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Motorhoming: Your Questions Answered...
 
Saturday, 16 Dec 2017

Frequently asked questions about motorhoming


 

GENERAL FAQs

Where can I park a motorhome?

There is a huge choice of touring parks throughout the UK where you can stay for a night, a week or more. Some tourist areas have dedicated motorhome bays, although the time you can spend in them may be limited. Council car parks may allow parking of motorhomes overnight, but usually prohibit sleeping within the vehicle. Motorway service station parking may also have time restrictions. Watch out for height restrictions, particularly in multi-storey car parks. For more information, visit www.motorhomeparking.co.uk

Are motorhomes expensive to run?

Motorhomes offer excellent performance for their size and weight. Diesel power, which is used for most vehicles, offers good fuel efficiency.

Where can I get my motorhome serviced?

The dealer may arrange this for you. You can also visit www.approvedworkshops.co.uk to search by postcode for your nearest centre and be sure that the work will be undertaken by trained and experienced professionals. The ‘Approved Workshop’ scheme is run by The NCC and supported by The Caravan Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club.

My motorhome needs an MOT. Where should I go?

An MOT is required on a motorhome, just like a car. Many MOT testing stations will be able to do this for you, although in some cases you may need to go to a commercial vehicle testing station where they have the capacity and equipment for larger vehicles.

Do we need to connect up to an electricity supply for power?

Most motorhomes have leisure batteries which can service most needs overnight and are recharged when on the move. Your motorhome will also be equipped with a mains connector and the majority of parks now allow for these. The use of an electrical hook-up will facilitate re-charging the on-board battery and allow the use of low current mains powered appliances.

Where can I find electrical hook ups?

All but the smallest parks will now offer electrical hook-up points, though not necessarily on all pitches. Contact a park in advance of your visit to ensure availability.

Where can I find out about MPTLM, MAM, payloads and other terms?

Either ask your dealer or request a free copy of "The Caravan Towing Guide" published by the National Caravan Council via the contact form. It contains an explanation of terminology used for caravans and motorhomes.

How do I work out my payload?

Payload is the weight allowed for items you add to the motorhome for personal use and must not be exceeded. This generally covers clothes, food, awning and bicycle rack etc. The allowed payload is the difference between the Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM) and the Mass in Running Order (MRO). Your dealer will be able to advise about the payload of a particular vehicle. There is also a useful leaflet about payloads on the NCC website.

Can you offer advice on loading a motorhome?

Correct loading technique is extremely important to ensure that your motorhome is safe and stable on the road. The manufacturer's handbook will advise on how to use your motorhome - keep it light, keep it low and keep it even is always good advice. If you are in any doubt, consult your dealer.

What kind of gas and size of cylinder should I use?

The recommended size and type of cylinder you should use will be in the motorhome manufacturer's handbook. In most cases, the gas cylinder compartment will have been sized to suit a particular cylinder and you must follow the maker's guidelines. If you are able to carry a bigger (and consequently heavier) cylinder, the additional weight will need to be subtracted from your payload. Ensure that you have a compatible gas connection hose to connect to the regulator inlet. Flammable liquids must not be stored in the gas cylinder locker.

How do I know what optional extras I can fit to my motorhome?

Your dealer will advise on the range of optional extras that are applicable to the motorhome of your choice. Again, the additional weight of any optional extras will need to be subtracted from the available payload for your personal belongings.

I want to take my motorhome overseas for a holiday - what preparations do I need to make?

It is important to ensure that the motorhome has been thoroughly serviced to avoid risk of breakdown and that all the necessary paperwork, such as insurance documentation and overseas medical cover, is up-to-date and covers all aspects of your planned holiday. For advice on LEZ throughout Europe see the LEZ FAQ below. You may also wish to arrange overseas breakdown and vehicle repatriation cover in advance of your trip, enabling you to travel with peace of mind.

How do I find out more about driving abroad?

Other countries may have different restrictions on driving motorhomes - you should investigate these thoroughly before travelling. You will need to have the appropriate headlight conversions, warning triangle etc, as required by the country you are visiting. Both the consumer clubs assist their members with advice on driving abroad - see The Caravan Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club websites. For advice on LEZ in Europe, see the LEZ FAQ below. Don't forget to carry a breathalyser in France.

Does the Congestion Charge apply to motorhomes?

If you are travelling through a town where a congestion charge applies, you will need to pay it beforehand, on the day of travel or the following charging day. For more information visit the Transport for London website.

Does the LEZ apply to motorhomes?

The third phase of the LEZ came into effect from10 October 2010. If your motorhome is between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight, you will have to pay the daily charge, visit www.tfl.gov.uk for more information. For advice on LEZ if you are travelling in mainland Europe go to www.lowemissionzones.eu. Don't forget to carry a breathalyser in France.

What tyres should I fit on my motorhome?

Manufacturers order base vehicles specific to their build. These come with "camping" tyres, specifically designed for the application conditions encountered by leisure vehicles, including standing for long periods. They are different from tyres used on normal commercial vans. These types of tyre are not usually available from tyre dealers "off the shelf" and may need to be ordered in. They must be fitted with bolt-in valves in view of the higher pressures.

BUYING FAQs

Can you buy a motorhome to fit into a standard garage?

Motorhomes with an elevating roof usually fit into a standard garage - most manufacturers' websites specify each model's dimensions.

Are there any motorhomes with automatic gearboxes?

Some of the manufacturers of the vehicles upon which motorhomes are based offer some form of automatic transmission on some of their models. Contact your local motorhome dealer for more information.

I have not driven a motorhome before. Are there any special techniques I need to know?

Motorhomes are not difficult to drive, but if you have only ever driven small cars, you may feel you would benefit from some form of instruction. Both The Caravan Club and The Camping and Caravanning Club offer very good courses which quickly enable you to enjoy the delights of a motorhome Most motorhomes have power steering and a high driving position which gives excellent forward and sideways views in traffic However, always remember that motorhomes are generally taller than cars, so may not fit into all garages.

Are motorhomes suitable for disabled people?

Many disabled people and their carers find that motorhome vehicles can generally be adapted for their needs if, for example, a wheelchair is used. Ramps and lifts can be fitted and some other internal modifications can be carried out to adapt the vehicle, which, subject to an individual's eligibility, can be supplied without VAT. For more information, go to the Directgov website.

How can we try a motorhome out before we buy?

Motorhomes are often available to hire. Some dealers also operate a 'try before you buy' scheme, where you can try the motorhome at little or no charge if you buy, or at an agreed rate if you don't.

Why should I buy from an NCC Approved Motorhome Dealership?

To ensure you get a fair, open and honest deal and are well looked after. For more information go to the NCC Approved Motorhome Dealerships page on this site.

LEGAL FAQs

Do I need to insure my motorhome?

Your motorhome is a road-going vehicle and needs to be insured to be used on the public roads. If you intend to keep your motorhome off the road for some time, you are strongly advised to maintain adequate cover for damage or theft. Some specialist insurers will provide 'laid-up' cover, or low mileage discounts. See the finance and insurance page for a list of NCC member insurance companies.

How many people can I take in a motorhome?

As this varies from vehicle to vehicle, the manufacturers specify the number of designated passenger seats for travelling, all of which will all have seat belts fitted. Passengers should only use the designated passenger seats, as specified by the motorhome manufacturer, when the vehicle is being driven. Seatbelts in the rear of a motorhome, where fitted, must be worn.

Why is it important to not exceed the MAM (Maximum Allowable Mass)?

Overloading a car or motorhome can invalidate the insurance cover, the vehicle manufacturer’s terms of warranty, and be in breach of the road traffic regulations, so it is important check that you do not overload the vehicle, or exceed the permitted axle weights.

How large a motorhome can I drive in the UK?

The biggest motorhome you can drive in Great Britain is 12m long and 2.55m wide. There is no height limit but, if the motorhome is over 3m tall, the height must be on a notice visible to you as the driver. If you need to measure a vehicle, there are some parts that don't need to be included in your measurements. If you want to be sure, look for the NCC badge of approval, as that will confirm the vehicle is legal for use on UK roads. More information about what is legal is also available on the Directgov website

What are the speed limits for motorhomes?

See the Safety and Security section of this web site and page 9 of the Department for Transport’s Know Your Limits publication.

Where can I get advice on the legal requirements for driving motorhomes abroad?

You are very strongly recommended to make enquiries from the tourist offices of the countries you intend to visit.

Can I tow with a motorhome?

Yes (possibly!), but with significant reservations as it is difficult to generalise. You will need to check very carefully the weights your vehicle can tow and you should have sight of the vehicle being towed, which is not possible from many models of motorhome. For driving licence requirements, see the Directgov website. For general advice on towing, read The Caravan Towing Guide published by the National Caravan Council. This offers guidance on correct towing techniques and explains the terminology. Note: The laws on towed trailers vary significantly across Europe.

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