If you look after your caravan well, your next trip will be filled with fun, not disaster. Here are our top caravan maintenance tips so it’s ready and most importantly, safe, for the open road.
Store your caravan carefully
Prevention is better than cure, and that goes for your caravan too. Keep your caravan in a garage or in undercover parking for the best protection. If this isn’t possible, cover your caravan to keep it dry and sealed from excess dust, but allow some airflow to prevent mould and mildew.
Other storage tips:
- Jack the caravan up to help protect the tyres. (Don’t use the corner steadies for this.)
- Turn the gas off.
- Empty all water storage.
- Open the fridge door so it doesn’t go musty.
- Disconnect the electrical lead.
Give it the once-over
The cardinal rule for caravan maintenance is to check over the caravan regularly so you spot anything that isn’t right straight away. The sooner you get onto a problem, the better. Look for exterior damage like peeling paint, rust or holes, and give the inside a thorough going over for signs of mould, leaks and cupboards no longer sealing well.
Check the electrics
Make sure the brake lights and indicators are working and all lights inside the van are still operational.
Take your caravan for a test run at low speed, stopping several times to ensure the brakes are still in top condition. You’ll also need to make sure the handbrake is in good nick and the cable hasn’t worn.
Maintain the tyres
Look for signs of wear and tear such as balding, cracks, or other obvious changes in their appearance. Listen for the sound of air escaping and check that the tyre pressure is set to the manufacturer’s recommended level. You should check the tyres – including the spare – regularly, particularly when on the road. When your caravan is not in use, rotate the tyres periodically.
When test driving, listen out for noisy wheel bearings that might need repacking, greasing or replacing.
The coupling should be top quality, since so much is dependent upon it. Check for looseness or cracking, and if it’s not moving freely enough, lubricate it with some grease or oil. However, for special purpose sway-control couplings like the AL-KO AKS range, you don’t want to lubricate the ball at all, since this will negate the effect of the friction pads which grip the ball and resist caravan sway.
See a professional
Your caravan needs to be regularly serviced by a qualified technician, usually every 10,000 kilometres or once a year, whichever comes first. Most manufacturers have a recommended service plan – stick to it to maintain any warranty.
If your caravan maintenance regimen is in place and you book your van in for regular servicing, you’ll find it runs like a dream. Now you’re almost ready to go – all you need is to stock the fridge and give it a good pre-trip check.