The large majority of caravan owners pick up all the skills and aptitude necessary for towing a caravan behind the family car. But reversing with the caravan still hitched is something which might continue to test even the most seasoned of owners.
In some situations, the difficulty of reversing into an especially tight spot – a campsite with less than generously sized pitches, your own driveway or into the serried ranks of other caravans at a storage site – might prove insuperable. That is when you have to get out and try to manhandle your caravan into position.
Although modern caravans are built to lightweight, yet strong, specifications, a fully loaded trailer or larger trailer may also require all of your strength – and maybe that of one or two others – to manoeuvre into position.
What’s a motor mover?
A motor mover saves you all of that back-breaking effort, buy using an electric motor to turn the wheels and, so, help move the caravan into place. They can almost turn a caravan on its axis, meaning you can get your caravan in to the tightest of places. This also makes it more secure as it is will be harder for someone to steal.
The Caravan and Camping Club describes how this works, with probably the most popular type of motor mover involving the fitting of a frame to the chassis of the underside of the caravan. This is known as an axle-mounted mover and bears an axle with a motorised roller at each end and these rub against the tyres of the caravan’s wheels.
The motor is powered by the 12-volt battery of your caravan and is operated by a handheld remote-control device.
Other motor movers are an attachment to the front hitch of the caravan and move it forwards and backwards from the hitch and are therefore known as hitch motor movers. These tend to be best used on flat surfaces.
There are a number of advantages in using a motor mover for manoeuvring your caravan at close quarters:
- the most obvious, of course, is that it takes the effort out of manhandling the caravan – and, as the Caravan Club points out, avoiding physical injury in the process;
- moving the caravan uphill, of course, is likely to take many shoulders to the load, but a motor mover may help to do it single-handed without breaking into a sweat;
- by the same token, your motor mover might also be employed as a brake to stop the caravan from rolling backwards – or indeed forwards;
- thanks to the remote control, you can stand in the best position for seeing the space into which you are trying to manoeuvre;
- greater precision is likely to be achieved with a motorised mover than when your vision is restricted with your shoulder to the side of the caravan;
- if the ground is especially wet and boggy, a motor mover might help to give that extra degree of traction necessary to extricate the trailer from the mud.
As with anything, there are inevitably a few drawbacks to using a motor mover. For one thing, they are by no means easy to fit to your caravan – and therefore not that cheap.
The installation also adds to the overall weight of your caravan and, so, decreases the payload it may carry, whilst at the same time posing a significantly substantial drain on the battery you are using.
You may also need to upgrade your caravan’s battery, so adding to the cost. Practical Caravan says that while a fully charged 85Ah leisure battery can do the job of powering the mover, some manufacturers recommend a bigger, 110Ah, battery.