If you have ever owned a bicycle, you will probably remember having a flat tyre or the chain coming off. With time, technology has developed, and we now drive sophisticated vehicles, but that chain or puncture can still happen. Here are the basics on how to maintain campervans & motorhomes rentals while on the road.
Why is it crucial to maintain your vehicle?
First the question of why maintain it? Often when we buy a vehicle, we use it a lot and maintain it very little. Most likely, once a year we bring it in to be recertified by a mechanic. But it can certainly be more economical and safer to maintain a vehicle between check-ups. There are many simple actions you can take, and you do not need to be a specialist or handyman to do this!
How to maintain your vehicle
Check and maintain tyre pressure
Many people drive with under-inflated tyres, which increases fuel consumption and the risk of a blow-out. Too much pressure is not good either, as it causes more wear and tear and you will have to change your tyres sooner than planned.
There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your tyres are properly inflated.
- Make sure you know what pressure your tyres need to be at. This can often be found on the inside of your door, on the inside of the fuel cap or at the tyre pump that you can often find at a fuel station.
- Ensure you haven’t driven the car yet, or approx. 2 miles, so the tyres give the most accurate reading and make sure you are not carrying a heavy load.
- Connect your tyre pump to the valve (make sure the valve cap is off before you do this).
- Once you have connected the tyre pump you can see the pressure of your tyre, look carefully to see if one of the tyres has much less pressure than the other and keep an eye on it.
- You will hear a beep from the tyre pump when the pump has inflated the tyre.
- Remove the tyre pump from the valve and screw the valve cap back on.
With these simple steps, you can reduce your fuel consumption and save your tyres, which will save you money in the long run.
Checking fluids and oil levels
Why is it important to check the oil level?
We all know that in our vehicles, there are many mechanical parts that rotate and strike against each other. These parts need to be protected, and the engine oil takes care of that, consider it as the lubricant. The oil is also a cleaning agent for the car. Like tyre pressure, this should be checked once a month (maybe make it a car check day).
How do I check the oil level?
Checking & filling the oil level is easy, just follow these steps:
- Unscrew the oil level cap and remove the dipstick from the oil. Wipe the dipstick clean first and then put it back in.
- Then remove the dipstick to read the reading.
- Check where the oil is on the dipstick
- Top up the oil
Remember not to overfill (not more than the maximum on the dipstick). Check what oil the car needs – it’s in the owner’s manual. Ideally, your engine should be cold and if you are travelling, it is a good idea to let the car cool down for 10-20 minutes.
Checking the coolant
What is the coolant?
In short, the coolant ensures that the car does not overheat. This also means that it is very important to check that the coolant system is working properly.
How do I check the coolant?
Check the coolant on a flat surface and with a cold engine. You can check the coolant level by the marks on the container where you fill in the coolant. If you then see that there is not enough coolant, you can top it up (check which coolant to use). Then two weeks later, check again if the coolant is still at the same level. If not, you know something is wrong and you will need to go to a garage.
If you discover whilst driving that the coolant is empty, you can always top up with water for an emergency. Don’t forget to fix the problem as soon as possible, coolant is extremely important otherwise your car will break down.
Check the air filter
What is an air filter?
An engine runs on fuel and oxygen. That oxygen is taken from the air. It is important that this air is clean, and that is why we have air filters in our vehicles.
How do I know if I need to change my air filter?
Since the air filter takes the dirty particles from the air and filters them for clean oxygen, the filter itself gets dirty of course. The rule of thumb is that the air filter should be replaced after 10,000 – 20,000 km. This depends on the area in which the vehicle is used; the dustier, the sooner the air filter needs to be replaced.
How do I replace my filter?
Open the cover of the air filter, which may be secured with a few clips or screws. Then you can remove the filter and clean the filter housing. Then insert the new air filter. There is usually only one way to insert the filter. If you want to make sure that the filter housing is tight again, you can put some grease on it like Vaseline on the edge of the cover.
With these simple tips, you can save money on maintenance costs. If you don’t do this, the car will end up requiring a major repair job that will be more expensive. With a little regular maintenance, you can save a lot in the long run! For more tips check out our top tips for maintaining your campervan over winter.
About the Autor
Anna has traveled to over 35 countries and is always looking for the next adventure for her and her dog.