After a long lay-up period – especially during the winter – a caravan will need some preparatory work before it is ready for your first trip away in the new season. It is often surprising how quickly the exterior and interior surfaces bear the marks of an extended storage period.
Before you hit the road with your caravan this summer, we compiled this list of essential pre-season tasks to carry out to ensure you have the best experience possible on your holidays!
Essential pre-season tasks
Check the tyres
Check the tyre pressures, including the spare; and carry out a visual check of the side walls; look carefully at both sides to confirm there’s no sign of cracking or premature failure. Make a further tyre check after your first trip.
Check the handbrake
Make sure the brake operates freely by pulling/releasing the lever several times.
Replace the cushions and any other soft furnishings that have been transferred to a warm storage base.
Carry out a run of all the services. Couple-up a gas cylinder and make sure the gas appliances are working. Note that it may take several moments for air to be purged from the supply pipes. Reinstate the leisure battery – take a reading with a voltmeter if you own one to ensure it achieves 12.7V or more.
If the system has a cartridge fitted and you didn’t replace it at the end of the previous season, fit a new one.
Sterilise water system
It is wise to start the season by running a sterilising solution through the water pipes. A product like Milton is often used which is available from any good chemists. Milton is the product widely used for sterilising babies’ feeding bottles.
12N, 12S or 13-pin couplings
Check the connections are sound by coupling-up to your towcar and testing both the road lights and the internal 12V systems. It is not unusual for grit and damp to get inside the car sockets during the winter. If the systems seem wildly at fault, this is often a sign that the earth return connection needs attention.
Clean the caravan
Use a brush to remove webs, insects, and dust from around the doors and locker lids. Similarly clean the awning channel; a purpose-made brush is available from W4 Accessories which can be inserted into the channeling to scour the inner trackway completely.
If you didn’t complete the season with a service, be certain to arrange this in good time. If you are intending to book-in your ’van at a dealership, do this at the earliest possible opportunity. It can be especially hectic at the start of a season. Now enjoy the caravanning season ahead in comfort and safety!
Find out everything you need to know about choosing, using and caring for a caravan with Haynes's in-dept Caravan Manual!