What is a motorhome habitation certificate?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: What is a motorhome habitation certificate? We will explain what a habitation check is and how to prepare your motorhome for the inspection. 

What is a motorhome habitation certificate?

A motorhome habitation certificate is a document that proves that your vehicle was inspected by an authorised mechanic and that the check was successful. 

A motorhome habitation check will review the following:

  • The lighting system of the motorhome: the exterior lights of your vehicle, the operation of the bulbs, check that the lampshades allow the light to pass through correctly so that you are visible to other drivers.
  • The horn: Check that it works correctly so that in times of need you can warn other road users of your presence.
  • The wiper washer. Verify that the windshield wipers work correctly, sweep well and that the level of the washing liquid is adequate so that you avoid suffering those uncomfortable moments of lack of visibility when you need it most.
  • The tires: Check that the tread of the tires does not reach the limit indicator, that the pressure is correct and that the wear is regular. When changing tires it is important that they comply with what is specified in the technical sheet. Remember that they are the only part of the vehicle that is in contact with the road and that in extreme situations they make a difference.
  • The bodywork, mirrors and license plates: Check the good condition and subjection of them. If they are badly damaged they can cause some kind of cut; for example, in the event that someone gets hooked on them while the motorhome is parked.
  • Cracks or impacts on the windshield: There should be no impacts or cracks in the windshield in the driver’s vision area, as it will reduce his visibility on the road and in some cases, a simple repair in time can prevent the change of the complete window.
  • The brakes of the vehicle: In brakes, the most important thing is that they are well balanced. If, when you gently press the brake in neutral and release the steering wheel, you see the car drift, you probably have a braking imbalance problem. 

If you want to check the correct operation of the handbrake, park on a slope and apply it, the car should not move. If you are driving straight down the highway and you notice that your vehicle is constantly drifting to one side, it could indicate a steering or suspension system failure.

  • Seat belts and anchors. Pull all the seat belts sharply to check their good condition, they should be locked and then quickly retrieved. Belt anchors should be easily attached and released.
  • Control panel lighting. Check that the engine fault or airbag warning lights do not stay on; they should turn off after a few seconds after starting the car; These warn us of the correct operation of the vehicle.
  • Closing and opening of the doors. Yes, they too must be checked. 
  • Emissions. Check the condition of the engine of your vehicle and pay special attention to if a lot of smoke comes out when you press the accelerator fully, strange noises, engine fluid leaks, jerks, excessive fuel consumption. They could be symptoms of a malfunction or affect the level of pollutant emissions.
  • The gas installation:  breather and condition of the rubber. We emphasize the importance of the state of the gas rubber and the date of manufacture because it has an expiration date: four years from its installation. That is why it is very important not to forget about it!
  •  The tow ball: in the case of caravans. If there is an axle, it must be properly hooked. 
  • The sofas or armchairs of your motorhome are also an important point. Remember that these have to be approved, as with the seats of any conventional vehicle. We recommend that, when you go to pass the habitation check of your motorhome, you place the seats in tourism mode (without unfolding the beds), since it will be much more efficient and faster to pass the inspection in this way.

The importance of habitation check for  caravans and motorhomes

First of all, and before moving on, it is important that we take into account the difference between a caravan and a motorhome.

Caravans fall into the category of trailers. And not all of them have the obligation to pass the habitation check: those that belong to category O1 and have a maximum authorized mass (MAM) of less than 750 kg. are exempt, and use the same license plate as the car towing it.

However, if the caravan you have purchased has a GVW greater than 750 kg, it must pass its first habitation check 6 years after its first registration. From that moment on, you must pass an inspection every two years.

Note: Despite this circumstance, caravans must always be kept in perfect condition to circulate safely on public roads.

In fact, here is a very important point that we must not lose sight of. It involves the installation of the tow ball. We remind you that the tow ball always has to be approved and that it is considered an “important reform”. Therefore, it must necessarily appear on the technical sheet of your vehicle.

To legalize the installation of a tow ball, we must request an “inspection for reform”, in which the following documentation must be provided: Conformity report, Workshop certificate and Manual or instructions for mechanical assembly. After completing this procedure, it is worth notifying the insurance that a towing hook has been installed and that they are going to tow a caravan.

The motorhome, for its part, is considered a vehicle as such: more spacious, yes, where all the elements are integrated in order to become a small residence.

The periodicity of the service of a motorhome will therefore coincide with the periodicity of normal passenger cars: its first inspection must be carried out 4 years after its registration date. From that moment on, its periodicity will be biennial until reaching 10 years of age. And at that time you will have to pass the service every year.

Finally, it is also interesting to know that there is the possibility of “camperizing a van”: that is, transforming a van into a home. We remind you that to transform a mixed vehicle into a home, the modification must be legalized by providing the relevant documentation during the habitation check. 

What class is a motorhome for MOT?

A motorhome is class 4 MOT, which also includes the following vehicle types:

  • Campervans
  • Caravans
  • Vans
  • Commercial vehicles that weigh up to 6600 lbs;
  • Taxis and other private hire vehicles. 

Motorhomes are land vehicles that differ from others in that they are habitable. Thus, they are specified to be usually occupied on a temporary or seasonal basis and can move around. Regarding motorhomes considered as heavy goods vehicles, they must also pass a technical but different control. Please note, failure to carry out this technical control is an offence punishable by a 4th class fine.

The frequency of technical inspections for motorhomes is established according to their Total Authorized Loaded Weight. For light leisure vehicles, the first technical inspection is carried out within 6 months before the 4th anniversary of the date of the first entry into service, then, the frequency is then every 2 years. 

Before making an appointment with an approved technical control centre, it is recommended that you find out about the type of installation offered by the technical centre. The most important thing is whether it is equipped to accommodate and control your motorhome. For all intents and purposes, do not hesitate to make a request to several centres to compare the rates because they can vary from one to two.

FAQ on What is a motorhome habitation certificate?

Where can I have my motorhome inspected?

You can have your motorhome inspected in any part of the country. There are several hundred approved centres nationwide. Just make an appointment, sometimes online, and show up with the original registration certificate – a copy would not be accepted.

What happens in the event of a failure?

If the controller detects the slightest “major” or “critical” failure, the technical inspection is not validated. The consequences are different between major failures and critical failures.

Do caravans need servicing?

Caravans, like any other, need servicing and a little basic maintenance from time to time. Caravans tend to travel longer distances than a usual car. For this reason, they deserve special attention. 


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!