Cover4Caravans » Overwintering your caravan

Overwintering your caravan

It’s that depressing time in the calendar when your caravanning season is probably done for this year. By taking a little love, care and attention in the way you overwinter it, however, it might be all ready and up to go when the spring comes around again – in no time at all.

The following are some tips and suggestions about what to do when overwintering your caravan:

Location

  • it was important when choosing where to live and it’s going to be just as important when choosing where to store your caravan during the winter months;
  • your choice is likely to fall into one of two broad categories – your own driveway at home, or a purpose designed storage site;
  • your own drive may have the apparent advantages of being conveniently close to home and cheap – but it might remain a winter eyesore as far as your neighbours are concerned and may be difficult to secure against vandals and other intruders;
  • this leaves the option of choosing a purpose designed, secure storage site – such as one of the network of more than 500 such sites around the country which are registered with the Caravan Storage Site Owners’ Association (CaSSOA);
  • these sites are regularly inspected and graded according to the level of security offered – being especially welcome as far as caravan insurance providers are concerned;
  • so welcome, in fact, that here at Cover4Caravans, we offer an attractive discount on your policy of up to 15% if you intend storing your caravan on a CaSSOA site;

Preparing the bodywork

  • some secure sites offer protected undercover storage, others in the open, but the bodywork of your caravan is likely to benefit from a thorough washing down to remove the summer’s grime and dirt before you apply any protective wax or put it under cover;
  • this provides an excellent opportunity for checking for external damage generally – just be careful when reaching from steps or ladders across the roof, which is not designed to take your weight;

Tyres

  • at the same time, make sure that the tyres are sound are inflated to the correct pressure – ideally, these need to be turned every month or so to avoid their being left resting on the same tread of rubber throughout the winter;
  • for added security, you might also want to consider fitting wheel clamps and a hitchlock;
  • the alternative, of course, is to remove the wheels completely and use axle stands;

Lubricate and protect

  • if it moves, grease it – this is a way not only of ensuring adequate lubrication of all moving parts but also an element of protection against the corroding effects of wind, rain, ice and snow;

Electrical connections

  • check the electrical connection between your caravan and the car that is going to be towing it;

Steadies

  • the caravan needs to be stored with the corner steadies lowered and with the handbrake off, so that it does not stick shut;

On the inside

  • there is plenty of work to do on the inside of your caravan too;
  • it might seem obvious, but it is no less important to stress that the gas cylinders must be disconnected – and the supply taps left open so that no gas is trapped within the pipes;
  • cylinders then need to be stored away from the caravan in a separate, secure storage compound;
  • when reconnecting the service come spring, remember to check – or have professionally checked – the integrity, safety and good working order of the gas appliances;
  • be sure to leave air vents open in order to allow air to circulate and help prevent condensation – and the mould it may cause;
  • you might consider removing cushions and other light furnishings in order to prevent them absorbing the moisture in the air;
  • a further aid to dehumidifying the air is to create a “water-trap” in an open space in the caravan using a bowl of salt and rice or bags of silica gel;
  • drain down the water system and empty it thoroughly, taking special care to dry fittings and fixtures which are vulnerable to freezing when it gets really cold;
  • in addition to the heating and drinking water systems, also remember to clean and drain down the toilet – again to prevent it from freezing and to keep bugs and germs at bay too of course;
  • a guide to overwintering published by the Camping and Caravanning Club, warns that batteries continue to discharge when not in use, so recommends that you take the caravan’s battery home with you, where you can recharge it from time to time.

The list of preparations is not unduly long or onerous whilst the benefits of properly looking after your caravan and preparing it for its winter “hibernation” are likely to be clearly apparent come springtime.