Common causes of motorhome breakdowns

As the summer holidays approach, more and more of us will be heading off in our motorhomes and enjoying the open road. Often motorhome breakdown doesn’t even cross our minds when we are heading off on holiday, but it pays to be prepared just in case.Take a look below to see what the most common causes of motorhome breakdown are:

Most of the common causes for motorhome breakdown listed above cannot be prevented and are just part of the ongoing maintenance of owning a motorhome.

There are some measures that you can take, however, to limit the effects that a breakdown will have. It is a good idea to fit Tyron Safety Bands to your motorhome as these will hold the wheel and tyre together, so should you suffer a flat tyre or blow out you can keep control of the motorhome and avoid an accident. It is also advisable to have a spare tyre with you when travelling so if you should suffer a flat tyre it can be easily changed.

You should also consider fitting a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, such as TyrePal, to your motorhome to alert you of any potential tyre problems before they occur. The TyrePal system monitors the pressure and temperature of your motorhome tyres and warns you if you have low or high tyre pressure, a puncture or a high tyre temperature that could cause a blowout.

Flat vehicle batteries can be prevented by ensuring that your battery is adequately charged before your journey, so always make this part of your pre-holiday checks.

Loss of power to items in the living quarters is another common cause for call-outs, so ensure that there is always enough power in your leisure battery to prevent this. If you use your motorhome often then it might benefit you to install solar panels to keep your leisure battery charged.

Motorhome checks you should make before you set off

Before setting off on a long journey, there are a few checks that you should conduct on your motorhome to ensure its safe arrival at your holiday destination. If your motorhome has been in storage over winter, you should also read our article on top tips for maintenance that we wrote for The Camping and Caravanning Club, before you put it back on the road.

In addition, it is important that you get your motorhome serviced at the recommended intervals (usually annually) to pick up any problems with it. Once well maintained, avoid breakdowns with our quick list of checks to make before your holiday:

  • Tyres: check your tyres are at the correct pressures by using a good quality gauge or the nearest garage air line. You can find tyre pressures for your vehicle in the handbook. You should also visually check for cuts in the tyres as they could soon lead to punctures, and ensure that tread depth is at least 1.6mm.
  • Spare wheel and toolkit: always check that you are equipped with a spare wheel or repair kit and the necessary tools before travelling. The toolkit should include a jack and wheel removal tools and the handbook will give you the location of this if you’re unsure.
  • Engine Oil: you should regularly check the dipstick to make sure the oil levels in your motorhome are correct, especially before a long journey. If it appears that oil consumption is high, it could mean that there are underlying engine problems so if in doubt, take to a professional for a check up.
  • Water: while the engine is cold you should check the coolant level and the antifreeze concentration if possible, this is important even during summer as it not only prepares your vehicle for the potential perils of British weather but also prevents the build-up of corrosion.
  • Wipers: wiper blades start to smear the windscreen if they have become worn which can become dangerous and hinder vision on a long journey, so check them before you leave. They are cheaply and easily replaced if they need to be.
  • Screen wash: always top up your screen wash before a long journey. It’s a legal requirement that this works and a good additive can successfully remove grime and residue from your windscreen when required.
  • Windscreen: check your windscreen for stone chips or other damage as this can impair vision and distract attention from the road. Be aware that even the smallest chips can grow and crack the glass so it’s worth getting a repair as soon as you spot something. More information about protecting your windscreen as been provided by Autoglass, so take a look before heading out.
  • Lights: you should check your headlights, indicators, brake lights and fog lights regularly and especially ahead of long journeys. You should also wipe them over with a damp cloth before you set off to ensure that they are clearly visible to other road users.
  • Battery: check your battery has enough charge for your journey, especially if your motorhome has been off the road for a while, in which case you may want to charge it briefly beforehand.
  • Storage: before you leave, make sure unsecured items in your motorhome are locked away and ensure that everything is in the correct travelling position, including steps, doors and windows, TV antennas or satellite dishes.
  • Paperwork: remember to check that your MOT and insurance are in date and remember to take your driving license with you on your holiday.

Protection against motorhome breakdown

It is important to ensure that you have adequate breakdown cover to help reduce the impact that a motorhome breakdown has on your holiday. Club Care offers breakdown assistance for their motorhome insurance customers who own a camper or motorhome, with an engine size of up to a maximum of 3,000cc.

There are two options available; UK only and UK and European cover. The UK only policy will cover your motorhome anywhere in the UK, including if your motorhome breaks down at home, and will carry out small emergency repairs at the roadside or offer vehicle recovery if the issue cannot be fixed where you are.

UK and European recue that extends this same cover to holidays in Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain (including Balearics), Sweden or Switzerland.

Club Care Breakdown Rescue policies are available for £33.50 per year UK only and £66 for UK and European cover. You should also bear in mind that 50% more breakdowns occur once you have travelled more than 500 miles, so if you are going touring or on a long-distance holiday then motorhome breakdown cover is even more important.