t) in the chassis area can be a problem.

Appliance maintenance depends very much on the device, but there are some items like the sacrificial anode in a water heater which can be changed by a good handyman.

Batteries are usually sealed and so the time honoured job of checking battery water levels can’t be done, but many a motorhome has a battery monitoring system fitted and so pressing a few buttons will tell all you need to know.

 

What I cannot do?

In short any 240V mains electrical and gas system repair/modification. Both require licensed persons, gas systems being covered by Australian Standard AS/NZS 5601 and electrics by AS/NZS 3000 & 3001.  

Whilst general work cannot legally be done, inspection certainly can. Gas hoses, electrical power cords and even items like power points can easily be checked. In particular gas pipes can be checked for leakage with soapy water and power cords checked for insulation damage. It’s not compulsory but a 'tag and test' on power cables is quite cheap, quick to get done and can reveal any cable faults.

Strangely, although becoming increasingly complex 12V/24VDC systems really aren’t covered by particular standards and so for someone who knows what they are doing, it is quite legal to undertake repairs or modifications on low voltage systems. There is a caveat here though, 12/24V DC electrics are becoming quite complex. A wiring mistake could be expensive.


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