Sammy Faircloth

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Sammy Faircloth offers advice on repairing a scratched window, maintaining 'van windows and replacing a damaged skylight

There are few things I love more than exploring in my motorhome, and often find that my travels take me down remote country roads in order to reach my destination.

Farmers tend to cut their hedges during the winter months only, to avoid disturbing the wildlife; so come spring and summer, the roadside is a tangle of brambles and overgrown hedgerows.

Which brings me to my point - we all hate that scratching, scraping sound as we make contact with the bushes while avoiding oncoming traffic.

I also find it frustrating that after pitching up, when I'm looking forward to relaxing with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and enjoying the view from my windows, all I can actually see are dead bugs and road grime. So let's explore some ways to improve on this.

Window care

Cleaning acrylic windows is not the same as cleaning glass ones.Use the wrong product and you could seriously damage the acrylic, which could lead to the need for a costly replacement. There are many specialist products on the market, such as Autoglym Fast Glass, Care-avan Acrylic Window Cleaner and Duplex Plastic Protection.

For best results when applying the cleaning product, use a microfibre cloth or an open-weave cotton cloth. The gaps in the material allow loose grit to sink into the fibre, preventing it from scratching further. Visit your local motorhome accessory shop to see a selection of products.

I always carry a bottle of window cleaner on my trips, so after arriving on pitch, I can give the windows a good clean - then the dead bugs don't impinge on my view.

Never use methylated spirit to clean your acrylic windows - it will cause the window to crack or glaze.

Window repair

It's not just hedgerows that can scratch acrylic windows. If you use a cover to protect your motorhome and forget to wash the 'van before fitting it, dirt and grit will sit under that cover and when the wind blows, the cover ends up acting like sandpaper. I always wash my motorhome before covering it.

To repair scratches on acrylic windows, I used a product called Fenwick's Windowize. This will only tackle light scratches; deeper ones might entail replacing the window.

Replacing a skylight

Skylight windows are also acrylic, so prone to scratching and degradation, just like the side windows. My 'van is only five years old, but some of the plastic mechanisms on the skylights have become brittle and snapped off.

I recently came across the MaxxFan, a skylight with a built-in fan. We tend to spend the summer in Spain and felt this would be a great option to help keep our family cool in the heat of the day, without needing to fit an air-con unit, which can be very costly and heavy.

The MaxxFan allows air to be drawn in or out, depending on your personal preference and the temperature inside and outside your motorhome.

In Auto Mode, the thermostat turns the fan on and off and the fan speed adjusts to the interior temperature.

Finally, the MaxxFan is fitted with a rain shield, so the fan can run in all weathers, and it also has a simple-to-use remote control.

In addition, we fitted a Dometic Micro Heki to replace the bathroom skylight, which was falling apart. This is similar to the procedure shown below, but minus the electrics. Overall, I was thrilled by the results.

Top tips

  • Check the thickness of the roof to select the correct model - this can be found in the manufacturer's handbook.
  • Read the instructions and ensure you have all components before starting.
  • Removing the old skylight on a hot day meant the sealant was more pliable.

Final thoughts

All is not lost if there is a light scratch on a window, or the skylight has seen better days. But if the thought of the work fills you with dread, contact your dealer or a mobile engineer - especially if there are electrics involved.

Thank you to Mark Motorhome Medic for fitting my skylights.