Basic Maintenance for your Camper Van
When you own a van, it’s important that you’re keeping up to date on your maintenance. The vehicle manufacturer will set the service intervals and write them in the owner’s manual, or you can give the dealer a call to find out when and what you should be servicing. We recommend doing vehicle services at least annually, regardless of the miles you’ve put onto the van.
There’s two categories you can break vehicle services into, and if you’re putting a lot of miles you should consider getting regular services;
Minor services are things like oil and filter changes
Major services includes oil and filter changes, as well as things like fuel, air, and pollen filters. You’ll want to also check if you need to replace brake fluid and coolant depending on your manufacturer’s requirements.
A good rule of thumb though is to get the vehicle checked if you have any reason to suspect something is off. If your check engine light is on, if there’s a new noise the vehicle is making, or if there’s anything leaking, take it to the shop! You’ll have an easier time fixing things before they get worse rather than waiting for them to break down and paying more later.
There are some things that you can maintain yourself depending on your skillset and competence, however you will want to be discerning about this as incorrect repairs can be fatal. Repairs and services should be completed by trained professionals.
Here’s a list of things that are quite easy to handle yourself, to save time and cost at the auto shop;
1. Regularly check the coolant, oil, and washer fluid levels. Top them up with whatever your manufacturer has recommended. If your brake and steering wheel fluid needs to be topped up, check if there is a leak since they shouldn’t need to be unless it’s leaking.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you take off the coolant cap if your engine is hot/running. Coolant systems are pressurised and releasing the pressure too quickly can boil the water down in the coolant system, which can cause serious burns.
2. Check your tire treads and see what the depth is. If you can tell that one of the edges is worn out more than the other, that means you should get your wheel alignment checked and adjusted.
3. Check your lights on the dashboard, and make sure they get checked for functionality at a garage.
4. Keep your fuel level above ¼. Sometimes there is debris at the bottom of your fuel tank, with some water. If you keep your fuel level higher it prevents these from getting into the fuel system.
5. Alternate your fill-ups to sometimes include the higher grade fuel, or a fuel additive. This can help keep your fuel system clean since the lower quality stuff can get waxy in freezing temperatures. Higher grade fuels are not as prone to this.
6. Keep your van clean by checking regularly inside the wheel arches and the bottom of the sills. Remove any mud that’s been stuck inside the inner arches because that can absorb moisture and rust our arches from the inside out.
7. Take a wet cloth to your windshield wipers to make them last longer
Feel free to take notes here - we really hope that these points help you get on your way to having an easy-going, exciting adventure in your new van!