Servicing your custom campervan is an important part of vanlife. It allows you to keep all the systems and features in tip-top shape, making your trips safer and hassle-free. Remember; when on the road, you depend on your camper for everything ranging from cooking, sleeping, and bathing to relaxing. So the last thing you want is to have a major breakdown because you neglected your mobile abode.
In this post, we will cover a few important things you need to know about maintenance for van conversion, including tasks you can do on your own and what to leave to the pros. And if you’re planning on owning a custom campervan, feel free to partner with 27North Inc. We are a custom van conversion builder, providing durable and luxurious van conversions tailored to suit your travel lifestyle.
Let’s get started.
DIY Van Conversion Maintenance Tasks
Before you start any maintenance work, always read and digest the owner’s manual. Professional builders like 27North Inc. provide owners with a user guide to help you take care of the custom camper easily, confidently, and on time. It will also help you avoid tasks that are best left to the pros. When you’re uncertain about what to do, always refer to it.
Here’s a campervan maintenance checklist you can use to cover the basics in between expert visits.
• Tires - Inspect your tires, wheel rims, and lug nuts before every trip and after every stop. Examine the tread wear and replace tires if you notice uneven sections, tread separation, cracks, or bulges. Remember to rotate your tires annually for even tread wear.
• Battery - Charge your van’s battery by running it for about an hour every 7-10 days to avoid an unexpected failure. After prolonged storage, clean the battery’s terminal ends and replenish electrolyte levels in your lead acid battery with distilled water.
• Fluid Levels - Always check the various fluid levels each time before you head out. That includes the brake, transmission, AC coolant, wiper, radiator, and power steering fluid. Regular checks will help you discover leaks on time and avert costly breakdowns.
• Plumbing Connections - Ensure all water connections are tight and there are no leaks. Check with the manufacturer how often to flush your fresh, gray, and black tanks to avoid clogs or bacteria build-up. Also, use the proper sewer connections.
• Safety Features - Run a basic safety test on your smoke, carbon monoxide, and propane detectors, and change the batteries often. Make sure that the fire extinguisher is in good working order and replace any safety device that isn't working correctly.
• Roof - Frequently clean your campervan’s roof with agents that are specific to its type of material. While at it, check the seals around the roof and windows, and look for any cracks or dents. If your conversion van has a pop-top roof, ask the builder how you can safely clean the canvas fabric.
• Lights - Before you drive off, make sure all headlights, brake lights, and turn signals are working and aren’t dim or flickering. This task is best done at night. If a light isn’t working, you need to get it fixed by a pro.
Van Maintenance Tasks that are Best Left to the Experts
Not all campervan maintenance tasks are worth doing yourself. Sometimes, working with a custom van specialist is the safest option. It will save you from having to replace things due to inadequate maintenance. Generally, a custom van build’s maintenance requires professional intervention in the following departments.
• Gas Equipment and Connections - The various gas appliances in your camper require regular servicing. However, this is a risky undertaking that needs to be handled by a certified professional.
• Electrical System and Supply - Camper electrical systems are complex, and servicing can be dangerous, so it’s best you partner with a qualified service tech.
• Chassis Work - RV owners should stay away from anything that involves working on chassis or brakes. Tasks like adjusting your RV brakes and suspension are best left to the pros.
• Bodywork - Unless you’re a body repair technician, don’t attempt repairing the exterior bodywork.
• Oil Changes - Although you may be tempted to change your own oil, it’s better you leave it to the pros. Apart from draining the old oil and putting in some fresh oil, an expert has the best tools and products for the job, plus they’ll give you a good idea of the overall health of your van.
• Warranty Work - Don’t attempt to make a repair that may void the warranty. Note that there are fairly simple things you can do that might void your warranty, so confirm by reading the fine print of your warranty manual.
How Often Should You Service a Van Conversion?
How often to service a campervan varies depending on the manufacturer. But as a general rule, you should service a campervan conversion at least once a year or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. Refer to the van’s manual to learn the distance you can cover between different fluids, and filters changes as well as brakes inspection.
How Much does it Cost to Service a Van Conversion?
The average cost of a basic van service is around $100 per hour, depending on what shop you decide to use, the type of camper, as well as its age, brand, and amenities on board. In a year, you can expect to part away with between $500 and $1,000 a year on maintenance costs. Notably, this doesn’'t factor in the cost of any repairs or replacements, should you need them.
Keep Up with Maintenance for Trouble-Free Vanlife Journeys
There’s a lot more to owning a van conversion than whizzing past idyllic country roads, hanging out at campgrounds, and snapping gorgeous sceneries. One of the major responsibilities of campervan ownership is maintenance. Hopefully, this post will help you know what tasks to tackle, when to rely on trained technicians, and what to expect when it comes to maintaining your van build.