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How To Change a Motorhome Fuel Filter in 2019 – Step-by-Step Guide


Hi, I’m Chris, I run Horton Common along with my father Robert.

You’ve spent a lot of money on your motorhome and you want to keep it in good working order. Not only for your motorhome to retain its value but also so when you want to use it you’re confident its been properly maintained. Now, many people have their motorhome serviced by a garage who will (should) change the fuel filter. However, I know a couple of our guests who like to work on/maintain their own motorhomes. The fact that your reading this post is a good sign your also interested in carrying out maintenance on your own motorhome. Therefore, with this post, I’ll discuss how to change a fuel filter on your motorhome. The steps below and video will reference a Fiat Ducato, the most common motorhome base vehicle currently used in the UK. However, the process and tools are very similar for other motorhomes based on the Ford Transit or Mercedes Sprinter.

How To Change A Motorhome Fuel Filter
Changing a motorhome fuel filter takes a moderate level of DIY ability but having the right tools for the job is vital: Original Image – practicalmotorhome.com

When it comes to vehicle and engine maintenance there are two trains of thought. Those who believe you fix something only when it brakes and those that believe in preventive maintenance. I personally fall into the latter category, especially when it comes to a vehicle like a motorhome. A motorhome isn’t typically a vehicle you do use every day. But when you do use it you will often travel a considerable distance. With your car for instance, as you use it frequently you get to notice the little issues, that over time sometimes turn into big issues. As most people don’t typically use their motorhome every day they wouldnt notice issues as easily, hence preventive maintenance is important. That includes changing the oil filter, checking the oil level, changing the air filter and in the case of this post, changing the fuel filter.

Introduction on How to Change a Motorhome Fuel Filter

So as stated above, I’m going to reference the process of changing a fuel filter primarily based on a Fiat Ducato. Most of our guests have motorhomes based on this chassis/engine and that’s also the case across the UK. The process is very similar (almost identical) on the Peugeot Boxer and Citroën Relay. The reason being, all of these vans are fundamentally the same as they were produced in collaboration. The process (size of fuel filter/access etc) is slightly different on motorhomes based on a Ford Transit or Mercedes Sprinter. However, the same core principle of how and why you would change a fuel filter is the same.

Why Do Motorhome Fuel Filters Need Replacing?

The fuel tank in your motorhome is probably not as ‘clean’ as you think. In other words, there is more than just diesel in there. Various types of contamination can be in there from bits of grit and dirt. If that contamination enters the engine itself it can damage seals/gaskets and maybe even scratch the cylinders. Therefore, the job of the fuel filter is to stop that happening. The problem is as the filter does such a good job of this it eventually gets blocked up. Hence, your engine will get less fuel and experience poor performance. Typically, the standard industry advice is to replace a diesel fuel filter every 10,000 to 25,000 miles. That’s obviously quite a wide range. Therefore check what your motorhome owners manual states. With a motorhome that is used infrequently, but when it is used its used heavily personally I would err on the side of caution. Hence, changing the motorhome fuel filter around every 10,000 miles.

However, let’s say you have purchased a used motorhome. The previous owner may have stated that the fuel filter was regularly changed, provide receipts as evidence etc. Personally, the first thing I would do is change the fuel filter along with the oil and air filters. A fuel filter may also need to be changed due to leaks. Now, this is not specifically an issue with the filter its self, its to do with the nitrile rubber seal used to assemble the filter housing. Fuel actually attacks this seal and it eventually fails. Hence, if you see fuel running down the outside of the filter housing this is commonly a sign the seal has failed. A new seal comes included with a new fuel filter.

How to Change a Motorhome Fuel Filter Video Guide

Now I’m not a mechanic, I’m just a DIY enthusiast. Therefore, to provide some authority on the process of how to change a fuel filter on a motorhome I’ve included the video below from Practical Motorhome and Diamond Dave. After the video below I’ll ‘flesh out’ the process, referencing the tools Dave is using to avoid damage to the fuel filter housing and the actual filter replacement.

Dave goes through the process of how to change a motorhome fuel filter step-by-step.

Dave does a great job of thoroughly explaining the process of how to clean the housing and replace the filter. However, he doesn’t really discuss how to remove the filter housing from the motorhome in the first place. Therefore, that’s where I’ll start. Quick note though, make sure you have some latex/nitrile work gloves before you start. You don’t want diesel on your hands.

Step 1: Removing the Motorhome Fuel Filter

So you will find that the fuel filter housing is fixed against the bulkhead inside the motorhome engine bay. It slides over a bracket, therefore it needs to be lifted slightly before it can be removed. However, before you lift the fuel filter off the securing bracket you will need to disconnect it. First, disconnect the top electrical connection to the ECU which monitors fuel flow. In some, but not all cases there is a second sensor/electrical connection on the base of the fuel filter housing. If its present this is actually a water sensor and will cut the engine if water is detected. To unclip this sensor and get access to it you may actually have to remove the nearside headlight. Finally, you need to disconnect the diesel fuel line. In the video above at the end, you can see Dave simply push in the fuel line. Well, to remove it you need to push in that light grey collar. Once that light grey collar is depressed you can pull back the fuel line to remove it. When you carry the fuel filter housing over to your workbench remember its full of diesel fuel, so carry it vertically.

Step 2: Securing and Separating the Fuel Filter Housing

For the next part of the process, you really need a bench vice and the special tool below to hold the fuel filter in position and to remove the cap. You could maybe use a portable workbench, but it won’t be as stable. Whichever method is available to you never clamp the fuel filter housing in the vice directly. If you do its likely you will distort or crack the plastic filter housing. In that scenario, you would have to replace the whole fuel filter housing assembly. As you can see in the video above Dave uses the cradle tool which is clamped in the vice and the fuel filter housing sits inside. The second part of this kit is a tool to unscrew the housing cap with the square drive on a spanner/torque wrench.

Motorhome Fuel Filter Housing Tool

If you want to replace the fuel filter on your motorhome this is an essential bit of kit to safely disassemble the fuel filter housing: Image – Amazon

Step 3: Replacing the Old Fuel Filter for a New One

As Dave disassembles the fuel filter housing you will notice he is being very careful to clean the screw threads on the housing first. The reason being he doesn’t want contaminants entering the housing. You have to remember inside the fuel filter housing is the ‘clean’ side, hence after filtration. Therefore anything inside that housing will end up in the engine. Don’t use household paper towel to clean the fuel filter housing, it often separates and leaves behind small fibres. Only use a heavy-duty paper roll that won’t tear and leave fibres behind as contamination. Once the old fuel filter has been removed you may want to empty out the filter housing of diesel. There may be contaminants in there, maybe even water. But don’t just tip it down the drain, that’s actually illegal. Put it in a container and empty it into a suitable waste disposal facility at your local recycling centre.

Motorhome Fuel Filter

This Bosch fuel filter will fit a Fiat Ducato 130 Multijet commonly found on many motorhomes. It also comes with a replacement rubber seal: Image – Amazon

Now, you obviously need to check your purchasing the right fuel filter for your motorhome. On many websites such as Amazon, you can enter your reg number and it will show fuel filters which will fit. As Dave shows in the video above, don’t touch the new fuel filter with your hands/gloves, they could be contaminated. Hold it with the plastic bag and pull back the bag after the new fuel filter is secured onto the housing cap by simply pushing it into position. Then first place the new nitrile seal on the housing before inserting the new fuel filter and cap.

Step 4: Re-tightening the Fuel Filter Cap Housing

In the video, Dave shows using a bit of vaseline around the screw thread and new nitrile seal. This is a good tip I would encourage you to follow. Also, before you place the locking ring into position, make sure the new seal is properly seated. If not, it may get caught between the screw thread and the locking ring and be damaged. You are going to need a torque wrench to re-tighten the locking ring. Its a delicate balance of being tight enough not to leak fuel and not so tight you crack/split the housing. As Dave states in the video set the torque wrench to 30nm. This will close up the housing just enough to create a seal without damaging it.

Step 5: Re-fitting the Fuel Filter Housing and Priming

Once the new fuel filter and seal have been inserted and the housing is back together its ready to go back inside your motorhome. You may want to try and clip the bottom sensor cable on first before you slide the housing onto the bracket. In some cases though the signal cable is so short you have to put the fuel filter housing on the bracket first. Then connect the top sensor cable and finally the fuel line. Before you try and start your engine the fuel filter needs to be primed with diesel. This will also force the air out the filter housing and back into the fuel tank. Follow the process Dave does in the video. Turn the ignition key for 10 seconds, the fuel pump will engage and push fuel into the housing while expelling the air. You may hear air bubbling back into the fuel tank, this is completely normal. Repeat this process 3-4 times and you should be good to go!

A Leaking Motorhome Fuel Filter Housing

When you removed the fuel filter housing you may have seen diesel on the outer surface. This may have been due to a failed seal, so hopefully once the new filter and seal and been used, hopefully the leak will have stopped. However, if you are still noticing a leak after the new filter/seal replacement the housing its self may be warped or cracked. The cause for this may be that the previous owner/mechanic didn’t use the special plastic cradle tool above and held the filter housing directly in a vice. Alternatively, the housing could be cracked simply due to age, wear and tear. The heat generated in the motorhome engine bay over time can distort and denature the plastic housing. First I would suggest removing the filter housing again and checking the new seal is sitting properly. If you are sure that it is a whole new fuel filter housing may be your only way forward to stop the fuel leak.

Motorhome Fuel Filter Housing

There are several companies online that supply whole new fuel filter housings for motorhomes: Image – Amazon

Conclusions on How to Change a Motorhome Fuel Filter

If you are willing/interested in changing the fuel filter yourself on your motorhome I hope the above information was of some use. I also previously wrote a post on motorhome engine remapping to provide more power and improve MPG figures. Well anyone who is considering such a modification should also make sure their fuel filter is changed and in good condition. There is no point changing the map on the engine to deliver more fuel/power if that fuel cannot actually get into the engine due to a dirty fuel filter.

I also hope you consider at some point in the future coming to visit us here at Horton Common to experience our hard standing fully serviced pitches which are perfect for motorhomes. Thanks for reading 🙂

Caravan Winter Checklist 2019 – Top Five Final Checks


Hi, I’m Chris, I run Horton Common along with my father Robert.

If you’re not into winter caravanning its very important that you properly prepare your caravan for being sat idle during the winter months. I’ve previously written a post on caravan winter storage tips. That post goes through the actual process of draining down the water system etc. I wanted to write this post as a final checklist for your caravan once all those jobs are completed. In other words, just before you walk away from your caravan for several months over winter these final checks can pay dividends. Not only to make sure that your caravan keeps in good condition over the winter months. But you may spot issues/make notes on things you want to fix before you want to use the caravan again next spring/summer.

Caravan Winter Checklist
Giving your caravan a final check over before winter really hits can pay dividends: Original Image – outandaboutlive.co.uk

The cold wet winter months can be a pretty tough time your caravan. You want it to be ready to deal with the freezing conditions so nothing breaks. You also don’t want various creatures getting into your caravan and using it as a winter shelter. If your caravan is stored on your drive over winter you will be able to keep an eye on it. However, if you have to keep your caravan on a storage yard over winter that’s obviously more difficult. So below, is a checklist of things you should have done before you see your caravan again next spring.

Caravan Winter Checklist – Top Five Final Checks

Below I’ve written a top-five final checklist before you leave your caravan to cope with the long cold winter days and nights. However, where possible I like to add and share content produced by other caravanners. As such the video below by Dan of Meet the Trudigans goes through his caravan winter checks in which he discusses much of the points I want to make. So its worth a watch.

Dan goes through his caravan winter checklist.

1. Inspect the Bodywork/Seals on the Caravan

Obviously, during winter your caravan is going to have to put up with a lot of rain and snow etc. You obviously don’t want any of that moisture getting inside the caravan. Therefore do a thorough visual inspection of the seals around the caravan. This includes around the windows, vents and lockers. If you notice that there are any gaps in the sealant/mastic get that sorted as soon as possible before the winter weather takes hold. Don’t be tempted to just grab a tube of bathroom silicone, it won’t last. You want to get hold of some approved caravan adhesive sealant. First, clean away all the old adhesive and clean the surface thoroughly. That way your repair will last much longer and protect your caravan from water ingress/damp problems. You want to pay special attention to the seals around vents, TV aerial and roof lights on the caravan roof. Ideally, first, clean the roof so you can properly view the condition of the seals.

Caravan Adhesive Sealant

Make sure you fix any damaged caravan mastic with a suitable adhesive sealant such as this Sikaflex 512: Image – Amazon

2. Check Caravans Windows and Lockers

Next, you want to check that all of the window and exterior lockers on the caravan are properly closed and fixed into position. Caravan window latches/handles are notoriously flimsy and are know to snap pretty easily. Hence, if any of your window handles do need replacing swap them ASAP. Over the winter months due to higher wind speeds the window could lift open if both latches are not fixed in position. Then rain/snow may get into the caravan and maybe even some unwanted guests. Dan in the video above also makes sure to put the caps on the waste pipes which is also not a bad idea to stop various bugs/insects crawling inside. However, remember to leave your taps open inside the caravan just incase there is still any water trapped inside the pipework. That way if that water froze it wouldn’t pressure the pipework potentially damaging it.

Caravan Window Latch

If you do have any snapped caravan window latches get them changed before winter sets in. But make sure you swap like-for-like, they are many different types of window latches used on caravans: Image – Amazon

3. Check your Caravan Tyre Pressures

I’ve written posts in the past on the importance of having the right pressure in your caravan tyres while towing. However, its also important to have the tyres properly inflated while your caravan is left idle over the winter months. If the tyres are underinflated the weight of the caravan will more easily create flat spots on the tyres and also accelerate tyre wall cracking. Now, in my post on how long to caravan tyres last, I discuss that really even following all the best tips they should be changed every five years. However, if you don’t follow the best industry advice they may need to be replaced even more frequently. As previously discussed in my posts, consider tyre savers or moving the caravan/rotating the tyres a couple of times over winter. In the video above Dan uses a digital pressure gauge. In my post on caravan tyre pressure gauges, I discuss the pros and cons of such devices. Whichever tyre pressure gauge you choose, you need to make sure it can accurately read above 60 PSI. I also know some of our guests actually jack up the caravan and remove the caravan wheels over winter.

Caravan Tyre Pressure Gauge

Whether you use an analogue or digital pressure gauge to check your caravan tyres before winter, make sure it can read up to 100PSI: Image – Amazon

4. Empty the Caravan Lockers and Leave Them Open

So as you can see in the video above Dan empties out all of the contents of his lockers into the centre of the caravan and leaves the lockers open. He’s doing this so that all the contents of the caravan and storage areas are ventilated over the winter months. Now, in an ideal world, you would empty out the contents of your caravan, even the cushions and store them in your home over winter. However, the reality is very few people have the free space to do such a thing.

Now, Dan has also placed a couple of passive dehumidifiers around the caravan to absorb any excess moisture from the air. They are regarded as passive as they don’t use any energy input. Humidifiers which are commonly used in homes and are plugged are active humidifiers. There is an ongoing debate within the caravanning community if using dehumidifiers over winter is a good idea. Some argue that they actually encourage more moist air into the caravan. Personally, I can see the arguments for and against them, but I think light use of a dehumidifier in a caravan is a good idea over winter. Ideally though overwinter at least once you want to go round the caravan with a moisture meter to spot any issues early on.

Caravan Damp Trap

These ‘Damp Traps’ are used by Dan in the video above to reduce the humidity within his caravan over winter. They contain a desiccant which pulls the moisture out the air: Image – Amazon

5. Leisure Battery Care Over Winter is Important

In the video above you can see Dan’s portable solar panel which he uses to keep his leisure battery topped up over winter. If you don’t have a permanent solar panel on your caravan these are excellent to keep the battery health overwinter on a storage yard. If you keep your caravan on your drive at home plug the caravan into the mains every month or so during winter. Alternatively, take out the leisure battery and use a portable leisure battery charger. Whichever option seems best for you is the right one, but you need to choose one of them. If you don’t keep your leisure battery charged up over winter its likely come spring it may be kaput. A leisure battery left at a low state of charge, especially in cold conditions can be permenatly damaged. But if the leisure battery is being trickle charged it can cope with freezing conditions.

Caravan Leisure Battery

Proper leisure battery care over the cold winter months is very important. Otherwise, your leisure battery may experience permanent damage and loss of capacity: Image – Amazon

Booking your Annual Caravan Service

Now, I’ve included this within the winter checklist as most of our guests and caravanners, in general, will have their caravan serviced during the winter months. It makes perfect sense really, why have a service during the spring and summer when it may interfere with your holiday? However, the reality is if you are going to have your caravan serviced during winter, it needs to be booked several months in advance. I know of a service centre which one of our guests use where you have to book a year in advance to get a winter service slot. In either case, if you’re not able to get your caravan serviced in the coming winter, book it in for next winter as soon as possible. I do have some guests who service their own caravan brakes etc. However, really if you are not completely confident in what your doing, leave it to the professionals.

Its very important your caravan goes through an annual service to check the brakes, gas system etc.

Conclusions on Final Caravan Checks Before Winter Hits

Again, just a reminder, the above checklist is not every job you want to carry out on your caravan before winter hits. For more caravan winter proofing please read my post on caravan winter storage. You may also want to carry out a final clean of the caravan before winter sets in. A good clean before winter can often make your spring clean much easier.

I close Horton Common over the winter months between October 31st and March 1st. However, when spring rolls around again I hope you consider coming to visit us to experience our expansive views over the Staffordshire Moorlands and Peak District National Park. Thanks for reading. 🙂

How to Clean a Motorhome in 2019 Including the Roof – Detailed Guide


Hi, I’m Chris, I run Horton Common along with my father Robert.

At least once a year/season you’re going to want to get your motorhome out and give it a good clean. Most of our guests have informed me they give their motorhome a good clean at the start and end of the camping season. During the camping season, they will give their motorhome a quick clean. However, it won’t be as comprehensive as when they clean their motorhome at the start/end of the camping season. The reason being as you will see below, to properly clean a motorhome its actually quite a lot of work. Its not as simple and easy as cleaning your car for instance. For example, its pretty rare that when you are cleaning your car you would need to use a set of step ladders. Also, the sheer size of many motorhomes and the many nooks and crannies means a proper clean can take several hours if a whole day. So with this post, I’ll discuss how to properly clean a motorhome including the hardest job of all, cleaning the roof.

How To Clean A Motorhome
Hopefully, your motorhome is not as dirty as this!: Original Image – ssavaleting.co.uk

I’ve previously written several posts on how to and how not to clean various aspects of caravans. For instance, how to clean a caravan roof and how to remove black streaks. While much of the cleaning process and applicable products are very similar when cleaning a motorhome there are several subtle differences. Therefore, I wanted to write a separate post on how to clean a motorhome. My post on how to clean roof lights is applicable to both caravans and motorhomes. So I won’t be covering that again in this post. Hopefully, you have the time to read this full post. If not, please use the Table of Contents below to jump to a particular aspect of how to clean a motorhome you are interested in. Enjoy 🙂

Introduction on How to Clean a Motorhome

The image above is a pretty extreme example of a dirty motorhome, but it can happen. Parked under a tree gives moss, algae and general biofilm the perfect opportunity to turn a motorhome from white to green. However, even if your motorhome is not parked under a tree given enough time it will still turn green. If you have purchased a used motorhome and the owner has not cleaned it for some time it may actually look like the picture above. If that’s the case its first proper clean to remove all that green and associated black streaks is probably going to take you a couple of days instead of a couple of hours.

The problem is dirt attracts dirt. The longer algae and moss are left on a motorhome the harder it is to remove. The sun bakes the dirt onto the surface and into the grain of the paintwork and plastic/fibreglass mouldings. To avoid a big clean taking so much time in the future it pays to do a light clean but often.

Water Availability and Usage When Cleaning

Now, its going to be a lot easier to clean your motorhome if you have a mains water supply available. Ideally, you’ll also have a hosepipe available. It will just make the whole process of cleaning your motorhome much simpler and quicker. If your motorhome is not kept in a location with a mains water connection is it possible to clean it by taking fresh water with you and a bottle sprayer. However, you are under more pressure, as you don’t want to get halfway around cleaning your motorhome and then run out of water. With regards to using a bottle sprayer to rinse down your motorhome, they’re not ideal. You have to use one hand to hold the bottle and one hand to hold the spray lance. If your only opportunity to wash your motorhome is at a storage yard with no mains water access, you could consider investing in a backpack sprayer.

Back Pack Sprayer for Cleaning a Motorhome

If you don’t have access to mains water (hosepipe) a backpack sprayer is a more practical and safer alternative to a spray bottle. Especially when it comes to cleaning the motorhome roof as you will have a free hand to hold onto the ladders: Image – Amazon

Cleaning with Warm/Hot Water?

As we all know, when cleaning hot water helps to lift dirt off surfaces. There is a reason why your dishwasher has a hot wash setting even though most of the time its possible to clean with the low temp settings. Sometimes you need hot water to get the job done. However, also bear in mind what happens if you put certain plastic products in your dishwasher. They come out misshapen and deformed. Now, also bear in mind your motorhome has lots of plastic components such as the windows. Using warm water which you can still put your hand in should be fine and will aid with the cleaning process. However, never use water which is ‘hot’, hence you can’t put your hand in, and never use boiling water. You could damage/deform plastic parts and rubber seals used in various places on your motorhome.

Using a Pressure Washer to Clean a Motorhome

If you have mains water available I would encourage you to use a hosepipe and concentrated spray nozzle. As I’ve stated above, it will make the process of cleaning your motorhome a lot easier. However, I would discourage the use of a pressure washer. I think the potential risks to rewards of using a pressure washer to clean a motorhome just don’t add up. If there are seals/sealant on your motorhome which is not 100% using a pressure washer could get water past that seal. Furthermore, you don’t want water inside the roof vents which would be easily done with a pressure washer. Final, you definitely don’t want water blasted against the gas heater or fridge vents. Now, you obviously still have to be careful of this when cleaning with a hosepipe/spray nozzle. But when using a pressure washer its much easier to make a mistake which you could end up regretting.

How to Clean a Motorhome Roof

The best place to start when cleaning a motorhome is the roof. The reason being if you clean the sides and then the roof the dirt from the roof will wash down the sides of the motorhome. Hence, no one wants to do a job twice unnecessarily, so start with cleaning the motorhome roof first. Within my posts, I like to provide as many helpful tips and advice as I can. However, when available I also like to add videos to provide a visual example. Caravan Guard has produced two videos on how to clean motorhomes. The first video below provides a good example of how to clean a motorhome roof:

Cleaning the roof of your motorhome if the first job you want to tackle.

So first you have to set your self up and get the required tools for the job. When it comes to the ladders you want a set that is sufficient in height but is also stable. Really, for additional safety, you would want someone to spot you while on the ladders. Some people instead of using self-supporting step ladders choose to lean the ladders up against the side of their motorhome. Well, obviously if you are going to take this approach you want to pad the top of your ladders so they do not damage your motorhome.

Long Reach Telescopic Brushes

In my previous post on cleaning a caravan roof, I talk about the benefits of using a telescopic brush. A telescopic brush means you can use one single brush to clean the areas of the roof within easy reach and the centre of the roof. Also, if you have mains water available and a hosepipe with some telescopic brushes you can connect up to the brush. Having fresh clean water running through the brush head makes it a lot easier to remove the significant volume of algae/moss/biofilm you will typically find on a motorhome roof.

Telescopic Brush for Cleaning a Motorhome Roof

Ideally, choose a long reach telescopic brush with a hose connection. Most of them do but a couple don’t, so just look out for that: Image – Amazon

A quick note on buckets: Now, I usually don’t like to point out the obvious too much in my posts. However, there is something worth noting about cleaning buckets, especially with a telescopic brush head such as the one above. With your standard household cleaning buck, that brush head is not going to fit. So what I would suggest is you use a large 60L flex bucket. I now use flex buckets all the time for my various DIY jobs and work around Horton Common. They are extremely handy and versatile. Using a flex bucket with some warm soapy water is going to be an easiest method for using a large brush head to clean the roof of your motorhome.

Motorhome Cleaning Detergents and Creams

The first thing I want to state is never use dishwashing detergent to clean your motorhome. Now, I would have never originally thought to point this out, but it has been a question asked in some of the forums. While dishwashing liquid may get your plates clean what many people are not aware of is that its actually corrosive to metal surfaces. So what detergent should you use? Some people use car washing detergents. While these may be fine for use around the motorhome cab they potentially can be too abrasive around the rest of the motorhome. Even if you own a panel van conversion which in most senses is a commercial van with acrylic windows, standard car detergent is not ideal. A mild detergent designed for motorhomes such as Fenwicks is a common choice with motorhome owners, including many of our guests.

Fenwicks Motorhome Cleaner

Fenwicks is the most common detergent I’m aware of that our motorhome guests using. Its safe for use on bodywork and acrylic windows: Image – Amazon

While Fenwicks is a great general cleaning detergent for your motorhome it may struggle to lift off stubborn dirt and marks. That’s where a product such as Silky cream cleaner can be very useful. Along with a brush and liberal application of the cream you can get the dirt off from around the roof vent seals, TV aerial, gutters and awning rails. It really is brilliant stuff and my father uses it on his caravan each year to clean those particular areas.

Silky Cream Cleaner for Motorhomes

Silky cream cleaner is a non-abrasive cleaner and it still does an excellent job of cleaning dirt off various surfaces found on a motorhome: Image – Amazon

Take Care When Cleaning Solar Panels

If your motorhome has a solar panel fitted to the roof you will want to give it special attention and care when cleaning. A dirty solar panel is a less efficient solar panel. Therefore, getting the build-up of algae and moss off the solar panel surface is important to retain the maximum charging potential to your leisure battery. However, when cleaning the solar panel you don’t want to be too rough. For instance, be careful around the solar panel mounts and cable seal/connection box.

Solar panels mounted flat and flush on the motorhome roof can get pretty dirty which means they also produce less electricity: Image – electrochem.org

If you didn’t have the solar panel fitted your self when cleaning the roof its a good time to inspect it. Some installers when bonding the mounting feet to the roof do a poor job. They either don’t clean the roof surface properly before applying the bonding agent, or just the wrong type of product. I read a forum post once where someone found out their solar panel mounting feet and been bonded to the roof with just silicone, that’s bad practice. Therefore once you have cleaned the solar panel inspect those mounting feet. If they seem at all loose get that sorted as soon as possible. You don’t want that solar panel coming loose and flying off the back of your motorhome on the motorway.

Cleaning The Front, Sides and Rear of a Motorhome

Ok, now the roof of your motorhome is clean that’s arguably the hardest part of cleaning a motorhome out of the way. You now what to focus on the front, sides and rear of the motorhome. How long this will take and how hard it will be will obviously depend on how long its been since the motorhome was last cleaned. Also, if this is the first wash after winter, that will typically take you much longer than a clean during the spring and summer months. While I want to make some of my own comments/advice on this cleaning stage, again Caravan Guard have produced a detailed video on the process which is worth a watch. Its quite humorous though for one of the team to describe it as ‘a very filthy motorhome’ as I’m sure you’ll agree, its not.

This video from Caravan Guard focuses on cleaning the front, sides and rear of a motorhome.

So as the video shows, even after cleaning the roof of your motorhome, your still not quite done with those ladders yet. Due to the high sides of a typical coachbuilt motorhome those ladders will still come in handy along with your telescopic brush. This is especially true if you have an over-cab bed motorhome. Without a ladder/telescopic brush you wouldn’t be able to clean the fibreglass moulding of the over-cab bed without literally climbing on your bonnet. Which I’m sure you don’t want to do. Again, as shown in the video, if you have mains water available, connecting up a hose to your telescopic brush will make the cleaning process a whole lot easier.

Motorhome Black Streak Removal

I’ve previously written a comprehensive post on black streak removal, so I won’t repeat myself too much in this post. What I did just want to acknowledge though is the use of the Mellerud black streak remover. Its not a commonly used product as yet in the UK, its mainly seen in the EU. Fenwicks also produce a black streak remover product. As yet I’m not aware of any of our motorhome guests who use the Mellerud cleaning products. Therefore, I’m not sure how Mellerud compares to the offering by Fenwicks. Generally, the Fenwichks product can remove most black streaks. However, sometimes it does struggle with streaks that have been there for a long time. Its worth noting that the Silky cream as referenced above can also be used to remove black streaks and it does a good job of it. In my opinion its more effective than Fenwicks product. However, per litre, it is also more expensive. Therefore, I am curious how the Mellerud black streak removal product compares to Silky Cream Cleaner. Its worth checking the latest reviews of each to see how effective people are finding each product.

Mellerud Black Streak Remover

Is Melleruds black streak remover more effective than the product offered by Fenwicks or the Silky Cream Cleaner? I’m not sure: Image – Amazon

The Two Bucket Method

In the video above the two bucket method is demonstrated for cleaning the motorhome. The first bucket contains the applicable cleaning detergent and warm (not hot or boiling) water. The second bucket contains just clean cold water. They demonstrate dipping a cleaning mitt (which are great by the way) into the first bucket with soapy water and onto to wash the motorhome. You then dip the dirty mitt into the second bucket of just cold water before placing it back into the first bucket for more soapy water. It is quite a good system. It means that the soapy water stays cleaner and lasts for longer before it needs to be emptied and refreshed. It simply means you can get more ‘bang for your buck’ with your chosen motorhome cleaning detergent.

Cleaning Windows with Your Hands?

The video above from Caravan Guard on how to clean a motorhome is the first I’ve come across that recommends cleaning the acrylic windows on a motorhome with your hands. I understand why they would recommend this approach even though some may regard it as being over cautious. It is true though as stated in the video, acrylic windows can scratch very very easily. So if you are not careful and you use the same cleaning mitt which you have been using on the rest of your motorhome it may have trapped grit which ends up scratching your windows.

Now, if there was grit within the mitt it would also be scratching the rest of your motorhome body, you just wouldn’t notice as easily. The two bucket cleaning method is a good means to reduce grit issues on cleaning mitts and cloths, but its not infallible. Therefore its not a bad idea just using your hand to clean the windows. If it was cold you could put on a pair of thin latex gloves. You would still feel the grit through them and stop moving it over the surface of the window. If you do notice any scratches fear not, they are repairable. Just read my post on how to repair window scratches.

Autoglym Fast Glass

Now, I very rarely state on this blog to use one cleaning product over another. I usually just reference a couple of options and recommend reading reviews before you make your choice. However, once your motorhome windows are free from the majority of the dirt but they still need a final clean from water spots etc. I would actually at the moment only recommend Autoglym Fast Glass. The reason being many car glass cleaning products contain alcohol-based cleaning agents. These can actually denture acrylic windows. So can using methylated spirits, acetone or Isopropyl alcohol.

Autoglym Fast Glass for Motorhome Windows

Autoglym Fast Glass is currently the only product I’m aware of which can be used on both glass and acrylic plastic windows safely: Image – Amazon

Cleaning Motorhome Wheels

Now, cleaning motorhome wheels can be very different compared to cleaning caravan wheels. You see caravan brakes are drum brakes. Hence, you don’t get hot brake dust landing on the surface of the wheel. Brake dust can actually corrode the clear lacquer coat on alloy wheels. If your motorhome has steel wheels with wheels trims is not so much of an issue. But if you have alloy wheels on your motorhome, the key to stopping brake dust causing damage is to clean the wheels frequently. You will probably find products such as Fenwick’s motorhome cleaner is not going to clean the wheels that well. Silky cream may be able to lift off the brake dust, but it still may potentially look pretty dirty. There is also the option of dedicated wheel cleaners, but use with caution:

Motorhome Alloy Wheel Cleaner

Be careful using alloy wheel cleaners. Many contain very abrasive and corrosion chemicals. Hence improper or overuse can cause serious damage to the paint finish on alloy wheels: Image – Amazon

Polishing and Protective Products

Your motorhome has gone from green to clean, so your work is done, yes? Well, you could stop there, but if you spend a little bit more time to apply protective finish products your cleaning efforts will last longer. The video above references a couple of different polishes and spray on waxes you can use, and there are lots of products to choose from. The two products which I and many of our guests think provide the best value for money are the two Fenwicks products of Bobby Dazzler and Overwinter Protector. I discuss the use of Overwinter Protector in my post on caravan winter storage tips. They are similar protective products for use at different times of the year. Bobby Dazzler is applied after cleaning during the spring, summer and autumn months. Where not surprisingly Overwinter Protector is applied before the winter months.

Fenwicks Overwinter Protector for Motorhomes

I do personally rate the use of Overwinter Protector. I find it does make that first major clean in spring a whole lot easier: Image – Amazon

What these products effectively do is to give your nice clean motorhome a low resistance slippy surface finish. Hence, new dirt, algae and moss find it harder to grip onto the surface. Hence, more of it will come off when it rains. These products are not miracle cures, you will still have to clean your motorhome every couple of months. With their application though what it does mean is that when it comes time to clean your motorhome that dirt comes off more easily. You also often notice black streaks are not as prominent and are easier to remove. Hence they are worth considering.

Conclusions on How to Clean a Motorhome

Something you will have noticed from both of the videos above is how frequently you need to rinse down the motorhome during the cleaning process. You cannot really see which areas are clean or dirty without frequently washing down with clean water. Hence, while you can technically clean a motorhome at a storage yard without mains water, its a much harder job. Due to our fully serviced pitches having two taps I do have some motorhome guests who bring a hose pipe with them to do a bit of cleaning. Now you have read this post you may also be interested in how to clean an awning.

I hope you found at least found some of this post useful on how to clean a motorhome. I also hope at some point in the future you consider coming to visit us here at Horton Common. We have a road and all our pitches are hard standing, hence our facilities are excellent for motorhomes. 🙂

FAQ

Is it a good idea to clean a motorhome on a sunny day?

Not really, it will just make the job a lot harder and require more water for rinsing off. On a sunny day, the dirt will quickly dry on the surface if you leave it too long before rinsing off. Therefore, if you have to wash your motorhome on a sunny day wash small sections at a time and rinse with fresh clean water frequently.

Is it ok to clean a motorhome with a pressure washer?

Using a pressure washer on a motorhome cab should not cause issues. However, where the motorhome cab joins the habitation area using a pressure could damage/penetrate the seal. There are various other seals and vents around a motorhome where the use of a pressure washer could cause issues. Therefore, the use of a pressure washer should really be avoided when cleaning a motorhome.

How To Remove and Clean a Roof Light on Caravans/Motorhomes


Hi, I’m Chris, I run Horton Common along with my father Robert.

I recently wrote a post on how to clean a caravan roof. However, at the time of writing that post, there was something I wanted to discuss but forgot to. Most caravans and motorhomes have at least one roof light fitted, sometimes also referred to as a skylight. Roof lights perform two roles, not only do they let more natural light into the caravan/motorhome they also provide ventilation. To create a comfortable and safe habitation area in a caravan and motorhome ventilation is important. You don’t want the humidity to be too low or too high. Hence, encouraging fresh air to flow through the living space can help to keep humidity within the ideal level of between 30-50%. There are several different makes of roof light fitted to caravans and motorhomes including Heki (Dometic) and Vision Vents (MPK). The problem is the way some of these roof lights are designed means they can get very dirty. But many people are not aware of how to remove and clean their roof light. Therefore, that’s what I’ll discuss in this post.

How To Remove and Clean a Roof Light on Caravans and Motorhomes
Roof lights and vents on caravans and motorhomes can get dirty on the outside. But its inside between the layers of plastic which can be particularly difficult to clean and requires removal and separation of the roof light for cleaning: Original Image – Practicalcaravan.com

Heki roof lights are produced by Dometic. Now, you should be familiar with Dometic unless you are a caravan beginner or motorhome beginner. Domestic produce a huge range of items found in caravans and motorhomes. Including fridges, cookers, air conditioning units and of course, Heki roof lights. There is the Heki 2, 3, Plus, Delux, Mini, Micro and Midi. Furthermore, within each of those model categories, there are several models of various sizes. The other common make of roof lights used in caravans and motorhomes if from the German manufacturer MPK. MPK roof lights come in a wide range including the Vision Series which there is an example of in the video below.

So Many Roof Lights!

Now, each manufacturer (Dometic/MPK) produces a huge range of different roof lights. I would encourage you to click the link above to the visit the manufacturers’ website of the particular roof light fitted to your caravan or motorhome. If you’re not sure which make yours is, click on each and browse the skylight model images to work out which one it is. Both Dometic and MPK have lots of PDF documents on fitting and user manual instructions on each of their roof lights. Read the document for your specific roof light to find out how to take it apart and clean it.

Dometic Heki Mini Roof Light

This is a typical example of a Dometic Heki Mini roof light fitted to caravans and motorhomes: Image – Amazon

As there is a huge number of roof light models fitted to caravans and motorhomes I can’t possibly cover every example in this post. So below I’ll focus on a roof light I know is fitted to quite a few caravans and motorhomes which people struggle to clean, the MPK Vision Vent M Pro. Now, even if this is not the model of roof light fitted to your caravan or motorhome, the process of removing and taking apart your roof light will probably be similar. Therefore I would encourage you to watch the video below and then find the specific manual for your roof light as discussed above and follow those steps for removal and cleaning.

MPK Vision Vent M Pro Roof Light

This is the MPK Vision Vent M Pro roof light fitted to many caravans and motorhomes. Dirt and insects can get trapped inside this roof light: Image – Amazon

How to Remove and Clean a Roof Light

So the first part of the roof light you will probably want to clean is the fly screen. While the fly screen generally does a good job of stopping flys and insects getting into the caravan or motorhome, they often get stuck in the screen. Therefore, you want to get your vacuum cleaner and carefully suck out those flys and insects. Now the easy part is out of the way its time to try and clean the actual roof light. As I discussed at the top of this post, when cleaning the roof of a caravan or motorhome you will be cleaning part of the roof light. From inside the caravan you can clean the interior surface of the roof light. The problem is the bit in the middle on some roof lights.

Some roof lights to provide ventilation are produced from two pieces of plastic/acrylic with an air gap between the two and vents. Hence, air can pass through the roof light vents but rain cannot enter the caravan or motorhome. This venting principle works well. However, the compromise is dirt and insects get stuck in between the two layers of plastic. You can get those insects and dirt out, but you’re going to have to remove the roof light and take it apart.

Keith and Michele of the YouTube channel Carefree Caravanning have actually done a really good video of how to take apart and clean a MPK Vision Vent M Pro roof light. They did include in the title of the video ‘Heki’, but they later realised their mistake as they noted in the video description. Anyway, their video is a really good example of how to remove a caravan roof light and dismantle it to clean inside.

Keith and Michele go through the process of removing and cleaning the MPK Vision Vent M Pro roof light (not Heki) on their caravan.

Tools to Remove a Roof Light?

As I discussed above, there is an absolutely huge range of roof lights fitted to caravans and motorhomes from Dometic (Heki) and MPK. In many instances, they don’t use flat, Philips or Pozi screws. They frequently use what’s called Torx head screws. Essentially, instead of a line or cross the screw head appears as a six-pointed star shape. Now, I do quite a bit of DIY and I use Torx head screws for certain projects. While they are generally more expensive you have much better contact between the screwdriver and screw. Hence, you are less likely to slip/strip and damage the screw head.

Now, unless you are into DIY its likely you won’t have a set of Torx screwdrivers lying around to remove your roof vent. There are lots of places online though where you can pick up a set of Torx screwdrivers such as the set below. As noted in the video, its likely you’ll have to use various sizes of Torx screwdrivers. For instance, in the video, Keith first removed the roof light with a Torx 10 and then later had to use a Torx 20 to separate the roof light for cleaning.

Torx Screwdriver Set to Remove/Seperate a Roof Light

This is just one example of the many Torx screwdriver sets you can purchase online. As noted in the video above, you will likely need a range of sizes. They will also need to have long reach tips: Image – Amazon

Now, that’s all I’m really going to discuss when it comes to how to remove a roof light in a caravan or motorhome. The reason being the video itself really provides the information you need. Furthermore, as I reference above really each roof light Heki/MPK has a different design, the number of screws to remove, size of screws etc. So after reading this post, as stated above find and check the manual for your specific roof light. What I do want to discuss now is cleaning the roof light. This is where you want to avoid making a big mistake.

How to Clean a Caravan/Motorhome Roof Light

Right, let’s presume you have been able to remove and separate the roof light and you want to clean it. Remember, your roof light is made from plastic (acrylic). Hence, you shouldn’t just use any cleaning agent. First, just try and use water to remove the dirt. Warm water should also help but don’t use water that is so hot you cannot put your hand it in. Hence, boiling water is a big no-no. Remember, the roof light is plastic, and it will deform under heat, potentially even causing micro-cracks. If parts of the roof light are still dirty you could try a bit of caravan cleaner detergent, something that’s not too abrasive.

Fenwicks Caravan Cleaner

If the roof light is greasy and water alone just won’t clean it, a little bit of a low abrasive cleaner such as Fenwicks should be able to clean it up: Image – Amazon

Now, if you have had stubborn greasy marks on glass before you may have used either methylated spirits, isopropanol or acetone. I discuss this topic briefly in how not to clean your caravan but more so in my post on how to remove window scratches. Methylated spirits, isopropanol or acetone can denature acrylic plastic causing microcracks to form. This will reduce the strength of the roof light, but also make it look old and tatty. Hence, by trying to improve the appearance of the roof light by cleaning it you may end up making it look worse. So, in the simplest terms, don’t use methylated spirits, isopropanol or acetone to clean a caravan/motorhome roof light.

Conclusion on How to Remove, Separate and Clean Roof Lights in Caravans and Motorhomes

One of our guests has brought up in the past their frustration with the poor condition of their roof light and how dirty it was but they were unable to clean it. Therefore, I wanted to write this post to emphasis that roof lights can be removed, separated and cleaned. But I appreciate its not the easiest or simplest job to do when cleaning a caravan or motorhome.

I hope you found this post useful and its given you some direction on how to approach cleaning your roof light. I also hope at some point in the future you consider coming to visit us here at Horton Common. 🙂

Motorhome Reversing Cameras in 2019 – For The Best Rear View


Hi, I’m Chris, I run Horton Common along with my father Robert.

We have guests with tiny panel van conversions up to large A-Class motorhomes. Some have saved cash and gone the second-hand route while others have splashed out and gone for a new motorhome. What each and every one of our motorhome guests have in common though is they each care deeply for their motorhomes and they don’t want them to get damaged. One of the trickiest aspects of manoeuvring a motorhome is reversing. In most cases, motorhomes have zero visibility through the rear. Side mirrors provide a little bit of visibility, however, you cannot see directly behind the motorhome when reversing. Therefore, something I see our motorhome guests having fitted more and more is reversing cameras.

Motorhome Reversing Cameras

There is an absolutely huge range of reversing cameras available online for motorhomes. Therefore choosing the right set up for your motorhome can be a real challenge: Image – Amazon

One of our motorhome guests who has fitted a reversing camera told me it took them several weeks to actually decide on what camera and screen to go with. They couldn’t decide whether to go wired or wireless? Where and how to fit the camera, the size of the screen etc. So with this post, I wanted to run through the various options a motorhome owner has when choosing a suitable reversing camera. You also need to consider how comfortable you are with DIY. If you have a little bit of experience with electronics/TVs etc you should be fine with 12V power/visual cables. If not you could have a reversing camera professionally installed. Alternatively, there is the WiFi reversing camera route. WiFi reversing cameras have various pros and cons which I’ll discuss below.

I hope you have the time to read this whole post on motorhome reversing cameras. If not please feel free to use the Table of Contents below to jump to a particular section. Enjoy 🙂

Introduction to Motorhome Reversing Cameras

More and more motorhome owners want a reversing camera fitted. Therefore this is not lost on motorhome manufacturers and dealers. Many new motorhomes will either come with a reversing camera fitted as standard. Alternatively, it may be offered as an optional extra. Furthermore, dealers will fit a reversing camera to pretty much any motorhome. However, there is obviously a fitting cost associated with that which you may think is a bit steep. Also, generally motorhome dealers are going to fit screens and cameras they are familiar with. Hence, there may be a different camera or screen that you want for your motorhome which a dealer won’t be able to fit. So what are the main options when it comes to motorhome reversing camera setups? Well, the video below from Practical Motorhome provides an excellent introduction to the topic.

Dave from Practical Motorhome goes through the different reversing camera and screen options you could consider for your motorhome.

From watching the video above, the benefits of a motorhome reversing camera should be clear. Every motorhome would have much better rear view visibility. However, if you ever tow a trailer or car behind your motorhome the benefits are even more significant. I’ll now discuss the individual components of a motorhome rear view reversing camera set up in more detail, starting with your choice of camera.

The Different Types of Reversing Cameras for Motorhomes

So as Dave shows in the video above there really three main different types of motorhome reversing camera. The first is sometimes referred to as a bullet camera. There are also fixed/titling wide-angle reversing cameras. Which camera is suitable for your motorhome will depend on factors such as your budget and where you wish to fit the reversing camera.

Bullet Reversing Cameras

Generally, bullet type reversing cameras are the cheapest you can purchase. Often they are located lower down on the back of the motorhome. Frequently around the height of the rear number plate. Product descriptions for bullet type reversing cameras often state ‘wide field of view’. However, they often don’t actually state what that field of view is. Also, they use marketing buzz words such as ‘High Definition’, but the specs then state a resolution of 648*488 pixels. If we go by the definition of High Definition when it comes to TV screens, you require a minimum of 720 pixels. Hence the reversing camera in the image below is not actually High Definition. Why the definition of the reversing camera matters I’ll discuss below.

Bullet Type Motorhome Reversing Camera

A very cheap (less than £10) bullet type reversing camera such as this is often a false economy. It generally won’t provide a very clear image to provide you with confidence when reversing your motorhome: Image – Amazon

There are better quality/more expensive bullet type cameras. However, if they don’t provide a wide-angle of view it really limits their value as a reversing camera. What you will also notice from the example above is that it would be fitted flush with the back of the motorhome. So while you would be able to see obstacles behind you it would be very tricky to judge distances. Therefore while reversing you would not be able accurately to judge how much space you have between the obstacle before you hit it with your motorhome. For reversing up to a trailer tow hitch, a camera such as this would not be ideal.

Fixed/Tilting Wide Angle Reversing Cameras

This type of reversing camera is the favoured choice by most motorhome owners. The wide viewing angle when mounted at the top rear of the motorhome means you will be able to see both rear corners. If the camera has a wide enough field of view you would also be able to see the rear tow hitch if you have one on your motorhome.

Fixed Wide Angle Motorhome Reversing Camera

This product is by no means the best example of a fixed wide-angle reversing camera. However, it does at least provide a 120-degree viewing angle: Image – Amazon

The particular example in the image above while it is able to be tilted, it is not a true tilting reversing camera. There are more premium products which actually have a motorised camera inside which can be tilted up and down from inside the motorhome cab. Say for instance you did have a tow hitch on your motorhome. You could angle the camera down at the tow hitch for coupling up. If you do not have a trailer on the back of your motorhome you could then raise the height of the camera from within your motorhome to look straight back.

I’ve been unable to find a UK website with a motorised tilt reversing camera for reference, I can only find this US example. The point being, if you want to go the route of a fully motorised tilting reversing camera (if you can find one) it will be several hundred pounds just for the camera.

Reversing Camera Features to Consider

Whichever type of reversing camera you choose for your motorhome there are a couple of features you should review and consider. I’ve briefly touched on them above, but I’ll quick summarise them in a bit more detail below.

How Wide is Wide When it Comes to Viewing Angles?

So the example wide-angle reversing camera above provides 120 degrees of view. Depending on the position of the reversing camera you should be able to view both rear corners of the motorhome. However, there are other reversing cameras that provide 170 degrees of view. What that means is you would be able to see beyond the rear corners of the motorhome. Where that can be of particular benefit is if you are reversing around a bend. You would be able to see obstacles sooner. Hence you would have more time to adjust your turning radius and speed.

170 Degree Wide Angle Motorhome Reversing Camera

This particular reversing camera has a wider field of view than many other cameras at 170 degrees. It also has High Definition image quality at 1080×720 pixels: Image – Amazon

Reversing Camera Image Resolution Is Important

So earlier in the post when discussing the cheapest reversing cameras you can buy (bullet cameras) I noted some products state they’re ‘High Definition’ when they’re not. I also stated High Definition requires at least 720 pixels to be accurately referred to as such. But why does it even matter? Well, if you are only using the reversing camera as a general indication of where large obstacles are, a low-resolution image may be sufficient. However, if you are trying to reverse the motorhome towing hitch up to a trailer you really need a high-resolution camera to judge position accurately. Furthermore, if you are trying to reverse the motorhome precisely up against a wall or other vehicle that’s going to be a lot easier with a higher resolution/high definition camera.

There is a big caveat to my comments above though. The reversing camera is only as good as the screen your viewing it on. In other words, its pointless using a high definition camera with a standard low definition screen. So whatever the resolution/pixel count of the camera, you want your screen to match or exceed the camera resolution. Furthermore, as Dave mentions in the video above, consider screen size. For instance, viewing a high-resolution image on a small diameter screen is by no means ideal. Really you want a screen at least 5″ and in high definition (above 720 vertical pixels).

Reversing Camera Waterproof IP Ratings

So every reversing camera you find will state ‘waterproof’, however, that’s such a general term you want to look into the specifics. Essentially, you want to look what the IP rating of the reversing camera is. IP stands for Ingress Protection, in other words how well protected the reversing camera is from moisture and other foreign particles such as dirt and dust.

Many of the reversing cameras online are rated as either IP66 or IP67, but what does that mean? Well, the first digit (6) means the reversing cameras are dust-tight. The second digit, in one example 6 indicates that the reversing camera is protected against ‘powerful water jets’. Hence, the camera is not only protected from rain but also if you clean your motorhome with a pressure washer. However, if the second digit is 7 that means the reversing camera has a 30-minute protection rating when submerged in water up to 1m.

Illuminated Reversing Cameras

You will find that some reversing camera are surrounded by a couple of LEDs. Now, when you put your motorhome into reverse your reversing lights will provide some illumination for the reversing camera to display an image on the screen. However, unless you have upgraded your motorhome reversing lights for bright LEDs the image may be a bit blurred. Hence, a reversing camera with its own additional light source is worth considering.

Wireless Motorhome Reversing Cameras?

Now, in the video above Dave is pretty dismissive of wireless motorhome reversing cameras due to their issues with poor image/signal quality. Generally, in most cases, I do agree with him. Yes, wireless accessories are improving, but in general, especially on the more budget end of the product spectrum, the don’t often live up to expectations. Therefore, if you can, go with a fixed wired reversing camera over a wireless camera. It may take more work and planning to fit it to your motorhome. But you are more likely to have a reliable and good quality image while your reversing.

Wireless Motorhome Reversing Camera

There are some wireless reversing cameras with good reviews. However, I would generally avoid the cheapest wireless reversing cameras. The image quality and reliability is likely to be poor: Image – Amazon

Screens for Motorhome Reversing Cameras

Often reversing cameras for motorhomes come as kits including a camera and screen. However, purchasing an additional screen may be unnecessary. For instance, I’ve previously written a post on caravan/motorhome Sat Nav units. Well, in some cases you can connect a reversing camera to the Sat Nav. Therefore as many people already have a Sat Nav on their motorhome dashboard, it saves the need and space of another screen just for the reversing camera. So before you go ahead and purchase a motorhome reversing camera kit with a screen, check your Sat Nav manual to see if it will accept external video input from a reversing camera.

Another option is to replace the radio currently in your motorhome for one with a motorised screen as Dave has done in the video above. The benefits of this approach are it keeps clutter on your dashboard to a minimum, and screen can be retracted when not required.

Motorised Screen

When purchasing a motorised screen such as this be careful to pick a product that can accept a visual input cable from the reversing camera: Image – Amazon

Some of the wireless reversing cameras can display an image to a mobile phone or tablet, hence again removing the need for a dedicated screen. Whatever type of screen you choose remember that is going to be a lot easier to see what’s going on with a larger screen. Even if a wireless camera can display an image to a smartphone screen on your dashboard will that screen be big enough for you to view what’s going on behind you?

Conclusions on Motorhome Reversing Cameras

As you can see from the above, choosing the best reversing camera setup for your motorhome is not that easy. There are so many options to consider with regards to the types of camera and screen size etc. In most cases, a mid-range fixed wide-angle camera (wired) mounted at the top rear of your motorhome is going to provide the best solution for most people. In terms of what type/size of screen, well that’s really going to come down to your available budget. Swapping out your existing radio for a motorized screen media player is a nice neat option, but its also the most expensive. Furthermore, some people may struggle with the wiring on a DIY install.

Dave in the video above and my own comments are a bit dismissive of wireless motorhome reversing cameras. However, really it all depends on the product in question. If its a well made camera with good electronics the wireless signal may be able to carry a good image quality reliably. I would encourage you to also check the battery specs on wireless reversing cameras. A good wireless signal is only as good as the rechargeable battery it relies on.

Anyway, I hope you found this post on motorhome reversing cameras interesting/useful. I also hope at some point in the near future you consider coming to visit us here at Horton Common. 🙂

How To Clean An Awning in 2019 on Caravans/Motorhomes + Reproofing


Hi, I’m Chris, I run Horton Common along with my father Robert.

Owning a caravan or motorhome does mean you have to carry out cleaning and maintenance from time to time. Quite a few of our guests bring awnings with them, both traditional pole awnings and modern air awnings. They can be small porch awnings or large full-sized awnings with several annexes. Just like the caravan or motorhome itself, awnings every now and again need a bit of TLC and attention. Awnings can get dirty in a variety of ways. Say you are trying to erect the awning and the ground is muddy. Well, its likely some of that mud is going to work its way onto the awning as your putting it up. Some of it will wash off with rain. But often the mud will get trapped inside the fibres of the awning fabric and it will need cleaning. Once an awning has been cleaned you may also want to re-proof it to maintain its water resistance. With this post, I’ll discuss how to clean an awning and the process of re-proofing.

How To Clean An Awning
How to clean an awning is as much about knowing what not to do as is about using various cleaning products and re-proofing agents: Image – Kampa.co.uk

So the other main culprit besides mud that will end up getting your awning dirty is birds. Now, if your caravan or motorhome has been pitched under a tree bird ‘dirt’ will be more of a significant issue. However, anywhere you have pitched your awning if its up for more than just a few days its likely that birds will have played their part to add to the cleaning job. You do have to be careful when cleaning awnings as I’ll discuss below. If you just go full steam ahead try to remove dirt with any product you can get hold of you may end up regretting that choice. As always with my posts, I hope you have the time to read this whole post on how to clean an awning. If not please use the Table of Contents below to jump to a particular section. 🙂

Introduction on How to Clean an Awning for Caravans and Motorhomes

So before you go out and purchase any cleaning or re-proofing products there is something very important to you need to do. You need to find the instructional manual for your awning and read it very carefully. Within the awning manual its likely you are going to find instructions on how to clean the awning. Not only on what to do but importantly on what not to do. For instance, my father has an Isabella awning for his caravan which states ‘cleaning agents must not be used’. The reason is using certain cleaning agents could reduce the waterproofing ability of the awning fabric. Hence, just using any cleaning agent may make your awning look very clean. However, the next time it rains water may soak through the fabric instead of it running off it. Leaving lots of puddles inside the awning.

Other awning manufacturers state things such as ‘use a suitable approved awning cleaning product’, which I’ll talk about more below. But first and foremost, check those awning instructions. The same applies to re-proofing products. Some awning manufacturers may state to use one specific product over another. The point being, don’t just presume the same awning cleaning rules apply from one awning to the next, as they don’t. Yes, you want to get your awning clean, but you also don’t want to damage it.

Video on How to Clean and Re-Proof an Awning

Now that’s out of the way, let’s discuss the method and process of how to clean an awning. One of the best videos I’ve found on how to clean and re-proof an awning is from the YouTube channel ‘Here we Tow’. Clever name for the channel, so they are already off to a good start with me. In this video, they do refer to cleaning and reproofing agents. Just discount that particular advice if your awning manufacturer has said not to use such products. Their general advice on the awning cleaning process is still good.

This video from the YouTube channel Here We Tow is one of the best I’ve found with advice on how to clean and re-proof an awning for a caravan or motorhome.

Now that you have watched the video above on how to clean an awning, I want to discuss the various steps and tools in a bit more detail so you can make a decision on the approach you want to take. Julian and Karina are demonstrating how to clean an awning on their Vango air awning. However, the same cleaning principles apply to standard pole awnings.

Cleaning an Awning on the Ground?

So in the video above Julian and Karina are cleaning the awning attached and erected to the side of their caravan. For most people, this is the most practical (and only) reasonable means to clean and re-proof their awning. The other method would be to clean your awning on the ground. My father does this from time to time if he has to take the awning down and it got muddy in the process. He doesn’t want to leave the awning packed up wet and muddy. Therefore he has a large plastic sheet which he pegs down on our garden lawn. He then washes his caravan awning on this plastic sheet.

It can be tricky however getting the awning dry before storage. It takes turning it over every hour or so, as ventilation is obviously restricted. So while it is possible to clean an awning on the ground, its not ideal. Furthermore, many people simply don’t have space. Therefore in this post, I will discuss the awning cleaning process as Julian and Karina do in the video above. Erected and attached to the side of your caravan or motorhome.

Awning Cleaning Products and Tools

So just to point out the obvious, you’re going to need a bucket to start with. The next tool which is going to help a lot will be telescopic cleaning brush. In one of my previous posts on how to clean a caravan roof, I discuss the benefits of a telescopic brush being able to get to those hard to reach places. But importantly, the same brush in its compressed form can be used to clean areas close to you. So instead of needing a short, medium and long length cleaning brushes you only need one.

Most telescopic cleaning brushes can also be attached to a hose pipe. This will push water through the centre of the handle to the brush head. When cleaning a caravan roof this can be very handy, presuming you have access to mains water. When cleaning an awning its not as essential, as the amount of dirt on an awning is generally significantly less. I also discuss the benefits of telescopic brushes in my post how to clean a motorhome.

Telescopic Brush for Cleaning an Awning

If cleaning your awning at a site you normally won’t have access to a ladder and even with a ladder you often still won’t be able to reach everywhere. Therefore a telescopic brush can come in very handy when cleaning an awning: Image – Amazon

To start as Julian and Karina state in the video above, use the brush dry. Sweep the surface to knock off any larger bits of mud and other dirt before you start using water to the clean the awning. Otherwise once the larger bits of mud get wet you initially will just be smearing it around on the awning fabric before you are able to actually wash it off. Therefore it will just take you more time, soap and water to get that mud off.

Awning Cleaning Agents/Soaps

In the video above from How We Tow on how to clean a caravan awning the cleaning product they are using is from Mellerud. Its not a common cleaning product brand here in the UK, but its commonly used in Europe. I previously referenced their products in my post on black streak removal. Some people appear to rate their cleaning products very highly, though I’ve not used them myself as yet. They are not the cheapest caravan cleaning products available. But likely as is often the case, you get what you pay for.

Mellerud Awning Cleaner

The awning and cover cleaner from Mellerud comes in 1 Litre bottles. It states it can be used as both a diluted and concentrated cleaning agent: Image – Amazon

There are a couple of other awning cleaning products available online on websites such as Amazon. It may be worth checking them out, reading the reviews etc. Though remember, if your awning manufacturer states not to use any awning cleaning product, follow that advice.

The Use of Warm/Hot Water for Cleaning an Awning?

This is a bit of a tricky one. When it comes to cleaning, in general, as I’m sure you are already aware warm/hot water helps to lift dirt off surfaces. This is particularly true when it comes to fabrics such as awnings. Well, awnings are not normally exposed to warm-hot water. Therefore, there is a chance that warm/hot water may denature/wash off the waterproofing agent which has been previously applied to the awning. As previously discussed, check your awning owners manual. It may state something about using/not using warm water for cleaning. If in doubt personally I would just stick to the water temperature straight from the tap.

Re-Proofing Your Awning After Cleaning

Now, after you have cleaned your awning you may want to consider adding a re-proofing agent to restoring the waterproofing ability of the fabric. In the video above from Here We Tow, they discuss looking to see if the water when washing off the awning was beading or not. If the water is not beading then this could be seen as a sign that the awning needs to have a re-proofing agent added. This is partly true, but it does also depend on the type of awning you have. Some awnings are based on a natural canvas/cotton. Natural canvas provides its waterproofing ability through swelling up when exposed to water. As the canvas fibres swell up they close the gaps between the fibres, hence rain then runs off the surface.

Other awnings are made from a synthetic acrylic fabric, this fabric on its own is not waterproof. Acrylic fabric awnings require the use of a waterproofing agent. My point being, don’t presume the same re-proofing products can be used on all awnings. Find your awning manual and read it carefully with regards to the pre-proofing products you should use and how often. If you cannot find your awning instruction manual through a quick search online on the manufacturers’ website you may be able to find it. If not, send the awning manufacturer a quick email and I’m sure they will email you a copy.

Lowering Your Awning for Re-Proofing

As shown in the video above, lowering your awning to apply a re-proofing agent will make the job a lot easier. Though before you do you want to make sure your awning is completely dry after cleaning it. If you have an air awning letting the pressure out of the front poles should be sufficient. If you have a pole awning, its likely you’re going to have to remove pretty much all the poles. Hence you may be able to do the cleaning and pre-proofing of your awning when you leave site providing you have sufficient time.

Take your shoes off before you step onto the awning. This is vital, not only will you likely tread dirt onto the awning keeping your shoes on, but that could include stones etc which could cause damage. Now, as you can see in the video above, Julian isn’t a short guy and he’s still struggling to spray at the top of the awning. You could get around this using a pressurised sprayer and lance (more details below). Alternatively, you could grab your caravan step. However, you would want to put towels or something similar under the feet of the caravan step so not to damage the awning fabric.

Awning Re-Proofing Products

Some products are water-based, others are petroleum-based. Generally, you are going to find petroleum-based products are going to provide longer-lasting protection. However, if your awning manufacturer specifies a particular product, follow what they state. There is a risk of doing a bad job applying petroleum-based pre-proofing agents. Therefore, for most people, I would probably recommend sticking to a water-based re-proofing agent. In the video above from How We Tow, after cleaning their awning and once its dry they then use Fenwicks Awning and Tent Re-Proofer.

Fenwicks Awning Re-Proofer

Fenwicks Awning Re-Proofer is a clear liquid water-based product suitable for both natural cotton-based canvas awnings as well as synthetic acrylic awnings: Image – Amazon

Now, as you can see in the video above Julian is having to work his trigger finger pretty rapidly to apply the re-proofer over the whole surface of the awning. Alternatively, you could use a pressurised sprayer such as the one below. However, if you already own a pressurised sprayer which you use for weed killer etc you want to make sure you have washed it out many, many times before you fill it with re-proofer and spray it onto your awning.

Presurised Spray Bottle to Apply Re-Proofer

Really, you should only need a pressurised sprayer such as this to apply a re-proofing agent to your caravan or motorhome awning if its very large: Image – Amazon

Conclusions on How To Clean an Awning

So I hope the above video and my comments above have given you the information you were looking for on how to clean an awning. I know I’ve stated this a couple of times but its important, always check your awning owners manual first. You don’t want to start cleaning the awning/re-proofing only to read the manual at a later date and regret your choice of products etc and worry about it. The same cleaning principles apply to caravan towing covers or hitch covers. There are lots of other cleaning jobs with caravans and motorhomes which I’ve got posts on as well. For instance, how to clean a wastemaster which can get pretty smelly.

Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope at some point in the near future you consider coming to visit us here at Horton Common to experience our fully serviced pitches with hardstanding. 🙂

FAQ

How often should you clean an Awning?

At least every couple of months, but as and when needed in most cases. Leaving dirt to sit on the surface and for the sun to bake it into the awning fabric fibres is not ideal. The sooner you can get that dirt off the easier it will be to keep the awning in a good condition.

How often should you re-proof an Awning?

At least once a year is generally stated in many awning owner manuals. When you do apply the re-proofer doing a double coat should provide sufficient protection to see you through the year. However, if you have your caravan/motorhome on a seasonal pitch and the awning is up for several months at a time you will probably need to re-proof more frequently.