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

Autoglym Fast Glass and VuPlex Plastic Protection
Visit your local motorhome accessory shop to see the range of products that are made specifically for acrylic windows

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.

Cleaning supplies in a shop
It’s best to use a microfibre or open-weave cotton cloth. The material absorbs loose grit, preventing it from scratching further

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.

Wiping a window
Remove all dirt, grime and dust
Applying to a cloth
Shake the bottle and apply product to a soft cloth
Applying in circular motion
Apply in a circular motion with a little pressure, enough to remove the scratch
Wiping away with microfibre cloth
Wipe away using microfibre cloth
Scratched window
Clear window
The result is simply amazing!

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.

Removing the skylight
Remove the old skylight and clean off sealant using panel wipe thinners
Apply mastic sealing strip, sealant or caulking to the roof receiving flange
Apply mastic sealing strip, sealant or caulking to the roof receiving flange
Place roof flange carefully
Next, place the roof flange carefully into the correct position
Adding sealant
Apply additional sealant around the roof flange to prevent water ingress
Connectors linked to 12V power
The MaxxFan’s insulated electrical connectors are linked to the 12V power
Screwing open MaxxFan
Screw open MaxxFan to roof flange with exhaust louvres facing the rear
Cutting garnish trim ring to size
Interior garnish trim ring is then cut to size, depending on the depth of the roof
Sliding interior garnish trim ring into place
Slide the interior garnish trim ring into position and fasten with supplied screws
Running a test with remote
Finally, run a test on the electrics – and then away you go!
The manual override
There is also a manual override in case the remote control batteries run out

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.

After more DIY projects? Then why not try these out:

Future Publishing Limited, the publisher of Practical Motorhome, provides the information in this article in good faith and makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Individuals carrying out the instructions do so at their own risk and must exercise their independent judgement in determining the appropriateness of the advice to their circumstances. Individuals should take appropriate safety precautions and be aware of the risk of electrocution when dealing with electrical products. To the fullest extent permitted by law, neither Future nor its employees or agents shall have any liability in connection with the use of this information. Double check any warranty is not affected before proceeding.

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