Avoid vacation vehicle woes

Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician in Trail

The Kootenays are a popular vacation destination and inevitably the auto repair shops will get involved in solving some tourists’ vacation vehicle woes.

The rolling house (our name for RVs/Motorhomes) is many times the vehicle we are trying to get back on the road while the family anxiously hangs around in hopes of expedient departure not to mention a bill that is not going to cut short their holidays.

Working on a rolling house is a lot different than a regular vehicle especially when someone is making sandwiches for the kids while the mechanic is sweating profusely trying to change the spark plug wires on a 1989 big block Ford E350 motorhome.

Most motorhomes spend most of the year in a field. Then they are rushed out of storage for that two-week vacation. As a result most of these machines are sporting fairly low mileage but they have a lot of years on their old rubber tires.

The tires are one of the most important parts on your RV. They may look as if there is a lot of tread left but tread is not the only thing you are looking for. Age wreaks havoc on rubber tires. Old tires get hard and the rubber starts cracking. They also can be rotting from the inside out.

Tire manufacturers generally recommend replacing trailer tires that are more than five years old and motorhome tires that are 7 to 10 years old even when an outside visual inspection says everything looks good.

How do you know how old your tires are? There is a date code on the sidewall after the three letters “DOT” (Department of Transport) there will be some letter codes and at the end of the list there will be 4 numbers. The first two numbers represent the week of the year that the tires were made “00 to 52” and the second two are the year “16” would be 2016.

Speaking of rubber; belts and hoses are some other items to carefully inspect on your motorhome. Age is just as much their enemy as it is to tires. They start to crack and rot. Hose will likely do this from the inside out.

The engines in most motorhomes are tightly packaged and on top of that their workload many times exceeds their design. A full freshwater tank, sewer tank, fuel tank, and a couple extra passengers and their belongings and your rolling house might just be overloaded. That poor engine and transmission is working double time.

Motorhome maintenance is easy to forget. The typical owner is in a rush to get the vehicle out of the field and onto the road and then again rushing to get it back in storage. Infrequent maintenance items like spark plugs, the fuel filter, the transmission fluid, the differential fluid, and the air filter can get forgotten.

On something that sits around half the year at least and works its butt off the other half these maintenance items are more important than ever. The engine oil and filter should be done just before putting it away. At this time it is also a good idea to fill the fuel tank (ouch!) and add fuel stabilizer.

For any other maintenance items check the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual or check with your professional mechanic. Keep records.

Trail’s Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC. E-mail: nutechauto@telus.net

Just Posted

Keep motorized vehicles off Trans-Canada Trail

Government considers allowing off-road vehicles on Trans Canada Trail

West Kootenay EcoSociety opens new office in downtown Trail

Located on Eldorado Street, the new site opened last week

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Based on a popular news story locally or beyond

Ambitious plan to expand Salmo came to naught

Place Names: Salmo and Slocan neighbourhoods

Updated: Early-morning fire near Trail destroys travel trailer and van

An arson-trained RCMP investigator will examine the scene

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read