You can think of a habitation service as being a motorhomes (or caravans) equivalent to an MOT for the aspects of your motorhome that are used for living such as LPG / Water / Electricity. These items can be a safety issue if not checked periodically and also can usually be part of a warranty check off list which has a hab service stipulated to be tested annually to ensure warranty conditions are met.
The actual service isn’t mandatory in a legal fashion (at the moment) but it would be foolhardy to drive around in a vehicle that doesn’t have an annual habitation service due to the number of issues that could arise unchecked if not inspected.
Electrical safety issues could arise which could prove dangerous, LPG leaks could occur that could prove dangerous, water leaks / ingress could happen that could prove very expensive. So you can see it is worth peace mind if nothing else to pay out annually for a check to detect / prevent any issues arising.
A common thought process is that “I don’t use my motorhome / caravan very often so it’s not worth paying for the test”, this isn’t the case as the lack of use itself can cause inherent issues
How Long should a Habitation Service Take ?
A motorhome habitation service if performed correctly should take around 3 hours workshop time (caravans a little longer) and will test / inspect the majority of the important aspects of your motorhome / caravan.
What is Tested during a Habitation Service ?
The following none exhaustive list details some of the major steps undertaken during the service itself:-
- Underbody visual inspection
- Electrical Systems (charging circuit operating correctly / battery condition / Lighting operating / RCD Checked / Electric Step checked / 230v Sockets checked / 12v sockets checked)
- Gas Systems (Hose age & condition checks / Gas Leak Check / Gas Appliances checked)
- Water Systems (Water pumps inspected & Maintenance / Waste water system checked / toilet operation checked)
- Ventilation (Roof lights inspected / Other ventilation sources)
- Fire / Safety (Smoke / Carbon Monoxide alarms tested / Fire Extinguisher checked / Fire Blanket check)
- Bodywork (All Locks & Catches inspected, Doors & Windows inspected / Addons such as Satellite systems, Air Con, Cycle Racks, Ladders etc. inspected / Delamination check / Fixtures & Fittings checked / Blinds & Flyscreens checked)
- Damp Test (Damp test carried checking for water ingress)
Can I Do It Myself ?
Some owners may believe they can perform most of the habitation service themselves using cheap tools purchased on Ebay or similar, but do you have the experience, and the skillsets to do the tests safely and interpret the results ?Are the tools you are using the “right tool for the job” or just cheap imitations giving misleading results ?
On the other hand if you have “trade” level tools and the pre-requisite skills then by all means do the check but remembering that if your motorhome / caravan is under warranty this may invalidate your warranty terms as it may document that you are required to either have the habitation service done by the selling agent (the Dealer) or a “Professional”
Do I get a Pass / Fail Certificate ?
On completion of a habitation service you should receive a document detailing what has been checked and the results of those checks. If any rectification work is required this can either be carried out at a future appointment or if only small could be agreed to do on the spot.
Does the results of the Service get sent to a Central Database ?
No, the results are yours only, useful to establish an audit trail of your vans history, equivalent to a mechanical service history but for the leisure aspects of your van.
How Much Will it cost ?
Habitation Servicing appears to have an extremely wide price band, but factoring in 2-3 hours of workshop time (depending on how stringent the service technician is with the checklist) should be correct. Workshops typically charge anything from £60-100 an hour (including vat)