Ready for the road? Check!
Spring fever often increases the urge to wander – to get on the road to a favorite haunt or some new destination you’ve always wanted to visit.
You’re ready and anxious to hit the road. But is your motorhome?
Prevost owners have the advantages of top-line quality, reliability and durability, but to keep your motorhome in tip-top shape – with all systems operating smoothly, efficiently and reliably – it requires regular care and attention.
Before any trip, a thorough inspection is in order to catch and prevent potential trouble. Many preventative maintenance items can be addressed easily at home; but if unchecked, could result in a setback or inconvenience on the road.
Bill Jensen, Prevost Motorhome National Service Manager, has some practical tips to make sure your vehicle is ready when you are.
Run it weekly
If your motorhome is sitting idle or in storage for any length of time, it’s best to give the vehicle a short drive about once a week, or at least start-it-up and run it long enough to charge the batteries. Then check your gauges to see that everything is working properly and that tire pressures are correct.
“That not only helps avoid problems the next time you actually go on a trip,” Jensen says, “but if you do spot a problem during your periodic test runs, you have plenty of time to have it addressed effectively and avoid being in crisis mode later on your actual trip.”
A thorough check 2 weeks before departure
Jensen recommends a walk-around inspection, inside and outside, two weeks before departure. That will give you time to address any potential needs or issues.
At the same time, Jensen suggests to give your motorhome a good cleaning. The cleaning process should get rid of any cobwebs, dirt and other debris that could cause a problem in a mechanical system. The cleaning process also will help you spot any damage that needs to be repaired, and it will reacquaint you with the various systems and components that operate your motorhome and its utilities.
A better understanding
It’s good to have at least a basic understanding of those components and systems – both the Prevost-built shell systems such as engine and drivetrain, suspension and steering, brakes, tires, body electric, leveling system and slide-out mechanicals, as well as the converter-installed systems like HVAC, plumbing, pumps, generators, lighting and electronics.
If you know where things are and what they should look like, it’s that much easier to spot a leak, a cracked or broken belt, maybe a suspicious noise – anything that doesn’t seem right. It also makes you better able to deal with a problem if it does occur unexpectedly during a trip.
What to look for
Jensen says there’s no set order for how an inspection should proceed, but he suggests starting the motorhome first, get everything up to operating temperature, and make sure all the gauges and indicators are in the normal ranges. While it’s running, check that all the lights, including brake lights and turn signals, are functioning.
Then shut it down, open the engine doors and look over everything carefully, such as belt and hose condition, oil and other fluid levels. Take note of anything that looks like a leak, doesn’t seem quite right, or has changed from your last inspection.
“Those are simple things that anybody can do to help protect themselves from emergencies that could easily have been prevented,” Jensen says. “Remember, a Prevost motorhome may be easy to drive and maneuver, but it’s not a car. It has a heavy-duty, commercial-style chassis and powertrain, and there are things that are easy to check to help you avoid potential problems.”
“For example,” he added, “if you’re driving along and a belt breaks, you’ll get a warning before any damage is done, but you also may be stranded beside the road while waiting for help to arrive. It’s much better to spot the suspicious belt and have it replaced before you start out.”
While you’re outside the vehicle, shine a light underneath to check for any oil or other liquid on the ground. You can note where it is and give your service provider a head’s up and a head start on investigating the potential problem.
Tire condition is critical
Tires on Prevost motorhomes carry more than 50,000 pounds – it’s a heavyweight. Clearly, the tires need to support the vehicle, but they also help to propel it, stop it and turn it. Handling each of these tasks is a vital safety issue for the tires.
So check tire pressures and the overall condition of the tires, including tread depth and evenness of wear; plus look for any cracks, gouges, bulges or other damage. Tire condition is critical, and it’s simply not worth taking any chances with tires.
Follow the maintenance schedules
Following the Prevost-specified regular vehicle maintenance is a must, as is the maintenance on the equipment installed by your converter. Following these service schedules is an investment that pays off in trouble-free motoring over the years.
When maintenance is required
In general, take your motorhome to a Prevost Service Center or Approved Service Provider for work and maintenance on the shell systems that Prevost built, and to your converter for service or repairs on items installed by them. There is some cross-over; Prevost can service some conversion items and vice-versa.
Any competent service provider will know which components and systems they have the expertise and equipment to work on, and tell you if you need to go elsewhere.
In an emergency, get help from the closest place available.
No substitute for your own eyes
Prevost is always there for you, but there’s no substitute for your own careful pre-trip inspections. As the owner, it’s important for you to check your vehicle and to ensure that all service and regularly scheduled maintenance is performed on your vehicle. These efforts will help you build familiarity with your motorhome and may help you avoid unpleasant surprises while you’re on the road.
The payoff is that you can enjoy the carefree feeling of knowing your vehicle is in the best condition possible. And you’ll enjoy the journey that much more.