The time is just around the corner now – you will soon be able to take your touring caravan for its first outing in the Spring. You might want to use the few months that remain for a spot of caravan maintenance and tender loving care. The time spent on these tasks now may pay dividends when it comes to taking out a caravan that not only looks good but also has everything in tip-top working order.
Here are a few tips and suggestions:
Keeping up appearances
- it is very rare, of course, for many touring caravans to be stored under cover during the winter months – that degree of protection is a usually an unnecessary expense;
- as a consequence, your caravan is likely to be looking more than a little weathered once the winter storms, snow and gales have taken their toll – not to mention the inevitable bird lime or fallen leaves if you have had to pitch it up near any trees;
- with the weather soon hopefully improving – and the Met Office might tell you exactly when – now is a good time to give the caravan a thorough wash down and to apply a good quality wax to keep it glistening and pristine clean;
Interior spring cleaning
- what goes for the outside, goes just as importantly for the inside too;
- whilst dashing away with your brush, duster and vacuum, you might also take this opportunity to look for any signs of damp;
- condensation tends to be one of the caravan owner’s worst enemies, with damp soon turning to corroding mould which eats away at the panels and furnishings of your caravan, leaving an unpleasant odour, unsightly stains and not to mention the serious health risks which might ensue;
- good ventilation is key in the battle against condensation, so make sure that the caravan remains thoroughly aired and that vents are free of any obstruction which might impair their proper operation;
Security and safety
- whilst working on the caravan’s interior, you might want to make sure that all locks and security devices continue to work as they should – including, for example, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers;
- modern touring caravans are usually fitted with a tilt sensor, so it is important to confirm that this is still in good working order and that the alarm sounds whenever it should;
- if you have taken the precaution of fitting a tracking device, now might be the time to test that it works by towing your caravan a little distance from its current location and then contacting the tracking monitoring control centre to make sure that the company is able to identify your caravan’s new location;
- the tyres of your caravan provide the only way of keeping it on the road, of course, but are especially vulnerable to wear and tear – an essential safety check needs to be made on their condition;
- even with the best will in the world and the regular rotation of the wheels whist the caravan has been in winter storage, the tyres have had to support the full weight of the vehicle – sometimes for long periods on the same tread of rubber;
- the tyres must be checked very carefully, therefore, for signs of wear and tear, to avoid potential failure whilst under tow;
- read our article: How old are your tyres?
- it is not only the tyres that play an important role in keeping your caravan in fully roadworthy condition – a condition which it is your legal responsibility to maintain;
- brakes, lights, hitches and other running gear all play their part and need to be carefully checked and maintained;
- if subsequent checks suggest that you are using your caravan in an unroadworthy condition, you might not only fall foul of the law, but also have any insurance claim denied;
- there are a number of maintenance tasks which are so important that you may feel more confident in putting the task in the hands of experienced and qualified engineers;
- indeed, the manufacturer’s warranty on some makes of caravan might require that an annual service is conducted by such an approved specialist;
- if you decide to get these essential maintenance tasks done by a qualified service provider, the Camping and Caravanning Club, the Caravan Club, and the National Caravan Council all suggest lists of approved workshops;
- you might want to instruct any such service agent to extend their checks and maintenance to other important items such as the water and heating systems, gas and electrical supplies and appliances.
As the excitement mounts for your first outing of the Spring, preparation, checks and maintenance routines such as these may help to ensure that nothing untoward happens during the new season’s caravanning.