Every road trip, no matter how beautiful, must end at some point. On one hand, the impressions of the past trip still resonate, on the other, it is necessary to return to everyday life, to stash away holiday souvenirs and above all to prepare your van. So once your clothes and luggage have been unloaded from the van, and you have had the opportunity to relax for a few moments, it’s best to go back to the van with cleaning cloths, buckets, a vacuum cleaner and the like. After all, it also needs care to be prepared for the next trip.
If the travel van has been in use for a longer period of time or if it will be in use for a few weeks, the following elements should be thoroughly cleaned or maintained: outer body shell, seals, windows, doors, upholstery and above all shelves and cupboards must be free of dirt, dust and moisture in order to avoid mold, rust and other damage. The external wash is often neglected: but it is essential to remove dirt from the underbody and the roof. If the vehicle is outdoors in winter, it is advisable to wax the paint and cover the roof with a tarpaulin, as this is precisely where moisture damage can form over the wet season.
Often overlooked because they are not seen – water tank and water pipes. If your motorhome has these, they must also be cleaned from time to time and disinfected with appropriate disinfectants to prevent blockages, limescale and bacteria from forming. Important: drain the water system before putting the van in the garage. In order to do this, it is essential to switch off the pump and set the valves in the middle, so that a vacuum is created which forces the remaining water out of the hoses.
The situation is different with the fuel tank: when the van is parked for the winter, it has to be filled up with fuel. The reason: less air in the tank means less chance of rust. The battery may sometimes be completely empty after a winter sleep. Either you remove it over the winter or charge it from time to time. Disconnecting gas cylinders and gas taps and clamping them when possible can never do any harm.
It is also advisable to clean upholstery, carpets and fabric elements at least once with a vacuum cleaner. If the corresponding elements can be easily removed, it is often advisable to store them in the house. Have you cleaned your refrigerator, all the drawers and cupboards in the vehicle? Good, then leave them open, so you can be sure that they will be completely dry.
Don’t put off until tomorrow, what you can do today. This is also true of any possible repairs. If something small has been damaged on the trip, it is best to repair it directly. After all, nothing is more unnecessary than wanting to start the next adventure, only to find out that you have not finished the job. Damage to the paint should be repainted, in order to prevent rust from being given a chance. If the travel van has major technical problems, it should be taken directly to the workshop. You can find an overview of authorized Mercedes-Benz workshops here. You can also use this opportunity to take care of important maintenance appointments and add them to the calendar so that they are not forgotten. Also check: battery level, tires, oil level and in winter if the cooling water has enough antifreeze.
You’re almost there. The camper van is clean, everything’s done and now? Disengage the hand brake (except if you have parked on an uneven road), put it in first gear, put chocks under your wheels and head home, where the all the photos fill you with memories of the past journey and give you new life and awaken your anticipation for the next road trip – then with a perfectly prepared camper van.
If you are wondering how to freshen up your travel van in spring – check it out here.
With this packing list nothing can go wrong on your camper van trip – at least not with the packing!
Photos: Naan Eldering, Outside Van, Kai Knörzer