With daylight hours increasing at about three minutes per day, it will soon be time to hitch up your caravan. What a shame if it takes you ages to get the lights working correctly, then you get five miles from home and have a puncture, then you arrive on site and find the corner steadies are rusted and won't wind down and then the cooker won't light and...
It would be much better to spend time now carrying out a few basic checks and undertaking some preventative maintenance. No doubt, you are one of the 150 million people in the world who owns a Haynes manual for their car but did you know that Haynes publishes The Caravan Manual too? It's written by John Wickersham – a caravanner since 1954 and a regular contributor to caravan and motorcaravan magazines.
Who better than John to give you a checklist of jobs to do on your caravan regularly and before each new season?
Top 10 Tips
Check the tyre pressures and tread depth and inspect the tyres for signs of cracking or premature failure. Re-torque the wheel nuts.
Make sure the handbrake operates freely by pulling and releasing the lever several times. Lubricate and adjust it as necessary.
Couple up a gas cylinder and make sure all the appliances are working.
Check the battery. It should have been removed, and charged occasionally, while your caravan was laid up for the winter. Give it a charge now if necessary.
At the start of the season, run a sterilising solution – such as used for babies' feeding bottles – through the water pipes.
Connect the 12N and 12S plugs to your tow car and check that the external and internal caravan lights and 12-volt appliances are working. Regularly clean the plugs and spray them with a moisture repellent.
Clean your caravan inside and out regularly and apply a coat of polish to help protect the exterior.
If you have an awning, check that there are no parts missing and that it is not damaged.
Lubricate window and door hinges and check that curtains and window blinds operate smoothly.
Finally, arrange for the gas system and appliances, the mains electricity supply and the refrigerator to be serviced annually by an expert – who should provide an inspection certificate.
These are just ten tips for maintaining your caravan and there are many more in the The Caravan Manual. This manual contains comprehensive information on storage, towing accessories, preparing for the winter lay-up and many other topics of interest to caravanners and prospective caravan owners. There are numerous illustrations, and The Caravan Manual also contains useful technical tips.
by: John Wickersham
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