How to Conduct Periodic Maintenance of Your Caravan without Hassles
Did you have fun on your last caravan trip? The feeling is simply amazing and some of the best moments of your life are spent on the road. But what about its maintenance? Yes, these recreational vehicles need to be serviced regularly, especially when you are an infrequent traveller. Just because the caravan is standing in your garage for long periods, doesn’t mean that it cannot be subjected to damage.
The individual parts and components need to be checked thoroughly for signs of damage as these could cause major problems during your next trip. I am sure that you wouldn’t want anything to spoil your mood. Remember, it doesn’t take an expert to check the signs of damage on your caravan. You can do it yourself and it is important that the caravan be inspected periodically if you want to keep it in good operational condition.
Here are some of the key areas that you should inspect yourself. The slightest signs of damage or problem should be reported to a caravan servicing firm so that the required repairs may be conducted without delay.
This is the easiest stage in the inspection process. All you need to do is to inspect the exterior for visible signs of damage such as cracks or the spreading of moss (green colour substance). If these things are not taken care of, then they could reduce the durability of the caravan. If there has been a recent shower or a strong wind, then check whether water has accumulated anywhere. Also make sure to wipe it dry and remove any leaves that may be stuck in the creases.
Tyres are the most important part of the caravan as the entire weight falls upon the tyres. There are two aspects that need to be checked – the ridges of the tyre and the side portion. The ridges need to be good enough without any cracks or excessive wear and tear.
Do not attempt to get it repaired if there are signs of damage. The best option is to replace it. The same is applicable if the side portion exhibits signs of cracks. It may not be visible instantly so you need to compress it slightly from the top for the cracks to get revealed.
The cracks in the side portion can occur as a result of the caravan standing in one place for long periods. The entire weight falls upon a small section of the tyre (the one that touches the ground) so there is a high risk of cracks developing in this portion.
A good way to avoid is this to move the caravan approximately 30 cm ahead or back so that various sections of the side portion get to bear the weight. This allows for gradual yet more or less uniform wear and tear.
Unless the brakes are working properly, the caravan is at a risk of crashing into the towing vehicle when brakes are applied in it. You need a little expert help to inspect the brakes as the caravan needs to be lifted onto a platform so that the underside may be checked thoroughly.
First, you would have to disassemble the individual brakes so that the brake shoes and the compartment are visible. Check the brake shoe for damage. There should not be much damage ideally, but if cracks are visible, then get them replaced. Also the drum compartment needs to be inspected for any cracks or creases. The uneven surface can affect the braking efficiency which is not a desired at all. It would also be wise to check the braking system so that all the parts are confirmed to be in operational effectiveness.
The jockey wheel is deployed when the caravan is detached from the towing vehicle. Its movement should be checked to see whether it is able to withstand the weight of the caravan when it is brought into place. Also, make sure you check the joint which attaches to the towing vehicle. If you feel that the joint is a bit shiny, then use a rough material to sand it down. This will help the clamps to have better grip as a result of increased friction.
The battery is the heart of the caravan and is responsible for powering all the appliances and equipment stored in it. Check the charge levels periodically and make sure that at least 50% charge is maintained. Never and I mean NEVER let the battery go dead. There is simply no other recourse except to replace the entire battery and this would burn a hole in your pocket, especially if those batteries are connected to an alternative power generation source such as solar panels.
Very few people consider inspecting the roof, but this is where the problem could be the most. Accumulated water, dust, debris or leaves could lead to damages. You should definitely check the rims of the roof window as moss could cause the interiors to become dank and damaged. Clean the roof, including the rims of the window and remove all debris.
Windows / Door
Check the windows for any cracks or water seepage. Sometimes, the condensation may occur between the layers of glass / plastic materials of the windows. If the condensation is on the exterior, then it can be taken care of easily. However, if the problem lies in between the layers, then the entire structure would have to be removed and checked thoroughly. The same is applicable for the door and its rim.
The water system in the caravan needs to be checked for efficiency and all taps should be kept in an open position when not in use as it helps to maintain proper ventilation in the systems. Occasionally, you would also have to clean the storage tanks along with the pipes so that no moss may develop in it. Also check the toilet / bathroom for any signs of moss or other possible signs of damage.
Beds / Couches
Beds and couches are one of the most expensive items in the caravan. It is obvious that you would invest in comfortable beds and couches when you have your own caravan and you are interested in taking your home’s comfort with you on your trips. If possible, take out the cushions and mattresses and keep them in a dry place that is not prone to condensation. If you cannot take them out, then use a central heater (preferably one that runs on oil) so that you may leave it on for hours and let the interiors become dry with minimal moisture.
Caravan Awnings / Annexe
Caravans often have awnings and annexes installed for added space and comfort. Whenever the caravan needs to stand for lengthy periods, make sure that you take out the fabrics and store them safely as per the specific instructions. Remove the supporting arms and the frames and store them separately in a dry place to prevent rusting.
Additionally, inspect the awning rail for signs of damage or the loss of components such as nuts or screws. These minor issues need to be addressed in time for ensuring proper functioning of the equipment. In the case of rollout awnings, check the rollout mechanism for smoothness in operation.