If you keep your caravan on your property, even when it is not in use or like most people, due to space restrictions, keep it in storage during winter, you need to check it regularly. Moisture, dampness and other water and cold related damages can occur, as well as other issues can arise. It is best to check these out during downtime when you are not using your tourer, rather than facing them when you are ready and itching to get out there are travel.
While the seasoned caravanning veterans of you reading this will probably have winter checks that you already carry out as part of a well-planned schedule, those of you that are new to caravanning might not know exactly what you need to look for and why. It can be very easy to leave your caravan in storage and forget about it during winter, but as we’ve already noted, this can leave you with costly, time-consuming problems and repairs.
To give you an idea of what you should include in your regular checks, whether your caravan is on your own property, in your drive, in front of your house or in storage, we’ve put together the helpful guide in this post.
Inspecting the Exterior
The first thing you will want to do whenever you visit your caravan is just walk around it slowly, inspecting the exterior. Make sure all the lockers (both front and side, if you have them), windows, doors and other fixtures are closed and secured tightly. You should also check that the number plate is secured tightly and sitting neatly. It is also wise to check the hitch and the waste water pipe connection and any other accessories or equipment you have on the exterior of your caravan that is remaining in place, even when it is not in use.
The cover for your hitch should be secured tightly over it to protect it from the potentially harsh conditions of the winter weather. Remove the bag or cover and just make sure that first, all of the fixings and pipe work are as dry as possible. You also need to make sure there is no signs of corrosion, cracks or other defects and that the air pipes connected to the hitch are clear of obstructions and moisture.
With regards to the waste water piping and other pipes on the exterior of your caravan, make sure that the covers fit over the openings securely and that also they are free from moisture, as much as humanly possible anyway. Where there is moisture, there is the possibility of rusting, corrosion and dampness.
Use this opportunity to check the tyres as well. Look at each of them individually, ensuring that the sidewalls and tyres themselves are free of cracks and crowning. Next make sure the bolts are secured tightly in place too. Lastly, you should check the pressure. The easiest way to do this is by investing in a tyre pressure gauge, that can be picked up online or from stores like Halfords for a very low price. Your caravan user handbook will indicate the ideal pressure for the tyres.
On the Interior
If you’ve ever seen pictures or videos of caravans that have been kept in storage for a long period of time, they are not always very tidy. This is with a very good reason. Caravan owners tend to take all of the stuff out of the cupboards and wardrobes inside the caravan, particularly the items that are going to remain there and not going into their house. They also leave all the doors open to everything, including the fridge, microwave and oven, along with cupboards, to ensure that there is a nice bit of air flowing throughout the caravan.
This can help avoid dampness and the possibility of mouldiness developing. Which is important, as mould is one of the biggest enemies of caravans. Many find it useful to invest in small moisture traps and dehumidifiers to also help keep dampness at a minimum.
All carpets that are not glued in place should be rolled up to give the flooring a chance to air out too and you should make sure that all water tanks are completely drained and that taps are open to stop any moisture from hanging around too long in the pipework.
Make sure everything is secure and working properly with your toilet. If any of the mechanisms feel sticky or do not function as smoothly as they should, you can apply some lubricant or olive oil.
Check the Electrics
We have covered caravan leisure battery care during winter in a previous post that can be found here. Further to those measures, you should also check the electrics on a regular basis. If applicable to your outfit and model, use the master switch to turn the van on and check the voltage level is at the right sort of level. Unless you have completely drained the battery before winter, there should be some charge still in it.
Check the Gas Supply
The main check you want to carry out on the gas supply for your caravan, aside from ensuring that everything is in good working condition, is that it is switched off when you leave. It can be an easy mistake to make, but one that is too common – people who do some work in their caravan in the off-season downtime, perhaps make a cup of tea using the gas and forget to turn it off. Not only can this mean that you run out of the gas supply you had, which is waste of money, it may cause even more costly problems too.
While a lot of the information we’ve given above may sound like common sense, you’d be amazed at how easy it is to forget some. Especially when you have so many things to remember. So, we hope this guide helps you out. If you have any suggestions for anything we may have missed, don’t hesitate to contact us or leave a comment below. We are always interested in hearing from fellow caravanners anyway.