Caring for your caravan this spring
With preparations for the touring season underway we thought we would put together a checklist for caravan care, enabling your touring caravan or holiday home to shine on its pitch during your first trip of the year.
It goes without question that a caravan or holiday home should be kept clean, but this guide aims to give you that little bit extra so no part of your home from home is overlooked or under cared for.
Checking your caravans gas
As you would with any gas system in your home an annual service is advisable to ensure that your holiday home remains efficient and most importantly safe. Before your first trip of the year check your carbon monoxide / smoke alarms and then check your fire extinguishers are still in date.
Checking your caravans electrics
Check all your caravans internal lights and replace bulbs where required. If you let a fluorescent flicker for long periods of time it can lead to the light fitting being damaged.
Efficiency tip: have you considered switching your caravan or holiday home’s lights to LED where possible? Adopting energy efficient lighting will reduce you energy consumption thus increasing your batteries usage or reducing your electricity bill.
All caravan road lights must be in working order before heading out on holiday, but don’t overlook your bulb lenses and clean / repair where necessary. Always carry spare fuses and bulbs in your caravan supplies and ensure that all leads that connect into your caravan are sprayed with WD40 (excludes pin sockets).
Checking your caravans tyres
Caravan tyres often remain stationary for long periods of time and generally don’t get many miles put on them during the winter months, this can lead to cracks in a tyres wall and treads. Ensure your caravan’s wheels are turned frequently and even consider lifting them off the ground when stationary for longer periods to prolong your tyres’ life.
Servicing your caravan
You service your car annually, so why not your caravan? Remember its always best to pickup any faults early on so they can be rectified before they come serious and potentially expensive.
Servicing Tip: Try to get your caravan booked in for its service in the winter, it will be quieter and it gives you more time to repair any problems that may come to light before you holidays.
Checking your caravans hitching & brakes
Check the condition of your caravan’s brake cable, handbrake and jokey wheel. If necessary grease your caravans jokey wheel to allow for smoother hitching and unhitching as demonstrated in the picture below.
Checking your caravans window blinds & furnishings
Over the winter months you are unlikely to be using your caravan, during this period you should not leave your blinds down, this will put 4-5 months of unnecessary strain on the recoiling mechanism.
Remember that blinds are reflective and if left down can lead to heat building up that can damage plastic windows – a potentially expensive repair.
Those owning caravans with removable upholstery should do so and place out of direct sunlight, this will help air flow and prevent the material from fading. If you cannot remove your seats try covering them and purchasing a moisture trap to prevent air bound moisture from causing damage.
Cleaning your caravan
Every caravan owner will have some experience of cleaning, but taking some preventative measures will make the job far easier in the long run.
First up a caravan cover, this will stop tree sap, bird droppings and the British weather from damaging your caravan’s exterior.
When returning from any trip always remove any food from the fridge and wash down. Don’t keep any food in the caravan for long periods of time as it will only encourage vermin – packet & tins included.
It might seem like a great time saving idea but avoid using a pressure washer when cleaning, they are too powerful.
Here are a few essentials for the exterior to help you along the way…
- Non-abrasive shampoo
- Chamois cloth
- Long handled brush
- Clean cloth (for the windows)
- Soft bristle brush (for cleaning the awning)
- Step ladder (for the roof)
And a few essentials for the interior…
- Battery – use a voltmeter to check the charge
- Gas bottle – weighing the bottle lets you know how much gas is left
- Water system – flush the system and clean with steriliser such as Milton 2
- Fridge – to clean, use a solution of bicarbonate of soda then leave the door ajar to dry
- Cooker – the flame should be a consistent blue
- Interior lights – check for blown bulbs
- Smoke alarm and security alarm – check batteries and replace if necessary
- Toilet – use a weak soap solution
- Furnishings and floor – vacuum and clean
- Damp – check for signs of damp using a damp meter (and your sense of smell!)
- Appliances – make sure all are operational
Remember if you spot any problems make a note of it and bring it up when you next get your caravan serviced.