Cover4Caravans » Getting your caravan ready for next season

Getting your caravan ready for next season

Getting ready for the next caravan season is likely to be a game of two halves – in the spring you are likely to have a check list of things to do as the caravan is brought out of hibernation; in the autumn you are probably preparing to put it into storage:

Spring

  • just when you start reviving your caravan from its winter’s rest of course depends on when you intend to use it;
  • dealers Venture Caravans and Motorhomes, for example, suggest that as March or April come around, many people start preparing for that first outing around the Easter holidays;
  • damp is one of the major enemies of any caravan owner – and whilst it is locked up over the winter time, condensation and damp may have set in;
  • a thorough airing of your caravan is likely to be called for, with special attention paid to any soft furnishings which need to be dried out and a careful check of doors and windows for any signs of leaks;
  • unchecked and unresolved, the rot encouraged by condensation may cause untold damage to the inside of your caravan, quite apart from the unpleasant smell, unsightly marks and risks to your health;
  • tyres need a thorough check for signs of bulging, cracking or wear and are likely to need inflating to the correct pressure;
  • water tanks and appliances are likely to have been drained down for winter storage and may now have a musty smell and taste – an annual sterilisation, flushing and refilling may help to get systems back into a usable state;
  • for similar reasons, the empty fridge might also welcome a thorough clean – some bicarbonate of soda mixed into the cleaning water may help to clear any lingering musty smell;
  • check the cooker by lighting each of the jets to ensure that there are no blockages and replace the gas cylinder or cylinders if necessary;
  • some elements might be easy to overlook, so it may come as a timely reminder from the website Family Camping Reviews to check your on-board security and safety equipment – everything from locks, alarms smoke-detectors and the supplies in the first aid kit;
  • as you near the end of this check list of items, you are nearly ready to sally forth on your first outing of the season;
  • before taking to the road, however, there are a number of final checks still to make;
  • double check that the wheel bolts are properly tightened – especially if they have replaced winter wheels that you used whilst the caravan was in storage;
  • make sure that the gas is turned off at the cylinder;
  • ensure that the flush tank and on-board toilet tanks are empty;
  • close and lock all cupboards, wardrobes and stowage compartments;
  • secure anything that is loose or might shift about when you are underway;
  • lock the fridge shut;
  • close and lock windows and roof vents whilst on the move;
  • check the caravan’s road lights;
  • make sure the jockey wheel is secured in its raised position and check the breakaway cable is properly connected;
  • check the caravan’s nose weight to check that you are not overladen;
  • release the handbrake – and you are off!

Autumn

  • hopefully, the careful preparations you made at the beginning of the season meant that you had many trouble-free days of caravanning;
  • although you encountered no problems during the summer, however, it is still important to prepare just as carefully when laying up the caravan for winter – especially if you hope next season’s outings to go without a hitch;
  • the immediate question, of course, is where the caravan is to be located for its winter hibernation;
  • in a choice between your own driveway, an unused farmyard and a purpose-built caravan storage facility, the last is likely to win hands down;
  • the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CaSSOA) has a network of member sites throughout the country, with each one graded according to the security and facilities present – winter storage at a CaSSOA site may also earn you a discount in your caravan insurance premiums and is something we recognise here at Cover4Caravans;
  • although the security measures may help to put your mind at ease, it may still be a good idea to visit the storage site in advance to check whether your caravan is going to be on hard standing or concrete, under cover or in the open, and ease of access for you and the vehicle being used to put the caravan into storage and retrieve it again in the spring;
  • whatever the chosen location, it is likely to be important to thoroughly clean and wax the outside of caravan, removing birdlime, oil stains, black or green mould – all of which may leave permanent marks if left untreated;
  • in your enthusiasm to clean the exterior beware of using pressure washers warns the Camping and Caravanning Club, which suggests that more damage than good may be done by such pressure jets;
  • the Club also urges caution and a regard for personal safety when using step ladders or stretching over to clean the roof of your caravan – it might well not bear your weight;
  • tyres are especially vulnerable to wear when left to bear the weight of your caravan in the same potion over a long period of time;
  • you may want to consider replacing the normal road wheel with winter wheels – especially the lockable type, for added security;
  • where possible, store the vehicle with the corner steadies lowered and the handbrake off, to reduce the chance of it sticking;
  • probably the most important preparation inside the caravan is to completely drain down all water systems – whether fresh water, the toilet flush or heating system – to prevent damage caused by pipes, fittings or valves freezing during the winter;
  • special care needs to be taken with respect to the storage of gas cylinders, which need to be turned off and disconnected from the caravan’s supply;
  • your caravan storage site may have specific policies relating to the storage of gas cylinders and you may not be allowed to keep them close to the vehicle for the duration of the winter.

Whether it is preparing your caravan for a well-earned rest during the winter months or the anticipation of enjoying yet another summer on tour, the care and attention you give to getting ready for the next caravan season may prove well worth your while.