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How 2 Caravan: Caring For Your Caravan – 5 Top Tips

May 29, 2014

I get it; there’s a lot to know as a caravan owner. You’ve always got to be planning ahead and thinking about when your next holiday is going to be, and that’s an exciting thought, right?

Caravanning is an amazing way to experience the great outdoors at its best, but it is really easy to get caught up in all that excitement. What you mustn’t forget is that your caravan needs caring for. You need to look after your caravan in order for it to look after you! Think of it as a pet, a cute fluffy poodle, that so long as you give it the love and affection it deserves, it will continue to be loyal and loving in return.

Okay, so enough with the poodle analogies, let’s talk about caring for your caravan. For each of my tips below I have included the benefit/s that can be gained from them – while most are obvious, keeping them in mind can be a real motivator to take action on these tips.

Keep your caravan clean

Dull – but a necessary evil. I recommend that after every use, you clean your caravan thoroughly both inside and out. Here’s a quick check list for you to make sure you don’t miss anything:

  • Hoover the carpet
  • Hoover the upholstery
  • Wash you sinks and shower tray
  • Clean your fridge / freezer (leave on travel catch when not in use – helps air to circulate)
  • Clean inside of overhead and footlockers  (be sure to remove any crumbs of food)
  • Clean your oven, grill and hobs (and microwave if you have one)
  • Wipe the insides of your windows
  • Empty the cassette toilet
  • Wash the outside of the caravan

Getting the cleaning done at the end of your trip will save you doing it at the beginning of your next. It is also important that any loose food or crumbs are cleared from inside your cupboards etc. You don’t want to temp the mice!

Keeping your caravan clean also helps the overall condition of it during the course of your ownership, which in turn will help for its residual value later on.

Regular servicing

Having spent many years working in the caravan trade, I cannot express quite how important it is to have your caravan serviced regularly. While servicing is not required by law (at the time of writing this post), it is required if your caravan is still within its warranty period.

The caravan service is designed to keep your caravan safe to use, and while there is no MOT type test for caravans, I believe it is important to ensure that the vehicle is safe to use and road legal.

During a service, the engineer will be testing your gas, electric, water systems and your running gear. They also carry out an extensive damp tests among various other essential checks.

Regardless of how often you use the caravan, I still believe a service is required annually. Although it is an upfront cost, it could actually end up SAVING you money. I’ll use this fictional example to portray my point:

Bill has a 2005 caravan. He gets it serviced every year at his local dealership. In the report from his most recent service, it was noted that there was higher than average damp reading under the front left hand window. Thankfully, it was noticed this early, the damp readings were normal at his last service which means it has occurred within the last 12 months. It was an easy fix, the window rubber had to be replaced and a dehumidifier placed in the van overnight. This cost Bill £100 to have fixed.

Bob also has a 2005 caravan. It was last serviced when he bought it from the dealer 5 years ago. He’s only used it 3 times during that 5 years, so he didn’t feel the need to get it serviced. On his latest trip, he noticed a dark patch under his front right hand window – it was spongy to touch and was giving off a damp smell. Bob took his caravan his local caravan service centre. It was diagnosed as Bob suspected – he had an advanced damp problem. The service centre advised that the window would need to be removed, the wall board stripped down and replaced, and potentially the stick work depending on how rotten it was. They estimated a minimum of £1,500 including parts and labour to fix the problem.

Bob could have saved himself hundreds of pounds by having a regular service done on his caravan.

Proper winter preparation

When it comes to the end of our caravanning season and you put your caravan away into storage, it is highly recommended that you “winterise” your caravan. This is the process of preparing your caravan for the cold winter months that will follow. It includes draining down your water systems, cleaning, tyre care and more (I recorded full podcast episode detailing the winterisation process – you can listen to it here).

If you leave water in your caravan over the winter, it could freeze and split your taps, pipes, water heater or onboard tank. As you can imagine, these are not cheap to fix.

Using a cover while in storage

Acid rain, bird muck, leaf mould, cold weather, etc can all have a negative impact on your caravan’s paintwork. If left on your caravan for a period of time, it can eat into it and give it an overall dull look. If you wash your caravan and then put a cover over it before putting it into storage, you are protecting it against all of these external forces.

Covers are sold in different sizes, so find out the body length of your caravan before going to buy one.

Keeping your paint work nice and shiny will help with the future resale value of your caravan.

Keep your leisure battery topped up

Although this is not specifically caring for your caravan, it is one of the key pieces of essential equipment. It is also something that most people forget about.

It is important to ensure that your leisure battery is kept charged. If it is left to drain too many times, it could damage the cells, resulting in you needing to buy a new one. You have a couple of options:

  1. Remove the battery when in storage and trickle charge it at home
  2. Have a solar panel fitted that keeps the battery charged up when not in use (not effective for caravans with covers)

If you’d like to read more friendly and practical caravanning advice, head over to Josh’s expert blog at How2Caravan.com.

 

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