In this article, we will answer the following question: How long do truck campers last? We will discuss what can reduce the lifespan of a truck camper and how to properly maintain and care for one.
How long do truck campers last?
Truck campers last approximately 155,ooo miles (about 250,000 kilometres), which corresponds to approximately 25 years. Factors such as how often your camper is used, the quality of maintenance and cleaning all have an impact on the life of the vehicle in one way or another.
What can reduce the lifespan of your truck camper?
So if you only drive 3000 miles/year on average, it would seem logical to imagine that your truck camper could last twice as long, right? We would then speak of 50 years! Why not, but I’m not sure this has happened before.
Mileage is far from the only factor that can shorten the life of your truck camper. Here are some other issues to consider.
- Broken water pipes and leaks. Let’s start with what is scary. Few things can ruin a truck camper faster than water damage. This does not only apply to truck campers. A house, regardless of the structure, can become uninhabitable due to water damage.
All the pipes and water pipes in your truck camper need your utmost care year after year or season to season. When these pipes are old or visibly damaged, don’t tell yourself that a change or repair can wait until the following season. The pipes run through your entire truck camper, and if one bursts, the whole camper can be flooded.
- Electrical damage. The electrical damage is almost as severe. Most electrical problems start in the low season when the truck camper is put into winter storage, possibly without a cover. Since your truck camper is wide open, there is a risk of rodents such as mice or rats creeping in all over the place and literally gobbling up electrical cables.
Even if you cover your truck camper with a special cover, this does not mean that it is protected against electrical surges. This can happen if you leave your truck camper plugged in at all times, even when you are not using it, or during a thunderstorm.
- Wastewater tanks. Some truck campers have a toilet, maybe even a shower. Ideal when you are cutting the road for an indefinite period of time. But you are also subject to sewage leaks.
You should not use just any kind of toilet paper onboard a truck camper, but paper suitable for motorhomes. Beyond the type of paper you use, quantity also matters. (By the way, it may be appropriate to think about going to the dry toilet …).
What can you do to make your truck camper last longer?
If you plan to spend between $ 20,000 and $ 40,000 on a new truck camper, I imagine that this is not for the problems listed above to decrease the time you can fully enjoy them. The good news is, you can avoid these issues. The solution is to be genuinely proactive in keeping your truck camper in good condition over time.
Most truck camper operators will have resold their truck camper after a few years to buy one more suited to their use or more modern. But some keep their mobile home for 20 or 30 years, or even more for the most irreducible.
Care, maintenance and upkeep. If you had just one tip from this article, it would be this: maintain your truck camper.
Maintenance is an ongoing process that you should get into the habit of doing as soon as you bring your truck camper home for the first time. You will need to maintain your truck camper most of the year, some components more than others.
How to maintain your truck camper? Here are some tips to get started
- Check your tire pressure and inspect them for any abnormalities or foreign objects
- Examine your awnings about once or twice a season for loose strings, tears, or holes
- Test your electrical connections before leaving on a trip
- Approximately every month, maybe every two months, check each filter, including hydraulic filters, coolant, diesel filter, and air filter
- Change the oil once a year, or every 6000 miles
- Inspect all joints on the outside and inside of your truck camper, caulking them if you can
- Check your brakes and have them adjusted once a year
- If the tanks of your truck camper are equipped with sensors, check that they are in working order
- Do a battery test
- Go through every nut and bolt on your vehicle and tighten them
- Climb onto the roof (carefully) and look for cracks and other damage.
Another element of maintenance is wintering, meaning preparing your truck camper for the winter season if you are not driving. Thoroughly drain all reservoirs and cassettes and purge the entire water circuit.
- Check the water pressure of your truck camper
Over the years, testing the water pressure has become an essential task. Too much pressure on old hoses can cause them to crack or burst, leading to sewage leaks or water damage which can really damage your truck camper.
If you don’t already have a water pressure gauge like this one from OEM on Amazon, it’s time to get equipped!
- Do not park your truck camper anywhere
Depending on the size of your truck camper, you may be able to park it in your driveway or even in your yard for the low season. While this is convenient, it is not always the best solution.
It’s best to winterize your truck camper in a shed, even if you have to pay for it. You will have the choice between several options: interior or exterior storage, heated interior or not. It can cost a little money, I agree.
- Buy a cover for your truck camper
At the very least, I advise you to cover your camper van if you want to leave it outside for the low season.
Your truck camper will be at least protected from the elements, rain, wind, hail and snow. It will also be protected from any falling branches if a tree is nearby
Having said that, if you are ever in an area where it snows frequently and heavily in the winter, I recommend removing the snow from the roof as it can really get heavy.
- Minimize the risk of accidents
Driving a truck camper is a unique experience, in particular driving an integral truck camper. The dimensions, the driving position, it’s something to drive such a vehicle! Before heading out for a ride the first time around, there is no shame in practising basic manoeuvres in an empty parking lot until you have mastered the turns, stops, reverses and accelerates.
- Keep your truck camper clean
Cleaning your truck camper does not only have aesthetic advantages. It is important to clean and store your truck camper for practical aspects (save space in a small living space). But it is also an opportunity to tour the vehicle and detect any damage or wear on certain seals or parts.
Clean your bay or skylight gaskets and you will extend their life. And if they have any weaknesses, replace them without delay. It is important to maintain good insulation so that moisture penetrates as little as possible into the cell.
Conversely, do not hesitate to open and ventilate as soon as the weather conditions allow. Moisture is a poison that must be avoided.
- Don’t ignore minor repairs
As soon as you notice something wrong, a hole in an awning, a loose gasket, a loose nut… don’t put off the repair. Most of the time, it will only take you a few minutes.
The sooner you catch the problem, the less time you spend fixing it and the less money it costs you.
Most truck campers can last 20 years or more. With a little care and regular maintenance, your truck camper will stay with you for a long time, without you having to worry about replacing it.
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