To put it bluntly, getting an oil change for your motorhome can be much more challenging than getting an oil change for your car. You can’t simply pull into Jiffy Lube with a 30’ long motorhome.
In fact, things like oil changes are one reason why some people choose a small Class B van; van life makes mechanical work simpler.
The size of your motorhome is one reason some mechanics won’t touch a motorhome, and this is especially true of a diesel or a Class A motorhome. Many car mechanics consider a motorhome something akin to a commercial truck, and won’t work on them.
Let’s consider a few things you need to know before you try to get the oil changed in your motorhome.
Know the Type of Oil Your Motorhome Needs
Consult your owner’s manual to find out what weight of oil your coach needs, as well as how often you need to change it.
It’s usually recommended that you change the oil every three months or 3,000 miles. However, motorhomes spend much of the time parked, and many RVers only drive 5,000 to 6,000 miles every year.
One solution is to switch to synthetic oil; that way, you can plan to change your motorhome oil every 5,000 miles, or twice a year.
However, if you do switch to synthetic oil, you’ll need to stay with synthetic oil. There are some concerns that switching back and forth between conventional and synthetic oils can cause problems.
However, synthetic oil should not be used if your motorhome is brand new. This is because new engines need to be broken in; the extra friction generated by conventional oils will smooth off the internal parts of the engine, making it run smoothly.
The Pros and Cons of Synthetic Motor Oil
The big “pro” to synthetic motor oil is that it lasts much longer than conventional oil. In fact, synthetic oil may last twice as long compared to conventional motor oil, meaning less frequent oil changes. In the long run, that may actually save you money. Also, synthetic motor oil contains fewer impurities such as wax and sulfur, making it less likely to oxidize.
The biggest “con” to synthetic motor oil is the cost; it can cost as much as three times more than conventional motor oil.
Finding Someplace to Change Your Motorhome Oil
This is both the biggest challenge and expense; often, you may need to go to a truck mechanic, or an RV repair shop that works on motorhome engines. That’s particularly true if you have a Class A motorhome or a diesel pusher.
Another option is to use a mobile mechanic; mobile mechanics are often more amenable to working on a Class A. Also, they can come to where you are parked, so maneuvering into a mechanic’s shop is not an issue.
You could also try a mechanic at a truck stop, however, the big commercial chain truck stops might decline to work on a motorhome. Finally, you can also change the oil yourself. That is the most economical way to go.
Small towns catering to Rvers are more likely to have a mechanic willing to work on a motorhome. If you’re new to an area, begin by asking around if there is a mechanic nearby who can change your oil. One thing to look out for, mechanics who work on motorhomes often leave their business cards at local RV parks.
You can also go online and search for a mobile mechanic, truck or RV mechanic; an independent mobile mechanics is often the best way to go since they will come to where you’re parked.
Keeping your engine oil changed is one of the best things you can do to prolong engine life, so stay on top of your motorhome’s oil changes.