Buying a motorhome can be daunting, especially if you are new to the whole ‘on the road’ world.
Here at Erwin Hymer Centre Travelworld, we want to make buying a motorhome as stress free and easy as we possibly can.
Therefore, in order to do just that, we have put together 10 FAQs so we can answer all your burning questions before you’ve even asked them – allowing you to get the most out of your new wheels.
Take a read below:
- Is there a limit to how much I can carry in my motorhome?
The payload of your motorhome is the maximum weight that your vehicle will carry without exceeding its legal allowed weight. Although this may sound scary, it’s really quite simple. To find this figure, all you need to do is check your VIN plate which is often located under your motorhome’s bonnet. Once you know your maximum permitted weight, instead of popping yourself and all your appliances on some scales, head to your nearest weighbridge to ensure your motorhome is fit for travel.
To find out where your nearest weighbridge is, visit: https://www.gov.uk/find-weighbridge
- Am I allowed to smoke in my motorhome?
In England, it is illegal for the driver to smoke, or allow anyone to smoke, in an enclosed private vehicle which is carrying someone under the age of 18.
However, this law does not apply when the motorhome is off-road and stationary or stationary whilst being used as accommodation.
Similar provisions and exemptions apply in Wales and Scotland.
- Can I park up my motorhome to sleep anywhere?
Every piece of land has an owner. Whether that be private land or managed by the local council, it is still owned by someone, somewhere.
If you’re planning to stop for a quick snooze on private land, you must seek permission from the landowner first. When it comes to parking on the side of the road or in a layby, the landowner will most likely be the local council and you may be asked to move on by the police or local authority.
Despite this, there are many places you can stay legally overnight such as campsites and permitted overnight carparks – but be sure to always check for signs to cover your back.
‘SearchForSites’ is an excellent app for Android and iOS when looking to park up overnight and will help to prevent you from receiving a hefty fine.
- Do all passengers need to wear seatbelts even when travelling in the back of my motorhome?
The simple answer is, yes. Your motorhome should have as many seatbelts as you have passengers, and each seatbelt should be worn wherever fitted in your motorhome.
See the laws of seatbelts and motorhomes: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carriage-of-passengers-in-campervans
- Do I need to a TV licence to watch TV while on the road?
Whether touring in your motorhome or watching live TV at home, you are required to own a TV licence to watch or record any programmes which are being shown live.
If you already own a TV licence, you will not need to buy a separate one if you can guarantee that the TVs will not be watched in both places at the same time. If you can’t guarantee that is the case, a second TV licence will need to be purchased.
Note: You must now have a TV licence to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, live or catch-up and demand.
- Do I need any further driving qualifications to drive a motorhome?
The required driving licence is massively dependent on the size of your motorhome.
If your motorhome weighs under 3.5 tonnes, you will only require a standard car driving licence to get underway on the road.
Anything between 3.5 – 7.5 tonnes requires a Category C1 entitlement and if your total Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) for your motorhome is over 7.5 tonnes, a Category C licence is mandatory (HGV).
There is a caveat. If you took your driving test before January 1997, your licence will automatically have C1 entitlement and weight is, therefore, less of a consideration. If you passed after January 1997, you will have a Category B licence.
- What electric appliances can I use on my mains hook-up?
An important calculation for motorhome owners to know is watts divided by volts equals amps.
That being said, if you have a 1000W kettle and a 230V supply you must allow for 4.3A when making a brew in your motorhome.
Most campsites have around a 16 amp supply, meaning that travel kettles and low watt appliances should be fine to use individually. However, we do recommend trying to avoid using too many appliances at once – you don’t want to be the only motorhome on the site with no electricity.
- Can I tow a small car or trailer behind my motorhome?
An A-frame is the safest way to tow a vehicle in the UK as it allows the car to be towed directly behind the motorhome on all of its wheels.
However, when travelling to certain European countries, towing a car in this manner may be prohibited. Therefore, you may be better to tow a car on a braked trailer instead.
When towing a trailer, the trailer’s weight will contribute to the overall MAM. Therefore, if you have a standard Category B licence, your trailer and motorhome will need an MAM of 3.5 tonnes or less.
See questions 1 and 5 for more guidance on your motorhome’s MAM.
- How do I look after my motorhome’s toilet?
Some motorhome toilets will require more maintenance than others.
A cassette toilet will need emptying more regularly than flush toilets, whereas a marine toilet will require more maintenance to keep the water tank clean.
Generally, all toilets should be treated with bio-degradable chemicals when needed and emptied regularly.
- What do I need to know about finding the perfect pitch?
The beauty about a motorhome is that you don’t necessarily have to find a campsite to pitch up on. But if you do fancy the trip, there are a few things that we recommend considering before you park your motor.
Never mind the nearest loos or children’s playground, your main priority is to find yourself a hardstanding pitch. These areas hold better if a campsite is particularly wet and muddy or if you are travelling in the winter.
If you’re not lucky enough to find a concrete pitch, be sure to check the density of the grass before parking up. Trying to leave a campsite in the morning whilst stuck in the mud, is NEVER a good look.