Several motorhome ranges have been recalled for remedial work on safety grounds, warns the Government's Driver & Standards Agency (DVSA). Some repairs concern the base vehicle and some the fixtures and fittings.
2016 Swifts' rear seat bolts need tightening
If you own a new Swift Escape 686, Swift Kon-Tiki 649, Swift Hi-Style 496, Swift Lifestyle 686, Swift Escape Distinction 686 or a Bessacarr 496, made from 13 January to 7 April 2016, you'll need to get the rear seat looked at. The problem is that some of the seat frame bolts on the rear-facing travel seats may not be tightened to the correct torque setting. This could compromise security of the seat frame and seat belt in the event of an accident.
Check your emails and postal correspondence, because your dealer should invite you to take your motorhome in to a workshop to get the bolts tightened up, free of charge. There are 149 motorhomes affected by this official Swift motorhome recall and they have ID numbers in the range ZFA20000002984527 to ZFA20000002A85925.
Bilbo's VW T5 campers' roof checks
If you own a Bilbo's campervan based on the Volkswagen T5, and it was built between 12 December 2003 and 5 October 2012, please contact the firm. A new recall notice has just been issued (8 March 2016) by the DVSA, following reports that the high-top roof could detach or allow water ingress.
Find out if the Bilbo's VW T5 recall affects you on the DVSA website and make sure you read any emails you receive from Bilbo's Designs, the popular VW van conversion specialist based in Godstone, Surrey. Only 87 campervans are affected by this recall notice, and the DVSA explains, "The glue used to fix the high top to the base vehicle overtime loses adherence. This may not be evident to the driver and water may cause none visible corrosion and could affect interior fittings. In the worst case scenario the high top could detach."
Bilbo's is now required to recall the vehicles that are likely to be affected to fit a new high top moulding with a new glue product. Where necessary the firm will correct any corrosion issues.
Fendt-Caravan GMBH motorhome window fault
If you own a motorhome made by Fendt-Caravan GMBH, models K400, K500, TI640, TI680, TI685 or TI690 these are subject to a new recall regarding the panoramic window. It only affects models made from 1 January to 31 December 2012, but the recall notice sent out on 7 March 2016 says, "The Panoramic window may detach. While driving the adhesive bonds between the acrylic glass pane and the roof corpus may become loose so that there is a risk that the windows affected will fall from the vehicle."
The DVSA says that the company must "recall the vehicles that are likely to be affected and check the adhesion of the panoramic windows. An additional adhesive seam will be applied to the affected units."
Fiat Ducato ignition switch recall
Another recall concerns the ignition switch on the Fiat Ducato, a popular base vehicle for so many motorhomes.
The DVSA warns: "In some circumstances the driver and passenger may experience consequent switching off of the instrument panel light and possible deactivation of other electronic systems, such as the ABS and airbags. The concern is caused by loose connections at the ignition switch contact holder block."
The remedial action now taking place is a recall of the Fiat Ducato vans that are likely to be affected and replacement of the ignition switch contact holder block. This essential work should be done for free as part of the recall.
To find out if your motorhome is built on one of the Fiat Ducato vans affected by this recall, make a note of your chassis number, then visit the Fiat Ducato recall page on the DVSA website. This only affects the 5303 Ducato vans built from 1 October 2014 and 11 December 2015. The vehicles affected have ID numbers from ZFA25000002729501 to ZFA25000002904391.
If you bought your motorhome from a dealership it's worth checking your email inbox and contacting them about the remedial work needed to fix the problem. If you bought privately, make enquiries at any official Fiat garage that services vans.
If you have an older motorhome based on a Fiat Ducato, you can check previous Fiat Ducato safety recalls here.
Peugeot Boxer III recall
The popular Fiat Ducato is not the only motorhome base vehicle/van affected, since the Peugeot Boxer III is also subject to a recent recall. In the case of the Boxer the instrument display may turn off intermittently. This is thought to be because the electrical switch on the steering lock may not conform to specification. It affects Boxer III models built between 30 September 2014 and 16 June 2015.
Ford Transit van recall
There is currently a recall on Ford Transit vans, and the DVSA says: "Vehicle handling may be compromised by a rear stabiliser fault." The recall was issued on 13 January 2016 and it affects Ford Transits built between 14 March 2015 and 21 October 2015. So if you own a Ford Transit-based motorhome built in 2015 or 2016, check the VIN number. The recalled vehicles have VIN numbers WF0DXXTTGDFD21712 to WF0EXXTTGEFE41391.
Citroën Relay dashboard display recall
Campervans based on the Citroën Relay may be affected by the Relay's new safety recall, issued on 13 January 2016. This concerns the instrument display switching on and off intermittently. This is happening to some Relays because the electrical switch of the steering lock may not conform to specification. It affects vans built between 30 September 2014 and 16 June 2016. Affected vehicles have VIN numbers ranging from VF7******12730223 to VF7******12904372.
Auto-Trail TV bracket recall
If you own a 2015 Auto-Trail Imala, Auto-Trail Tracker, Auto-Trail Apache 632, Auto-Trail V-Line (600 and 620), or Auto-Trail Frontier there may be a fault that could affect your control of the vehicle, says the DVSA.
The problem lies with the TV bracket and new Auto-Trail owners are urged to check here, check emails and contact their dealers to find out if their 'vans are affected by the recall. If so, the remedial work will be free of charge.
The DVSA gives more details, saying: "It has been identified that under certain situations it is possible for the weld joining the bracket post to the base plate to fail. This could allow the TV monitor to become detached from its stored position. If this were to occur whilst the vehicle was in motion it could result in either blocking the driver's view of the road or striking them causing injury."
Renault Trafic III and Kangoo-based campers
If you've bought a small van conversion based on the Renault Trafic III vans built from January 2014 to March 2016, the bonnet lock bolts may need tightening. The DVSA recall notice says that on a small number of vehicles, one or more of the bonnet lock bolts may not be correctly tightened. In exceptional cases this may cause the bonnet to open whilst driving. The vehicles affected have ID numbers in the range VF11FL10250257069 to VF1JL000X53647103.
A separate recall affects the Renault Kangoo. The bench seat may move forward without warning in some of these vehicles. The DVSA explains further, "The beach seat base mounting screws may break when the bench is repeatedly repositioned to allow a flat load area. Should this happen a noise will be heard from the bench. In exceptional cases, if the screw has broken, this may cause a loss of protection during an impact."
So if you have bought a small camper conversion based on a Renault Kangoo with a seat conversion, made from September 2009 to September 2014 (ID VF1FW0ZMC4844723 to VF1FW1HM648590951), it might need a little work. The recall notice says that the affected Kangoos will have a metal insert fitted between the seatback folding pivot and the mounting screw and the mounting screws will be replaced.
Check for recalls on any vehicle
For any vehicle the DVSA offers a quick way to find out if you've missed any remedial work that needed to be done. Just enter your motorhome make and model, or the base vehicle it's built on, along with a range of dates for the search.
If you find it difficult to get your motorhome repaired, the DVSA's vehicle recall team can give you advice.
They give stern advice to dealers, too: "The consumer has the legal right to purchase a safe product. If subsequently it is proved that the product is not safe, then the manufacturer has the responsibility to inform the consumer of the risk and repair, replace or refund (depending on product)."
The DVSA warns motorhome dealerships that it is their responsibility to check for recalls and fix any problems before selling pre-owned 'vans to consumers. As they point out, private owners are unlikely to have checked for safety issues before selling their 'vans on to a dealer, so it's up to the professionals to do this.