A caravan could well be your most valuable possession outside of your home and car. So it makes total sense to keep it in the best condition at all times.
In this guide for touring caravan maintenance, we’re going to cover the most important aspects of maintaining your van.
Your touring caravan doesn’t need a lot of complicated maintenance. You will need to prepare your van before it goes into storage for the winter months. And before the holiday season comes around, it will require a thorough spring clean and general service.
Let’s talk about some great tips to maintain a touring caravan.
Prepare Your Caravan For Winter Storage
Your caravan might be in storage for the next six months, which is a long time if you don’t prepare your van in the best way.
- Vacuum carefully throughout your van, taking care to remove any obstacles so you can get to all areas with the vacuum cleaner. Thoroughly wipe down all work surfaces, cupboards, cooking areas, bathrooms and wardrobes with an anti-bacterial cleaner.
- If you have space in your home, it’s wise to remove cushions and mattresses to a dry ventilated room there.
- Any removable valuables, TVs etc. take them to your home.
- Leave nothing in your fridge, clean it with cleaning solution and leave the door open.
- We’ve covered cleaning the cupboards and wardrobes, but leave the doors open when you vacate the van.
- Ensure you fully close all the windows. Don’t leave them open for air circulation or whatever.
The exterior of your caravan will face the brunt of the weather the UK winter will bring, so preparing the external areas of your van is crucial.
- Never use a pressure washer on your van, it can damage paintwork (causing rust) and can damage window seals. There are cleaning solutions created for caravan exteriors, use those.
- Ensure you use the solution on the roof and wheel arches.
- Oil door locks and window hinges. If you use a product such as WD40 where possible it can prevent rust from forming.
- Make sure your van is standing on its corner steadies and release the handbrake.
- The tow bar and hitch should be free of any damage if that’s the case fit the lock and wheel clamps.
Tyres are a major safety factor on any vehicle, and this includes caravans. Although blowouts can occur through no fault of your own, at least make sure you’re reducing the risk as much as possible.
It’s not a good idea to rest the weight of your van on your tyres, particularly when you know there will be snow and ice around. And it can also result in damage to the tyre, rendering it not fit for road use.
- You can remove the wheels and elevate the caravan. If that’s not workable for you, then move the caravan every two weeks or more to distribute the weight on the tyres.
- If you store your caravan outside and you cannot remove the wheels, then it would be a good idea to put a protective cover over each tyre.
- You don’t want to risk your caravan being stolen and towed away from its storage area, so fit wheel and axle locks.
Batteries and Gas Connections
Disconnect batteries and store in a dry, cool place. Don’t forget to keep topping up the charge. You don’t need the headache of having to put your battery on a full charge before you can use the van again.
For safety reasons, you would never leave a gas cylinder attached to your caravan whilst in storage. Before disconnection, it’s probably a good idea to check if there are any leaks.
Caravans have three electrical systems. The first system is the one that doubles for your car’s driving signals (indicators, brake lights, etc.)
The second is the internal electrical system of the caravan and the third allows you to plug into the mains supply provided at campsites where you overnight.
Drain all the caravan’s water systems before storage. This includes taps and showerheads, internal and external. You must do this because if the temperature falls below zero, it can freeze any residual water in the systems and can cause burst pipes.
Maintenance Checks And Preparation For The New Season
- Air the caravan thoroughly, by opening all windows and doors.
- Check for signs of any damp or water leakage through pipes and/or windows.
- No matter how well you cleaned your van before it went into storage, it’s inevitably dusty again. So repeat vacuuming and cleaning down surfaces, cupboards and wardrobes with an anti-bacterial solution.
- Put out some air fresheners if your van smells musty.
- Double-check your towing gear is in prime condition. You’re looking for signs of corrosion and rust. If there is any some specialist attention may well be necessary.
- Having stored your van outside in the wintry elements, give her a great clean. If you have time, use a wax solution on the bodywork.
- Check the corner steadies and jockey wheel, if you feel they are stiff you can apply some grease to them.
- Clean your caravan’s brakes. If they are worn, you will need to replace them.
- Are your doors, windows and skylights in good working order, free from leaks and cracks?
Before you take your caravan back on the road, you must appraise your tyres. Any signs of cracking or exposed cords will mean new tyres.
You should always carry a spare wheel with your caravan, and this also requires a look over.
You inflate the tyres to the correct pressure and make sure you tighten wheel nuts.
If you removed the battery as per our suggestion, you will now need to reattach it to the caravan. Once your battery is in place, ensure all the electrics work perfectly.
Flush out your water systems with sterilising fluid. Refill your water system and check for leaks. Don’t forget the water heater. Buy a new water filter to replace the old one.
You should be able to carry out nearly all the servicing we have discussed in this article. But you can always hire a professional to carry out the service, if you have time limitations or you’re a little out of your depth, with the electrical systems, for example.
If you use a professional service, make sure there is a warranty period on the work and replacement parts.