For anyone that’s found a used camper van or even a car that they love, the first trip to the mechanic is nerve wrecking.
After the initial euphoria of my purchase had settled in, reality hit, lol. I had just purchased my first motorhome on faith alone. And as a woman of faith, I was happy that my faith saw me through. However, as a human, I was thinking about the fact that I didn’t get a mechanic to inspect it pre-purchase. And I hadn’t taken my van to camping world or another rv place pre-purchase.
Anyway, it was time to pull up my big girl panties and face the music. I searched for mechanics that would be able to look through a smaller rv and make sure everything was working. I was able to find a great place and they could look at all the automotive things, but I would still need to get an RV inspection done.
When I took Leanardo in, I asked them to do a FULL and thorough inspection. I wanted to know everything that was right and wrong. Once they completed the inspection, they were thoroughly surprised but just how in shape she was, lol. Leanardo is a 1984 Chevy Horizon. She’s old and needed work like any vehicle, but it was doable work. When I made my budget, I put aside $2000 for mechanical repairs. The mechanic printed off a full list of everything that needed to be done. After that, I looked over the list then I asked them to tell me what needed to be done first and what could wait till later. I knew I wanted all repairs completed before I hit the road but I needed to spend my money wisely. I still had about $1800 worth of repairs to do later, but I knew I could complete that all over time.
They let me know that they would need to keep the camper over the weekend to complete the repairs and let me know when she was ready for pickup. We went to pick her up after the weekend and they let us know that while all the repairs were done, I needed a new battery. So we went to grab one. Although she sounded MUCH better and newer, as we drove away, we noticed that she wasn’t going up the hills as easily as she did before.
I started to panic – I had just dropped $2000 and knew I couldn’t handle going over my budget at this time. Once we put the new battery in it was a lot better and at least we made it home.
The next day, I went outside to crank her up and she wouldn’t start… I wanted to cry!!! WHAT WAS HAPPENING? Basically every worst possible scenario crossed my mind. My brother came by and he gave her a jump, she started back up again, but the battery had been completely drained.
At that point we knew there was something draining the battery, but with rvs it could be ANYTHING. It took awhile to figure out what it was but we kept having to give her a jump. It wasn’t until we removed the refrigerator that we realized it was the cause of the drain. WHEW… definitely could have ben worse, but getting an inspection of everything before would have saved that bit of trouble.
Either way, I’m really glad that the repairs are doable. I’ll just have to pace myself with the time I have before starting my journey.
Have/Did you set aside money specifically for your camper van repairs?
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