Spring cleaning might often be seen as a chore. When it comes to spring cleaning your caravan, however, it is probably the first sign of your getting ready for the coming new season of holidays and outings. The sense of anticipated fun, adventure and relaxation might make spring cleaning a surprisingly welcome and pleasant task therefore.
So that you only have to do it once in preparation for the coming season, and to help you get the task done properly, you might want to take on board some of the following tips and suggestions.
Spring clean your insurance
Your first spring cleaning exercise involves no physical effort on your part at all – but is no less important for all that.
An annual spring clean of your insurance may ensure not only that your cover is up to date, but that it reflects the steady changes in market valuations and provides the appropriate scope and level of protection for you and your family.
As part of that annual health check, you might want to contact us here at Cover4Caravans to make sure you are paying a competitive price for the cover you have.
Cleaning and maintenance
When it comes to the cleaning itself, the job falls naturally into two parts – the inside and the outside of your caravan:
- dust and hoover as you would any other room in your house of course;
- but with a caravan, one of your main enemies is likely to be condensation, damp and the potentially very damaging mould that may grow in such conditions;
- as suggested by Leisure Shop Direct, therefore, use your nose or a purpose design damp meter to detect the tell-tale signs of damp before it has the chance to get hold;
- give the interior a thorough airing and ensure that air vents are unblocked and properly facilitating the flow of air;
- flush through the water system, using a proprietary fresh water cleaning agent if you so wish – but never use bleach for this purpose
- another place where you should never use bleach is the toilet in your caravan, where once again you need to select a proprietary cleaner;
- whilst on your internal spring cleaning, check that both gas and electrical appliances are working and the connections in good order;
- check the gas cylinders, if necessary weighing them to make sure that there is enough for at least your next outing;
- tackling the outside of your caravan is essentially a question of plenty of water, a good sponge and the appropriate amount of elbow grease to remove the stains, bird lime and sap from trees that may otherwise damage the finish of external surfaces;
- the general consensus is that high pressure water hoses should be avoided and the Caravan Owner’s Club also cautions about the type of soap you are using – make sure that you use a non-toxic biodegradable soap, since the caustic ingredients of some other cleaners may attack and damage seals around doors, windows and air vents;
- cleaning the outside of your caravan, therefore, is likely to be a pretty straight forward affair – potentially more important are some of the essential safety and maintenance checks that need to be done;
Wheels and tyres
- properly checking the wheels and tyres after a long winter’s layover, for instance is likely to require you jacking up the caravan, resting it on axle supports and deploying the corner stays;
- when safely raised from the ground, grip the tyre of each wheel and attempt to wiggle it from side to side – there should, of course, be no detectable play in the wheel bearings;
- on the tyres themselves, you need to check for cuts, bulges and other deformities and ensure that the full depth of tread follows a straight path around the whole circumference of the tyre;
- with the caravan raised off the ground, you also need to check that the brakes are working correctly – a helpful step by step guide is published in the online Practical Caravan magazine;
- to check that there has been no binding – especially if the brake has been left on during the winter – simply spin the wheel and listen carefully;
- provided there is only the sound of the brake shoes gently brushing the inside of the wheel, everything is likely to be fine, but if there is a significant dragging noise the brakes need adjusting by removing each wheel;
- when the adjustments have been made, remember to do the wheel spin test once again before satisfying yourself that the brakes are working safely;
Hitch, jockey and steadies
- the final series of external checks involve the hitch mechanism, the jockey wheel and the corner steadies;
- as the only point of contact between your caravan and the car towing it, the hitch is clearly an important mechanism;
- the hitch must be firmly secured and the head needs to be clean and properly greased, checking too that the breakaway cable is in good condition;
- maintenance of the jockey is essentially a question of the wheel rotating freely and your being able to raise and lower it easily – in other words, suitable attention to greasing points;
- corner stays might also be checked that they are in smooth working order simply by cleaning them – with brake fluid if necessary – and greasing the operating mechanism.
It might seem a lot, but the secret to spring cleaning your caravan is likely to lie in your enjoying the task as the first step to another season’s enjoyable outings and holidays.