There’s no doubt about it, some of the most beautiful terrain in the world can only be accessed by going up. You won’t get to Lake Tahoe or the top of the Alps without taking on some sharp climbs but this isn’t always easy in a motorhome and hill-starts are one of the top reasons that clutches and drive trains start to breakdown. Of course, this always results in a bit motorhome insurance claim, so how can you take the hills safely and with minimal damage?
Finding the Right Gear
If you’re travelling somewhere hilly it’s worth taking your motorhome out on the road somewhere you know and testing its capabilities. It’s likely that your motorhome won’t be able to take on much more than a 10% incline in anything higher than first gear, but it’s handy to know your limits. Revving too much in first is as damaging as stuttering in second so know your limits and find the right gear before the hill.
Use the Flat
The weight of your motorhome will drag you back significantly on climbs above 15% and you may find your speed dropping to below 10mph. If this is the case, you need to use flat sections to your advantage to pick up speed when you can. Don’t be afraid to pull over, so long as it’s safe, and restart if you can see a flat lay-by which will enable you to pull away with power.
Know your Limits
Your motorhome will only suffer damage if you push it too hard so do your research on your particular model. Your power to weight ratio is important but also check out the maximum number of revs your motorhome can handle, you may need to be pushing things very hard if the incline gets steep. Most importantly, know when to stop.
When you are faced with a big hill make sure you always give yourself enough speed while you can and know how to manipulate your gears to maximise the power of your motorhome. Don’t ever sacrifice control, though, and make sure you’re still able to perform an emergency stop if you need to – safety really needs to come first.