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Essential campervan maintenance tips you need to know

There’s nothing like hitting the open road in your campervan, only to find it sputters to a halt a few miles down the motorway. Thankfully, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve

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There’s nothing like hitting the open road in your campervan, only to find it sputter to a halt a few miles down the motorway. Without the right TLC, these lovely vehicles often struggle on long journeys.

Thankfully, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve. These tips will help you prepare your camper for summer trips and also help with maintenance on the road. This ensures your journey will feel like an adventure and not like an anxiety-ridden trip!

What are the most common causes of campervan breakdowns?

Tyres

As tyres are the only part of your campervan that stays in contact with the ground, they are prone to wear and tear. As a result, it’s important that you check your tyres regularly for cuts, damage or bulges.

It’s also integral to keep up with maintaining the vehicle’s tyre tread and pressure. Tyre tread should have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. If your tyres have a depth of anything close to 1.6mm, you should change them before setting off on your summer holiday.

Of course, given that campervans are often only used seasonally, they might not be prone to the same wear and tear as vehicles that are used daily but they will deteriorate as they get old. As a result, it’s generally recommended that you change your tyres every five years.

A campervan’s optimal tyre pressure will depend on its size, so be sure to check your manual and your tyres before setting off. Taking tyre and pressure gauges along with you is a great way of staying on top of this even while you’re away.

Engine oil

Make sure to check your engine oil dipstick before setting off on a long journey. Check this regularly. If you notice your engine oil level goes down quickly, this could be a sign that you have engine issues.

Make sure you’ve got the correct engine oil and transmission fluids for your vehicle. For example, a classic campervan will need a special type of engine oil that can be quite expensive. It might be a good idea to stock up before your journey so you’re not left in the lurch!

Battery

If you only use your campervan for summer holidays, it’s important that you check your battery in advance of your trip. You may need to charge it up before setting off.

Lights

Maintaining your lights is a legal requirement, so make sure you check them beforehand. It’s always best to give them a wipe before you leave to ensure they’re visible to other drivers.

Wipers and screen wash

This is another often overlooked part of campervan maintenance, but it is in fact a legal requirement to keep them in good nick. Try your wipers before you leave. If they’re damaged, they could leave smears on your windscreen, which would limit your vision. If this is the case, you’ll probably need to replace them. Thankfully, this is usually quite a cheap job.

Make sure you’ve got enough screen wash before setting off too. This helps ensure you can maintain good visuals on the road ahead. You might want to keep a spare bottle of screen wash in your van, especially if you’re planning a long journey.

Our general tips

Know your campervan

As campervans are usually only used during the summer months, issues can develop over the winter months unless you’re regularly checking the vehicle. It’s always important to check your campervan regularly for common issues with rust, damp or your brakes as problems in these parts can get out of control quite quickly.

This will help you understand what kind of work your campervan will need before you set off on your journey, which will help prevent future breakdowns. It’ll also help you understand what you can fix yourself and what you’ll need to consult a professional on.

Keep your camper safe

Make sure you keep your campervan in as secure a location as possible when it’s not in use. A garage is best as it can reduce exposure to the camper’s worst enemy: damp. If you don’t have access to a garage, keeping it on the driveway under a cover is the second-best option.

Get Sterling breakdown cover

Here at Sterling, we offer affordable breakdown cover. In the event that you actually break down, we can arrange roadside recovery or a home repair service. With over 850 breakdown recovery specialists in the UK alone, you can rest assured that we’ll be able to help you quickly and efficiently. And from prices of just £95 a year, our Sterling breakdown cover is among the best value on the market.

Of course, the best scenario is that you’re able to prevent a breakdown by completing these essential maintenance tips, but breakdown cover offers extra peace of mind.

Bring a toolkit

If you’re confident in your ability to make basic repairs to your campervan while you’re out on your travels, bring a toolkit. This will help ensure you have all the tools you need to make any fixes while on the road.

What you take with you will depend on your skill and confidence levels. You can make your own with additions like spanners, WD40, screwdrivers, pressure and tyre tread gauges. Or alternatively, there are a number of campervan toolkits available that you can purchase as a set.

Keep a Pinterest inspiration board

Treating your campervan as your home over the weeks or months you spend on holiday can quickly get impossible if it isn’t a space you enjoy staying in. Keeping a Pinterest board can help inspire you to make renovations or add features to your camper.

Got any other tips and tricks to maintain your camper? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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